Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Picard returns, plus Megan Amram and Jen Statsky reflect on The Good Place

Sir Patrick Stewart, William Jackson Harper
Sir Patrick Stewart, William Jackson Harper
Photo: Trae Patton (CBS All Access), Colleen Hayes (NBC)

Here’s what’s happening in the world of television for Thursday, January 16. All times are Eastern.


Top pick

Star Trek: Picard (CBS All Access, 8:30 p.m.) and The Good Place (NBC, 8:30 p.m.): Tonight on CBS All Access, it’s time to catch up with a very good captain and to meet his very good dog.

CBS All Access is giving Jean-Luc Picard one last mission, and he’s bringing some old friends along for the ride. Picard has already been renewed for a second season, so we assume it’s a long mission, and you’ll get no complaints from us on that front. Look for Danette Chavez’s pre-air review on the site today, and Zack Handlen will take up the recapping banner this evening.

Elsewhere, in The Good Place afterlife (please don’t read anything in this section if you’re not up to date):

After Vicky set about teaching the architects of both the Good and Bad Places to flatten the penises in the hearts of humankind, we got a very welcome surprise: Team Cockroach has officially made it to The Good Place, because it turns out saving the souls of all of humanity is worth a few points. In tonight’s episode, we get our first glance of that eternal paradise, as scripted by co-executive producer and Emmy nominee Megan Amram.

At last summer’s Television Critics Association summer press tour, Amram and her fellow co-executive producer Jen Statsky (who wrote last week’s episode) reflected on the personal stamps they put on The Good Place—and they weren’t all food puns.

AVC: What’s the Good Place joke you’re proudest of?

JS: This is a great opportunity to take credit for a joke someone else wrote.

MA: The first thing off the top of my head is a shared thing between the two of us: We wrote the first Mindy St. Claire episode, which is totally a distillation of the two of us together. Kind of trashy and crazy, but also she has a good heart and does things to help people around her. Without it being a specific joke, I think Mindy is a character we both see ourselves in.


AVC: Megan, you’ve become so renowned for your food puns—what do you think is something Jen should be known for?

MA: This is from [“Mindy St. Claire”], but it’s a flashback of Eleanor right before she dies, and it’s her, on her birthday, in pajamas, shopping at a grocery store. I’m not going to get the wording exactly right, but she’s buying the margarita mix and she says she’s going to drink margaritas out of a Twizzler straw until she falls asleep on her vibrator.


JS:Passes out on top of her vibrator.”

MA: That should be on Jen Statsky’s tombstone. Because it is such a perfect character moment—and is poetry, I’d say.


JS: Megan’s food puns are excellent, and the way people respond to them is very fun to see. Any time you go on set, and we would have new set decoration with a new fun, prop, they’d be like, “Did Megan write that one?” And I’d be like, “She did!” People love puns. I love a good pun—I am so bad at them, I truly think I wrote one of them.

MA: That’s because Jen is good at real jokes. I’m famous for being like “This word sounds like this word.” “Knish From A Rose.”


JS: We all wrote a lot of “Stone Cold” Steve Austin/The Rock jokes. I will say I grew up a huge professional wrestling fan, so maybe the first instance came maybe [from me]. And so I’m very happy to get that into the world.

MA: Eleanor has a lot of Jen Statsky in her.

Regular coverage

Wild card

The Bold Type (Freeform, 9 p.m., season 4 premiere): When, at the end of last season, The Bold Type hopped in a cab to head back to its extremely nice New York apartment that definitely doesn’t exist in reality, it did so on quite a cliffhanger. Well, now it’s time to find out what the hell is happening at Scarlet.

Here’s Allison Shoemaker on the return of this winning series:

It will surprise no one to learn that Kat, Sutton, and Tiny Jane adopt a save-the-day attitude with regard to both Jacqueline and the magazine—a particular highlight arrives when some of their anxious coworkers stare them down when they emerge from a fashion closet confab, saying they only let the trio sneak off because it would surely result in a game plan. (It did not.) That “we have to save the family farm” energy makes the premiere the strongest of these three episodes, though there’s not a weak one in the bunch—and the same can be said of the three women who make this central friendship so essential to the show’s success.


Grab a glass of overpriced white wine, some impractical shoes, and settle in to see what Kat, Sutton, and Tiny Jane do next.