“Pitch Perfect” character Bumper Allen may not have gotten into the Good Place himself, but that doesn’t mean a little of “The Good Place” didn’t get into “Pitch Perfect: Bumper in Berlin” — the two shows share an executive producer, after all. But, according to showrunner Megan Amram, the nods to her last sitcom weren’t exactly intentional.
“Pitch Perfect: Bumper in Berlin,” now streaming on Peacock, follows the antagonist of the first two movies, Bumper (Adam Devine) as he’s persuaded to move to Germany to reignite his singing career. According to Pieter Kramer (Flula Borg, also of “Pitch Perfect 2”), Bumper is famous there after going viral on TikTok. Granted, Pieter is kind of playing fast and loose with the word “famous,” but Bumper doesn’t know that, so off he goes.
When he arrives, he quickly learns that his main rival is going to be Gisela, Pieter’s ex-girlfriend and fellow Das Sound Machine alum. She’s vain and a little ruthless, but quite talented — and she’s played by “The Good Place” alum Jameela Jamil.
According to Amram, working with Jamil again was something she realized she wanted while writing the character.
“I became very close with Jameela when we made ‘The Good Place,’ and when I was conceiving of this show, I thought of this villain character Gisela, who, you know, in my head is like evil Lady Gaga,” Amram told TheWrap. “And I kept being like, ‘Who’s the German Jameela Jamil?’ Like, ‘Who can we cast in this role?’ And then it just occurred to me: I should just ask the British Jameela Jamil!”
Amram continued, “So then I was like, ‘Hey, um, do you want to sing and dance and move to Berlin and be on my show?’ And without reading the pilot, she was like, ‘Yes.’ And I was like, ‘I cannot believe you trust me that much. You should read it.’ But I truly cannot ever thank her enough for how much she trusted me. And she’s so funny in this show.”
As you get deeper into “Pitch Perfect: Bumper in Berlin,” there are even a few more sprinkles of “The Good Place.” Avid fans of the NBC sitcom will remember that shrimp was a favorite dish for Eleanor Shellstrop (Kristen Bell), and in “Bumper in Berlin,” they make their triumphant return. When Bumper convinces his team to get matching jackets, they read “Bumper Gump Shrimpin’ Co.,” a more obvious nod to “Forrest Gump.”
“It was not intentional, but it definite — one, I think shrimp are always funny. They are bugs that live in the water. That is always funny to me,” Amram explained with a laugh. “Bumper Gump Shrimp was, I would say, the tail wagging the dog of Bubba Gump Shrimp a little bit. But I did have the thought, you know, if people think this is a nod to ‘The Good Place,’ I love that. ‘The Good Place’ was hugely meaningful to me.”
At one point in “Bumper in Berlin,” Sarah Hyland’s character even goes under the stage name Karen Fraren, which felt familiar to Amram too. “I was like, that’s kind of like Jeremy Bearimy from ‘The Good Place.’ So a couple little nods!”
You can watch TheWrap’s full interview with Megan Amram in the video above.