by Aprille Hanson
After four seasons, NBC’s quirky and creative sitcom “The Good Place” comes to an end tonight and viewers will soon find out if the six characters are actually destined for a heavenly reward or totally forked.
The show’s brilliance stems from its writing staff that developed interesting plot twists that no one should have seen coming, but also from the stellar cast that made viewers root for these incredibly flawed characters. Because each is strong in their own way, ranking the characters is almost as daunting as the group working to save humanity. But here are the rankings ahead of the final farewell, complete with spoilers:
1. Eleanor Shellstrop (Kristen Bell)
What’s truly remarkable about Eleanor Shellstrop, the complete screw-up from Phoenix, Ariz., is that she was a horrific human being. By far the worst out of the batch of humans the show cooked up, in her self-centeredness and lack of empathy for anyone. She worked in sales, selling fake medication to the elderly for basically a shell of a pharmaceutical company. But, we just can’t help but root for her. Kristen Bell played the role in such a lovable way for this misfit, coining phrases like “Holy Mother Forking Shirtballs,” that viewers want her to find love and end up in the real Good Place. She was an example of how a character can be pretty awful, but also redeemed. The show itself is about redemption and there’s no one on the cast that portrays the idea of redemption better than Eleanor – not even the actual reformed demon.
2. Michael (Ted Danson)
Michael is an angel, the first one to greet people who die and find themselves in a waiting room that says “Welcome! Everything is fine.” The architect of a vast utopia of frozen yogurt and all your questions answered by a digital being named Janet, Michael is the stability in this not-so-stable bunch of characters who are somehow in the Good Place. The show has never been more epic than in the hour-long Season 1 finale “Michael’s Gambit,” when suddenly Eleanor realizes they are not in the Good Place, but the Bad Place. Michael’s immediate transition from angel to demon was masterful. Sure, maybe there were a billion clues that it wasn’t the idyllic Good Place, but not from Michael. Ted Danson was a genius playing this master of manipulation. But just when we wrapped our minds around the fact that Michael was a demon, he begins to soften and team up with the humans. His move from conniving horror-show from the underworld to a father-figure ready to risk it all for the humans he cares about is something that makes him an iconic TV character.
3. Janet (D'Arcy Carden)
Janet, or Janets, can answer and get you anything you desire. But what is she? As she explained to Jason Mendoza: “Jason: And to Janet, the best robot; Janet: Not a robot; Jason: Girl; Janet: Not a girl; Jason: And straight-up hottie; Janet: I am attractive, yes.” While what exactly she is might be hard to define, her presence among the humans and demons is pure magic. Whether she’s plotting to help the humans, creating Derrick in her void or portrayed as Bad Janet – who is rude and farts constantly – D’Arcy Carden plays her with such heart. You fall in love with her and root for love between her and Jason, despite the fact they are totally different beings.
4. Jason Mendoza (Manny Jacinto)
Oh Jason. A professional amateur DJ from Jacksonville, Fla., who loves Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles (now with the L.A. Rams), has close friends like Donkey Doug and has epic stories like: “One time at a Buffalo Wild Wings in Jacksonville — the nice one, not the one above the gas station — I ate 50 [jalapeño poppers] in two minutes! Everyone at the hospital was so impressed.” In the Good Place initially disguised as a Buddhist Monk who vowed silence, it’s the most random reveal that he’s this loveable dumbass from Jacksonville. For as wacked out as his stories are and his overall being is, he’s easily one of the most beloved and hilarious characters.
5. Chidi Anagonye (William Jackson Harper)
Chidi Anagonye is a lot. A professor of moral philosophy and ethics, he’s insanely smart and takes on the uphill task of teaching ethics to the group of humans and Michael, the demon. He speaks English, French, German, Greek and Latin. He knows more than likely all the characters combined. But making decisions is his most powerful kryptonite. It’s on another level and it puts him in the Bad Place. We can’t help but root for this wounded individual that by Season 4, has finally conquered his personality to love Eleanor and hopefully help save humanity. While it’s funny to watch him navigate the afterlife in the most confusing situation, it’s hard to place him higher on this list.
6. Tahani Al-Jamil (Jameela Jamil)
The socialite Tahani Al-Jamil is gorgeous, pretentious, always ready to name-drop her “good friends” like Elon Musk, Sting, James Cameron and Gisele Bundchen and is still obsessed with throwing the best parties in the afterlife. She’s someone viewers should be disgusted by, but Jameela Jamil plays this character with such heart, you really do want to be her best friend. She, like Eleanor, has to overcome being self-absorbed and works at it throughout the series. The character is a nice balance to Eleanor’s initial dirt bag persona, but is the weakest character of the bunch. However, in a cast full of memorable characters, it’s not exactly a criticism.