- NBC comedy “The Good Place,” a show about a woman inadvertently sent to the afterlife after dying, is currently airing its fourth and final season.
- In a recent episode, Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes and YouTube star PewDiePie are name-dropped as “random bad people” to possibly introduce into an experiment on whether humans can morally improve in the afterlife.
- Both Holmes and PewDiePie have become controversial names in recent years: Holmes faces federal fraud changes stemming from her blood-testing startup once valued at $US9 billion. PewDiePie has faced backlash over his long history of racist and anti-Semitic stunts and remarks.
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Two of the most controversial names in tech have made their way into a popular network TV show, dubbed as “random bad people” alongside US diplomat Henry Kissinger.
Elizabeth Holmes and PewDiePie are two notable names: The former is the founder of the blood-testing startup Theranos who is accused of “massive fraud,” while the latter is a meme-loving popular YouTuber with a long past of controversial remarks. They have been at the epicentre of popular culture this year, making them relevant references for a popular sitcom like “The Good Place.”
Holmes and PewDiePie were both name-dropped in a recent episode of “The Good Place,” a NBC sitcom ending in 2020 that follows a woman (played by Kristen Bell) accidentally placed in a heaven-like afterlife reserved for morally good people. In the eighth episode of the fourth season,two characters are arguing in court whether an experiment demonstrated that humans can morally improve.
A character named Shawn – who refers to humanity as a bunch of “mobile turd factories” – argues for introducing morally corrupt people into the experiment as a test to see whether even the worst could be improved.
“If he gets to bring random good people into it, I should be able to bring in random bad people,” Shawn says in the episode. “Call up Elizabeth Holmes – no, Henry Kissinger – no, PewDiePie.”
“The Good Place” has been heralded as “the ideal antidote to the news cycle” whose characters don’t even know that Donald Trump is president, so it’s an interesting choice to bring in such topical references as PewDiePie and Holmes, alongside a political figure like Kissinger.
PewDiePie and Holmes are referenced in the TV show as two “random bad people” representing one extreme in the range of humanity’s morality. Holmes raked in millions in funding for Theranos, graced magazine covers, and was called “the next Steve Jobs” – even before her company’s blood-testing devices hit the market, and as concerns about the technology were raised. Theranos has since shut down, and Holmes faces up to 20 years in prison on federal fraud charges, but she maintains she did nothing wrong.
Meanwhile, PewDiePie (aka Felix Kjellberg), who recently became the YouTuber with the most subscribers in the world, has been attached to several controversies in his nearly decade-long career. He’s uttered racial slurs and made Nazi jokes in his videos and on his livestreams, which have led to sponsors and YouTube to cut ties with him. He announced in September he would make a $US50,000 donation to a Jewish anti-hate group in an effort to separate himself from his alt-right following, but he reneged on the promise and has remained silent about it since.
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