TV

Great News ‘The Good Place’ DEFINITELY Exists In The Same Universe As ‘Parks And Rec’

And we have Paunch Burger to thank.

As we’ve already talked about — in what some might say is too much depth — the Schurniverse is a thing: that is to say the collected shows of brilliant writer and producer Mike Schur all take place in the same universe. And the most recent episode of The Good Place has once again confirmed that somewhere in its weird cosmos, the town of Pawnee from Parks and Recreation also exists.

In The Good Place Season 3, episode 3, Eleanor and friends all go to eat at an American themed restaurant in Australia (which to be honest, basically just describes every small bar in Melbourne) called Cowboy Skyscraper Buffet. The whole place is an absolute smorgasbord of USA themed visual jokes and gross gags, such as the ‘Fourth of July Drink Special’ which is described as “Half an apple pie, blended with Southern Comfort and Coca Cola. Served in a Chevy Hubcap.”

While this could just be a silly comment on American eating habits, it could also be a pretty good sign that they’re all in The Bad Place. An American themed eatery in Australia is definitely A bad place, anyway.

Anyway, as Vulture has revealed, one of the items on the menu in the Cowboy Skyscraper Buffet is the Paunch Burger, which is famously one of the disgusting burger chains from Parks and Rec. “But they could just be re-using a joke”, you scream, sweatily heading to the comments section. Not so fast!

Here’s the burger’s description:”The Paunch Burger ($11.00) — Three meat patties, six slices of cheese, lettuce, tomato, onion, pickle covered in our world famous bourbon brown sugar thousand island sauce and topped with a fried egg. The pride of Indiana recreated here for you.”

Paunch Burger joins a bunch of other clues that The Good Place has dropped, including a magazine featuring two ads with Pawnee ties that Eleanor reads in season two.

The first ad is a champagne by Jean-Ralphio, Tom Haverford’s infamous friend and business partner and the wooOoOoOooOrst. It’s called ‘Jean-Ralphio Blanc de Blanc BRUT’ which is nonsense enough, but also has the slogan “Turn That Frizown Usidizity”. The other ad is for a cologne called Glyde by Pawnee perfume mogul Dennis Feinstein (or Dante Fiero before he changed his name to something more exotic).

It was also confirmed — via The Good Place’s official podcast — that Ron Swanson himself built the safe that Jason died in. Layers upon layers.

Obviously the biggest issue with this now-basically-confirmed theory is that Trevor the demon is sitting at the horrifying American-themed restaurant with Eleanor and Chidi and Tahani and Jason — yet Trevor looks EXACTLY like resident of Pawnee, Ben Wyatt (because they are both played by the actor, Adam Scott).

So, what does this mean? Is it a glitch in the matrix? Did a demon just decide to look like sweet nerd, Ben Wyatt? Has Ben always been a demon? Or — considering demons can take the form of ANYONE in The Bad Place — is Ben Wyatt dead and in hell?

Some troubling food for thought, really.

But what I’m SUPER hoping it means is that at some point they will all run into Leslie Knope and I will absolutely shit myself with pleasure.

The Good Place drops every Friday on Netflix.


Patrick Lenton is the Entertainment Editor at Junkee. He tweets @patricklenton.