It’s quite possibly the most popular television comedy of the past few years, and it is showing no signs of lagging in popularity. The Good Place stars Kristen Bell and Ted Danson and boasts some of the most passionate fans of any current television show.
The thousands of watchers that tune into The Good Place every week not only love talking about the characters and plot lines but have constructed some truly detailed fan theories as well.
What is ‘The Good Place’ about?
The Good Place premiered in September 2016 and received immediate positive reception from both critics and audiences.
The show follows Eleanor Shellstrop, played by Kristen Bell, who passes away only to wake up in the afterlife, a utopia-like place designed by Ted Danson’s character, Michael.
The afterlife, known as The Good Place, was created only for the most morally pure individuals, which Eleanor realizes right away that she is not. In fact, she ended up in The Good Place by mistake, and must now try to convince Michael, and all those around her, that she belongs there, while also working towards becoming worthy of staying there.
There aren’t any other TV shows like The Good Place, and audiences took notice of the witty writing, charming storyline, and stellar acting. Fan favorite actress Kristen Bell plays Eleanor Shellstrop to perfection, and iconic actor Ted Danson provides the perfect blend of humor and hubris. The Good Place was ultimately renewed for three more seasons, with the fourth season set to premiere later this year.
Who is the character of Janet?
D’Arcy Carden plays Janet, a 25th-generation artificial being of unknown origin who has all the knowledge of the universe contained in her programming. Janet can also summon up goods and items out of thin air and has a number of other undefined powers.
When Janet is not needed, she retreats to a quiet corner until called upon once more. Janet generally acts as a programmed guide, leading visitors around The Good Place and explaining everything that goes on.
To add further intrigue to the character of Janet, there is a version of her known as “Bad Janet,” who works in The Bad Place, and a neutral version of Janet who works in the Accountant’s office. D’Arcy Carden plays all three characters and has received significant praise for her portrayal of the three versions of Janet.
What are the theories around her character?
With the obvious religious allegories present in The Good Place, fans have a wealth of information to dissect and study. Some of the most detailed fan theories have to do with Janet, and how her character (and the different versions of her character) could be interpreted by viewers. A recent article detailed the theory that Janet actually represents God.
The article points out that Janet is not a static character, but that her many versions represent an omnipotent, ever-present being. The theory goes on to discuss how Janet’s actual character isn’t physically present in the show, but rather, exists in what she describes in the show as a “void,” i.e., space. Of course, Janet also has extensive powers, which she uses for the good of those around her – at least, the good version of Janet does. All of this seems to point directly to the fact that Janet represents the God of Christianity.
Of course, the showrunners are unlikely to ever confirm whether or not characters represent any religious deities. One of the things that fans love most about The Good Place is that the show doesn’t take viewers’ intelligence for granted, and it leaves some things to the imagination.