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What THE GOOD PLACE and BLACK MIRROR Have In Common (Besides a Writer)

What THE GOOD PLACE and BLACK MIRROR Have In Common (Besides a Writer)

Ever been completely horrified by something a fellow human being has decided is okay to do in public—looking at you, subway nail-clippers—despite the fact that it is most certainly NOT?

Mike Schur understands you—and that’s where he drew inspiration not only for the elaborate points-based system for getting into heaven on his newest series, The Good Place, but also the much-talked-about episode of Black Mirror he co-wrote with Rashida Jones, “Nosedive,” which envisions a world in which humans are rated on social media (like Uber drivers) and awarded stars for every aspect of their lives.

But most of the similarities between the show and the episode are coincidental, according to Schur, because Black Mirror creator Charlie Brooker actually provided him and Jones an outline of the story for “Nosedive.” “I would agree that there’s some weird symbolic overlap or something, but all of the credit goes to Charlie Brooker, because that was his story,” he told reporters at a Television Critics Association 2017 winter press tour panel for The Good Place.

“I think it was sort of a happy accident that that’s the one that I got to work on because, obviously, my brain was already thinking about some of [that],” Schur said of Brooker’s outline. “His version of it was a little more twisted and dark and morose and stuff, but it felt very easy to sort of jump in.”

Black Mirror, "Nosedive," Bryce Dallas Howard

When Schur was creating the points system on The Good Place, he mostly just wanted a way to penalize people for doing terrible things in public. “The one that’s gotten me recently is when people are at a stoplight and they open their car door. And if you’re driving and see someone open their car door, your fight or flight instinct kicks in. Whatever is about to happen is not good. And then the people open the door and they lean over and just spit on the ground.”

Not. Okay.

“It’s such a weird invasion of basic decency. So I would observe behaviors like that and I’d wish that a little negative 18 in red just floated up over that guy’s head,” Schur explained, adding. “It’s not about religion or what you believe or who God is or anything, it’s just, like, we’re all here together, we all share the same little tiny bit of dirt, and if we could just agree on certain rules of propriety and behavior I think that everything would be better off.”

He continued, “And if that guy knew like, ‘hey, man, you can do that, but you’re going lose 18 points,’ maybe he would go, ‘alright, I’ll look for a Kleenex in my car or wait ’til I get home so I don’t make the lives of the 28 people who can see me right now miserable for eight seconds.’ That would be worth it to me.”

What disgusting public behavior would you deduct points for? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

Image credit: NBC/Netflix

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