The Good Place — from the creator of Brooklyn 99 and Parks and Recreation — quickly became a breakout hit after the twist in the season one finale (only Google if you want to spoil yourself. It’s better not knowing. Trust us). The basic premise of the NBC series is Eleanor (played by Kristen Bell) dies and wakes up in “The Good Place,” seemingly because she was a good person in her life. Quickly, she realizes she was sent by mistake; the “architect” of the neighborhood (played by Ted Danson, who is amazing in this role) has confused her for a different Eleanor.
While the show is headlined by Kristen Bell and Ted Danson, it introduces fellow Good Place residents: a neurotic Ethics professor from Senegal played by William Jackson Harper, a wealthy self-absorbed British-Pakistani philanthropist played by Jameela Jamil, and an amateur DJ from Florida played by Manny Jacinto. They all are in breakout roles (it’s Jameela’s first time acting, ever…) but we’re here to talk about the actress behind our favorite character: D’Arcy Carden, who plays Janet, the Alexa/Siri-like personal assistant who possess all the knowledge in the universe.
If you haven’t watched The Good Place, not a problem. Read on to learn 18 things about D’Arcy, who is definitely not a robot.
1. Her real name is Darcy, not D’arcy. In a Lady Bird-esque teenage move, she added the apostrophe to her name. As she explained to Vulture, “When I was in junior high I was really obsessed with the band Smashing Pumpkins and the bassist was this cool, badass, blonde, rocker girl named D’Arcy with an apostrophe. I didn’t really know anybody with the name Darcy, let alone somebody that I would want to be. She was like my ideal person. So didn’t even think about it, I just started adding the apostrophe. [Laughs.] It wasn’t like a big life choice, maybe because I was like 12 or something. But I just did it and my parents were kind of like, ‘What’s up? Why are we doing this? This is not your name.’ But then it just sort of stuck and after a couple of years I never went back. And my mom still makes fun of me to this day and will often sign letters ‘M’om’ which is just so funny.”
2. Her mom (or m’om?) is Jewish (according to “ethnicelebs,” a weird site that does genealogy of celebrities, her mom’s family are Jews from Russia, Romania, and Germany), and her Dad is Turkish and Greek. But D’Arcy was born in California.
3. She has a dog named Penny, who makes frequent appearances on her Instagram.
4. She proposed a show of adventures between her niece and her dog that we would totally watch.
ok, but my niece, Georgia, and my dog, Penny, need a movie/comic book/cartoon/series about their adventures together. pic.twitter.com/CEn5yHzsoh
— D’Arcy Carden (@DarcyCarden) November 27, 2017
5. Before she auditioned for The Good Place, she thought she was done acting. A month before the audition, she “had this sort of epiphany: ‘D’Arcy. You’re not gonna do the thing you thought you’d do, be on a TV show with a bunch of funny people. Those dreams you had are not gonna happen, but that’s OK, because you get to perform every night at the UCB.'”
6. When she auditioned for The Good Place, she did not know a single thing about the show other than the fact that Mike Schur created it. At her audition, “an older woman was after me — much older — and a 16-year-old boy was before me — auditioning for Janet. So they really didn’t know what they wanted. A 16-year-old boy! Who, by the way, is a genius.” D’Arcy thought the 16-year-old was going to get the role.
7. D’arcy perfectly captures Janet’s warm robot vibe even though she’s said that she struggles to find that perfect balance between human and robot: “For the first season, it was definitely a struggle to not be too robotic and not be too human. It just was harder than I thought.” She also used some of her own clothes for Janet’s costume.
8. D’arcy says of playing Janet, “As an actor, there’s nothing I could want more than to get to play a character that I love, and then the writers also give me all these different sides of her to play with. Every inch of this show and job is a dream come true, from the people that I work with to the character that I play to the words that I get to say to the crew and the costumes. It’s too dreamy. We’re very, very spoiled on this show. I’m waiting for the other shoe to drop.”
9. She’s a favorite on the popular twitter @nocontexttgp, which tweets random screencaptures of the show.
— no context the good place (@nocontexttgp) January 17, 2018
— no context the good place (@nocontexttgp) December 17, 2017
10. After playing Janet, she empathizes with Alexa. As she explained about a recent experience: “At this particular party, it was a birthday party, and the girl was bringing the cake out and music was playing and she screamed at Alexa to turn the music off and it was absolutely triggering. I wanted to like stick up for this poor little machine woman. She was like ALEXA, TURN THE MUSIC OFF. I felt more on Alexa’s side than the birthday girl.”
11. If she had her own Janet, D’Arcy would use her as a personal shopper. Because, as she explained, “shopping alone can be hard.” And in her version of the Good Place, “there would be a room where you would have unlimited access to doughnuts and steaks. The steaks would be cooked at a perfect medium-rare and never fill you up. And my family would all be there with me because we would have died at the same time… And I would have front-row seats to a Beyoncé concert every night.”
12. She’s a big One Direction fan, and she got to meet Harry Styles. Watch her explain (with a great Harry Styles impression):
13. D’Arcy was on Broad City as Gemma, a Soulstice trainer who appears in a lot of Trey’s workout videos. She has known Abbi and Ilana for over a decade; Abbi and her took a class at Upright Citizens Brigade (a sketch comedy group) together. D’Arcy loves them and is so proud of Broad City, telling Entertainment Weekly, “The first time I was on their set, which I think was for the pilot, I was choking back tears. I hadn’t felt that sort of pride — I was so proud of my friends, they had a goal, a goal that seemed like impossible to achieve and they like went above and beyond. So having them invite me to be on their set every year is like the treat of my life, we just have so much fun.”
14. Like all of us here at Alma, she’s obsessed with Ben Platt.
This genius ends his long, glorious run in @DearEvanHansen today. Thank you for letting me sob in your dressing room @BenSPLATT 💙💙💙 pic.twitter.com/xG4jdH3NCs
— D’Arcy Carden (@DarcyCarden) November 19, 2017
15. AND unlike us here at Alma, she is friends with Lin-Manuel Miranda and Javier Muñoz, the first two Alexander Hamiltons on Broadway.
“Janet robot! Can I have a round of drinks and two Hamiltons?”
“Not a robot.”https://t.co/HvZj7TEkTK pic.twitter.com/Z4jr8u7Usl
— Lin-Manuel Miranda (@Lin_Manuel) October 30, 2017
16. In college, D’Arcy had a picture of Steve from Sex & the City on her fridge and to this day, she hangs out with a group of girls who call themsleves “the Mirandas.”
17. If she was a rapper, her name would be Young Carrie Coon in the style of “young + the last reason you cried.”
18. And last but certainly not least, D’Arcy is the brains behind “Why You’ve Never Met the 4th Haim Sister” — she co-wrote the Funny or Die sketch with Jen Stasky and Lucia Aniello.
Header image from @jasoncarden.