Theory: What if 'Cheers' Is the Good Place?

Holy forking shirtballs!

Season 3 of The Good Place is about to end, but we still haven’t see the actual Good Place that exists in the show’s universe (and no, the mail room doesn’t count). That’s led to plenty of interesting theories about what this version of Heaven might actually look like. Well, today, I’m here to add one more to the pile, and it’s a doozy. What if Cheers (the 1980s sitcom) is the actual Good Place and takes place after The Good Place ends?

Is this theory based on the realization that Ted Danson stars in both shows? Well, yes, but the more I think about it the more it makes sense. The Good Place quickly established that, in the afterlife, everyone’s appearance can be changed. So what if when the show’s core group finally arrives in the Good Place they’re all transformed into new identities (except for Michael), either by choice or as part of some deal devised by the Judge?

Compared to an eternity of torture in the Bad Place, hanging out in a Boston bar sounds pretty good, and as far as I know, this Cheers theory doesn’t break any of the rules established in The Good Place so far. So really, the only question is which Good Place character becomes which Cheers character. This is where things get interesting because the central cast of the two shows overlaps surprisingly well.

Before diving in, I want to note that while I’m caught up on The Good Place, I’m currently only on Season 3 Episode 22 of Cheers (it’s all on Netflix). I’m also aware that the cast of Cheers changed dramatically over its 11-season run, but after a bit of Googling, I’m confident that Seasons 1-3 are the best version of the show and therefore the only ones that matter.

So who becomes who? Well, Michael (Ted Danson) becomes Sam (also Ted Danson). That one’s obvious, not just because he’s the same actor, but because both characters are natural charismatic leaders who always try to do what’s right despite some imperfections in their personalities.

The rest of the characters line up nicely, too. Eleanor is clearly Carla (crude, clever, and extremely horny). Tahani is Diane (sanctimonious, but lovable nonetheless). Chidi is Cliff (a know-it-all who thinks he’s smart even as his insecurities keep him from acting decisively). Finally, Jason is Norm (everyone loves him even though he’s a pathetic waste of molecules).

What about Janet? Simple, Janet is Coach: A core member of the group who never quite understands what everyone else is thinking but always comes through when it counts. They also get all the best jokes.

See? It all matches up perfectly. Of course, it’s possible that these are just natural sitcom archetypes (the mean one, the smart one, the ring leader, etc), but then again, maybe it means something bigger about how these two shows connect. There’s a deeper message here somewhere about how Heaven can be as simple as hanging out with your friends.

At the very least, it’s nice to think that no matter what problems the Good Place gang may face, in the end they’ll get to spend the rest of eternity drinking beers and making jokes in a cozy old bar.

The Good Place Season 3 finale airs January 24 on NBC.


Related video: The Good Place Is Subtly Changing Asian Stereotypes

Media via NBC