Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

NBC's 'The Good Place' Teased Jacksonville, Jaguars for 2 Years. What Happens Now That Team Is Good?

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

NBC's 'The Good Place' Teased Jacksonville, Jaguars for 2 Years. What Happens Now That Team Is Good?

Article excerpt

Byline:

NBC's TV show "The Good Place" has a problem.

It's spent two seasons poking fun at Jacksonville. It's poked fun at the idea that anybody would actually be a fan of its hapless professional football team. It's poked fun at its quarterback, Blake Bortles.

But what now, now that the Jacksonville Jaguars are, you know, actually good, just one big game away from making it to the Super Bowl?

That's a scenario that most people - and you can include the writers of "The Good Place" in that group - never envisioned, not after the teams' many years of ineptitude.

"We just started writing season 3 two days ago," producer Joe Mande said Thursday. "That was one of the first things brought up: What do we do now?"

"The Good Place" is an irreverent and wellreviewed comedy set in a mysterious afterlife. One of the major characters is Jason Mendoza, a dim bulb from Jacksonville, which he describes as "easily one of the top 10 swamp cities in northeastern Florida."

He's so Jacksonville that he once crashed his jet ski into a manatee. ("Yeah, I'm from Jacksonville, Florida. It happens a lot.")

He's so Jacksonville he went to "Lynyrd Skynyrd High," a shady place whose campus consists of a bunch of tugboats tied together.

He's so Jacksonville he's prone to yelling out "Bortles!" ("Blake Bortles is a cool name," he insists.) and "Jacksonville Jaguars rule!"

He's so Jacksonville he wears a teal No. 5 Jaguars jersey.

He's so Jacksonville that, even in the afterlife, his main question about what's going on among the still living is whether the Jaguars won the Super Bowl last year. No, he's told, of course not - not that year, and not any year to come.

He's not fazed. "Well, I just have, like, 12 more Jaguars questions," he says.

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So why Jacksonville?

Mande came up with the idea after performing standup comedy at the Florida Theatre downtown while on a tour of Florida. The character he was helping create needed to be weird. Florida seemed weird to him, and Jacksonville seemed like the weirdest part of Florida.

His hotel was 40 minutes from the theater. …

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