The Good Place Roundtable: Janet and Michael

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On The Good Place Janet and Michael were showcased in another fantastic episode. Watching them explore their “human” sides is so much fun to watch!

So, Janet has feelings for Jason, and Tahani is finally willing to acknowledge her relationship with Jason in public. Where do you see this love triangle headed?
Roz: Well, Janet wants to self-destruct to preserve the neighborhood, even if that will ruin Michael’s plan. But Derek is an interesting way to see where Janet might go if she can’t be with Jason.
Cay: I kind of felt like we got some closure on it, I don’t think it will come back right away as an issue with Jason although I was wondering whether Janet and Michael might get involved at some point. Honestly, not sure how long Tahini and Jason will be an item…although maybe it’s one of those “last person on…in…hell” kind of thing… Derek was funny. Gotta say that if I was creating my own man de novo, I’d have gone with something a bit more different, but hey, we all have our own tastes and as Janet pointed out, this was a new challenge for her.
Melissa: Did we really get closure though? Derek’s personality is strikingly similar to Jason’s. I’m looking forward to when Derek and Jason meet. Do you think Tahani will pick up on any similarities?
Cara: Yeah, there were definitely some uncanny similarities between Jason and Derek. I think eventually it’s gotta come out why Janet is really glitching. If Jason and Tahani are still together then, we’ll have to see how they deal with it. I think it’s too interesting of a plot development for the others not to get involved.
Lexie: Oh, I didn’t even pick up on the similarities between Jason and Derek, Mel. Possibly because I love Jason and I do NOT love Jason Matzoukas, so I’m hoping this is a short, short, short, SHORT guest stint. To answer the question: this triangle is going somewhere very dumb, and I mean that in the best way possible. We’re talking about Jason here. He showed up to his wedding in a tux and proceeded to immediately rip the sleeves off. He is the best dirtbag. I also don’t really think Tahani is that attached to Jason, but she might instinctively go into catfight mode to keep him if she views Janet as a threat. Which would be hilarious because how do you fight what is essentially an omnipotent being? Either way, it will be dumb, funny, and surprisingly poignant, and I’m so excited, you guys.

How do you feel about this episode with Janet and Michael featuring so prominently while the others played a much smaller role than usual?
Roz: Horray for a bottle episode! Well, maybe it’s not but I like that Janet and Michael were fleshed out more.
Cay: I liked it! Great backstory, intriguing premise, and I love Janet. So many funny lines delivered so deadpan! Definitely a win.
Melissa: Loved it! The flashbacks neatly set up Michael’s realization that he cares about THIS Janet, that she is meaningful to him. Big step forward for him. And Janet is evolving as well. She’s always been awesome, but adding in human emotions allows so many new story opportunities. Do you think Janet was always meant to be prominent or is this a case of an actor doing such a stellar job with a minor character that she’s now a main character?
Cara: I had the same question as Melissa. Did Janet’s character grow as her popularity rose, or was she always intended to be more. I suspect that Janet is somehow essential to them getting to the good place.
Lexie: Kristen Bell had a light few days at work. One scene, no movement, sitting on a couch with D’arcy Carden in a baggy shirt and jeans. Can you imagine? AND she gets to say profound things. I absolutely LOVE Janet, as we all know, and how much she humanizes Michael. He could be such a one-note villain, but we have Ted Danson who is a masterclass in acting all by himself. Having this little bottle episode with the two of them that explains so much about the worldbuilding is amazing. It’s probably my favorite episode of the season so far.

Janet and Michael were both created to be as they are. Janet was meant to lack emotions of her own, and Michael was created to be bad. Now that they’ve both acknowledged that something has changed in them, what comes next and how does this affect their efforts to work with the 4 humans?
Roz: Michael wants to get all four of his subjects to The Good Place, so I hope it helps him to find a way there without sacrificing this Janet.
Cay: My gut feeling is that in the end, Michael does end up in the Good Place, although it would be a great twist for him to fail in the series finale. I enjoy his conflict and like the perspective of the show that they are what they are – and they and other characters have to accept that.
Melissa: I really thought Chidi coming to the office would lead to an ethical discussion about killing Janet, furthering Michael’s education. I guess he got there on his own, though. Does this mean he’ll be more committed to getting the 4 humans to The Good Place? Or will he start sabotaging their efforts to keep them in his neighborhood so he doesn’t “lose” them?
Cara: I hope Michael gets to the good place eventually, but not too soon. I can’t help it, I love bad Michael. If Janet is capable of love, does that mean that she might also be subject to going to the good place or the bad place?
Lexie: I have no idea, but I am psyched to find out.

What do you think about Eleanor’s relationship advice and Janet’s rebound relationship?
Roz: Eleanor was right and Derek is dumb but a good distraction.
Cay: For Eleanor, the advice was pretty reasonable. Definitely something with which she is experienced! And getting over Jason seems to be the only way to continue to advance Michael’s grand plan and Janet is clearly dedicated to the plan (because she’s designed to be!)
Melissa: I liked that Eleanor pointed out that, in this, dealing with unrequited love, Janet is human. Her advice was spot on – for humans. The fact that Janet took it so very literally just makes it funnier.
Cara: I thought Eleanor’s words of encouragement to Janet were incredibly insightful. The rebound advice is probably less healthy in the long run, but way more entertaining for now. I really want Derek and Jason to become BFFs because interaction between the two of them could be amazing.
Lexie: I think Eleanor is the last person you should go to for relationship advice. Whatever Eleanor says, do the opposite. She’s surprisingly great with existential questions and even moralistic ones, considering she always picks the wrong solution. But relationship advice? Noooooo. Anything that brings Jason Matzoukas to my screen is *bad advice*, you guys.

Best line/scene?
Roz: The glass half empty, glass does not exist in time and space.
Cay: yep, that one, or “Hi, I’m broken”. I also got a chuckle out of her becoming a space marble “high in potassium”.
Cara: “Look at us. Couple of old pals trying to make our way in this crazy world…that I built. One of whom needs to kill the other immediately”
Lexie: It wasn’t a line so much as it was Michael’s face when Janet was spewing pennies at him. I shall treasure that look. And I shall wonder exactly how they pulled off that effect. But mostly the look. And the hoagie dropping from the sky. And the bizarre things happening around Janet in general. It makes me think of the Improbability Drive from Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy and that makes my day better.

The Good Place airs Thursday 8:30/7:30c on NBC

Cara spends way too much time thinking about subtext and, when not watching TV, can generally be found with her nose in a book.