The Good Place was a sitcom on NBC that had it all: an intriguing, high-concept premise matched with whip-smart writing and memorable, well-performed characters. While the show was best known for its humor, it also told a complex, layered story throughout multiple seasons that relied on good dialogue and tiny production details to get the show’s point across.
The show’s costume design was one ingenious element during its first season that helped hide one of the most stunning reveals in sitcom history. Let’s take a closer look at the show and why no one wore red in the series’ main neighborhood during season 1.
The premise of ‘The Good Place’
The Good Place starts with an upbeat take on a rather sad premise: when the series begins, every character on the show is dead and thought to be in heaven. They live in a seemingly perfect neighborhood that is almost too good to be believed. Elements of the characters, how they speak and act, reflect this.
One example reflected in the dialogue is that characters quite literally could not say swear words, no matter how hard they tried. They were forced to say “forking” instead of the less family-friendly alternative. This was indicative of the “perfect” location they inhabited, thought to represent the ultimate in terms of goodness.
Eventually, the series reveals the characters aren’t in an alternate version of heaven, but instead, they’re actually in Hell. It comes as quite a shocking twist for both the characters and the audience, finding out they’re not in a “good” place, but in fact, the worst place one can be.
No one wore red for all of season 1
The production team behind the show made sure to hide their reveal and made painstaking efforts to do so. If you rewatch season 1, you’ll notice that not one person wears red.
In an interview with GQ, the show’s costume designer Kirston Mann notes that it was for a specific reason:
“We never wear red or pinks…If you remember in the pilot, having described the point system, [Michael] describes the good woman in green and the bad people in red. It’s just literally like a stoplight, like you don’t get to pass go.”
On The Good Place: The Podcast, hosted on ART19 by series actor Marc Evan Jackson, it’s revealed that the avoidance of red is so viewers won’t associate any aspect of the neighborhood with demons, the devil, or Hell.
Other cool trivia items from the show’s first season
However, the show’s refusal to use red as part of its palette isn’t the only interesting design tidbit. The Good Place: The Podcast also revealed some other interesting bits of trivia from season 1, captured by Den of Geek:
- The character of Eleanor seems to have a modern, cool apartment, but all of the furniture and accessories are designed to be uncomfortable to emphasize the subtle yet clearly torturous aspect of living there. There are also other details that are a bit off, such as broccoli resting in a fruit bowl.
- In the town’s frozen yogurt shop, the show’s writers wrote out all 500 flavors. One was called “A Nap, Full Cellphone Charge, and Folded Laundry.”
- The commonly used blue and yellow colors represent the school colors of the University of Michigan. This is the alma mater of series creator Mike Schur’s father.
This attention to detail is part of what made the show so great. Fans may not notice these small flourishes the first time they watch, but it’s a fun thing to admire the show for.
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