Screenshot: YouTube

The Good Place’s Janet is not a girl, not yet a woman, and certainly not a robot. She is merely Janet, an all-knowing being that serves as a helpful database in the afterlife.

Janet is iconic (one of my favorite moments from the show is when someone needs to reboot her and she has to beg for her life, even though she is not human and cannot be murdered), but when Mike Schur was creating The Good Place he had no idea what Janet would be or what she (it? they?) would even look like. The Washington Post reports that he wanted a “centralized information database” on the show and that Schur initially envisioned it as existing on a kiosk, but realized it would be funnier if a person delivered the information.

Who would that person be? Nobody knew! They auditioned everyone:

“We auditioned a million people,” Schur said, “ranging from 13-year-old boys all the way to 75-year-old women and everything in between.” Now, Schur thinks back on casting Janet like that apocryphal story about how Michelangelo carved the David: by cutting away all the marble that wasn’t David. Once they cut away all the Janets that weren’t Janet, they had D’Arcy Carden.

In an alternate universe, Eleanor could be fishing for dirt on all her ex-boyfriends from a Janet played by a helpful 13-year-old boy, or perhaps a wisened old babushka. There could have been a Janet who looks like... me! Or you! Or your mom!

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Janet is all of us, we are all Janet.