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Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

The Good Place’s latest gambit was over a year in the making

Illustration for article titled The Good Place’s latest gambit was over a year in the making
Photo: Colleen Hayes (NBC)

This post discusses the events of The Good Place episode “Janet(s).”

How long does it take to make an episode of The Good Place in which D’Arcy Carden channels nearly all of her co-stars for a half-hour? At a press event this week in L.A., Good Place creator Mike Schur said “Janet(s)” has been in the works for over a year. In fact, Carden told journalists that she was still recording ADR for the episode just last week.


Schur said he instructed Carden to prepare for the episode—in which the show’s four human protagonists hide in Janet’s void, thus rendering them into Janets themselves—in March, four months before the episode actually filmed. The cast started rehearsing the episode earlier than they would have for one with a more conventional script, and those rehearsals and blocking were filmed, so Carden could watch (“1 million times,” she says) how the actors moved and spoke—and so the movements could later be mapped for special effects. Carden also made an audio recording of the cast during the table read.

According to Schur, one of the reasons he knew the show could pull off something so challenging was because, “Orphan Black did it 100 times.” That being said, both Carden and Schur acknowledged that there were multiple times during filming that the writers and crew would look at each other after shots and ask, “that was fun, but what if none of this makes any sense?”

As to what Good Place viewers can expect when the show returns in 2019, Schur was cagey, though both he and Carden said that Chidi and Eleanor will continue to be in it to win it, romantically. (“It’s pretty gooey,” said Schur.) Tahani and Jason will also quickly address their new knowledge of Janet and Jason’s past marriage; the question of why no one has gotten into The Good Place in over 500 years will also be answered. Schur said Michael “now has more information than he ever had,” though he “doesn’t have the full story yet.” Now that he’s in The Good Place, he’ll attempt to execute his plan and right the inequities in the points system. As to whether he’s successful, though, is anyone’s guess.

Marah Eakin is the Executive Producer of all A.V. Club Video And Podcasts. She is also a Cleveland native and heiress to the country's largest collection of antique and unique bedpans and urinals.