For centuries, people and artists have tried to envision what heaven must look like. John Martin painted a sweeping landscape revealing lush green forests, blue bodies of water, and staggering mountains in his 1850s The Plains of Heaven, while others, like Michelangelo opted for a stacked scene showing Jesus, the Virgin Mary, those ascending into heaven, and those damned to hell in his scene of the Last Judgement at the Sistine Chapel. As for NBC’s The Good Place, heaven looks a little less like those depictions and a little more like Los Angeles’ Getty Center, to be exact.
Waring! Spoilers ahead!
The Getty Center being a good place is not new news to art lovers, and it’s probably not the first time it’s been likened to heaven, but it was adopted by the series in season four when the gang finally made it to the actual Good Place. If you haven’t yet binged all of the show, Eleanor (Kristen Bell) and the group of friends she acquires thought they’d died and gone to heaven, a.k.a. the Good Place, but it turned out to be a trick and experiment lead by Michael (Ted Danson), a demon, in the Bad Place. They proceed to try to make their way to the real Good Place but the show held off showing where exactly it would be.
‘We had purposefully avoided showing the Good Place before. You’re bound to disappoint the audience with anything you come up with,’ said Andrew Law, a writer for the show, on the Good Place podcast. Entering its fourth season, the show had already utilised some of LA’s prettiest spots to create the other-worldly locations needed so finding the perfect fit for the Good Place wasn’t the easiest.
The show decided to contact the Getty, which, according to Morgan Sackett, executive producer of The Good Place, they knew it was a long shot going in. ‘It was a long courtship with them. It’s a very well-funded institution and they’re not opening for filming business,’ said Sackett in the podcast. ‘A woman named Julie who works there is a huge fan of the show, otherwise it was a nonstarter.’ Luckily for the show, Julie was Julie Jaskol who happens to be the assistant director of media relations for the Getty and was integral in the show making it to the museum. The museum also had a good history with someone on the staff of The Good Place, too, so the pieces started to fall into place.
The episode was shot on location on a Monday, when the museum is closed to the public, in August and it really did feel like the Good Place. The museum is free to the public, so if you’re a mega-fan and would like to see the location in person, go! But be sure to check out the art while you’re there!
Here are some side-by-side shots of the museum in real life and the show to see how much stayed the same.