Michael's Neighborhood Improvement Experiment, the third in a series of experiments conducted by Michael, is a recreation of Neighborhood 12358W in The Medium Place. It was proposed by Chidi in Chapter 38 as a means to tell whether or not humans could improve in the afterlife without all the complexities of modern civilization.
Prior Experiments Edit
Michael had attempted to create a Bad Place Neighborhood wherein the humans would torture each other. The residents of that Neighborhood, Eleanor, Chidi, Jason and Tahani, improved repeatedly in the 802 iterations of that experiment.
Michael, believing that the Afterlife was flawed in that it did not allow humans to improve, proposed to Gen that a second experiment be conducted: the humans' deaths would be reversed and they would be placed on Earth to see if they could improve. The results of that experiment were inconclusive, although they pointed towards failure.
Basis of Experiment Edit
Michael stole The Book of Dougs (a book with information on all Dougs who have ever existed) from the Accounting Department, and realized that the complexity and interconnectedness of modern human life was inhibiting humans from achieving good point totals. He realized that the reason the humans were able to improve in his Neighborhood was that the Neighborhood was devoid of the complexities of modern life.
Proposal of Experiment Edit
The Meeting Edit
Michael arranged for a meeting with the Judge at IHOP to plead his case. They arrived at IHOP, where Michael presented his revelations to the Judge, who was not impressed. Jason then inspired Michael to suggest to the Judge that she visit Earth to see for herself how complex it was. She did, and when she returned she realized how modern life had made being a good person all the more complex. She summoned Shawn to represent The Bad Place, and Shawn argued that Michael's experiment had been a fluke.
Chidi's Suggestion Edit
Amid the debate, Chidi came up with a revelation about how to improve the Afterlife, and fell through a Pancake, wherein he saw the Time-Knife–he suggested that they use data collection methods to create a new Neighborhood with four new human residents and track their point totals to see if they improve. Shawn, Gen, and Michael agreed, and Eleanor suggested that the experiment take place in The Medium Place.
Gen laid out five conditions for the new Neighborhood. Michael and Shawn each had objections, so Gen assumed that it was fair.
- "MICHAEL WILL DESIGN THE NEIGHBORHOOD." The first guideline made clear that Shawn could have no part in the design process of the Neighborhood, as he would only hinder the human progress. Rather, Michael would set it up in a similar manner to how he created his Neighborhood (and ended up creating an almost identical version).
- "BAD PLACE WILL CHOOSE THE SUBJECTS (SIMILAR LEVEL OF BADNESS)." The second guideline allowed the Bad Place to select the four humans that would be placed in the experiment, so that Michael could not choose humans who were already good people. However, The Bad Place had to choose people with similar point totals to the original four humans, rather than "serial killers, dictators, [any]one who managed a boy band".
- "NO REBOOTS." The third guideline prohibited Michael from rebooting the Neighborhood whenever there was a flaw. Michael was also prohibited from rebooting the Neighborhood the first time, but he did not listen. This time, as the goal is to have them improve, Michael altering the Neighborhood would be tampering with the results of the experiment. This would not be fair to The Bad Place, and so is forbidden.
- "MICHAEL GETS 5 MINUTES OF PREP TIME FOR EACH NEW SUBJECT." The fourth guideline posited that Michael would have no prior knowledge of any of the residents for any of the Neighborhoods. The files would be sent to him along with the resident, and Michael could adjust the scenario–whether or not that human would believe they were in The Good Place or not. He could also learn the basics about the human to be able to welcome them to the Neighborhood.
- "NEIGHBORHOOD CAN BE ADJUSTED." The fifth guideline allowed Michael to change the Neighborhood in any way he saw fit, both before and during the experiment. Since the humans would awaken five minutes after Michael would receive the files, Michael would have five minutes to change the Neighborhood in any way before each new subject would awaken. This means that Michael would only have the barest minimum of time to ensure that the human subjects could improve.
Timeline of Experiment Edit
Before Experiment Edit
Setup of Experimental Basis (Subjects Not Present) Edit
In Chapter 38, the Neighborhood was created by Janet and Michael in The Medium Place. The other nonhuman residents were created by Janet and Derek. The Bad Place sent the file of Subject One (John) to Michael. John woke up, but Michael began to panic after being overwhelmed by the implications of his failure, so Eleanor assumed the role of "Architect."
Setup of Experimental Subjects (Subjects Awake) Edit
In Chapter 39, Eleanor, posing as the Architect, welcomes John to the Neighborhood, whereupon Tahani realizes that The Bad Place has sent humans tailored to each individual human so that they will fail to be able to improve them (John having been a gossip columnist who published articles about Tahani). The Bad Place sends the next file, and it is Simone.
The humans, Michael and Janet call Shawn and the Judge, who rules that it is not against the rules, but that Michael can erase Simone's memories of ever meeting the four humans. Chidi, unable to cope with helping Simone and not slipping up while dating Eleanor, suggests that his memories be erased as well. They are, and Eleanor welcomes him into the Neighborhood.