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« Emmy FYC: "Fosse/Verdon" Outstanding Main Titles | Main | Big Little Lies MVPs: Episode 2.1 "What Have They Done?" »

Emmy FYC: D'Arcy Carden for "The Good Place" 

Team Experience will be sharing FYCs as the Television Academy votes on Emmy nominations over the next two weeks. Here's Eurocheese

First thing’s first: If you haven’t been watching The Good Place, you’ve been missing out. The comedy is one of the most creative shows on TV today, where every episode feels like it can head in absolutely any direction. It’s genuinely surprising, fun, inspired, and a complete mind-fork. If you need to binge watch a show that will bring you pure joy, this is it. I say all this because this plea will have *spoilers*, so if you know nothing about the show, please just watch it.

The third season took a little bit of time to get going, but focusing on the “test” put before our heroes opened up a lot of opportunities for character growth...

Eleanor and Chidi have always had an interesting dynamic, but we were given an in depth look at how dependent they have become on one another. Their story is that much sweeter when you realize what they have found in death is something they never found in life – a true connection that matters more than their personal idiosyncrasies. This leads to an incredible climax for the season, and hats off to the show’s writers for where they take that thread...

We’re here to talk about D’Arcy Carden though. Janet’s story line has always been one of the most creative, mind-bending aspects of the show. Her Alexa stand-in can reboot, experience sudden mood swings, fall head over heels for a human, and even be murdered… the list goes on and on, with the writers always finding new ways for her to surprise us. While all of this was fun and a challenge for the actress, it always came back to clever jokes and a wink towards the camera.

Season 3 was a different story. We had our first action sequence with Janet, where we learned that she can take on a fight with pretty much anybody; we were treated to her confronting her all-too-human crush on the lovable Jason; and then, the most obvious case for Emmy love came in the episode titled “Janet(s),” an emotional roller coaster that entirely depended on Carden to knock it out of the park.

In order to protect the human characters, in this episode Janet decided to hide them in her void. We weren’t exactly clear on what that might mean until, to this viewer’s delight, every character emerged as their own Janet. There were some wonderful gags as we figured out the individual Janets by their personality quirks. As fans of the show may know, this entire episode was recorded with the full cast first, then Carden studied it so she could play all of the characters. (If that’s not potential Emmy bait, I have no idea what would be.)

This would be a fun concept on its own, but as usual, the writers had something bigger in mind. As the Janets settled in, Chidi-Janet and Eleanor-Janet picked a fight over their love story in alternate timelines. The show was once again asking a subtle question – is love a constant in literally any dimension? While Chidi questioned the true nature of self, he continued to confuse Eleanor.

The episode continued to play with clever ideas – Eleanor-Janet disguising herself as Jason-Janet to get into Chidi-Janet’s head (the fact that Carden pulled this off in a way that makes sense should tell you how brilliant she was here); the real Janet trying not to self-combust while Michael tried to fix the broken point system; and then, in a climactic moment, Eleanor-Janet beginning to lose sight of her true nature, turning into a series of different people. Everything was being questioned, so how could anything be real? In a brilliant stroke, Chidi-Janet listed everything he knew about Eleanor to restore her memory, showing both himself and the audience in a touching moment that he loved her. Determined to save Eleanor, Chidi-Janet pulled the rotating Eleanor into a romantic kiss. The Janets disappeared as everyone returned to their true form, with the episode landing on the point that those we love, when we lose our way, remind us of our true selves. It was a surprisingly moving moment that seemed to come out of nowhere, and it wouldn’t have worked if Carden’s many Janets hadn’t carried the story to a place where we believed and empathized with every character.

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Reader Comments (10)

Nice write-up and good call! The Good Place is a wonderful show, and Carden is stellar in it. She's more than deserving of an Emmy nod.

June 12, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterJJM

A nomination here would be wonderful and deserving, but it's not going to happen. Emmy has virtually ignored the show, and I don't see that changing this season.

June 12, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterCash

Well to be fair, Ted Danson got in last year...

June 12, 2019 | Unregistered Commentereurocheese

Yes, please! Just take a look dear Emmy voters

June 13, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterJorge

Yes yes very good call. This would be so delightful if it happened. Janet(s) is the clear FYC choice, but I've also always loved her as Bad Janet. Bad Janet is maybe my favorite TV character, ya ding dongs.

June 13, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterG

I am behind on this show so i haven't gotten to this episode yet but it sounds amazing because Janet IS my fav character on the show. This actress is brilliant. I was unfamiliar until recently but I also loved her on that Netflix show about the dominatrix... i forget what it's called.

June 13, 2019 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

She is brilliant as is the show. And the Emmys would do well to not forget them!

June 13, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterRyan T.

D'Arcy Carden is consistently brilliant on The Good Place, but "Janet(s)" was just unbelievably amazing. Frankly, the episode should also get writing and directing nods as well. But it's Carden's episode all the way through. I can't think of ANYONE who has ever done what she does in that episode. It's mind-boggling work, and I just hope the TV Academy watches it. I can't imagine watching the show, or even just this episode, and NOT voting for her.

June 13, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterDancin' Dan

The Good Place has been criminally overlooked for its entire run, but Carden is a gem. She is so wonderful in her role and she finally got a showcase episode to submit. She absolutely deserves a nomination.

June 13, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterTom G.


June 14, 2019 | Unregistered Commenterforever1267

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