If I had my very own Janet, I’d ask her to make sure that D’Arcy Carden earns a Best Comedy Supporting Actress Emmy nomination for her stellar season of “The Good Place.” Better yet, I’d ask her to make sure that she wins for her standout episode, “Janet(s).” Fork it! Give her five, one for each character she plays during this outstanding half-hour of television. Unfortunately, I’m not in possession of an all-knowing, otherworldly being capable of granting my every wish, so I’ll just have to implore the TV academy to do this all by myself.
This third season installment finds Janet pulling afterlife residents Eleanor (Kristen Bell), Chidi (William Harper Jackson), Tahani (Jameela Jamil) and Jason (Manny Jacinto) into her void to protect them while Michael (Ted Danson) tries to figure out the truth about The Good Place. Rather than simply have the actors play their characters in the abyss, we’re treated to the ingenious conceit of watching Carden embody these four distinct personalities.
It’s a challenge of mimicry that the actress proves more than capable of handling. The body language, facial ticks and vocal mannerisms are all expertly recreated, but it’s not just a simple impersonation that makes this performance (or performances) memorable. Instead, its Carden’s ability to occupy the characters’s inner lives that’s truly impressive, wether it’s Eleanor’s quick-witted sarcasm, Chidi’s over-analytical skittishness, Tahani’s insecure self-absorption or Jason’s goofy impetuousness.
So, can Carden earn her first Emmy nomination for the episode? Certainly it helps that her profile has raised significantly since the show’s premiere in 2016, aided in part by her recurring role on HBO’s “Barry,” which earned her a SAG Ensemble bid. Having multiple contenders for voters to see you shine in can’t hurt, and in both cases, Carden brings her A-game.
The show itself has garnered more acclaim as well, with increased viewership and Emmy nominations for Danson and guest star Maya Rudolph in its second season after a total shutout in its first. With many of our experts predicting it to break through in the Best Comedy Series category for the first time this year, it’s certainly possible that Carden could get carried along for the ride (and indeed, she’s currently ranked 7th in our overall odds).
If nothing else, voters should get around to rewarding Carden before it’s too late, considering “The Good Place” is set to end after its upcoming fourth season. So let’s not fork around here, folks: give this lady an Emmy, then treat yourselves to a well-earned cup of frozen yogurt!
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