The Good Place (2016– )
8.7/10
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2 user 5 critic

The Trolley Problem 

Chidi and Eleanor tackle a famous ethical dilemma, leading to a conflict with Michael; Tahani confides in Janet.

Director:

Dean Holland

Writers:

Michael Schur (created by), Josh Siegal | 5 more credits »
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Cast

Episode complete credited cast:
Kristen Bell ... Eleanor Shellstrop
William Jackson Harper ... Chidi Anagonye
Jameela Jamil ... Tahani Al-Jamil
D'Arcy Carden ... Janet
Manny Jacinto ... Jason Mendoza
Ted Danson ... Michael
Dominic Burgess ... Henry
Emma Vivien Garcia ... Birdie
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Storyline

Chidi is finding that Michael still can't seem to grasp the concepts taught in the human ethics classes. The latest example is in the ethical dilemma of the trolley problem - if you have no other other choice, do you kill one person or five? does it change if you know the people? would you sacrifice one to save five? etc. - where Michael would try to kill all six people if he could, and do it as brutally as possible. In Chidi addressing the issue with Michael, Michael thinks he knows why he just isn't getting it and shows Chidi and Eleanor how he can learn. What Michael shows them has consequences both for Chidi and for Michael, the latter due to the intent. Meanwhile, Jason wants Tahani to talk to someone about why she feels so reluctant to tell the world that the two of them are together as a couple. Who Tahani turns to is the ever knowing Janet. Janet helping Tahani and Jason with this issue has unintended consequences. Written by Huggo

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Certificate:

TV-14 | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

19 October 2017 (USA) See more »

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Stereo

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

16:9 HD
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The trolley passes a cinema displaying the titles STRANGERS UNDER A TRAIN and BEND IT LIKE BENTHAM, parodying Strangers on a Train (1951) and Bend It Like Beckham (2002), while alluding to philosopher Jeremy Bentham (1748-1832), founder of utilitarianism (a doctrine that was mentioned earlier in the episode). See more »

Goofs

When Michael is forced by Chidi to write "People = Good" on the chalkboard, it is clear the previous times it was written were not done by him (or specifically Ted Danson, the actor who portrays him) because the handwriting is dramatically different. See more »

Quotes

Chidi Anagonye: As a doctor, I've taken the Hippocratic Oath to do no harm. And although five people will die, I cannot harm one innocent person to save them and forsake my oath. It's unethical.
Michael: Okay. Tell their families.
Chidi Anagonye: What?
[Michael transports them to a hospital waiting room]
Birdie: Doctor Chidi? My daddy needed a heart transplant. Did you save his life? He was working, then a really bad man ran him over with a trolley.
Chidi Anagonye: Oh! Come on!
Michael: What? I'm finding this incredibly helpful. I think I'm really starting to get it.
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Connections

References Bend It Like Beckham (2002) See more »

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User Reviews

the food is words..
15 June 2019 | by Arth_JoshiSee all my reviews

The Good Place

Michael Schur, the creator, of this PG-13 hellish facade, has a similar concept to those yogurt shops that his world is surrounded by, a bit questionable and a whole lot of fun. The bumpy ride of this train has had its ups and downs, but its potential always outweighs the inadequacies with a soothing mellow tone. The writing is not consistently of A grade quality. Especially, when it has to stroll its viewers for few laughs or tears. The storytelling, that is, the arc or the trajectory of these characters that they are following so hastily is clearly impressive. And the credit goes to the creator whose vision has always stood by him.

Despite the precarious detours, cliched emotional conflicts and seen-this-seen-that flips and turns, the storytelling is thoroughly engaging and catchy. So what is it that makes this under-funded (looking at the production set pieces and visual effects) cheesy teaching-to-the-choir philosophy lectures entertaining? It is the bold decisions that those same writers keeps making. Bold as in, not that they aren't aware of where this might go but it certainly is jaw-dropping, but bold as in, they are challenging themselves immensely.

While as far as the locations are concerned, all they have done smartly is kept the options finite and boundaries shorter in order to break them further as they advance in the series. The challenge is to actually weave out a profound piece of ethical note from the day-to-day conflicts of these characters. Which is how they usually showcase the human-ness of them, no matter how spooky the situation is, or whether they are at The Good Place or the bad place, they would always fight for better sprinkles in their yogurts.

The Trolley Problem

The great philosophical question is.. well, not answered but definitely staged on screen practically, which obviously is funny. And what's exciting is, they managed to cross that boundary over smoothly with only a couple of conflicts.


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