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Good Place Creator Says Americans Are Failing the COVID-19 Test, and He’s Right

Eleanor on the Good Place

I very obviously love The Good Place creator Mike Schur and trust him with my emotions more often than not. Most of my favorite shows are ones he’s been behind or responsible for, and even now, when the world is an absolute mess, I turn to the work of Mike Schur to try to find some kind of hope.

Unfortunately, we’re living in a Pawnee town hall meeting. Parks and Recreation brought to life characters who only thought about themselves and what the town could do for them and that’s that, and honestly, that’s what happens each and every day with this senseless debate over wearing masks.

But Schur, who spoke with Insider about his Emmy nominations for The Good Place and everything else happening in 2020, talked about how it’s just an act of pure selfishness not to wear a mask.

“In terms of asking yourself what you owe to other people, the mask-wearing thing is the most straightforward and simple calculation that could possibly exist in the world,” Schur said. “Because you don’t wear the mask for yourself — you wear it for other people. If you are sick, it limits the spread of your disease to other people. And the idea that you wouldn’t wear it is pure and utter selfishness. That’s all it is.”

To be completely honest, it’s sad that I’m seeing a decidedly non-aspirational part of my favorite television show played out before me in real life—and I’m not even being a smart-ass. Parks and Recreation is my favorite show, followed quickly by The Office, and both pinpoint this selfishness that takes over Americans. Even The Good Place showed that same selfishness and ridiculous need to do whatever absurd things were fueling them with characters like Jason Mendoza and Eleanor Shellstrop.

While the entire article points out the fact that The Good Place is eerily accurate to our current point in time, it’s actually more like every show Mike Schur has had a hand in is too real right now. I say this as someone watching all his shows again. The Office shows us the chaos that comes from letting someone who doesn’t know what they’re doing lead (even if I do love Michael Scott). Parks and Recreation drives home the idea of selfishness as a disease in this country and how, with someone willing to fight against that selfishness, we can overcome it. Our problem is we have the king of the selfish assholes as president. Even Brooklyn Nine-Nine has a place in the conversation of our country right now.

But he also talked more about the selfishness of this country and how we’re being tested through our humanity—something that The Good Place focused heavily on—and how we’re constantly failing at it.

“When you lay it out, in terms of what’s being asked of individuals, what the benefits are for other people, and their steadfast refusal to engage in that simple behavior in order to help other people, it’s incredibly depressing,” Schur said about those refusing to wear masks in public. “It’s a daily embarrassment to me on behalf of all of humanity that we can’t do this really simple thing that would allow [us to] get back to where we all want to be.”

But, almost more importantly, Schur also pointed out that we’re losing the soul of the world: “This is one of those moments where it feels like we’re in a battle for the soul of the world, and sometimes I think we’re winning, and sometimes I think we’re losing.” Honestly, I think he’s right.

Like I said before, I’d trust Mike Schur with my life, and I trust him to talk about this stuff because the core of all his shows is teaching us how to be better people to one another, and it seems as if no one takes the lessons he’s trying to give us.

(image: NBC)

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Rachel is an I, Tonya stan who used to have a poster of Frank Sinatra on her wall as a kid. She loves superheroes, weird musicals, and wants Robert Downey Jr. to release a new album. She is Leslie Knope and she's okay with that. At least she gets to live in New York City though!