‘The Good Place’: Behind the Scenes, Manny Jacinto Said Ted Danson Acted More Like Jason Than He Did

The Good Place was an unlikely fan favorite. No one could have imagined that Michael Schur’s comedy about the afterlife would be such a hit.

The concept doesn’t seem funny. But Schur is able to make any environment a hilarious setting for television gold, from a regular office to a Parks and Recreation department. But Schur can’t take all the credit for The Good Place’s success. It’s all-star cast certainly helps.

Although Ted Danson and Kristen Bell were the big names attached to the project, the rest of the stars really proved themselves. That includes Manny Jacinto, who played the somewhat airheaded Jason Mendoza. According to Mental Floss, there was one person on set who had a very Jason-like personality, but it wasn’t Jacinto. 

Manny Jacinto isn’t anything like his character on ‘The Good Place’

Manny Jacinto
Manny Jacinto | Steven Ferdman/Getty Images

In real life, Jacinto is the opposite of Jason. Jason Mendoza was an aspiring DJ and petty criminal from Florida. Jason is a huge fan of the Jacksonville Jaguars, and did graduate high school, although the boat he was educated on sank. According to an interview he did with GQ, Jacinto doesn’t even like football. He’s from Canada, where hockey is king. As far as education, Jacinto is college educated. 

Jacinto didn’t always plan on going into acting. He decided to give it a shot, and fans of The Good Place are grateful that he did. Jacinto was the perfect edition to the cast. He played Jason perfectly, and even influenced the character. Jacinto was into competitive dancing, so Schur wrote that into the script as an aspect of Jason’s personality. 

Jason’s antics brought levity to the screen in The Good Place. Behind the scenes, it was actually Danson who brought the same energy to set. Jacinto describes himself as having more of a Chidi-like personality. But Danson can be just as silly as Jason. In fact, he had one trick that is totally reminiscent of the character. 

Ted Danson had a trick he would do off-camera 

According to Jacinto, Danson would take Swedish fish, bite a piece off, and push the piece out through his nose. Jacinto never found out where Danson learned the trick, or if he had ever done it before. “I don’t know if this was a party trick or if it just came to him on the spot.” 

Jacinto said that “Witnessing that moment right there was like, ‘Oh my goodness, if anything, Ted Danson is Jason Mendoza. He’s just the biggest child out of all of us.’ I just remember that, and I don’t think I’ll ever forget that moment, Ted Danson taking a booger out of his nose.” But that’s not the only Jason-like thing Danson did. He admitted to spilling show secrets, which seems like something Jason Mendoza would do. 

Ted Danson told his friends the twist in ‘The Good Place’

The first season ends with a twist. Interestingly, almost no one on set knew what the twist was, or that there would be one. Danson and Bell, however, were in the loop. According to Danson, he couldn’t keep it to himself. When he would tell his friends the premise of the show, as it appears to viewers in the first season, they seemed bored. It’s true the show’s premise isn’t exciting, and doesn’t seem comedic. It’s the execution that saves the day. 

But Danson is too proud to have his friends thinking he’s acting on a boring show. So when he would see that they didn’t seem that interested in the show, he would tell them the twist.  “And I could just see that flicker in their eyes and it pissed me off, so I immediately told them the twist ending and they were totally impressed.”

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