The Good Place is an American sitcom with an unexpected depth. The basic idea is that Eleanor Shelstrop (played by Kristen Bell) wakes up after dying in a heaven-like utopia called The Good Place. She quickly realises that she has been mixed up with a human rights lawyer of the same name and doesn't deserve to be there. As you can imagine what follows is a journey of near misses that will keep you glued to the screen. The plot is skilfully woven with new revelations and a particularly clever twist at the end of the first season.
However, the characters are what kept me addicted to the show.
Chidi, Eleanor's supposed soul mate, is a well-intentioned Philosophy professor with crippling indecision. His application of various famous Philosophical ideas to the situations he finds himself in are mind-bending and educational in the most interesting way. Perhaps what I most like about him is the solidity of his integrity, something I find refreshing when self-centred characters with subjective morals are so common.
Eleanor somehow has a personality worth binge-watching. She's witty enough to be quote-worthy and her interactions with the others will have you rolling with laughter. She begins as a self-obsessed character but fights to stay in a good place with a stubborn persistence that will leave you cheering for her anyway. Gradually the connection she forms with the other characters changes her and the unlikely four friends navigate whatever is thrown at them.
The other two main characters are Tahini Al-Jamil and Jason Mendoza. I can't say much about Jason without spoiling it if you haven't seen the first few episodes. But trust me you'll love him in his own special way.
Tahini is a "sexy skyscraper" in the words of Eleanor (who is equally attractive) and there's certainly some queer baiting going on. Eleanor is clear about being attracted to her. (Three cheers for a show that normalises queer characters so much that no one mentions it). There's even a hint in one scene that Tahini could be Eleanor's soul mate (can't say more without spoiling it) which was almost certainly thrown in there so the fanfic world could go crazy. Appearance and attraction aside, Tahini is a character with her own quirks and insecurities. Her posh British accent and snobby ways often rubbing up hilariously against the others.
As well as being a light-hearted and relaxing show it deals with bigger questions. Should we all get rated as good or bad people based on what we do? What makes us good or bad? If we did loads of good things but with the wrong intentions do they count? Or if like Chidi we buy a blueberry muffin instead of a chocolate one not knowing that the migrant workers picking the blueberries are being mistreated are we guilty? Who would actually be counted as good if we do all get tallied up? Should there be an average place for the average person?
All these questions might not be your cup of tea but for me, it was certainly a delightful watch.
Acts of Kindness at Easter
Easter is quickly approaching, and for those who celebrate Easter, it can be a really fun time. In my town, my local farm hosts an Easter egg hunt for the young children, and I know of several churches in my area hosting fêtes, raffles and small parties for adults and children alike. I personally am not religious, but being born on Easter Sunday, I feel a strong connection to the holiday and I like to spread a bit of cheer over the Easter weekend. Here’s a few things you can do for your friends, family or community at Easter time that cost next to nothing and will really brighten up somebody’s day.
Send cards to your local church: One thing that I am planning to do is send a small card to all of the churches in my town, wishing them a happy Easter. Easter cards can be bought very cheaply, or even made if you want to put in that extra bit of effort. I promise you, it will make them all very happy. Even if Easter doesn’t mean a lot to you, someone acknowledging that Easter is a special time for Christians will really make their day.
Bake cakes for your friends or family: Something I used to do with my Nan is make simple cupcakes, cover them with yellow icing and sprinkle flaked chocolate around the edges of the cake so they’d look like chick nests. This is a cute, simple way to mark the occasion If you’re not particularly religious, and they give your friends and family an excuse to eat cake!
Organise an Easter egg hunt: If you are somebody that has younger siblings, or works with a group of young children, Easter egg hunts are always an adorable idea to get the children active and engaged with the holidays, but also encouraging teamwork. And, of course, sharing out all the chocolate afterwards is never a bad thing!
Donate: Easter is all about being charitable, and giving back to the community, so this is a better time than any to donate something to charity. If you can’t donate money, having a spring clean would also give you the opportunity to find old clothes, books and other items you no longer need and drop them to your local charity shop. An extra cute idea is donating Easter eggs to a local primary school’s raffle or spring fête, or buying a few food items (Easter-related or not) to your local food bank.
This is also your opportunity to take a much-needed break from whatever is going on in your life, whether it’s work, school or other commitments. Don’t feel guilty for eating a few chocolate eggs, they really won’t hurt you at all.
Thank you for reading, and have a lovely Easter!
There are many small things that you can do for yourself. On this site, there are plenty of articles on practising basic self-care. This is probably the most important thing you should do for yourself, but to provide a summary, here they are in order of importance: drink water, hygiene, eat healthy stuff, and do some form of exercise. We all cycle through varying stages of being able to complete these things, and that’s alright. Sometimes, when getting out of bed seems completely infeasible, these take a back seat for the moment. Nevertheless, they are important to keep in mind, because they are a way of staying physically and mentally healthy.
This article goes beyond taking care of yourself. These are ideas to something that you can do to make yourself happy in the new year. Making this list is my effort into broadening my horizons from ‘surviving’ to ‘living’. It’s small and might seem insignificant, but it might also be a step towards a more joyful life. You can try and implement some of the things for yourself, or feel free to steal my idea. Move your focus towards something positive that will help you . not something that will make you look good, or something that will make you more productive. This is about a more positive experience, not about a more positive image.
Take up a new hobby
This is a big one. I’ve realised that I spend the majority of my free time doing something insignificant and then I feel like I’ve wasted my time. Pick up a hobby or something - for me, it was embroidery, simply because I had a lot of thread laying around from a deceased aunt. Relaxing in your spare time is very important - you can’t go, go, go, all the time. It’s not sustainable. But at the same time, it’s important not to let your downtime become something that makes you feel bad. A hobby is lovely if you’re like me and feel a bit bad about just being in bed all day.
Find a really small thing that makes you happy.
This is simple. It can be anything that you can enjoy on a frequent basis, almost an afterthought to your daily routine. For me, it’s putting on perfume after I shower. It could be watering a plant. Just a small, simple thing that brings you joy and brightens your day.
Make a playlist that makes you effin’ jazzed (if you don’t have one already)
Collect all your jams. All the music that makes you want to dance. Put it all together, and voila: You now have an instant mood booster. I recommend listening to your creation when you’re showering, cleaning, or when travelling to school.
Send a card to someone you love
This is just nice. Makes you feel really productive. Makes the receiver happy. It’s just cute and romantic.
Remember that dreams have no expiration date
This is something I have to tell myself and my friends repeatedly. You’re young. Life is so, so long. Nowadays, most people in the developed world live to their 80. I once read an estimate that of those born after 2000, half will get to see their 100th birthday. There is absolutely no reason you should have it all figured out by the time you’re 18. Dreams, wants and aspirations can change. You can turn your life around when you’re 36. Don’t panic, take a breath, and remember that you’ve got time. Don’t let societal expectations dictate what you do and when you do it. You’re the one living your life, so live it at your own pace.
Spend your free time on things that make you happy.
This is my primary focus for the new year, and it sort of ties in with the point of the hobby. 2018 was the year I realised that I let myself and my time be dictated by school to the point where I spent the majority of my time doing something that contributed absolutely nothing to my overall happiness. Make sure that the time you have is spent making you happy. Whether that means reading a good book, playing board games with friends, going out, or taking time to your family, make sure that if you can, you are spending time making yourself and others happy. If you feel like 4 hours spend on Youtube is a waste of time, work towards limiting the time you do that. Your obligations become a lot easier to deal with if your time outside those obligations are spent doing something that makes you feel good.