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On Thursday, Kristen Bell will finally say goodbye to NBC’s The Good Place, which is drawing to a close with its final episode after four critically acclaimed seasons. It's an "end of an era" moment, and the cast has been fielding questions for months now about the impending finale of the existential comedy, which examines the ethical complexities of human behavior with a surprisingly charming touch.
“We have had a really fun time together, and I am going to miss working with these people so so much,” an emotional Bell told InStyle of co-stars including Ted Danson, Jameela Jamil, D’Arcy Carden, and Manny Jacinto during last summer’s Comic Con. “But I feel so grateful to have been a part of something that wasn’t just a fun party for me … it was also a roadmap for how to be a good person. I hope when people re-watch this show or watch it for the first time, that they’ll go, ‘Oh my god, look at all these cool lessons about how we’re supposed to share Earth.”
She continued, “Being human is hard, right? [On the show] we are talking about hard stuff. I don't want to always be nice to people — I don’t even want to always be nice to my kids! They’re really annoying sometimes! But philosophy gives you lessons on why it’s important to do that and help people grow around you. And yet we wrap it in a beautiful fart joke. Like, what could possibly be better?”
Speaking specifically of her character at The Good Place Comic Con panel, Bell commended the former bad girl on her growth. “I like that Eleanor started out hating everybody else, held a mirror up and said ‘Oh maybe I can be the one to change. Maybe I’m the common denominator.’ That to me is an incredible life lesson that I would teach my kids.”
While she has nothing but praise for the show and its characters, which will live on forever in hilarious Twitter accounts (and, for the moment, Netflix), the ending isn't all gloomy. “It was a little bit like what I imagine sending your kid off to college feels like,” she said at the Television Critics’ Association press tour in July. “It's a good and bad feeling."
Perhaps fueling the “good” feeling are Bell’s new projects: She’ll reprise her narrator role for HBO Max’s upcoming Gossip Girl sequel; she’s co-writing a new children’s book, The World Needs More Purple People; and she’ll also have a lead role in Apple+’s animated musical series, Central Park, which premieres this summer.
“I feel more in the driver’s seat,” Bell of her forthcoming projects earlier this month at the January TCAs. “That’s very empowering. And if I walk into any job empowered, I am much more likely to have fun. I have been very lucky, so I am able to provide a balance in my life.”
Creating an equilibrium between her personal and business life can be challenging — especially because her work doesn't end when she walks off set. Bell is also involved with charities like Immigrant Families Together, an organization which helps reunite families separated by the “zero tolerance” immigration policy, and she and husband Dax Shepard last year created Hello Bello, a line of plant-based baby products.
Still, she blends it all together. “I am a person that needs a creative work-life-self-esteem balanced with a domestic, nurturing self-esteem. If that’s off kilter, I am not as happy. ”
When Bell and Shepard aren’t working, they love relaxing with the hottest docuseries on Netflix, Cheer (“Oh my god! It’s so good!"), and their daughters, Delta, 5, and Lincoln, 6.
“[My daughters] don’t think I’m cool, and I can tell because every time I try to pick out an outfit for them, they just look at me with disgust,” Bell quipped. “They don’t ever want to know the secrets of Frozen, which horrifies me. It’s in your DNA to reject your parents, though, so it’s OK.”
The series finale of The Good Place airs on Thursday on NBC.