‘The Good Place’ Proves Michael Schur Learned An Important Lesson From ‘The Office’

When to end a popular TV show like NBC’s The Good Place is still a debatable topic, particularly when there’s a continued loyal viewer base and potentially more ideas to explore.

Not that cutting things short before going stale hasn’t been in practice for TV going back decades. Perhaps iconic shows like The Dick Van Dyke Show or The Mary Tyler Moore Show wouldn’t have been quite as celebrated had they gone on a few years longer like so many viewers wanted.

In the case of TGP, we’re seeing an example of ending a show perhaps a little sooner than expected. It’s also an example where the comedic setup is in place to go for at least several more years. Yet, its creator (Michael Schur) seems to have learned a valuable lesson producing the U.S. version of The Office.

Did ‘The Office’ really go too long?

Michael Schur and Ted Danson speak onstage
Michael Schur and Ted Danson | | Amy Sussman/Getty Images

Schur apparently still receives flak for making The Office go on a couple of years too long. There is a good argument to be made there that the show should have ended after Steve Carell left.

When a show continues making a barrel of money for a network, though, big checks talk loudly. Because ratings were still reasonably high, NBC no doubt coerced Schur to stay on the air.

Now there seems to be every indication Schur learned from this and arguably taking things to the extreme in ending a show a little too soon. Those of you who’ve become fans of The Good Place were probably in a state of shock when learning this last summer the show would end after its fourth season.

The reasoning behind it by Schur was because they really designed the show this way to have a specific length. Others might say there was still at least three more seasons of potential comedy gold there to explore, a rarity in a sitcom. Not that we see intelligent sitcoms like TGP very often.

One positive thing about TGP ending now is it can become a fast binge-watch “miniseries” on streaming services for years to come. Shows we can watch in less time will likely make it more appealing on Netflix and other streaming platforms as time goes on.

It’s only there where it’ll likely make the most money since it might not qualify for standard TV syndication.

Is Schur really ending the show early because of ‘The Office’?

There hasn’t been any official confirmation from Schur he’s ending TGP because of The Office guilt. Even so, it seems he’s taken it to heart, despite latter series doing well on Netflix and millions still being generated.

It makes us ponder whether most skip the final two seasons and just watch the most iconic parts of the series Brits think were seasons two through five. While Britain still has some snark about what Schur did with their popular British creation, it’s not hard to imagine how perfect the show might have been ending at Season Seven.

Yes, seven seems a lucky number for a lot of shows ending around the same time. We’re at a point now, however, where a lot of shows are suddenly running ten seasons or more, whether they really deserve to or not. In almost every case, these shows could be argued to be staying far too long at the fair.

The Good Place is so delectably good, one could say it would take a lot out of the writers to keep it at the levels it’s been.

The philosophical research did take time

Unlike The Office that could just dream up seemingly infinite office situations, TGP took a major ascent into complex philosophical concepts. This required the writers to consult with a real philosopher/ethics scholar to make sure they got everything right while still keeping things hilarious.

If we have to come up with the real reason TGP is ending, it’s because they were possibly afraid of not being able to sustain such a heightened comedic concept for any more than four years.

Some shows are just mapped out in shorter terms, something we didn’t see exist much when The Office began and when long-running sitcoms were the ultimate goal.