D’Arcy Carden has played Janet, and versions of Janet, for four years on The Good Place. The incredibly talented actress made an artificial being feel more human. In the final season, we got to see take on more opportunities to play Janet from “the bad place” and “disco Janet” to name a few. With every role she takes on with this show, you get to see her bring levity to this fantastic ensemble.
The Good Place is an ensemble show, but Janet brings everything together in a way that makes the show and her performance special within this series. There was always something special about the way she would deliver a line, or work with Michael played by the incredible Ted Danson. Wrapping up a television series can be a daunting task for writers and the stars, and It’s an emotional experience for the viewers too. Watching Janet say goodbye to her friends for the last four years gave viewers like myself all the joy and tears you would expect from saying goodbye.
Carden is a massive fan of television, and you can tell there is so much passion for the work that she got to do every day with this cast and crew. This was Carden’s first big television role, and she knocked it out of the park and has left an incredible legacy. Carden has carved out one of the most iconic television characters to exist in television, and we are better for letting her shine her light and love in the Universe.
Awards Daily: The Good Place resonated with viewers in a big way. What do you think made the project special?
D’Arcy Carden: I think there is something about a show that really says something that talks about bigger issues. It says this without being cheesy or without being forced down your throat. It’s an ethics lesson wrapped in a fart joke. The show is really smart, really funny, and so heartwarming. The writers were able to tell deep and meaningful stories about humanity and make you laugh. That is a rare thing to find in a show.
AD: I loved getting to see more “Bad Janet” this season. How much fun is it to play Bad Janet?
DC: It’s an absolute cherry on top of everything I got to do everyday. Playing ultimate bad is so fun to get to play this. To get to wear the long blonde wig and and the costumes. In the seasons past I got to do a scene here and there. Bad Janet was a really big part of the story line, and helped “Good Janet” find the truth. When “Bad Janet” was going to be a blast!
AD: You and Ted were truly a dynamic duo. How did you form that bond?
DC: I love Janet and Michael but even more I love Ted. I love him as a person and him as an actor. He is a super super special person. He loves acting, and he reminds you why you love acting. It is almost uncool to love acting. It’s great to have that child-like feeling of why you like acting. Ted reminds me why I like acting, and how cool I think it is and how cool this job actually is. He reminds me why I wanted to be an actor as a little kid.
Getting to do a lot of one on one scenes with him and getting to spend a ton of time on set with him was so special. I feel like I have a lifelong friend. Our characters had this extra
AD: You also have the fantastic episode “The Funeral to End All Funerals” where you get to play a multitude of “Janets.” How did you work to ensure each characterization
DC: It’s so funny, the writers of this show, there are not enough words to describe how funny and smart they are. They just got the actors. We did not spend a lot of time in the writers room and they just got us and the show. I would get hints of what was coming, and I would get scripts that were so fully formed.
It came from a quick line “Disco Janet” in a table read, and the table burst out laughing. The show really is the sky’s the limit, because there is magic and a limitless possibility. I remember one of the writer explaining to me that there was going to be a Janet Avengers” and getting to do this was so fun, and it was such a joy to do all the different shades of Janet. The writers room just let us play, they would give us
When I think of my favorite shows, especially comedies there are so many different dynamics, and we are a team. It was a rare and lucky experience to have a showrunner like Mike Schur to create their experience for me and the cast. Mike Schur is so collaborative and he picks people he trusts and knows how to get the job done.
This was a lovely ensemble, my favorite shows are ensembles, and that is something I look for as an actress, and it excites me to work with a talented
AD: The end of the show is beautiful, and heartbreaking. Janet watches everything unfold. How did you tap into those emotions with each person?
DC: It was this very unique experience, the ending of the show was mirroring what we were going through in real life. It is literally saying goodbye to these characters and saying goodbye to the people in the same breath. The emotions were spilling out of me. If anything it was me trying to keep it together as D’Arcy.
When I think of the day of the arch wood in the redwoods, the location was beautiful. It was a moving day, we were being lovey dovey. We told stories about when we met each other.
AD: I know I always loved the classic sitcom bow. I know Family Ties and The Nanny did that, so seeing a post show wrap up with the cast was fantastic. Who’s idea was it to do the after show?
DC: It was Mike Schur’s idea to do the talk back after, and to do this thing where we toast each other. He got that idea from Amy Poehler. They did that on Parks and Rec too. He told us the morning of and we are going to toast one another. It was scary, but it was an experience where we could celebrate and love one another. It was a way to celebrate everyone and be special. This was a step further than saying goodbye. I am very aware that this was a special experience.
AD: What was your favorite Janet moment from the final season?
DC: I have a few, any time I get to do a scene with Maya Rudolph. She is one of my long time favorite comedians and actresses. Getting to work with her these last four years was so special.
The redwoods scene was a mega special day, and it felt like we were in another world. It was very lovely and the weight of it was very felt.
There is something about Ted. I have learned so much from and we have a scene where he and I say goodbye at a doorway. There was a scene where I told him to take care on Earth. I have not watched that scene and saying goodbye to him as Janet was very tough. Getting to work with him was beyond my wildest dreams. He taught me how to be a good scene partner.