Are The Good Place and Parks and Recreation Set in the Same Universe?
TV producer Mike Schur has left an Easter egg in the season finale of The Good Place that will have fans of his other hit, Parks and Recreation, thinking they’ve died and gone to heaven. As The A.V. Club reports, a tiny detail in the most recent episode of the show indicates that Eleanor, Chidi, Tahani, and Jason live in the same universe as Leslie Knope and the gang—even if they don’t exist in the same plane.
A sharp-eyed Twitter user posted the screenshots below from the season two finale of The Good Place, which aired on February 1. The episode—written and directed by Schur—has a tiny reference to Parks and Recreation’s egotistical, hapless "entrepreneur" Jean-Ralphio Saperstein.
We don’t want to hit you with any spoilers (you can read Vulture’s recap for a good overview, if you dare), but suffice it to say that the scene involves a peek at Eleanor’s time on Earth, showing her reading a low-brow magazine called Celebrity Baby: Plastic Surgery Disasters. And lo and behold, what kind of business would advertise in such a craven magazine? Oh, just brands like Champagne by Jean-Ralphio.
The worlds-colliding revelation kind of makes sense in light of another recent A.V. Club analysis of Schur's shows, including Parks and Rec and The Good Place—that fundamentally, all of his fictional creations come off as “uncommonly decent TV worlds,” filled with sincere, earnestly industrious characters. Eleanor might not be quite as selfless as Leslie Knope, but it’s not hard to imagine Leslie taking her on as a mentee. And yeah, it feels like fellow nerds Chidi and Ben would get along swimmingly. (We won't even get into what this means for the 2016 fan theory that determined Steve Harrington from Stranger Things is actually Jean-Ralphio's father.)
Does this mean we can expect Jason to eventually meet and try to ride beloved celebrity miniature horse Li’l Sebastian in heaven? We can only hope.
[h/t The A.V. Club]