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In Season 1, Episode 8 of The Good Place, Michael asks Eleanor a bunch of questions to see if she is worthy of being in the Good Place, with the implication that negative answers send you to the Bad Place. However, since at the end of Season 1 we find out that Eleanor, Chidi, Tahani and Jason are actually in the Bad Place, are any of those questions actually valid?

Handful of questions designed to tell whether you are fundamentally good or bad.

Question number one:

  • Did you ever commit a serious crime, such as murder, sexual harassment, arson, or otherwise?

  • Did you ever have a vanity license plate, like "MAMASBMW," "LEXUS4LIZ," or "BOOBGUY"?

  • Did you ever reheat fish in an office microwave?

  • Have you ever paid money to hear music performed by California funk rock band "The Red Hot Chili Peppers"?

  • Did you ever take off your shoes and socks on a commercial airline?

It seems plausible that they could be, given that as a Bad Place demon, Michael should know why people have been sent to the Bad Place in the past. But equally, as a Bad Place demon, Michael could easily just be making them up.

Is there any confirmation, either in-universe or out-of-universe as to which option is correct?

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I'm running on the assumption that the point of the test was to further screw with Eleanor's head and the questions had nothing to do with being good or bad. Of the questions we heard, most of them were the sort of thing that didn't align at all with how the people who belonged in The Good Place were decided on. At the beginning of the show, they talk about how the people in The Good Place were all amazing humanitarians. They did wonderful things to make the world a better place. Liking certain TV shows or types of music or the other sorts of things on that test weren't really part of it.

Think about it this way... Eleanor really wanted to belong in The Good Place. She really likes it there and doesn't want to be in The Bad Place because she doesn't want to be punished when she can, instead, eat yogurt all day. But, they also want her to turn on the people around her. She's learning from Chidi all about being a good person - being ethical - and the questions on those tests (from when Jason takes it) clearly seem designed to make her feel superior to him with the goal of getting her to turn him in (or at least struggle with the decision to do so).

Even though she doesn't see Jason taking the test, the audience does, proving to us that she's less bad than he is... but that's intentional. Looking back on it, it seems like a sort of proof that the entire thing is a farce. The questions are so ... inane. None of them actually equate to being a "good" person. They're specifically designed to be things that Eleanor can easily say "no" to and make herself feel good about her chances for getting to stay in The Good Place.

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    It is actualyl comical - and eleanor would probably think that too. Like "really, those questions are supposed to judge me? are they like crazy?". This totally looks likea little brainf*** attempt ;) – TomTom Jun 20 '18 at 11:35
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The questions are a distraction and form part of the torture

We have no reason at all to presume that what Michael says in these tests bears any relation to the real rules that send someone to the Good place or the Bad Place.

At the point where the test is administered Eleanor still assumes she is actually in the Good Place. And everything that Michael does is designed to be part of the torture. One part of the torture is to make each of the victims think they are in the good place but are not supposed to be. Their feeling they don't deserve to be there is part of the torture.

So, the questionnaire is likely intended to further confuse and disorient Eleanor. Some of them make her feel better (she hasn't committed a major crime) others just obfuscate the criteria for goodness (Red Hot Chilli Peppers, WTF?) Moreover the questions are funny. They cause the audience to both laugh and think what are the real criteria for goodness (OK fish in the office microwave is annoying, but is it a mortal sin?)

There is also an interesting contrast between what Eleanor is learning from Chidi and the apparent selection rules described by Michael. Chidi's lessons contain some fairly profound moral insights (which is no mean feat in a comedy series). One key lesson is that motivation matters: doing good things for the wrong reason is not normally regarded as a good act (which is why Tahani is screwed) nor is doing good things to avoid punishment (which is where Eleanor's moral journey starts). Chidi's lessons from 3 millennia of moral thinking are nothing like the ridiculous scoring system that Micheal claims is the basis for selection.

So we learn nothing about the real criteria for selection for the good place by listening to Michael. He is creating a torture chamber and his role is torture not telling his victims honest facts about their fate or about the selection criteria. OTOH the audience is presented with something both humorous but also more profound: is goodness determined by some ridiculous totting up of points or is it something much more about the orientation of your character?

I'm still amazed that a comedy series could be funny and still manage to raise such profound questions.

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