D’Arcy Carden’s comedic timing and impressive acting ability make her an irreplaceable aspect of The Good Place – and much like Janet, her batteries never seem to run down
The Good Place’s unconventional premise allows for unique acting challenges for its talented cast. Continuing to shine throughout the second season is D’Arcy Carden, who quite literally steals the show every time she appears onscreen. All eyes are on Janet any time she’s in sight, thanks to D’Arcy Carden’s charming take on the robotic character. Janet is The Good Place’s response to Siri and Alexa – she’s an information powerhouse whose sole purpose is to make life in The Good Place as easy as possible. Janet can answer any question, fulfill most requests, and ends up being the irreplaceable key to the season’s main conflict.
Throughout it all, Carden skillfully portrays an artificially intelligent assistant who is slowly growing more human. Her unique ability to deadpan the show’s best lines is the show’s most unexpected delight, and her preprogrammed nature’s never-ending battle with her freedom of choice has provided some of the most fantastic moments in the show thus far. Janet once told us that she cannot feel emotion, but that never stopped us from rooting for her happiness. It’s Carden’s sincere take on the character that makes her so likable, and makes her journey to falling in love and growing more human completely believable, if not expected.
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Janet is quite literally the smartest being “alive,” with all of the universe’s knowledge at her fingertips. But knowledge does not always equal social skill, and Janet’s misunderstanding of cultural norms provides many a hilarious moment. Still, D’Arcy Carden makes her struggles relatable – when she creates herself a rebound boyfriend, we laugh – not at her naivete, but at the part of ourselves we see reflected in her actions. As Janet becomes more and more human, she becomes more and more relatable, highlighting the sheer idea of humanity itself – humans are ridiculous, emotional, petty creatures – but just as Janet learns, we are also compassionate, capable of forming intense platonic bonds, and most importantly – capable of love. Carden’s ability to not only portray a hilarious take on modern technology, but also reflect our own humanity back to us, makes naming her our The Good Place Scene Stealer a complete no-brainer.
Despite Janet’s unique brand of humor, D’Arcy Carden’s comedic timing is unmistakable
At the risk of type-casting, some actors are just not cut out for comedy. Others can play traditionally funny characters with ease. But it’s rare for an actor to succeed so fantastically in a role as unique as Janet. Robots (which we understand is a huge oversimplification of Janet) are not new to TV. But The Good Place’s Janet makes all predecessors obsolete. The monotonously boring or excessively physical robots of the past pale in comparison to Janet. Carden gracefully balances humor and monotony, somehow smiling and deadpanning her lines simultaneously – and with perfect comedic timing. It’s her ability to display just enough humanity amidst her robotic portrayal that makes her performance so incredible.
When you’re acting alongside legends like Ted Danson and Kristen Bell, standing out is an achievement in itself – but stealing the show? That’s downright impressive. And that’s just what Carden does. Her line delivery is always flawless, and she casually turns throw-away lines into the most iconically quotable moments in any given episode. There’s truly no other word for it – Carden’s portray of Janet is so much fun.
Hilariously relatable, D’Arcy Carden’s Janet is way more human than we’d like to admit
It’s quite a feat to make an informational system relatable, but D’Arcy Carden manages just that. Although Janet herself often reminds us that she’s not human, she delivers one-liners that resonate in the depths of our soul. And her journey towards becoming more human, and what exactly that entails, causes the audience to reflect on our own humanity. Janet begins to malfunction in a way that makes her more human – but what does that even mean? What about us even makes us ‘human’? Is it our irrational response to heartbreak? Because honestly, who wouldn’t create a rebound boyfriend if such an option was available? Or is it our avoidance of the truth? After all, Janet’s most human moments involve her lying to herself above all. But the most notable aspect of Janet’s humanity is that it was created through love. After all, isn’t humanity defined by our unique ability to care for others?
I think I’ll be okay now that I understand what I’m going through and now that I know I can talk to my friends about it.
Despite knowing, quite literally, everything there is to know, Janet falls for the undisputed champion of ignorance. Manny Jacinto’s Jason provides the show’s dumbest gags, and his consistent inability to understand what’s happening around him is a trademark of his character. He is, in every sense of the word, Janet’s polar-opposite, and perhaps that’s the point. Janet needed that mix to find her balance, and Carden somehow manages to play the robotic character with a mix of technological indifference and reluctant emotion.
Carden portrays Good Janet and Bad Janet in such fundamentally opposing ways that we often forget that they are even played by the same actress
The most impressive part of D’Arcy Carden’s acting ability is her skillful portrayal of the varying Janets. Carden presents us with two opposing characters – the eager-to-please, ever-smiling Good Janet, and the indifferent, gum-smacking, phone-toting Bad Janet. She creates such a dichotomy between these characters that it’s easy to forget that they are even played by the same actress.
In The Good Place’s penultimate episode of the season, Carden even manages to seamlessly switch between these two characters. Good Janet poses as Bad Janet in order to save Michael, and D’Arcy plays it in just the right way to convince us of Bad Janet’s presence, but still make it plausible that it was Good Janet it all along. It’s complicated stuff, and Carden handles it beautifully.
With yet another twist, The Good Place sends us into a whole new world for season three – but as long as Janet sticks around, the heart of The Good Place will remain intact
The first two seasons of The Good Place have been quite a ride, and through it all, Janet has been a consistent source of humor. D’Arcy Carden’s portrayal lends an air of humanity, humor, and heart, that would be vacant without her. What started off as a running gag has evolved into so much more – Janet is now an adored member of the core cast, and our favorite character. Carden’s batteries just never seem to run down, and week after week she turns funny lines into hilarious ones, weaving every scene she touches into pure, iconic, television gold.
Regardless of where The Good Place goes from here, one thing is for certain – D’Arcy Carden is an irreplaceable aspect of this cast. Her portrayal of Janet is integral to the core of the show, and if she ever left, things would never be the same. Her ability to monopolize our attention in every scene in which she appears is why D’Arcy Carden is TV After Dark’s The Good Place Scene Stealer.