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Character page for The Good Place.

WARNING! Only spoilers for Season 4 are marked! Beware of major spoilers!

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Neighborhood 12358W

Humans

    General 
  • Abusive Parents: Eleanor's and Tahani's were directly abusive. Jason's parents were criminals who encouraged unethical and/or criminal behavior. Chidi's parents are the exception, except they didn't really do much to discourage his decisivenenss, which was evident ever since he was a child.
  • Aesop Amnesia: Justified; as Chidi says in "Dance Dance Resolution", they're being tortured but they can't learn from their mistakes because their memories keep getting wiped. It's finally averted in the Season 3 finale where Chidi sacrifices his memories to keep the new neighborhood experiment intact, but everyone else remembers their friendship.
  • Character Development: An interesting case where the development gets erased, redone, and explored down a different path. But despite all that Michael does in Season 2 to keep them apart and keep them static, the four humans manage to encounter each other and motivate each other with their friendship.
  • Cosmic Plaything: Quite literally; it's revealed that Michael specifically selected these four humans to torture each other with their petty flaws and insecurities in such a subtle way as to make them think they're in the Good Place when they're not. However, their banding together drives him to try over and over again for three hundred years in Earth time to keep them from realizing the truth until he calls for a truce in Season 2.
  • Died Happily Ever After: Jason, Chidi, and Eleanor eventually do this at the end by walking through the Last Door, not only giving themselves closure and happiness but putting more "Good" into the universe. Tahani was the only one who decides to stay and apply herself to other things, but she already achieved her happy state and she knows this is still an option if she feels she's completed that, too.
  • Fatal Flaw: Each character has one, and most of these flaws either literally got them killed, or put them in the position where they would be killed.
  • Foil: The reason they were brought together in the first place was so that they could counter each other to the point of torture. In addition to making themselves all feel unstable as they believed their "soul mate" wasn't fully right for them, they were conceived as being tailored to deny each other the thing they needed most: effective advice for growth (Eleanor), decisiveness and closure (Chidi), supportive attention (Tahani), and constructive but loose structure (Jason). It failed because they balanced each other to the point of helping each other through their worst faults, and did give each other what they needed.
    • Eleanor:
      • Was meant to make Chidi face an eternal ethical dilemma, that for all his study, he's unable to teach someone who won't grow to be better; to make Tahani feel overshadowed again in death as she was in life, by being effortlessly bombastic as the center of attention for everyone; and make Jason feel controlled, by keeping him from being free to express himself, lest he get them all sent to the Bad Place.
      • Instead, she learned ethics from Chidi and helped him teach others, and was his stable, decisive partner; she first felt inadequate compared to Tahani, and then included Tahani as a friend and played to her strengths; and she bonded with Jason as a friend who understands him and encourages some of his behavior.
    • Chidi:
      • Was meant to make Eleanor feel constantly criticized and face that she's unable to improve; make Tahani feel isolated by making her feel All Love Is Unrequited; and make Jason feel angry in being around an educated, uptight professional that Jason could never be.
      • Instead, he made Eleanor a better person and came to love her; he loved Tahani as a true friend, without demanding or expecting anything more from her; and helped Jason learn a reasonable level of restraint and ethical wisdom.
    • Tahani:
      • Was meant to make Eleanor feel insecure and inadequate in attractiveness and accomplishment; make Chidi feel more stressed as a third love option to (never) choose from, in addition to Eleanor and "Real" Eleanor; and make Jason feel paranoid as her outgoing nature will never let him express his own.
      • Instead, she became Eleanor's friend despite their differences; gave Chidi an out on decisions by taking her love life into her own hands, and helping them both know what true love is, so that he could find it with Eleanor and she could find it in herself; and helps Jason learn constructive expression so he can be a better relationship partner to Janet.
    • Jason:
      • Was meant to make Eleanor feel dependent on someone else to not get them all ruined; make Chidi feel stressed as his worst nightmare (stupid and impulsive); and make Tahani feel unloved by never talking to her (under the Jianyu persona), and distant by having constant other focuses, with his lack of attention.
      • Instead, he finds and becomes a friend Eleanor could bond with under a similar experience; was the biggest help to Chidi in making him more decisive and secure in his relationships; and listened to Tahani under both of his personas, and actually supported and encouraged her.
  • He Who Fights Monsters: A downplayed example. The four humans spend the first two seasons manipulated by Michael in the fake Good Place, and Eleanor in particular is upset about what was erased. They were also less than happy in Season 3 on learning that a reformed demon was manipulating them to become good only to get them condemned by accident. As part of the new experiment, they have to lie to Simone, John and Brent in the same way that they themselves were manipulated, albeit without torturing them the way Michael did. Chidi realizes he can't keep the experiment going while Simone is there, even if she doesn't remember him, and volunteers to wipe his memories so he doesn't sabotage it. Eleanor realizes that she nearly crosses the line when motivating Chidi to become a better person by having Jason lie to him about not belonging.
  • Humans Are Special: It's made clear, again and again, that they're the ones who can really change things for the better, both in life and in death, rather than anyone in the Celestial Bureaucracy because of how flawed, complicated, and unpredictable humans are. The system may be made to judge humanity, but it eventually becomes clear that none of the angels or demons really understand humanity. Michael is the exception, but only after he befriends the main four, and even then, he struggles with the nuances.
  • Innocently Insensitive: All of them, to varying degrees of innocent and insensitive. Eleanor was insensitive to everyone but was conditioned since childhood to be that way as a defense mechanism, Chidi was inadvertently insensitive to others' feelings and pain induced by his logical indecisiveness, Tahani was insensitive to how her standing and success motivated by feeling inferior could make others feel inferior, and Jason was insensitively impulsive to the detriment of everyone around him, but too sweet and adaptable to notice.
  • In Spite of a Nail: As Michael smugly tells Trevor in Season 3, no matter what Michael or anyone does, the team's friendship manages to overcome their flaws gradually over time.
  • Locking Macgyver In The Store Cupboard: Michael realizes that he did this in hindsight—by putting the other humans with Chidi, who has dedicated his life to studying ethics and morality, he motivates them to improve on their ethics and morals. He only didn't realize it sooner because he didn't know the humans could learn and improve. Basically, he didn't know Macgyver could build stuff.
  • Mr. Vice Guy: Eleanor was a self-serving, abrasive cynic, Chidi was a neurotic and indecisive wimp made everyone in his life miserable with his crippling fear of making bad decisions and facing negative consequences, Tahani was a vain, attention-seeking snob who did good for selfish reasons, and Jason was a reckless moron who never considered the consequences of his actions. While these flaws are what threw them to the non-existent mercies of the Bad Place, the whole point of the series was for them to realize this and work to become better.
  • Plot Tailored to the Party: Michael accidentally did this by choosing four humans who would bicker and torture each other for eternity. It turns out that the Soul Squad's qualities give them exactly what they need to escape the Bad Place and overturn the forked up system of divine justice. Eleanor's determination to grow and become a better person meld well with her pragmatism about life or the afterlife, which is how she keeps searching for solutions. Chidi's knowledge of ethics provides the Soul Squad with a foundation by which to build character and a motivation for them to improve. Tahani's apt communication, honed from years of being an event manager, allow her to convey sensible plans to use existing structures to better their situation, as shown when she tells everyone they need to plead their case to the judge. Jason's empathy and Combat Pragmatist approach allows the gang to escape demons at least once, while suitably explaining to the judge about being in someone else's shoes and intuiting when Janet was kidnapped. Everyone turned their flaws into strengths, which led to them being the heroes of the story.
  • Positive Friend Influence: They're this to each other, Michael, and Janet. Despite their various flaws, they protect each other, build each other up, and help each other become better people. Nearly all of the main characters' growth can be traced back to their friendship. Eleanor and Jason needed non-toxic friends, Tahani needed friends who weren't demanding, shallow or exploitative, and Chidi needed friends who could be direct and upfront with him quickly.
  • The Power of Friendship: Despite their hangups and fights, in most reboots and in the alternate timeline Team Cockroach or The Soul Squad would rally together and become better people.
  • Screw Destiny: In Season 3, after learning they are condemned to going to the Bad Place, Eleanor convinces everyone that they should do as much good as possible to help everyone else get to the Good Place. They also do what they can to help Michael when he schemes to keep them out of the Bad Place.
  • Slobs vs. Snobs: Eleanor and Jason are the boorish slobs, Chidi and Tahani are the cultured snobs, and this dynamic informs their interactions with each other. Chidi and Eleanor, and to a lesser extent Tahani and Jason, form two Uptight Loves Wild dynamics while Eleanor and Tahani are a Tomboy And Girly Girl pair. In "What We Owe to Each Other", they briefly consider that Chidi and Tahani might be each other's true soulmates because of this.
  • Spanner in the Works: to both Michael's plan and the cosmic system. Eleanor's proved people can learn. Chidi devised a better system. Tahani realized the need to make such a big deal about it the Judge couldn't ignore it. and Jason won over allies, including their first ally, Janet.
  • Throw the Dog a Bone: The Season 3 finale is the only time they're given a break from being tortured as part of an experiment to recreate Michael's neighborhood. Big difference from the Season 1 finale, where they were still unknowingly trapped in the Bad Place, or Season 2 where they're all given a second chance at life but lose their memories and Character Development. Also, the memory wipes are optional this time, and Chidi is the only one who sacrifices his memories to make sure the experiment goes well and that they all aren't sent to the Bad Place. They get an even bigger bone when the Judge lets them go to the real Good place in season 4.
  • True Companions: The four of them, plus Janet and Michael, become friends who are closer than their actual families, with a bond so strong, not even multiple memory wipes can destroy it. Even if they're sent to different countries, or planes of existence, they'll always come back for each other.
  • The Unchosen One: Of the "Many"-variety. The team is comprised of four random humans of different backgrounds who are four of billions of humans being tortured in Hell, a celestial-being constructing his first afterlife neighborhood and just another Good Place Janet. Who would have thought that a team of nobodies (in the cosmic scheme of things) would go on to upend the not-so objective authority of the afterlife and reevaluate the moral balance of the universe?
  • Yank the Dog's Chain: In Season 3, on Earth, they decide to meet once a year after Tahani plans to marry Larry and Jason and Eleanor will return to the States. Eleanor isn't thrilled, but she realizes that she can't force everyone to stay together, and at least they have their friendship. While it may not have earned their way to the Good Place due to the rigging, it would have been a better effort. Then by accident, the Brainy Bunch learns about how they died once and how the system works, forfeiting their chance to enter the Good Place. Everyone breaks down for a few hours on realizing they're condemned to Hell.
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    Eleanor 

Eleanor Shellstrop

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/shellstrop_eleanor.jpg
"I wasn't freaking Gandhi, but I was okay. I was a medium person. I should get to spend eternity in a medium place! Like Cincinnati."
Portrayed by: Kristen Bell, Noelle E. Parker, Avery Hayes (young)

"What are you talking about? It is so easy to live with a lie. I once pretended to have a terminal illness to meet Scott Wolf at a Sunglass Hut. Victimless crime."

Our Hero, relatively speaking. Initially believed to be an activist lawyer who got innocent people off of death row and one of the best people accepted into the Good Place, she is quickly revealed to be not who she says she is. Actually a saleswoman from Arizona who sold fake medicine to the sick and elderly and self-professed "medium" person, Eleanor attempts to hide her secret and become someone worthy of staying in the Good Place.


  • Abusive Parents: The lousy example set by her parents undoubtedly set Eleanor on a path to the Bad Place pretty early on.
  • Anything That Moves: There doesn't seem to be any person Eleanor would not be willing to sleep with for any reason.
  • Appropriated Appellation: After Michael says he thinks of humans as "cockroaches, or dung beetles, any little thing that crawls around in its own filth," she dubs the group Team Cockroach.
  • Badass Normal: She understandably laments her newfound burden as potential savior of the entirety of humankind in Season 4, telling Michael she's just a normal girl from Arizona. Although all of this is true, Michael reminds her that this same mundane mortal dirtbag from Arizona also beat out the then-evil demon Michael's torture systems over 800 times.
  • Became Their Own Antithesis: Eleanor spends Seasons 1-3 as a Cosmic Plaything who consistently undergoes Character Development to become a better person. The tables turn in Season 4 where, as Michael's compassionate Dragon-in-Chief, she runs the new experiment and gets a taste of what he was dealing with, including lying to everyone for the greater good and trying to improve the new humans' characters.
  • Being Good Sucks: In Season 3, Eleanor is annoyed when her conscience tells her to do good when it's a great inconvenience to her. Like when she returned a wallet and didn't take the money, though she is moved to tears when the owner says that he was more worried about losing his daughter's drawing within the wallet and says Eleanor is a good person. She was very close to destroying her mother's new life, and no one would blame her since Donna Shellstrop is a horny, embezzling dog-killing liar that destroyed her first daughter's childhood. The only reason Eleanor didn't is that she refused to hurt her new stepsister Patricia, and instead told Donna to make sure not to fork up the little girl's life.
  • Berserk Button:
    • She lashes out at someone for asking, "Why are you like this?"
    • People taking the moral high ground. As in, not trying to take the high ground over her specifically, but in general, since it hits her insecurities and makes her lash out, as shown with one of her boyfriends in life, as well as the way she rants out Chidi when he calls her out on her behavior.
  • Big Sister Instinct: Much to her surprise, this mixes with her envy that Patricia is getting a better childhood than Eleanor ever did since Donna is being the mom to her stepsister that Eleanor always wanted. But Eleanor clues in that Donna is occasionally tempted to return to her old ways, and bluntly tells her to not fork up Patricia's life the way Donna forked up Eleanor's childhood.
  • A Birthday, Not a Break: The Season 2 finale reveals she died on her birthday. On her next birthday, she goes Drowning My Sorrows to a disguised Michael, who convinces her subtly to seek out Chidi and his lessons.
  • Brilliant, but Lazy: Eleanor is/was this, especially in her adult life. She was determined enough as a teen to work two jobs while attending high school and appears to have put herself through college. She even got a full-time job offer at a successful company, but she blew it off in favor of a commitment-free, morally dubious sales job and appears to have had zero ambitions before she died. In the afterlife, she's smart enough to get a B+ on a college-level essay on moral particularism (only slightly lower than the highly educated Tahani's grade) but she's so committed to being a self-absorbed slacker most of the time, she's almost on the same level as Jason.
  • Celebrity Crush: She has one for "Stone Cold" Steve Austin.
  • Celebrity Paradox: Her favorite movie is the clip of John Travolta saying "Adele Dazeem". Which he did to introduce her singing a song from a movie also starring Kristen Bell.
  • Character Development: She starts off as a completely selfish, reckless and amoral jerk, before becoming The Leader of Team Cockroach. Her changing under Chidi's tutelage ruins Michael's plan for an innovative Bad Place, which depended on her being a Static Character forever. In Season 2 she's matured from a selfish and childish person who cares about no one but herself to being the only one who passed Gen's test of character... and then lies about it when she found out everyone else failed. In Season 3, she becomes willing to shed her hard exterior and says Screw Destiny in the face of impending torture, on realizing that she had become a better person. She also uses her lying for the good of the new experiment when Michael has a breakdown.
  • Child Hater: Downplayed. While Eleanor certainly hates a number of things that pertain to children, such as baby showers, children's dance recitals, or people just talking about their kids, she doesn't appear to have much against children in general. She seems to like Donna's stepdaughter Patricia just fine (even if she is a bit jealous of the affection she receives from Donna that she herself never received at that age) and has even expressed interest at possibly being a mother in one episode.
  • The Cynic: When she was living, she believed that the world was so full of bad things and people that even trying to do anything good was pointless. Although under Chidi's influence she softens into the Knight in Sour Armour, her basic cynicism enables her to see through the Masquerade. Repeatedly.
  • Emancipated Child: She legally emancipated herself from Doug and Donna when she was only fourteen years old. They didn't put up a fight, and seemed happy to be rid of their responsibility towards her.
  • Everyone Has Standards:
    • She briefly hesitated over blowing off house-sitting for a friend because she didn't want to leave her friend's dog to starve. Her solution was to leave all the food out, which led to said dog getting morbidly obese but still alive.
    • No matter how she mistreats or insults Chidi, she insists that he is a good person with no ulterior motives. She asks outright why Chidi was sent to the Bad Place, since compared to her he never did anything wrong.
    • She tells off her mother for arriving drunk to Doug's funeral and insulting him; she doesn't say it, but she wants the space to grieve the only father she knew.
    • In "Rhonda, Diana, Jake, and Trent", she is the most adamant about No One Gets Left Behind when everyone schemes to escape Shawn. Michael has to distract her to push her into the portal to get to the judge because she was screaming at him to stop before Shawn caught him.
    • While she could be mean to kids outside of her family, she is remarkably kind to the kids who are related to her. She took a cousin on a nice outing for a churro dog, and upon meeting her stepsister Patricia, told their mother Donna to make sure that she didn't fork up Patricia's life the way that Donna messed up Eleanor.
  • Evil Can Not Comprehend Good: "Evil" is a bit too strong here, but when she was alive, she couldn't fathom people being genuinely nice and altruistic for the sake of it and always assumed they had some ulterior motive.
  • Freudian Excuse:
    • Part of the reason she's suspicious of Donna Shellstrop having reformed is that Donna never found a reason to reform for her and regularly emotionally abused her firstborn daughter. Donna killing her dog by accident and going into an inappropriate Kick the Dog speech towards Eleanor, who was at the oldest six or seven, was one such example.
    • She explicitly states post-Heel–Face Turn for real that her mother's emotional abuse was the reason why she never felt vulnerable enough to confess to a lover that she loved him or her.
  • Freudian Excuse Is No Excuse: Eleanor uses her neglectful parents and broken home as an excuse for her bad behavior. While her parents are genuinely awful, painfully self-absorbed and completely immoral, she eventually realizes that her past doesn't justify her actions.
  • The Friend Nobody Likes: In life, she was this with the co-workers she drank with. She didn't really like them either; she was only tagging along for the drinking, not the friendship. Even among her social circle, she was either too much of a jerk for some and too nice for others.
  • Good Feels Good: Eleanor is very excited when she realizes that she's started doing good things because she wants to, not just as a ploy to get to stay in the Good Place. When she gets a second chance at life, it starts out this way but starts falling apart after about half a year, until Michael secretly guides her toward Chidi.
  • Green-Eyed Monster: A little when it comes to Chidi.
  • Has a Type: Eleanor has a thing for mailmen, particularly if she can get them to take their shirt off in front of her.
  • Hate at First Sight: A key part of Michael's plan is that Eleanor will hate Tahani the minute they meet, for no real reason. This part is mentioned to consistently work during their stay in the Bad Place. While it's initially averted when they meet in Season 3, where their first meeting goes much better, Eleanor still takes joy in taunting and mocking Tahani when she can.
  • The Hedonist: When she was alive, she lived only to please herself and for instant gratification.
  • It's All About Me: When she was alive, this was her defining personality trait.
  • I Want My Beloved to Be Happy: Despite being attracted to Chidi and falling in love with him several times, Eleanor will always step aside if he showed interest in someone else. In Season 3, she starts falling for him as he teaches her ethics, but is beyond ecstatic on realizing that he's in love with Simone in the neuroscience department. She schemes to make sure Chidi asks Simone out on a date and later gains the courage to kiss her.
  • Inherently Attractive Profession: Eleanor's thing for mailmen repeatedly comes up. It's implied that the uniform plays a big role in this case.
  • Jerk-to-Nice-Guy Plot: Invoked. While an unrepentant jerk while alive, Eleanor attempts to become a better person in order to become deserving of the Good Place. Also the plot of "Somewhere Else", where she gets saved from death at the last minute and she tries to become a better person.
  • Jerkass Has a Point:
    • Eleanor is quick to point out everyone's flaws, suggesting that everyone is not as good as they seem - especially Tahani. She adds how it makes no sense to only pick the "best" people rather than have a place for "people who weren't terrible but not perfect." Michael and the Soul Squad come to agree with her.
      Eleanor: What, one in a million gets to live in paradise and everyone else is tortured for eternity?
    • When Chidi is down after being told his 3600 page book on ethics is a mess, Eleanor points out how "I get bored halfway through a text message" so even being able to write something so thick is an achievement to be proud of. This cheers Chidi up and gives him the motivation to rewrite his book.
  • Jerkass Realization: Eleanor was so self-absorbed that she never realized just how much of a jerk she was and thought of herself as a mildly decent person. When she is confronted with her past actions, she finally realizes just how nasty and selfish she was.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Eleanor is shown to be a flagrantly selfish, narcissistic and hedonistic person, but she does eventually admit to having felt some guilt for shirking her trash duties, and she's the only one who finds it wrong that people who weren't perfect but weren't utterly terrible are sent to a place of eternal torment after they die. Deep down, she is capable of great selflessness and compassion. Her confessing to not belonging in the Good Place to protect Chidi is the most heroic act she commits.
  • The Lad-ette: In many ways, she's written like a stereotypical uncouth man. She's also fond of women's MMA.
  • Lazy Bum: As part of the "brilliant, but lazy" thing noted above. Michael notes that in life, if the going got tough for Eleanor, she gave up, to the extent she just abandoned her car the minute the oil change light came on, or in another instance frequenting a coffee shop owned and operated by a pervert simply because it was closer to her apartment.
  • The Leader: She eventually ends up being the de facto leader of Team Cockroach, mainly the Headstrong type.
    Tahani: Oh, and to Eleanor, our unofficial leader. You pack a lot of heart and grit into that diminutive frame. Like a scrappy little auto mechanic.
  • Loners Are Freaks: From what "Someone Like Me as a Member" reveals, when she was alive, she disliked making any emotional or social connections with others to the point she quit a high paying job for the con job she had before she died because it was required she play games with her coworkers to form bonds. She also announced at a high school she transferred to when she was younger she didn't want to be friends with anyone and refused praise from another loner who respected her actions.
  • Lying to Protect Your Feelings: Just as Gen tries to tell that Eleanor was the only one to pass her test and earn the right to the Good Place, Eleanor steps in and lies about her failure, so nobody would feel guilty about sending her to the Bad Place.
  • Magnetic Hero: Surprisingly. She is able to convince everyone on Team Cockroach, even Michael, a bona fide demon, to work together to get them into the Good Place, and eventually, to change the system altogether.
  • Masculine Girl, Feminine Boy: Eleanor's the Masculine Girl and Chidi's Feminine Boy. Chidi is a nerdy, polite, well-mannered and slightly timid and neurotic intellectual who loves French poetry while Eleanor is a hyper-sexual, alcoholic, foul-mouthed, strong-willed and uncouth Lad-ette who says "man" a lot. These two care and support each other despite their obvious differences. Funny thing is that when they shared a house together in Episode 5, they acted like a stereotypical husband and wife but with the stereotypical gender role expectations reversed, where Chidi complains that he has to do all the chores while Eleanor is a slob.
  • Meaningful Name: One possible etymology for the name Eleanor comes from the life of Queen Eleanor of Aquitaine, who was christened "Aenor" after her mother and then dubbed "alia Aenor," "the other Aenor" in her native Occitan. Eleanor is also "the other Eleanor." She also shares her medieval counterpart's political savvy, flair for the dramatic, and talent for survival. Less historically, the name "Eleanor" contains all the letters required for "learn", which she most definitely does.
  • Messianic Archetype: As insane as it sounds, she essentially served as this. She was the person that managed to convince Michael of the capacity for goodness in every human, which led to the team figuring out and attempting to fix the rules that had doomed every human soul for over five centuries to The Bad Place, essentially making her the savior of the souls of humanity.
  • Minor Living Alone: She got herself emancipated at the age of fourteen, and from then on lived by herself. It's not clear if she continued going to school or had to drop out, but she mentions having to pretend to be older to get a job. The sad part is, she probably was better off this way than she was with her parents.
  • Never Speak Ill of the Dead: She told off her drunk mother for turning her dad's funeral into a "roast" when she just wanted some space to grieve.
  • No Good Deed Goes Unpunished: After time is reset so that none of the main characters ever died in the first place to see if they would change their ways without the goal of a reward, Eleanor does indeed start to make an effort to be a better person after surviving the incident at the supermarket. However, her honest persona starts to have negative consequences, such as confessing to her roommate that she was the one responsible for tearing her dress and the "dress bitch" shirts resulting in the loss of her friendship and leaving an apology note on a car she ran into resulting in her receiving a lawsuit from the owner.
  • Not So Different: In "The Trolley Problem", she notices that she and Michael have a disturbing amount in common. This is after she realizes that Micheal is actually a demon.
  • One Steve Limit: Played with. The pretense of her being in Neighborhood 12358W is that she died alongside another woman named Eleanor Shellstrop in the same accident, and when Vicky shows up they start referring to her and our Eleanor as "Real" and "Fake" Eleanor, respectively. In the end, though, Eleanor is the one and only.
  • The Paranoiac: Her cynical personality leads her to mistrust people, thinking they're silently judging her when they are (probably) doing no such thing, such as thinking various Rite-Aid employees were judging her purchases, or that Tahani is out to get her.
  • Parental Neglect: Much of her behavior is explained by a flashback revealing that Eleanor's parents were truly horrible people, total deadbeats who didn't even know her birthday and blew her college savings on bail money and various idiotic schemes.
  • Perverse Sexual Lust: In Season 3, a review of Attempt #445 shows that Michael knows that she has frequent sex dreams about Sam The Eagle from The Muppets, which Eleanor simply responds that she finds his authority reassuring.
  • Pintsize Powerhouse: It is frequently noted that Eleanor is quite short and petite. However, in the third season Bar Brawl she effortlessly knocks out the demon Vicky with one punch, and this is after Vicky had taken multiple blows from Janet with much less effect. Evidently, Eleanor knows a thing or two about bar fights.
  • Proud Beauty: Eleanor will occasionally comment about how attractive she is, even when not appropriate.
    Eleanor: (when trying to cheer Chidi up about Michael not seeming to take to his lessons) Teaching [Michael] to be good... it's like teaching me how to be not hot. How would you even do it? You'd have me hunch or something and then stand there and say "gurp, gurp, gurp"? I don't even know. I can't even picture it because I've been hot my whole life.
    Chidi: I'm sorry. Who is this conversation for again?
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: The Red Oni to Chidi's Blue Oni. She's a headstrong and impulsive Womanchild and, especially before her Character Development, very hedonistic, while Chidi is a levelheaded intellectual type and much more hesitant and thoughtful about his actions (to the point of paralyzing indecisiveness).
  • Savvy Guy, Energetic Girl: Energetic Girl to Chidi's Savvy Guy. She's generally reckless and more adventurous, while he's more of a straight-laced intellectual.
  • Single Woman Seeks Good Man: She would never admit it, but Eleanor's taste in men tends to go towards the Nice Guy Understanding Boyfriend who put up with a lot from her.
    • During her first lifetime, she dated a guy named Sam long enough for him to support her at her dad's funeral, and her issue with Sam was that he worried about hurting others with ethical choices. Sam was especially patient when Eleanor's drunk mother showed up and made a scene while emotionally abusing Eleanor.
    • She realizes in Season 1 that she fell in love with Chidi, who risked his stay in paradise to help her reform. Later, Eleanor is heartbroken to learn that Michael erased one reboot where Chidi returned her feelings and they admitted they loved each other.
    • Another past boyfriend of hers was a firefighter who saved children from burning buildings.
  • Sir Swears-a-Lot: Played it, Eleanor certainly has a colorful vocabulary. However, since the supernaturally enforced rules of the neighborhood forbid profanity, she just constantly talks about "forking benches" and such.
  • Snake Oil Salesman: Eleanor worked as a telemarketer selling fake medicines to sick seniors.
  • Spanner in the Works:
    • Eleanor, to the shock of everyone (including herself), genuinely reformed under Chidi's tutelage. This completely ruined Michael's plans and forced him to bring in Shawn to try and get things back under control. She also always figures out that she, Chidi, Tahani and Jason are all actually in The Bad Place, being used to torture each other.
    • In the second season, it doesn't matter what new tricks Michael comes up with to make the four humans think they're in the Good Place, most of the time it's Eleanor who figures out where they are. After it happens more than eight hundred times, Michael is forced to team up with them as the only way to break the eternal stalemate.
  • Spotting the Thread: She's surprisingly good at this, at least compared to the rest of Team Cockroach. In all of the iterations of the neighborhood, she's (almost) always the one that eventually notices that it's really the Bad Place for some small reason, and during the Judge's Secret Test of Character, she quickly notices that Chidi isn't the real Chidi based on an out-of-character remark.
  • Stepford Snarker: At one point, she is called out for constantly mocking others as a way to distract herself from the emptiness inside her. She admits this is a fair observation.
  • Street Smart: Eleanor doesn't fall easily for traps and has shown an ease to figure out when people are lying to her or plotting against her, she's a very good judge of character and capable of detecting small things that can be used as hints to figure out something when others are talking.
  • Suspiciously Specific Denial: Will often turn to a convoluted and very specific example from her own life when emphasizing a point, and will then proceed to deny that it's based on a true story. Eventually she starts admitting when they're based on actual events.
  • Tiny Tyrannical Girl: Because she's 5'1", she's a good deal shorter than everyone else in the main cast and most people on the show in general, but she still manages to intimidate people due to her short temper and headstrong nature.
  • Tomboy And Girly Girl: The Tomboy to Tahani's Girly Girl. Tahani is warm-hearted, has a feminine fashion sense, and is a social butterfly while Eleanor is a blunter Lad-ette.
  • Tomboy with a Girly Streak: Eleanor might be a crass, hypersexual Lad-ette, but she also enjoys celebrity gossip, keeping up with Kendall Jenner's Instagram feed as well as her entire family tree, and The Real Housewives of Atlanta. She also takes pride in her own beauty and brags about her hotness very frequently.
  • Took a Level in Kindness: Eleanor doing this deliberately, in the hopes of becoming the kind of person who deserves to be in The Good Place, is half the premise of the show. She succeeds to the point that she's willing to go to The Bad Place to spare those she feels are genuinely more deserving of paradise. It's only really started to stick in the Season 3 finale, because for once her memories aren't wiped and she pulls herself together to pose as the architect of the Fake Neighborhood.
  • Trademark Favorite Food: She really loves shrimp. Her Apology Gift from Michael is even an Infinite Shrimp Dispenser (a soda machine with shrimp in place of ice, with various dipping sauces).
  • Tsundere: Towards Chidi, no matter what iteration, as Mindy lampshades.
  • Undignified Death: Eleanor's memory of her own death was erased because it was "traumatic and embarrassing". She bent over to pick up a bottle of "Lonely Gal" margarita mix in a parking lot, and a long column of shopping carts plowed into her. She was carried into the street and struck by a billboard truck advertising an erectile dysfunction pill. Funnily enough, the first EMT to arrive was an ex-boyfriend of hers...
  • Unsympathetic Comedy Protagonist: She's selfish, angry, spiteful... but it's not entirely unjustified and she does start trying to be better.
  • You Are Worth Hell: She told Chidi this in two timelines, saying no matter what happened to them in the Bad Place or the many dimensions, she loved him and that's all that mattered. Unusually for Chidi, he reciprocated her feelings.

    Chidi 

Chidi Anagonye

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/anagonye_chidi.jpg
"You know the sound that a fork makes in a garbage disposal? That's the sound that my brain makes all the time."
Portrayed by: William Jackson Harper, AJ Hudson (young)

"Okay, sure, but philosophy is about questioning things that you take for granted, and I, I just don't think that you're doing that."

A moral philosophy professor from Senegal and Eleanor's soulmate. Well, for the Eleanor who is supposed to be there. Roped into keeping her secret, Chidi becomes the mentor to this not awful (but definitely not great) person by teaching her how to be good.


  • Abusive Parents: Averted. He's the only one of the four whose parent weren't toxic and/or destructive. However, his helping them stay together is part of what made him so certain that everything had an answer if you spend enough time to find it. Amusingly, they were also the source of his first stomach ache, when they asked him as a baby if he liked his name.
  • Adorably Precocious Child: Flashbacks to his childhood reveal him to have been very precocious and a professor in the making, already pondering existential questions at a young age.
  • Adorkable: Chidi is more awkward than smooth, especially once his indecisiveness comes to light. Doesn't stop him from being a Clueless Chick Magnet.
  • Ambiguous Disorder:
    • Unnecessarily stresses over decision making all the time, to the point it has negative effects on his relationships with other people, making it likely he suffers from some sort of anxiety disorder. At one point Eleanor says he started working out because it helps with anxiety, implying he does suffer from it at least.
    • In "Tahani Al-Jamil", Chidi claims to have "directional insanity", a condition that was prescribed by doctors.
      Chidi: I once got lost on an escalator. So, not exactly Christopher Columbus.
  • Amnesiac Resonance: In Season 4, unlike any of the other times that he was in the fake neighborhood, Chidi can sense that he is being tortured. It's unclear if him seeing the Time-Knife in season 3 had anything to do with this, or that he was so happy before.
  • Badass Bookworm: When Michael set up the scenario for Chidi to teach Eleanor ethics, he didn't expect for the man to succeed. What's more, he would later do the same with Michael, and it was his idea to recreate the experiment to see if people can change after death. When Eleanor wakes him up and restores his memories, it's also his idea to reform the afterlife by testing them with scenarios that force them to grow as people, using the Bad Place demons.
  • Bad Liar: Refuses to tell lies if at all possible, and even considering telling one for an ethical reason twists him up in knots. As a result, he's terrible at it.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: When Michael messed with Chidi by reenacting the Trolley Problem, Chidi got so mad that he kicked Michael out and threatened his ability to become good enough to enter the Good Place. It comes to a head when he punches out Brent in Season 4 for calling Simone a "bench" and shoving him.
  • Black and Nerdy: A moral philosophy professor from Senegal who is neurotic, bookish, not good with confrontation, and considers rowing out to the middle of a lake while reading French poetry to be his idea of a good time in paradise.
  • Brick Joke: A running gag is Chidi's obsessive concern with the unethical production of the food he consumes. He is particularly convinced that the reason he was sent to the Bad Place was because he still drank almond milk even though he knew it was bad for the environment. However, as revealed in "The Book of Dougs", small innocent actions with negative consequences just like those are exactly the reason no one has made it to the Good Place in centuries.
  • Bunny-Ears Lawyer: For all his flaws, Chidi is a rocking awesome ethics professor. He manages to reform Eleanor in several hundred reboots in teaching her to be a good person, and it wasn't just because she fell in love with him during several of those; much later, he succeeds in reforming Michael, who is a demon, from someone who is an Affably Evil sadist into a literal Noble Demon that breaks the rules to save his friends' souls. As we see on Earth, his students like him and highly respect him.
  • Butt-Monkey: Bad things often happen to him for the sake of comedy.
  • Catch Phrase:
    • "I have / am getting a stomach ache."
    • "I am vexed, [addressee]! Vexed!"
    • A drawn out "what?"
  • Character Development:
    • More than anyone else on the show, Chidi's development is of a "three steps forward, two steps back" type thanks to his indecisive nature. Time and again he tries to become more decisive, and he even has long stretches where he succeeds... but then, when one of his decisions turns out to be wrong or have negative consequences, he tends to lapse back into indecisiveness for fear that he'll make another wrong choice. His development comes to a head in the Season 3 finale, as he makes the decision to willingly give up memories in order to ensure the success of the experiment, a choice that is no doubt the most decisive decision he's made in his entire life.
    • In Season 4, he's becoming more attuned to Spotting the Thread in the neighborhood, which is remarkable considering he's the one who gave up his memories and confidence to save the experiment. What's more, while he may not stand up for himself, he will stand up for others. His begging John to not blow Jason's cover has an impact, as John doesn't want to hurt Chidi or Jason. He also gains the confidence to stand up to Brent against the latter's racism and eventually punch him out for insulting Simone and shoving him.
    • By "The Answer" he is notably more serene, finally understanding that some things in life just don't have answers.
  • Character Filibuster: Once had an online lecture on Kantian philosophy that lasted three hours.
  • Clark Kent Outfit: Chidi is a nerdy professor and dresses like one most of the time, but Eleanor mentions that he is "surprisingly jacked". This is confirmed in Season 3 when he rips off his shirt during a breakdown and is shown to be quite well-built, more than characters of his archetype in fiction usually are anyways. It's eventually explained that he exercises to cope with stress.
  • Clueless Chick Magnet: Amusingly enough, he has had several different women vying for him at some point in the story (Vicky was faking it as part of her act, though her fixation on torturing him definitely raised some eyebrows), and he doesn't usually realize it until they spell it out for him. Notable because this doesn't tend to happen to characters of his archetype.
  • The Comically Serious: Chidi is a very serious gentleman but he can be bit awkward and neurotic at the same time so it results in some hilariously uncomfortable moments.
  • The Conscience: To Eleanor, since he is the one teaching her about ethics and how to be a better person. Eleanor even asks herself "What would Chidi do".
  • Cool Teacher: He's very patient with his students, both in the afterlife and in the real world. As he points out, ethics is the only thing he's certain about because he's studied it for years. In fact, his students are genuinely worried when he seems to have a nervous breakdown and tells them to embrace nihilism.
  • Cordon Bleugh Chef: During his brief Heroic BSoD, Chidi cared so little, he decides to make canned chili with candy and marshmallows in it. He seems to have normal tastes and cooking ability otherwise.
  • Cunning Linguist: Chidi speaks half a dozen languages in addition to his native French, including Latin, "just in case it comes back."
  • Demoted to Extra: Downplayed. He's no longer a main character for most of Season 4 due to his memory being erased, putting him out of commission for helping the others run the neighborhood... And yet because the entire experiment hinges on him, he's effectively the most important character, just Out of Focus. Even then, he is still a major supporting character, along with the other three humans in the new neighborhood. When he regains his memories, he goes back to being a main character.
  • The Ditherer: Chidi is the "can't see the forest for the trees" variant of this trope and this flaw is what got him sent to the Bad Place, due to how miserable it made everyone around him.
    • He possesses an immense amount of knowledge but it is all in constant conflict in his head, leading him to be unable to make even the simplest of decisions (such as choosing between a dry-erase board and marker or paper and pen).
    • His indecision is actually what killed him; he was hit by a falling AC unit while he was too busy making a decision.
    • This is such a defining part of his character that Gen, the all-powerful judge, tests him by telling him to choose between two hats. He spends 80 minutes preoccupied with deciding which choice is the right one, failing because he didn't realize that the point of the test was to make a simple choice.
  • Doorstopper: Chidi's life's work is a 3600 page monstrosity that attempted to encompass the entirety of human morality and ethics. Unfortunately, he contradicts himself so much that not even Michael, a near-omniscient supernatural being, can make sense of it.
  • Establishing Character Moment: Not to us, but to the universe. Mere moments after he's born, he gets a stomachache after his parents ask him if he likes his name.
  • Fatal Flaw: He is an extremely nice guy but his obsession with always doing the most ethical thing has ruined his life and poisoned his relationships with other people. He also spends so much time debating the rights and wrongs of a situation that he never makes any decisions, so he either lets the decision time out or he lets others decide for him, and even then he can't make it concrete.
  • The Finicky One: He's the indecisive and uptight Professor of Ethics and Moral Philosophy with extreme neuroses and the serves as the Straight Man to the other main characters.
  • Gentleman and a Scholar: He's an incredibly sophisticated and kind intellectual, though his obsession with morality and resulting indecisiveness do a lot of harm.
  • Heel Realization: Chidi realizes how much almond milk... no, his obsession and indecisiveness over doing the right thing led to him hurting everyone in his life and got him sent to the Bad Place.
  • Heroes Love Dogs: He's shown to be fond of dogs on multiple occasions, and mentions having had one as a kid that he really loved. When trying to find the right way to break up with Simone, he seriously considers giving her a dog as he does so just to lighten the blow, and in a flashback, we see him unable to choose between two adorable puppies.
  • Heroic BSoD: In Season 3, after he learns about his death, time in the Bad Place, and resurrection - and discovers that this knowledge dooms him to the Bad Place again because of the moral deserts problem, he loses morale entirely and embraces nihilism for the rest of the day.
  • Hollywood Nerd: Played with. Chidi is extremely ripped, but also a shy philosophy professor. According to Eleanor, this is because he once learned exercise helped with anxiety and then never stopped doing it.
  • Honor Before Reason: To the point of being a Principles Zealot. His strong moral code and refusal to budge on that often leads him to either do stupid things or otherwise put something important at risk. In "Rhonda, Diana, Jake, and Trent", he has a very hard time lying to the demons who think he's one of them because he very much against lying, even though he needs to or else he'll be condemned to eternal damnation.
  • Innocently Insensitive: For Chidi, the road to the Bad Place was literally paved with good intentions. He cared about the people around him and only wanted to live a moral life, but his tendency to overthink and obsess about taking the right path led to him being so indecisive that he hurt everyone around him.
  • Ironic Name: His given name means "God Lives". On one hand it's fitting for a moral philosophy professor that finds that the afterlife is real. However, in a show about what happens to you after you die, God is non-existent as a character. In fact, it's implied in-universe that there is no God, at least not as understood in modern Abrahamic religions, or any other religion for that matter (the closest thing so far would be Gen, referred to only as "The Judge"). And in Season 3, when a resurrected Team Cockroach accidentally find out about the afterlife and are automatically disqualified from their last shot at getting into the Good Place, Chidi, taking it the worst out of everyone, ends up reciting everyone's favorite Nietzsche quote:
    Dealer: Hey, do you wanna talk to God?
    Chidi: God is dead. God remains dead. And we have killed him. Who will wipe this blood off us? What festivals of atonement, what sacred games shall we have to invent? (Friedrich Nietzsche, 1882.)
    Dealer: I was just try'na sell you some drugs, and you made it weird! (runs off)
  • Know-Nothing Know-It-All: Chidi is a variation. While he knows a lot about morality and ethics, he is unable to present a concise, decisive view about his knowledge, having learned so much that he can't keep his thoughts straight. His 3,600 page book is a total mess where Chidi repeats himself, goes off on tangents and quite often contradicts what he just said. Chidi is naturally thrown to realize his life's work is worthless.
  • Lovable Coward: Chidi is timid, meek, neurotic and spineless but despite that, he was always sweet, kind and deeply cared for others he loved and the the fear of hurting those people makes him feel hurt.
  • Love at First Sight: He and Eleanor tend to click on seeing each other in a fair portion of reboots. In Reboot 1, Chidi was attracted to her before hearing her story. Eleanor only realizes she fell in love with him for real after he saves her from going to the Bad Place. On Earth, Eleanor becomes besotted with him after seeing a video of his lecture but doesn't feel vulnerable enough to express it especially since he was interested in Simone.
  • Masculine Girl, Feminine Boy: Chidi's the Feminine Boy to Eleanor's Masculine Girl. Chidi is a nerdy, polite, well-mannered and slightly timid and neurotic intellectual who loves French poetry while Eleanor is a hyper-sexual, alcoholic, foul-mouthed, strong-willed and uncouth Lad-ette who says "man" a lot. These two care and support each other despite their obvious differences. Funny thing is that when they shared a house together in Episode 5, they acted like a stereotypical husband and wife but with the stereotypical gender role expectations reversed, where Chidi complains that he has to do all the chores while Eleanor is a slob.
  • Meaningful Name:
    • 'Chidi' is one of the names that can mean 'God lives' in Igbo, a language spoken in Nigeria, where Chidi was born before he moved to Senegal. This is even directly stated in the show by Kamilah. Fitting for a show set in the afterlife.
    • 'Anagonye' comes from three separate Igbo words that combine to mean 'to build from the ground up,' which Chidi does by giving Eleanor and later all of Team Cockroach entry-level ethics lessons to help improve her non-existent morals. Also, though pronounced differently, it has the word 'agony' in it, which handily describes his secret-keeper situation.
  • Morality Pet: He helps Eleanor change for the better no matter the circumstance. Eleanor, who will otherwise insult him and other people, keeps emphasizing that Chidi is a good person and he deserves better than what he got. Taken Up to Eleven when he gets Michael, a literal demon, to pull a Heel–Face Turn through his ethics lessons.
  • Morality Chain: He also functions as one of these to Team Cockroach, constantly analyzing their actions to help them make the best decision.
  • Mr. Fanservice: Very rarely the case due to his personality, but apparent when he takes off his shirt, due to his rather impressive figure underneath.
  • Nerd Glasses: Thick black rectangular ones, just to mark that he's the resident professor. Also possibly counts as Purely Aesthetic Glasses, since he can't possibly be in need of them in the afterlife.
  • Nervous Wreck: Doing anything immoral, no matter how slight, turns Chidi into a wreck. He obsessed over a white lie he told his coworker for three years.
  • Nice Guy: Like many of those in the Good Place, Chidi is kind and morally upstanding. Though initially conflicted about whether or not he should help Eleanor stay, he decides go through with it even though it puts himself in extreme danger as well. Michael even notes that he was the closest of the main four to getting into the real Good Place. Not actually close, but closer than the other three.
  • No Sense of Direction: He claims to have what doctors call "directional insanity". Apparently he once got lost on an escalator.
  • No Social Skills: Chidi's quite the awkward nerd and he's sometimes oblivious of how his obsessiveness nature can be insufferable to other people around him.
  • Non-Action Guy: Despite being "surprisingly jacked", he's not good at physical fighting. In the fight scene in "Don't Let the Good Life Pass You By", he spends his time getting dragged around, while the others get hits in on the demons.
  • Not So Above It All: In the new experiment in "Pandemonium," he giggles with Eleanor about kissing her in view of the test subjects since it's like he's dating his boss. He also says he wants to get horny with her while she says she wants to talk about philosophy.
  • Obliviously Evil: In life, Chidi really tried to be a good person, but as Michael pointed out, his rigidity and indecisiveness made everyone around him suffer.
  • Official Couple: With Eleanor, as demonstrated in Season 3. (And Michael made them soulmates.)
  • OOC Is Serious Business:
    • During his nervous breakdown in "Jeremy Bearimy", Chidi started acting like Eleanor. He put on a shirt without paying for it at a grocery store, bought a bunch of junk food, and then gave a "World of Cardboard" Speech to his students about how nothing matters and they should embrace nihilism and do what they want, and no exam since he's just going to eat candy chili. He only snaps out of it when Eleanor, in full Hourglass Plot, convinces him they should do good anyway since it does matter].
    • He says that his college thesis was his life's work and everything he wanted to accomplish. Chidi is actually happy in Season 3 when the university fires him for having a nervous breakdown in front of the students.
  • Opposites Attract: The rational and studious college professor Chidi comes to realize that he's in love with Eleanor, who is a lazy and impulsive underachiever.
  • Out of Focus: For half of Season 4, ironically for the same reasons as why he was so central a character of the other seasons.
  • The Perfectionist: He's extremely cautious with his own morality and panics when he feels like he's made a wrong choice so he obviously aims for a perfect life.
  • Phrase Catcher: "This is why everyone hates moral philosophy professors" has been thrown his way more than once.
  • Poke the Poodle:
    • His idea of being rebellious as a child was sneaking into his parents' study and reading the unabridged dictionary. Eleanor is dumbfounded that not only was the worst he ever did as a kid, he's quietly proud of it.
    • When the team is forced to infiltrate the real Bad Place and blend in for a while, he poses as a torture expert demon (in decapitations) and is pressed to come up with an especially bad torment. After he gets over his aversion to lying, he tells them to... force them to read books.
  • Properly Paranoid: Not that it helped him, but it turns out in Season 3 that his ethical paranoia over even the seemingly smallest actions was not unjustified.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: The Blue Oni to Jason and Eleanor's Red Oni. They are headstrong, impulsive, and, especially before Character Development, very hedonistic, while Chidi is a levelheaded intellectual type and much more hesitant and thoughtful about his actions (to the point of paralyzing indecisiveness).
  • Right for the Wrong Reasons: A Running Gag is that whenever Chidi discovers that he is in the Bad Place, he thinks it is because he drank almond milk in-spite of how detrimental growing almonds is for the environment. In Season 3, it is revealed that long-term consequences for seemingly innocuous actions in a world as complex as 21st-century Earth has caused everyone who had died in the last 500 years to go to the Bad Place. So technically, Chidi did go to the Bad Place for drinking almond milk (among other things).
  • Savvy Guy, Energetic Girl: Savvy Guy to Eleanor's Energetic Girl. She's generally reckless and more adventurous, while he's more of a straight-laced intellectual.
  • Secret Keeper: He's the first person Eleanor confesses to that she's not the person everyone else thinks she is. Since she made him promise not to betray her, he can't tell anyone else, so he tries to help her learn how to be a good person worthy of staying in the Good Place.
  • Seen It All: Literally, when he got all of his memories and reboots restored, including seeing the Time Knife. The two challenges closes to breaking Chidi's mind, "Jeremy Bearimy" and the Time Knife, no longer affect him, to the point that by the finale, he makes a calendar out of the former, and gives a No-Sell to the latter.
  • Shirtless Scene: Gets shirtless in "Jeremy Bearimy" after embracing nihilism.
  • Skewed Priorities: His inability to make a decision sometimes leads him to prioritize the trivial over the important. He missed his mother's back surgery because he was already committed to helping his landlord's nephew set up a new phone.
  • The Smart Guy: Chidi is the one who uses his knowledge about ethics to guide Eleanor during her quests.
  • Spanner in the Works: No one expected Chidi to be as good of a teacher as he turns out to be. Eleanor genuinely turns over a new leaf and consequently completely screws up Michael's evil plan and forces him to bring in Shawn to try and salvage the situation.
  • Straw Nihilist: Played for Laughs in "Jeremy Bearimy". Chidi starts talking like this after he has a breakdown due to having learned about the afterlife. This includes quoting Friedrich Nietzsche's "God is dead" speech, and telling all his students to become nihilists.
  • Straw Vulcan: Chidi's entire personality was born from the (false) assumption that everything can be explained through careful research, consistently weighing options and finding the objective truth with no heart to give it direction. This has made him a ditherer who could not make an easy decision no matter how simple or inconsequential for fear of making the wrong decision and the potential consequences of that failure.
  • Throw the Dog a Bone: As of "You've Changed, Man" it's revealed that his point total did increase during the new experiment, and the Soul Squad trusts him enough to come up with a viable solution to reforming the afterlife. Which he does, with aplomb!
  • Token Good Teammate: He's the most unambiguously nice of the main four, has no corrupt and selfish motives, and his indecision was rooted in good intentions. On the other hand, Chidi saw what his obsessive indecisiveness did to the people around him yet made no effort to change.
  • Tomato in the Mirror: Like Tahani. By the standards of the Celestial Bureaucracy, he's a bad person, and therefore in the Bad Place. He had accepted the idea that they were in the Good Place because it validated his concept of himself as a good person.
  • Trademark Favorite Food: Consistently shown to really like almond milk, even though he knows how bad it is for the environment.
  • Understanding Boyfriend: He's this with Eleanor after they actually fall for each other. A shining example is when she has a breakdown because their relationship seems too perfect, and he sits by her and gently assures her not to worry about the future too much.
  • Unrequited Love Switcheroo: Normally in a reboot, Eleanor is in love with him, and he can't decide if he wants to be with her. In one, shortly before Eleanor realized her soulmate's bad song was torture and "THIS is the Bad Place!" yet again, Chidi was upset when Eleanor left ethics class earlier to attend said soulmate's performance.
  • Uptight Loves Wild:
    • Chidi is a sophisticated and pragmatic ethics professor with a sense of perfectionism when it comes to morals who wants a stable life and dreams of meeting his soulmate but in the "Good Place", he ends up with the wilder and more impulsive Eleanor but despite her many flaws, he is very caring and loyal towards her and later develops mutual romantic feelings with her.
    • He also plays the Uptight to the more relaxed Simone.
  • Will Not Tell a Lie: He wants to be unrelentingly honest because it's the ethical thing to do, which causes problems when the team has to lie their way through a Bad Place event.
  • Yank the Dog's Chain: In at least one reboot and in the alternate timeline, he and Eleanor became a serious couple, and Eleanor admitted that she loved him. Michael undid the first relationship while taunting Eleanor and Chidi that their love wasn't real because he orchestrated it, and in the second Chidi willingly sacrifices his memories so that his previous relationship with Simone won't affect the experiment involving her soul in the fake neighborhood.
  • You Are Worth Hell: He told Michael in the pet reboot that it didn't matter how they were tortured, because he and Eleanor are soulmates. In Season 3, he comforts Eleanor about the uncertainty of their future together by telling her she is worth it wherever they are, and Jeremy Bearimy means they have all of eternity to fall in love again.

    Tahani 

Tahani Al-Jamil

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/al_jamil_tahani.jpg
"I would say I outdid myself, but I'm always this good. So I simply did myself."
Portrayed by: Jameela Jamil, GraceAnne Pullappally (young)

"You know, this really reminds me of my time in Vietnam, picking up mortar shells with my godmother, Diana. Doesn't really matter what she's a princess of. It's not really important."

A wealthy British socialite and Eleanor's next-door neighbor.


  • Abusive Parents: Her parents heaped praise on her sister, while barely acknowledging any of her accomplishments, and belittling those they do. And they topped it all off by misspelling her name as "Tahini" ("like the sauce") in their will.
  • The Ace: During her life, she raised $60 billion for non-profit groups and also worked as a museum curator, a fashion model, an "It Girl" and was Baz Luhrmann's muse. She frequently name-drops extremely famous celebrities as friends or people she's influenced, and when she does so in front of a truth-testing device, it confirms it as true.
  • Accidental Hero: This happens twice, as a matter of fact. She's the reason that the Soul Squad got to see the Judge! When Eleanor jokingly said that Tahani would always ask to see the manager after the entire team was Drowning My Sorrows, Tahani actually realizes it's a good idea. She says they should go see the Judge and plead their case. Cue about two years of Earth time where everyone realizes the morality system is broken, including Gen. The second time, Tahani while trying to help Jason and Janet with their feelings, vents to Michael about how her good intentions are undone by unexpected consequences. This leads to Michael's Eureka Moment on why the points system is broken.
  • Actually Pretty Funny: She finds some humor in the fact that she failed her test before the Judge to talk to her parents, who aren't real, and they still talk about Kamilah. After they insult her weight and talk about her sister, Tahani smiles and says even in this scenario they haven't changed for the better.
  • Always Someone Better: In spite of seeming to be almost insufferably perfect, she developed a deep inferiority complex because her sister Kamilah was even more successful and multi-talented, and her parents very openly played favorites.
  • Ambiguously Bi: She dates Jason in Season 2, but she sometimes gets quite affectionate with Eleanor, as well, and doesn't seem to mind the fact that Eleanor openly has a thing for her. The two were even made soulmates in at least one of the reboots, and from what little we saw, Tahani didn't seem averse to the idea of a female soulmate.
    Eleanor: (translating Tahani's name) "Congratulations, beautiful."
    Tahani: (smiling) Thanks, Eleanor. You big flirt.
  • Attention Whore: Tahani's many accomplishments were born from her insatiable desire for praise and recognition. She falls victim to this even when she knows the demons are using it to try and torture her.
  • Bad "Bad Acting": Her initial attempts at acting like an average Joe during Team Cockroach's infiltration of the real Bad Place leaves a lot to be desired. She improves to the point of still being bad, but barely passable.
  • The Beautiful Elite: Born into a wealthy English family, Tahani had access to the finest fashions and regularly mingled with high-name celebrities; to the point her diary includes a foreword by Kylie Minogue and Malala Yousafzai.
  • British Stuffiness: Her plummy British demeanor is often Played for Laughs.
    Tahani: As us Brits are fond of saying: try your best to hide your sadness!
  • Broken Ace: Tahani is a mess of self-esteem issues and is unable to handle being anything less than the best. She also hides her disappointment in being unable to connect with her soulmate Jianyu. And then there's her family...
  • Butt-Monkey: A Downplayed example. While lauded by most everyone in the Good Place, Michael (who's consistently nice to everyone) often is frustrated by her narcissism and puts her down a lot.
  • Calling the Old Man Out: She calls out a hypothetical version of her mother and father in "Burrito," pointing out what lousy parents they were to her, and how doing everything they'd never approve of is what's finally made her happy.
  • Character Development: In Season 3, thanks to not losing her memories, she realizes that she wants to be good just for the sake of being good and not for any attention. Janet encourages her to make amends with Kamilah to save her sister from damnation, and Tahani realizes that blaming herself for their rivalry isn't the right way when their parents were "wankers". When she learns that Jason, who is her legal husband, was once married to Janet, she puts aside any mixed feelings she has about Jason and encouraged him to talk with Janet about it; while the actions backfired, it was very selfless of Tahani. Season 4 has her priming her Stiff Upper Lip to talk with her old harasser John, in the hopes of saving his soul in the new neighborhood. It all comes to a head in the final episode, where she dedicates her afterlife time to mastering multiple practical skills and then deciding to forgo on passing through the final door to become an afterlife architect so she can apply her knowledge to helping the new souls that pass through the afterlife, becoming a true philanthropist.
  • Combat Pragmatist: When dragged into a brawl with demons, all of whom are skilled fighters, and many of whom are much bigger than Tahani (making physically overpowering them nearly impossible), she grabs a pool cue, boasting twelve years of fencing experience... and promptly beans a demon over the head with the stick, forgoing any flashy display of her skills in favor of just hitting him as hard as she possibly can.
    Tahani: Obviously, I'd never do that during a competition. That'd be a three-tenths deduction!
  • Conspicuous Consumption: She apparently wears bras made of gold.
    Tahani: Darling, do you remember all the rules about what can and cannot be worn inside an MRI? More specifically, what if one's brassiere is very thin, but also very pure gold?
  • D-Cup Distress: Lampshaded by Tahani herself.
    Tahani: Couture just doesn't fit my body. I'm cursed with ample bosom.
    Eleanor: And yet you soldier on.
  • Desperately Craves Affection: Tahani is always fishing for compliments and praise from people due to being denied it by her parents.
  • The Fashionista: Tahani is always seen wearing elegant dresses and cares about designer fashion, and when the neighborhood in emergency mode magically puts everyone in bright blue-yellow striped outfits her clothes is the first thing that reasserts itself as things go back to normal, in an apparent act of pure will on her part. That's right, Tahani's fashion sense is strong enough to warp reality.
    Tahani: That was my first time as a Fashion Don't, and I did not care for it!
  • First World Problems: Because she's an extremely wealthy socialite, she's rather out-of-touch. In the first season, she mentions her Bad Place torture would be being forced to wear a knockoff handbag and drink tap water. In the second season, she thinks her version of the Bad Place would be an eternity spent in the Swiss Alps during the off season, emphasizing "off season" as if she was disgusted. Chidi (in the first instance) and Eleanor (in the second) react with disbelief.
    Chidi: That's what you think Hell is?
  • Freudian Excuse: Growing up with parents who refused to show affection or praise for anything while lavishing it on her sister, who was always the center of attention and actively contributed to Tahani's feelings of inferiority, would leave anyone with a serious complex.
  • Heel Realization: She eventually realizes that all the good acts she's performed were rendered meaningless, because she only did them for praise and recognition, rather than because they were good deeds. Happens again a season later when the Bad Place is torturing her by making her throw unsuccessful parties, and she realizes that it's working, which makes her realize that she's a frivolous, prideful person.
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: She and Eleanor become this in Season 4, while Eleanor is heartbroken about Chidi losing his memories and having to stop Simone from destroying the neighborhood. Tahani insists on hugging her and constantly offers comfort. She tells Eleanor after getting her memories of the 802 reboots that she wants to be a better friend to her and hates how petty their rivalry was. Elanor eventually admits that Tahani is her best friend in "The Funeral To End All Funerals".
  • History with Celebrity: Exaggerated to the point of parody. Tahani can always find an opportunity to namedrop her famous friends and acquaintances even if the situation doesn't call for it, and the actions of afterlife beings like Michael and the Judge suggest that most, if not all, of these connections are real. To start with, she can apparently count Princess Diana, Paul McCartney, Maggie Smith, and Big Ben (yes, the clock) among her godparents.
  • Hoist by Their Own Petard:
    • Quite tragically, she died trying to bring down Kamilah's statue when her sister insulted her, after sneaking in and telling off Kamilah for not inviting her. What's worse is no one had the sense to stop her until Michael interfered in the new timeline.
    • In Michael's second attempt, Tahani gets a unique punishment fitting for the Bad Place: She must live the humble life she claims she always wanted, living in a crappy shack of a home, eating bad food and dressing in cargo pants. Her every attempted protest is cut off by Michael saying this is meant to be the humble and caring woman Tahani claimed to be so she has to bear it.
  • Humiliation Conga: The events leading up to her death were pretty bad, even by the standards of this show. First, she got an interview about an upcoming relief trip to Haiti she was taking... except all the interviewer wanted to talk about was Kamilah, even referring to Kamilah as an only child to Tahani's face. We then find out Kamilah was being inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (they decided to just waive the 25-year waiting period, because, naturally, Kamilah's album was that good), and Kamilah didn't even invite Tahani to the party. So, Tahani decided to dress up as a waitress and confront Kamilah. Kamilah mocked Tahani in front of all her friends, and said Tahani was just embarrassing herself, as always. When asked if that was really how she thought of Tahani, Kamilah simply said that she doesn't think of Tahani, period. Then Tahani turned around and saw a gold statue of Kamilah. This proved to be the straw that broke the camel's back, and Tahani had a Freak Out and began to try and tear the statue down, in full view of the crowd, and succeeded... by bringing it down onto herself. To make matters worse, she died in Cleveland.
  • I Am Very British: She keeps her posh British accent in the afterlife, and Eleanor mocks it a few times.
  • I Just Want to Be Loved: Ultimately, this is the crux of her problems. Even though she had many friends and admirers, lived an incredibly exciting life, and has a list of accomplishments that most people could never dream of achieving a fraction of, Tahani wasn't ever really happy. All she wanted was to gain the same level of recognition and appreciation that Kamilah got, especially from their parents. It's hard not to wonder if Tahani would've turned out this way if her mother and father had raised her with love and affection. Towards the end of Season 2, Tahani begins to make steps towards growing out of this issue. She breaks up with Jason so she can learn to stand on her own two feet, and finally accepts that her parents would never treat her well, no matter what she did — and that's their problem, not hers. The reason why she and Eleanor have a better relationship in Season 3 is because Eleanor is the first person to not praise Kamilah in Tahani's presence, and who admits that she needs the Brainy Bunch as much as Tahani needs true companionship.
  • Inferiority Superiority Complex: Tahani is always praising herself, to the point of annoying Eleanor and Michael. She is thrown for a loop when she discovers she's second-to-last in the rankings of everyone in the Good Place and puts herself in danger by abandoning the curfew Michael set up to fix the sinkhole to help them out. The fact that all her charitable works were done in the name of self-aggrandizement rather than altruism got her sent to the Bad Place.
  • Informed Attribute: Jameela Jamil is certainly a tall woman (1.8 m), but the show has lots of jokes that make it sound as though she towers over everybody (as in S04E12, "Patty," where she says that she feels like Dorothy arriving in Oz, as she's taller than everybody else). She doesn't — for instance, she shares many scenes with 6-foot-2 Michael and Janet, who's a mere inch shorter. Justified, as her height is apparently a point of pride for Tahani herself, so she understandably milks it.
  • Innocently Insensitive: Has a habit of doing this, talking to Eleanor about "belonging" in the Good Place while unaware she doesn't, and throwing a happy retirement party for Michael before learning that retirement for Architects is not pleasant and that the pinata she made of him happens to be in extremely poor taste. More seriously, in Season 3 she gets married to Jason to share her money with him after they all get condemned to the Bad Place... completely forgetting she's engaged to Larry, who shows up with their suitcases to go to the airport.
  • Ironic Death: It's finally revealed in "Team Cockroach" she died crushed under a massive gold statue of her sister. She's most upset about the fact that it happened in Cleveland.
  • It's All About Me:
    • Downplayed. Most of her warm philanthropic appearance is a front and she greatly values surface gloss and receiving praise, but she is capable of acknowledging other peoples' feelings (even if it takes her a bit of a run-up).
    • A recurring problem for Eleanor and Chidi in Season 1 is Tahani trying to force "Jianyu" to break his vow of silence, not caring about his apparent view on the matter. When it looks like he has started speaking, Tahani leaps to the assumption that Eleanor and Chidi did this as a surprise for her. After that, she assumes she and Chidi are soul-mates, declares her love for him, and never once considers he doesn't return the feelings (as Eleanor points out, her declaration is more telling him he loves her than anything else).
  • Jerkass Has a Point: The way everyone ignores her in order to gush about her sister Kamilah would give most people a serious complex. And despite her selfish motives, Tahani did accomplish some truly remarkable things through hard work and dedication yet everyone was always fixated on Kamilah. Plus Kamilah is a very callous and self-centered person as well.
  • Jerkass Realization:
    • In the first season finale, it finally hits her that she's in the Bad Place because all her "charity work" was just for attention and her own ego rather than helping others.
    • In "Team Cockroach", Michael shows Tahani that she died by accidentally crushing herself beneath her sister's statue, in a juvenile attempt to deal with her envy, rather than going to Haiti to help with the relief efforts like she planned. It makes Tahani truly realize that all the good things she did while she was alive were just for the attention and an attempt to measure up to Kamilah. Breaking down at the fact she wasted her life, she now wants to learn to be the woman she always believed she was.
    • She gets her memories of the reboots back in "Employee of the Bearimy" and tells Eleanor expressly that she wants to be a better friend to her. Tahani admits that she wasn't very nice in the first timeline and wants to treat Eleanor better.
  • Lonely Rich Kid: She grew up very wealthy but with parents who showed her zero affection or kindness, and a younger sister who was raised to be her competition and superior.
  • Lovable Alpha Bitch: She was the social center of the Good Place during her initial stay there, and while she is very self-centered, she does care about her friends and will do what she can to help them.
  • Meaningful Name: Lampshaded by her. In Arabic, Tahani means 'congratulations' and Al-Jamil is 'beautiful', so her full name means 'congratulations, beautiful'.
  • Motor Mouth: She's an annoying chatterbox who literally said that she "adores talking" and has a tendency to name drop celebrities every time she talks about things in her past.
  • Ms. Vice Girl: As condescending, arrogant, and shallow as she is, Tahani's too kindhearted to really qualify as a Jerk with a Heart of Gold, and she did do a whole lot of good. Yes, her motivations were corrupt, but she still helped a lot of people when she was alive.
  • Nice Girl:
    • Played with. One has to be one by default to get into the Good Place, and Tahani raised millions for charity on top of that. Eleanor initially suspects this to be a front, but finds that while Tahani is obliviously condescending and self-absorbed, she is genuinely well-meaning, compassionate and sweet. However, she is still a bit too snobbish and Secretly Selfish to be a truly straight example.
    • It's played straighter in Season 3 where after all the Soul Sqaud gets condemned, she decides to give her money away to charity and people on the street — the latter at Jason's suggestion — and resolves to do good for the same of being good rather than trying to measure up to Kamliah. While she still reverts to childish behavior in her sister's presence, she manages to settle their rivalry. When Eleanor confesses about how she has feelings for Chidi after learning they were a couple in the fake Good Place, Tahani gives her kind advice to tell Chidi if Eleanor wants to date him again, and assumes they must have all been friends in the fake neighorbood. Eleanor doesn't have the heart to tell the truth.
  • No Sense of Personal Space: Early on, aside from the many innocently insensitive comments she makes, Tahani had a habit of "booping" Eleanor on the nose, which Eleanor really doesn't like. She drops this in Season 3.
  • Not So Different:
    • Both she and Eleanor just wanted to be loved by their parents and the actions they took because of that lack of love drove them to the behavior that sent them to the Bad Place. They bond over this in season 3 when Tahani pays for Eleanor's flight to Arizona to confront her mother.
    • Part of the reason why and Larry Hemsworth rekindled their relationship and got engaged is because they both have been overshadowed by their siblings and feel like no one appreicates their accomplishments. They even share a laugh over it when Michael and Janet orchestrate their meeting.
    • She also realises that while John was skulking on his website, jealous and miserable and with no real friends, she was jet-setting with the beautiful elite...while being jealous and miserable and with no real friends. It inspires her to start genuinely reaching out to him.
  • Opposites Attract: Tahani, the rich and sophisticated socialite, gets together with the dimwitted and immature Jason in Season 2.
    • Across the various reboots, she gets paired as supposed "soul mates" with Jason, Eleanor, and Chidi. And goes with it with no objections every time.
  • Overshadowed by Awesome: While considered one of the most talented and sophisticated people in the Good Place, Tahani all through her life was constantly outdone by her sister Kamilah. It got so bad that a reporter interviewing Tahani about her accomplishments starts asking questions about Kamilah instead and completely forgets about Tahani, to the point where she mistakenly identifies Kamilah as an only child! It's indicated the only reason her death is memorable at all is because she was crushed by a gold statue of her sister. In Cleveland.
  • Parody Sue: Tahani is initially presented as one when her many achievements are first detailed, but it's subverted when it is revealed that she is incredibly spoiled and self-centered. All her efforts were just a way to show to her parents that she was just as good as her younger sister Kamilah, who is the real Parody Sue and who outdoes Tahani in every possible area.
  • Pungeon Master: Enjoys naming her baked goods and desserts with themed puns. For example, at Michael's retiring party she had on display 'Retire-Mint' chocolate cake and 'Flan Voyage', and made donut holes when Michael and Janet were attempting to fix the giant sinkhole.
  • Proud Beauty: She's well-aware of her own attractiveness and is overall rather vain about it.
  • Rage Breaking Point: Kamilah is the only person who can inspire this out of her; Tahani and Eleanor will bicker, but Eleanor will never hurt her as much as her sister did. Tahani died after having a breakdown at Kamilah's latest party, snapping when her sister insulted her and called her out for making a scene. She tried to bring down a statue of Kamilah, only for it to crush her. In the new timeline, Tahani gets furious when Kamilah continues to insult her two years after said incident — one which snapped tahani out of her breakdown— and won't talk about their shared trauma, bringing a fire ax to break a table.
  • Rightly Self-Righteous: Much to Eleanor's chagrin, Tahani is a genuinely nice and caring person even if she can be a little condescending and boastful.
  • Running Gag: Tahani drops names at least thrice per episode, mentioning places she visit, things she did and how she is related to several celebrities.
  • Secretly Selfish: The many good deeds she performed in her life were negated by the fact that she only did them to gain attention and try to outdo her sister.
  • Sheep in Sheep's Clothing: Tahani is more than a little self-righteous and obliviously condescending, but otherwise every bit as kind as she appears, despite Eleanor's suspicions. Tahani is so convinced that she is a good person that even she is shocked when she realizes her flaws, and it becomes the launching point for her character arc.
  • Shipper on Deck: In Season 3, she encourages Eleanor to confess her feelings for Chidi. She's horrified on realizing that that if Chidi wipes his memories, then he won't remember Eleanor.
  • Silk Hiding Steel: Played with; she often acts like this, but it turns out that she's much more emotionally fragile than she appears to be. In Season 3, she reveals that she can knock out a demon with a pool cue if her friends are in danger.
  • Sitcom Archnemesis: As Eleanor's plummy, seemingly perfect, upper class neighbor who is more than a little boastful and self-righteous, Tahani really gets on Eleanor's nerves. Turns out to have been invoked, as Michael expected that they'd grate on each other. It becomes subverted in Season 3, where Eleanor is kind to her during their "first" meeting on Earth, and they truly become friends. Come Season 4, they're working together to run the new experiment and Tahani insists on comforting Eleanor after Chidi gets his memories wiped.
  • Skewed Priorities: Tahani has a tendency to latch on to pointless details. For example, when Eleanor explains what's going on with the Good Place, Tahani's only response is when Eleanor states Chidi doesn't love her.
  • Slave to PR: Ultimately, Tahani's philanthropy and good deeds were all to look good and outdo her younger sister.
    Tahani: I was supposed to be in Haiti being photographed helping people...
  • Sliding Scale of Beauty: She's of the Level II, World-Class variety, bordering on Divine level despite being a mortal human. Eleanor is conventionally beautiful and frequently owns her hotness; Janet is a very pleasant-featured not-lady who also knows she's pretty. But Tahani's drop-dead gorgeousness is an omnipresent aspect of her life and character, to the point that a Good Place employee — who, according to Michael's description of the show's supernatural entities, shouldn't even be able to identify physical attractiveness by human standards — is stunned by her beauty (and Jason's!).
  • So Beautiful, It's a Curse: Played for laughs. Tahani mourns not being able to wear haute couture because of her large cup size, and her pores are so miniscule that that leave-on face masks don't stick to her skin.
  • Socialite: She was this in life; she spent her days mingling with the upper class and raising money for charity.
  • Spoiled Sweet: Zigzagged. Though Eleanor believed her to be a rich Bitch in Sheep's Clothing, Tahani reveals herself to be kind and generous who used to her wealth to benefit the needy and all sorts of charity groups. Though it turns out that Eleanor wasn't entirely wrong; Tahani did those things to inflate her own ego, which is why she's in The Bad Place. However, when her memories are rebooted and she (re)learns the true nature of the afterlife in Season 3 she becomes genuinely devoted to helping people, to the point of straight-up handing out wads of cash to people on the street.
  • Statuesque Stunner:
    • Is acknowledged by everyone—including Eleanor, who calls her a "sexy skyscraper" despite herself—to be very attractive, and at one point Eleanor acknowledges that Tahani "has legs for days." Jameela Jamil was a former model and is the second tallest member of the main cast; Tahani is taller than Jason and Chidi.
      Tahani: I'm just a girl, towering over a boy, asking him to admit he loves me.
    • Tahani's height is evidently a point of pride for her; the Bad Place even exploits this in the first reboot by claiming her soulmate is a man a head shorter than her.
  • Stepford Smiler: Her flashbacks make it clear that, for all her wealth, sophistication, and fame, she was not a happy person. Of course, looking at her family and the way everyone treated her in comparison to Kamilah, it's not hard to see why. It gets better in the afterlife, when she meets the others.
  • Successful Sibling Syndrome: Suffers from this due to living her entire life in her sister Kamilah's shadow.
  • Supreme Chef: In Season 1, she was always baking and Eleanor admitted her cooking was good. This trait was dropped in the next few seasons.
  • Tomato in the Mirror: By the standards of the Celestial Bureaucracy, she's a bad person, and therefore in the Bad Place. She had accepted the idea that they were in the Good Place because it validated her concept of herself as a good person.
  • Tomboy And Girly Girl: The Girly Girl to Eleanor's Tomboy. Tahani is warm-hearted, has a feminine fashion sense, and is a social butterfly while Eleanor is a blunter Lad-ette.
  • The Un-Favourite: All but outright stated to be the case. Her parents had unrealistic expectations for Tahani, unfavourably comparing her to Kamilah. When they died, they even misspelled her name in the will, calling her Tahini ("Like the sauce.").
  • Upper-Class Equestrian: Tahani mentions that of course she had a stable full of horses growing up, but they were only ever used to pull carriages and perform in horse ballets (dressage). Nevertheless, this is yet another posh and upper-class detail to her life.
  • Upper-Class Twit: A spoiled but good-natured and intelligent version, but on occasion, Tahani shows this aspect of herself, such as her idea of Hell being a vacation to the Alps in the off-season or being forced to wear a knockoff handbag, or considering marrying a duke "dallying below my station", or showing disdainful or dismissive attitudes towards working class type occupations ("I'm not a factory worker.").
  • Uptight Loves Wild: In Season 2, she's the "uptight" to Jason's "wild".
  • Wealthy Philanthropist: Born into an upper-crust British Pakistani family, she seemingly got into The Good Place by raising plenty of money for humanitarian causes.
  • "Well Done, Daughter!" Girl: Ultimately all her issues stem from never winning her parents' approval. In "The Burrito", she faces off against her parents one last time during her test, and finally gets closure, realizing she will never gain their approval over Kamilah, and she is better off not trying.

    Jason/Jianyu 

Jason Mendoza/Jianyu Li

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/mendoza_jason.jpg
"I'm ranking my favorite The Fast and the Furious movies. You said you wanted to know who I am, and this is the best way to get to know me."
Portrayed by: Manny Jacinto

"Yo, you should listen to me! I came up with hundreds of plans in my life and only one of them got me killed."

A Buddhist monk and Tahani's soulmate who took a vow of silence during his time on Earth, and continues to do so in the Good Place. Or so the other characters believe. In actuality, he's a "pre-successful" DJ and small-time criminal from Florida. Also quite possibly one of the stupidest people who has ever lived.


  • Achievement In Ignorance: During "Janets", Jason figures out how to use his temporary Janet powers with ease, while Eleanor has repeated problems with them.
  • Affably Evil: Not "evil" exactly, but he's a lot more outwardly friendly than his criminal past would suggest. He drops this characterization in season 3 after he joins the Brainy Bunch.
  • Ambiguous Disorder: He apparently has some kind of developmental disorder, but your guess is as good as ours. A doctor once called Jason's brain "as smooth as an egg," if that gives any indication.
  • Asian Airhead: A rare male example. Jason is so very dumb. For starters, he thinks the Good Place might be an alien zoo or a highly elaborate prank show. Also mispronounces ethics as "ethnics." He only avoided giving himself away immediately by pretending to be silent, and as soon as he starts speaking again he almost ruins his and Eleanor's chances of staying in the Good Place. He also thinks penguins aren't real.
  • Atrocious Alias: His stage name was "DJ Mr. Music." DJ Music for short. He also tries going by "Jake Jortles" instead of "Blake Bortles" when it's already known that he's obsessed with Bortles and it might blow his cover.
  • Attention Deficit... Ooh, Shiny!: Jason has the attention span of a goldfish, which is not helped by his lack of intelligence. At one point, Eleanor gets him to stop hindering their discussion by having Janet give him a sparkler to play with.
  • Berserk Button: Although Jason is normally too goofy and self-absorbed to get truly upset or angry, he does get very irritated when Tahani keeps calling him Jianyu long after he's stopped hiding his real identity.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Eleanor acknowledges that he's the nicest of the Soul Squad in due part to being too stupid to be a jerk. But in Season 2 he was instrumental to helping them escape the museum with a Molotov Cocktail, and in Season 4 he figures out a Bad Janet replaced our Janet, slapping magnetic handcuffs on her before Michael could turn himself into goo. When Tahani is terrified for our Janet being in the Bad Place and being tortured, still alive but conscious, Jason gets a Kubrick Stare and gives a Badass Boast: he's going to go to the Bad Place, punch Shawn in the mouth, and rescue Janet. Then he and Michael pull it off!
  • Blue-and-Orange Morality: He sees no problem with committing robbery and other serious crimes, but he has an extremely strong moral objection to lying or pretending to be someone else, to the point that he still struggles with it even if it's the only way to avoid eternal damnation.
  • Book Dumb: Much is made of his laack of applicable knowledge and how it impacts his life (even being what ended it), but he's still gained a lot of life experience to be Street Smart.
  • Brainless Beauty: Jason is definitely not the brightest of people, but as Eleanor notes multiple times, he's pretty easy on the eyes. In fact, his combination of good looks and earnest innocence eventually gets him caught in the center of the show's first legitimate Love Triangle.
  • Calling Parents by Their Name: As part of their carefree Floridian nature, Jason refers to his dad by his name Donkey Doug. He tries calling him Donkey Dad during a father-son bonding moment but the two of them decide it doesn't sound as nice.
  • Calling Your Attacks: Played for laughs. Yells out "BORTLES!" (referencing Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles) when he throws a Molotov in both his flashback and in "Mindy St. Claire". Gets a Call-Back in "Rhonda, Diana, Jake, and Trent" when posing as "Jake Jortles" — he yells "JORTLES" instead.
  • Catch Phrase: "Aw, dip", used in moments of realization. "The Ballad of Donkey Doug" suggests he got it, and "BORTLES", from Donkey Doug.
  • Celeb Crush: Apparently thinks Ariana Grande is the sexiest woman alive. He also wishes they were related.
  • Chaotic Stupid: Jason comes damn close to defining this alignment, having zero impulse control and a general inability to think of the consequences to his actions.
  • Character Development: It only really sticks in Season 3, but after his near-death experience, he becomes more introspective and empathetic towards others. He turns down a dance manager —Michael in disguise— because he wants to fix his life and find his purpose. Then he manages to assess that saving his father from damnation is impossible but he can still save his best friend. In Season 4, when trying to save his relationship with Janet after murdering Derek, Michael gives him a gentle lecture about not being so impulsive and reminding him why he got condemned the first time. Generally, throughout season 4 he shows a more empathetic and thoughtful side.
  • Chekhov's Skill: Molotov Cocktail-making. Introduced in "Jason Mendoza", used to stall a room full of demons chasing Team Cockroach in "Rhonda, Diana, Jake, and Trent". Also used as a Failed Attempt at Drama at the end of "Mindy St. Claire".
  • Cloud Cuckoolander: Has only the vaguest idea what's going on around him at any given time.
  • Combat Pragmatist: When the going gets tough, Jason doesn't waste any time before starting to chuck pool balls at his opponents' heads. When rescuing Janet from the Bad Place, he made it a point to pack a not-lie detector that turns demons into goo, so as to make their escape easier.
  • Comically Missing the Point: Jason only has a vague idea of what's going on around him at any given point, frequently played for laughs. When the humans infiltrate the real Bad Place and come across some (very cover-blowing) animatronics of themselves, he's thrilled by the sight and seems indifferent to both the danger and the unflattering portrayal the animatronics present.
  • The Cuckoolander Was Right: Though he's usually spouting nonsense, Jason has occasional moments where something he says becomes relevant later in the episode or season.
  • Crazy-Prepared: When Michael bluntly told him that a Molotov Cocktail wouldn't work when infiltrating the Bad Place, Jason reveals he packed the not-lie detector to turn demons into goo.
  • Culture Equals Costume:
    • He's a Buddhist monk, and thus wears their traditional robes around the Good Place. Justified (since they're not supposed to really have worldly possessions). Once the truth about him comes to light he starts dressing like a bro, although he does put on the robes when fooling the demons.
    • Filipino fans have noticed that one of his other main ensembles in the afterlife looks heavily inspired by the barong Tagalog. Strangely, he gets to wear this even before he reveals he's actually of Filipino descent In-Universe and no one realizes the outfit belongs to another culture, although that may be a testament to his point that heaven is so racist.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: But Jason is all too flippant about it. Lampshaded when he facetiously mentions a depressing or horrifying thing from his past, and the camera pans to other people looking aghast, usually with an equally apt one-liner or two. For example, he very casually drops a reference to sexual abuse being perpetrated by teachers in a school he once attended during his wedding to Tahani; he also jokes that his mother was eaten by a crocodile — psych! It was actually cancer that consumed her, you guys!
  • The Ditz: Jason is really carefree. After several weeks in the Good Place, he thinks they might have been abducted by aliens, he doesn't see why he should make an effort to avoid going to the Bad Place even after having it explained to him multiple times, and once he does understand, he assumes that Chidi's "ethnics" class works like regular school, complete with football and a prom. It's to the point that his Bad Place museum animatronic cariature literally only introduces himself and says "duhhhhhhhh", which real Jason thinks is hilarious.
  • Dumbass Has a Point:
    • In Chapter 13, when they're arguing about who should go to The Bad Place, Jason points out that he's the only one who hasn't been causing problems for anyone since they all came to The Good Place.
    • Jason also realizes he was right that this "heaven" was a prank show, and Eleanor high-fives him on it.
    • In one of the many "reboots" of Neighborhood 12358W, it was Jason who figured out they are actually in the Bad Place. The idea that even Jason was able to outsmart him made Michael very frustrated.
    • Every once in a while he comes up with a helpful insight, but these moments are buried deep within rambling stories about the things he got up to when he was still alive.
      Jason: ...I framed one innocent gator dealer to save a 60-person dance crew.
      Chidi: Shockingly, that is a relevant example of the Utilitarian dilemma. Well done.
    • In Season 3's Chapter 11, he manages to explain to the judge how difficult it can be for humans to make good decisions while also juggling the problems of normal life.
    • In the Season 4 premiere he is the first person to realize Eleanor is going too far in torturing Chidi.
    • A flashback in Season 4 shows that he gave Chidi advice about living in the moment, not agonizing over every decision, and making choices based on what he wants and feels. In another episode, he helps Chidi get over being an Insecure Love Interest for Eleanor.
  • Dumb Is Good: Downplayed. While Jason has done many not good things (such as committing crimes), he doesn't consider them to be too wrong and too underprivileged to really know better, so the show gives him more of a pass. That said, his genuine character flaws and need to improve are pointed out.
  • Dumb Muscle: Jason is ripped and is generally the first to choose violence as a solution, but he's very, very book dumb.
  • Everyone Has Standards:
    • It shows that when he is dating someone, he will always be kind to them and even make them breakfast — at least, cereal. Janet can't eat, but she tells Jason that she fell in love with him because he was nice to her when she was rebooting and didn't know anything. Tahani is won over in Season 2 when he cheers her up after the demons succeeded in torturing her.
    • Even at his dumbest, he's Above the Influence. In Season 3 when Trevor tried to send him and Tahani away in a taxi after they had drunk several rounds of beer, Jason made sure that Tahani got safely to her hotel room and spent the night in a dumpster, rejecting all of her drunken advances. He also happily stepped aside when she reconnected with Larry Hemsworth.
    • When trying to save him from damnation, Jason rather bluntly explains that giving Donkey Doug money wouldn't help his situation, as he'd just spend it all.
  • Fanboy: A huge fan of things you'd expect a teenage boy to be into. He loves the Transformers movies, or at least the first one (since it's the only one he references). Also, Pokémon: Michael's idea of a gift for him is a Pikachu balloon, which he's overjoyed to see. He also says ranking the The Fast and the Furious films is the best way to get to know him.
  • Foil: Most directly to Chidi, to their mutual benefit. Chidi being Book Smart and contemplative helps Jason be more outright ethical and rational, while Jason being Street Smart and impulsive helps Chidi finally become decisive in his decisions and secure in his relationships.
  • A Fool for a Client: He would represent himself in court, against the advice of the judge... and get immediately convicted.
  • The "Fun" in "Funeral": In the finale, he precludes his walk through the final door with a huge party with everyone he knows in attendance, featuring EDM, breakdancing, and lots of junk food. The reason for the gathering is bittersweet, and everyone's sad to see him go, but everyone also has a great time, and it's clear it's exactly how Jason wants to go out.
  • Good Is Dumb: Played with. While super-friendly, Jason is a very childish petty criminal ruled by his impulses and inability to think through the consequences of his actions; he can also be incredibly selfish. All things considered though, Jason is the nicest of the four, as Eleanor notes, calling him the nice one of the group. He's book dumb, but street smart.
  • Green-Eyed Monster:
    • Averted when Tahani gets back together with Larry Hemsworth in Season 3. While he is attracted to her, he happily steps aside and celebrates their engagement. It helps that he found a Jacksonville Jaguars Facebook group at the same time, thanks to Michael and Janet.
    • Played straight between him and Derek. Derek is showing interest in Janet again and is more refined, and he provokes Jason into killing him.
  • Hanlon's Razor: He's an illustrative example; he's a career criminal, but not with any malice or disregard towards anyone, he's just too dumb to know any better.
  • The Heart: The most sincere and heartfelt of the Good Place crew, in spite of his lack of impulse control. Before his death, he managed to use this ability to command and encourage a forty person dance crew/petty criminals through sheer charisma.
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: One of the few characters to have one of these before Team Cockroach. He and Pillboi were longtime friends and thick as thieves (metaphorically and literally).
  • The Hedonist: Jason is primarily concerned with his own instant gratification and amusement. Exploited by Michael as part of the Ironic Hell — he could theoretically have everything he wanted at his fingertips in the Good Place, but has to keep up the facade of being a humble Buddhist monk with no earthly desires or possessions. And while his soulmate is the rich and beautiful Tahani, he can't relate to her upper-class background.
  • Hidden Depths:
    • He actually is a good dancer, and charismatic enough to lead a giant crew. The problem is that having talent isn't enough to win competitions.
    • Played for Laughs in Season 4's "Mondays, Am I Right?" He casually makes an apt reference to Shakespeare, to which Chidi responds, "How do you know that?" Turns out there's no weird explanation — he read some books in his lifetime, you know.
    • Despite his childish nature and enthusiasm for... well, everything, he's the first of the Soul Squad to become truly content and ready to depart the Good Place for oblivion.
  • Hilariously Abusive Childhood: Played with: Jason has a tendency to describe aspects of his rather crummy childhood with Dissonant Serenity, and while it's humorous to the audience, the other characters tend to react in a rather horrified way.
    Jason: I went to Lynyrd Skynyrd High School in Northeast Jacksonville, which was really just a bunch of tugboats tied together.
    Tahani: Didn't you get seasick?
    Jason: No, sorry, they were tied together in a junk yard. It wasn't a very good school. For most of my classes, we just sold dirty magazines door-to-door.
    Tahani: You know, Jason, every single detail about your life is deeply disturbing.
  • Improvised Weapon: He knows how to make Molotov Cocktails on a second's notice, which comes in handy at least once.
  • Innocently Insensitive: Compared to Tahani, Jason's more insensitive to laws, norms, and the idea of "oversharing", but he's a lot nicer to people.
  • Interchangeable Asian Cultures: Is believed to be Taiwanese, when actually he's a Filipino-American from Florida. Ironically, Jacinto in real life is actually of mixed Chinese descent - like many Filipino people.
  • Insistent Terminology: He prefers to call himself a "pre-successful" DJ rather than a "failed" DJ.
  • Interspecies Romance: Jason, a human in the afterlife, develops a romance (in multiple lives) with Janet, a... something. She's definitely not human, in any case.
  • Irony: Come Season 1, he was posing as a Buddhist monk that would sometimes dispense advice. In Season 3, he's actually introspective and gives good advice, only it's not Becoming the Mask since he doesn't remember.
    • In the finale before departing the Good Place, he spends an extremely long period of time contemplating the nature around him in silent introspection. When Janet points out that this is the sort of thing a monk would do, he doesn't get it.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: While he was a robber, drug dealer and serial vandal who tried to cheat his way through life, once he ends up in the afterlife, Jason does become a better person and his negative actions are limited mostly to his general stupidity.
  • Kindhearted Simpleton: Played with. Jason is extremely dumb and definitely the nicest of the four, but he is still categorically not a good person — not only did he commit several crimes in life, but he is also ruled by his impulses and can't often see when he's being selfish. However, he is relatively emotionally intelligent compared to the other main characters, and increasingly shows an empathetic and thoughtful side.
  • Lovable Rogue: Has little care for the law, but is generally still sweet and personable to pretty much everyone.
  • Loser Son of Loser Dad: As it turns out, Jason's father is a dim-witted criminal, and in a more horrifying twist, Jason is the more intelligent of the two.
  • Magical Asian: Being a wise Buddhist monk, Jianyu dispenses powerful truths and sage advice without saying a word... Except not. Jason is in fact just a normal human being.
  • Malaproper: He mispronounces various words or phrases, such as saying "ethnics" instead of "ethics".
  • Manchild: When he shows Eleanor and Chidi his "Budhole," Eleanor comments the decor — the game consoles, the posters of cars and bikini-clad models — is like "12-year-old boy meets... 13-year-old boy." Jason generally has an immature and child-like mind. It's revealed that he and Jianyu have the same IQ, only Jianyu stopped learning at age eight; at least that was Michael's explanation. There actually is no Jianyu as far as we know.
  • Meaningful Name: His fake name, "Jianyu", has multiple possible meanings. "Build the universe" or "build the world" could just be a reference to Michael constructing the Good Place, or even a hint about the "Jianyu" identity being fabricated. Another, even more interesting, translation is "prison", hinting both at Jason feeling imprisoned by pretending to be Jianyu and at the real nature of The Good Place.
  • Missing Mom: He lost his mother to cancer.
  • Mistaken for Profound: All of his "wisdom" is actually just him staying completely silent and letting people come up with their own answers. He's actually a complete idiot who's bluffing his way through the whole thing. Ironically, when he does try to give advice after his cover is blown, it often ends up being helpful in spite of being ridiculous nonsense.
  • Not Quite Dead: The real Jianyu isn't dead, he just achieved such a deep level of meditation that he was mistaken for dead, leading to Jason being mistaken for him. Though given The Reveal of Chapter 13, it's unlikely there even is an actual Jianyu.
  • Only in Florida: He's from Florida, and does a lot of weird things. When just hearing he's from Florida, Shawn says he must belong to the Bad Place.
  • Opposites Attract: With Tahani in Season 2 (and to a lesser extent, Season 3). Tahani was a cultured, educated, wealthy philanthropist in life while Jason was an unintelligent, uncouth petty criminal.
  • Pair the Dumb Ones: Invoked and zigzagged. While Jason is literally Too Dumb to Live, his girlfriend Janet is The Omniscient, knowing everything. That said, Janet is also inexperienced in life and frequently inept at social cues and generally cheerful at inappropriate times due to her programming to always be positive. They pair up, and help each other to learn from experience.
  • Patriotic Fervor: A city-specific example. He loves his home city of Jacksonville, for reasons no one else can figure out.
  • The Pollyanna: As Tahani points out, so many aspects of his pre-death life are deeply disturbing; his father was a ludicrously idiotic criminal, his mother was a criminal, his "school" was a bunch of tugboats, where lessons consisted of selling porn mags, and one of the teachers was arrested for having sex with Jason... He didn't really have much of a chance. Even in death he puts up with a lot from the others and Michael (considering they were supposed to be torturous to him). And yet Jason never seems to be bothered by any of these things, rarely stops smiling, and is often trying to help.
  • Properly Paranoid: Unlike the others, he was the only one suspecting that The Good Place was a "prank show"; he points out that heaven is racist for assuming him to be Taiwanese when he is Filipino, for example, and is vindicated when Eleanor finds out in the first version of the Neighborhood that they're in The Bad Place.
  • The Quiet One: He's a Buddhist monk who is continuing his vow of silence. Somehow, he is able to make his feelings known anyway. It turns out this is just how he maintains his bluff. When he finally breaks his silence, he reveals he's actually a Filipino DJ who, like Eleanor, was sent to the Good Place in someone else's place.
  • Rags to Riches: In Season 3 he goes from having the finances of a small-time Florida crook to legally being extremely wealthy after his Marriage of Convenience to Tahani.
  • Right for the Wrong Reasons: Occasionally. His first guess as to what's going on is that they're on some kind of prank show (sort of right, although he thought it was an actual show) and he even correctly figures out they're in the Bad Place based on his dimwitted observations regarding football.
  • Sad Clown: Subverted. Jason has had a very sad and often disturbing life: he lost his mom to cancer when he was very young, and his dad, Donkey Doug, is a Blue-and-Orange Morality type minor gangster who is always pulling him into scrapes. However, Jason doesn't use his humor to deflect from it; he genuinely doesn't seem sad.
  • Seemingly Profound Fool: Zig-zagged. Things like his calming touch on Michael appear genuinely wise, until we learn Jason's true nature. Then, when we learn who Jason is, it looks like this is what's happening when, for example, he pricks his finger on a cactus and Michael manages to convert that into a parable. Then, when we learn the true nature of the Good Place, it becomes clear that everyone except maybe Chidi, Eleanor and Tahani already knew he had nothing to offer in the wisdom department and the poetic reinterpretations of his semi-random actions were just a way of keeping the charade going. And then by the time they work to change the system, he's actually profound more often than not.
  • Simple-Minded Wisdom: Most of his Dumbass Has a Point moments stem from this. His direct and simplistic way of thinking can lead him to logical answers, such as reasoning he's in the Bad Place because his "soulmate" doesn't know who Blake Bortles is and the TV doesn't get a certain football channel.
  • Spanner in the Works:
    • Michael could anticipate that he would fall in love with Janet and cause the not-a-girl to genuinely fall in love with him in return. This, in turn, led to Michael having a Heel Realization when Janet subconsciously remembered their marriage and was expressing her heartbreak through neighborhood glitches.
    • In Michael's second attempt, he blows his cover within a single day, throwing Michael's plans off and forcing him to start from scratch again.
  • Street Smart: While he never had a chance at actual education, especially being from Florida, he gained enough experience to help multiple characters through their issues, especially Janet and Chidi. In fact, besides Eleanor, he's the only character in any reboot to not only realize that he doesn't belong in the traditional Good Place, but that they're all in the Bad Place. With all their education, Chidi and Tahani never realize it on their own, and Simone only realizes something's wrong, but not what.
  • Stupid Crooks: Part of his backstory is committing all kinds of ill-conceived and/or impulsive crimes, one of them resulting in his death. The guy is basically the "Florida Man" meme if it genuinely was all done by one person.
  • Too Dumb to Fool: In the second iteration, he ruins Michael's plans within a single day because, separated from the others, he forgets he's supposed to be hiding the fact that he doesn't belong.
  • Too Dumb to Live: He died during the execution of a badly-planned robbery that involved him being locked in a safe. He forgot to put in air holes, thinking just wearing a snorkel inside would help him breathe, and suffocated after doing a number of whippets inside.
    Jason: I'm just a dope who died in a safe with a snorkel... (beat) who's only now realizing why that didn't work!
  • Trademark Favorite Food: Jalapeno poppers.
  • Uptight Loves Wild: In Season 2, the wild and impulsive Jason briefly hooks up with the elegant and uptight Tahani. In the afterlife, his true "soul mate" is the proper and coolheaded Janet.
  • Walking Spoiler: It's hard to talk about Jianyu when he's actually an amateur DJ named Jason and, like Eleanor, is also unworthy of being in the Good Place.

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    Michael 

Michael

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/michael_40.jpg
"You humans have so many emotions! You only need two: anger and confusion!"
Portrayed by: Ted Danson

"There's something so human about taking something great, and ruining it a little, so you can have more of it."

The architect of neighborhood 12358W and an otherworldly being who loves humans. When the first neighborhood he ever created is thrown into chaos by Eleanor's presence, he attempts to maintain morale and good cheer despite the ever-growing list of problems that threaten his perfectly designed harmony of the Good Place.


  • Actor Allusion: In the Season 2 finale, Michael goes undercover as a bartender, which is a reference to Ted Danson's character on Cheers.
  • Adorkable: Is giddy at the prospect of trying out suspenders and excitedly throws Eleanor a "paperclip shower".
  • Affably Evil: When it is revealed that he is actually a demon (or whatever Bad Place employees are). His polite and fun-loving mannerisms are the only elements of his true personality that shine through.
  • A Form You Are Comfortable With: He's some kind of higher entity who is not quite used to having a human body. Apparently, his true form is a 6000-foot "fire squid".
  • Always Save the Girl: He admits in that he's willing to save the four humans even if it means messing up the timeline beyond repair or trying to reset it when he knows the Judge will do worse than murder him for his meddling.
  • Arc Villain: For Season 1. Michael is a Bad Place architect posing as one from the Good Place, and has designed his neighborhood to look like the Good Place, but is really a Bad Place neighborhood designed to force Eleanor, Chidi, Tahani, and Jason to psychologically torture each other for all eternity.
  • Ascended Demon: By the end of Season 2, he's genuinely become a noble, kinder person who's willing to sacrifice himself for the safety and happiness of his new friends. Considering it goes against a demon's very nature to be good, that says a lot about how far he's come. Eventually taken to its highest possible conclusion in "Patty" when he is made the official owner of the real Good Place before he becomes human.
  • The Atoner: By Season 3, he clearly wants nothing to do with his former demon life, and tries to make up for all the torturing he put Eleanor, Chidi, Tahani and Jason through, confirmed by Season 4 as something he feels major guilt about.
  • Author Avatar: Is one for showrunner Michael Schur, someone who devising awkward and dramatic scenarios for the only few characters that matter (Team Cockroach) while rendering everyone else (the other Good Place citizens who turned out to be other demons) and everything else (Janet and the "Fake Good Place") to plot devices to drive the story (to cause team Cockroach to torture each other).
  • Badass Fingersnap: Clicks his fingers to use his powers in various ways.
  • Bad Boss: While running his subsequent reboots, he eventually became this to the demons. While Michael has a point that some of them like Chris are incompetent, he's also quite nasty to them and venting his frustration about the humans becoming better people to each one, while ignoring their ideas of running torture. It gets to the point where they all lose faith in him and wait for the next fingersnap. Vicky is able to use this to mount a coup and blackmail Michael into giving her control, and it means his former employees are quite willing to drag him and the humans back to the Bad Place, no questions asked. It also means they don't understand recreating his experiment of torture, and Vicky has to step in and translate it into demon analogies.
  • Bad Liar: It turns out his inherent ability to lie well was part of his demon powers. The second he sets foot on Earth, he starts to lose it — after spending a year down there, his lies are comically transparent.
  • Becoming the Mask: He is a demon who decided to pose as a Good Place Architect that cares about the souls so he could witness the torture firsthand. He didn't account for Chidi truly reforming Eleanor, or for all of them to rally around him as their friend before Eleanor figured out they were in the bad place. By Season 2, Chidi kicking him out of ethics class for torturing him has some emotional impact, and Michael realizes that he truly wants to save them. In one of the greatest ironies of this trope, he actually receives full ownership and control of the Good Place — the real one, and is put in charge of reforming it.
  • Being Evil Sucks: It's part of Becoming the Mask. During Season 2, Michael still has to balance his "evil" nature with having to help the humans, and enjoys torture. Past Season 2, he's still emotionally wracked from having been evil, to the point of being scared to return to the Bad Place in Season 4.
  • Beleaguered Bureaucrat: Works himself into a frenzy trying to keep control of all the chaos that Eleanor accidentally causes. The majority of his efforts outright fail to help the problem, which just makes him more panicky. At the end of the first season, this is revealed to have been an act, but the second season opens with him scrambling to prevent Eleanor and her friends from figuring out his secret and ruining his real plan.
  • Benevolent Boss: For a demon, he's actually quite benevolent to his subordinates as long as they're not incompetent in reboot one. After three hundred years' worth of torture and Michael getting angry at his demons over the neighborhood not working, this no longer qualifies.
  • Big Good: He's the designer and in charge of maintaining the neighborhood, so he initially comes across as this. Subverted, since he's actually a demon. Double Subverted after he Took a Level in Kindness in Season 2. By the midpoint of Season 3, he's the only member of the entire Celestial Bureaucracy who cares enough about humanity to do something about how horribly broken the system for judging people has become and by the penultimate Season 4 episode becomes the de facto ruler of the real Good Place.
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: In Season 1, he was this, posing as the architect of the neighborhood and trying to manage the chaos that Eleanor was causing. After Chidi's ethics lessons actually took effect, he went in the opposite direction at the end of Season 2, putting on a mask of evil to protect the four humans.
  • Bloody Hilarious: In "The Trolley Problem", Michael decides to take Chidi's thought experiment, The Trolley Problem—about whether to run over one person with a trolley or five—and do it for real. Chidi gets covered in blood and gore as he runs people over. Repeatedly.
  • Blue-and-Orange Morality: While he's fascinated with humans and knows a lot about them, his immortal and demonic nature makes it difficult for him to truly understand human morality or emotions.
    • His one continued miscalculation during his hundreds of resets was not accounting for the inherent human capacity to help one another out, either for selfish or altruistic reasons. This leads to the humans inevitably banding together against him.
    • It takes a while for Chidi's ethics lessons to get through to him, and it largely clicks for him when he finally understands the terror of human mortality (and freaks out).
  • Brought Down to Normal: While on Earth in Season 3, he loses all his powers. While it's unclear if it made him mortal or if he can get hurt, he can't just fix things with the snap of a fingers anymore either.
  • Buffy Speak: Resorts to this to describe concepts he's unfamiliar with, such as as 'presents' ("Opposite-tortures") and 'guilt' ("after-sad").
  • Celibate Hero: Of the likely actually-Aromantic and Asexual variety. He himself says that the higher beings of the afterlife can't really discern levels of human attractiveness, and not once is shown to have any romantic or sexual interest in anyone. He becomes a real human person in the series finale. He's depicted as having an amazing life down on Earth, with numerous friends, but he still never gets into a romantic or sexual relationship with anyone, the love he spreads with others being entirely platonic.
  • Character Development: In Season 1, he's malicious demon who acts as a False Friend to the gang for the purposes of driving them crazy as their eternal punishment. Near the start of Season 2, he teams up with them, but only so they will play along with his attempt to dupe the other demons into thinking that the plan is actually working, and they won't report him to Shawn, and initially is hardly any kinder to them than he was before. But over the course of taking ethics lessons with them and working with them to hide the truth from the other demons, he starts to bond with them and genuinely care for them, to the point where, when Shawn offers him a place on the high council for the neighborhood's supposed success, he gives it up to rescue them from spending eternal torture in the real bad place. From that point on, he's a full fledged hero, determined not only to help the gang achieve salvation by any means, but strives to fix the newly discovered issue of humanity wrongfully being judged for unintended consequences of their actions.
  • The Chessmaster: In Season 1, he knew exactly what he was doing in order to screw with the humans' heads under pretense of being nice. In Season 2, after his reformation he rigs up a plan to fool Shawn and the rest of the demons despite having zero time to prepare, banking on his knowledge and familiarity with the demons and humans alike. And it works perfectly despite being somewhat complicated and relying on the everyone involved to do fairly specific actions. Does a much more subtle repeat in "Somewhere Else" where with about two sentences he is able to get a pre-Character Development Eleanor who has lapsed back heavily into her bad ways to fly to St. John's University to find Chidi.
  • Complete Immortality: He was born at the very beginning of time, and retirement will consist of spending eternity being tortured after having every ounce of his body split and individually placed upon a single sun. Despite this, he'll still be alive and conscious through all that.
  • Complexity Addiction: All of his ideas involve an intricate sequence of steps where every single moment must go according to plan over the course of eternity. Unfortunately, the universe doesn't work like that and he's frequently forced to do damage control.
  • Consummate Liar: Michael is a fantastic liar and manipulator, able to lie and fake emotion more or less flawlessly.
  • Control Freak: His Fatal Flaw. In defiance of Shawn pointing out that humans are too unpredictable, he controls every factor of the fake neighborhood. Unfortunately, while manufactured chaos is fine, actual surprises derail him. His attempting to keep the four humans together in Season 3 ends up condemning them to the Bad Place by default, which nearly drives him to commit suicide by turning himself in to the Judge.
  • Crosses the Line Twice:
    • He has absolutely no problem with kicking a dog into the sun in Season 1, with the whole moment being entirely played for laughs when he does it. It ends up foreshadowing his true nature as a Demon of the Bad Place.
    • Even Post Heel–Face Turn, he considers killing the four humans' physical bodies as to manually prevent their souls from being immediately sent to the Bad Place. Considering he was on Earth and without his powers, it would likely have been quite a messy spetacle.
  • The Dandy: His wardrobe consists almost entirely of colorful suits. You might assume this is just part of his persona, but he appears genuinely insulted when Vicky claims he can't pull off his bow ties.
  • Didn't See That Coming: What ultimately threw a wrench in his initial plan for his experiment of an 'innovative' Bad Place is that he didn't expect that Chidi could succeed in actually getting Eleanor to change for the better.
  • Dimension Lord: Of the neighborhood, Michael built it and can alter it as he sees fit. Such as creating thousands of new frozen yogurt flavors, several of which embody concepts (like "mother's love" and "full cell phone battery"). He definitely has his limits, as seen when things start to spiral out of control. He also has the ability to wipe memories and reboot the neighborhood.
  • Eldritch Abomination: Par for the course for a demon: the humanlike Michael is just a skin suit he's wearing. He describes his true form to the gang in "Tinker Tailor Demon Spy".
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: In Season 2, he realizes that he can't go through with destroying Janet, as he genuinely considers her his friend. Later in Season 2, he actually breaks down when confessing that he wasn't sure if the humans were safe or not. By Season 3 he openly states that the four humans are the only thing he cares about in the entire universe.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: It's implied in Season 3 that he was fine with being a demon and torturing people because that's how the universe dispenses justice in the afterlife to people who deserve it. The other humans admit that he may have a point when they learn that their flaws landed them in the Bad Place. Post Heel–Face Turn, he's utterly horrified and outraged upon finding out that no one has entered the Good Place for 521 years due to the system being rigged unfairly, and it's implied that if he had learned this while evil it would have broken him.
  • Everyone Has Standards: He's a very nice dude, but even he has limits. Though the below two examples were part of his act.
    • He's very annoyed by Tahani's condescending attitude and will take pot shots when it gets too much.
    • Chidi's dithering gets on his nerves very quickly, to the point he openly chews him out of it.
    • Post Heel–Face Turn, he stops a jealous Eleanor from cutting up Patricia's dolls due to her suspicion that Donna hid money in them.
  • Evil All Along: It turns out he's been the chessmaster of the main cast's personal hell since the start, engineering many of the crazy happenstances as torture for Eleanor, Jason, Chidi and Tahani as entertainment for the cosmic entities running the Bad Place they're actually in.
  • Evil Cannot Comprehend Good: The one flaw in his master plan to torment the main four was that he never imagined that Eleanor could learn to be good. Her confession threw a wrench in the whole setup. Later in Season 2, he starts taking ethics lessons from Chidi, which is a struggle because, well, as a demon he's not naturally good; when Chidi has him read "Les Miserables" he concludes everyone in the book deserves to go to the Bad Place.
  • Evil Has a Bad Sense of Humor: In "The Trolley Problem", he thinks it's funny to force Chidi into Sadistic Choices where multiple people are in mortal danger and he has to choose to let at least one die in order to save the others.
  • Evil Laugh: Lets out a horrifying laugh after Eleanor figures out his game.
  • Failure Is the Only Option: In "Dance Dance Resolution", the heroes kept figuring out that they were actually in the Bad Place (minus that one time when Michael accidentally sat on the reset button and the two times he blurted it out in a fit of anger or drunkenness).
  • Fallen Angel: As of Season 3, he appears to be turning into an inversion. He goes from a demon that tortures humans to a supernatural being that saved the lives of four humans so they get another shot at ascending to the Good Place, and then descended to Earth to help save their souls himself. When that falls through, he instead helps those humans save the souls of other people instead. He could be seen as rising from Hell, behaving increasingly less like a demon and more like an actual angel.
  • Fatal Flaw: His perfectionist nature — he doesn't deal well with unexpected events in his plans.
  • For the Evulz: Why he decided to "innovate" with a true Ironic Hell; he and his fellow Bad Place demons were getting really bored with the typical Fire and Brimstone Hell and wanted to try something new and more personal.
  • Four Eyes, Zero Soul: He's a demon who wears thick black glasses.
  • The Friend Nobody Likes:
    • After a few hundred reboots, all his fellow demons in the fake Good Place have gotten pretty sick of his shit. (The other demons in the rest of the Bad Place don't know about the reboots yet, though, so they like him fine.) By the end of the second episode of the second season, they're threatening mutiny.
    • When he first joins Team Cockroach, they don't like or trust him at all, and only ally with him because there are no other options. They start off keeping him at arm's length, and are quick to assume the worst of him (which, to be fair, is reasonable considering he tortured them for three hundred years). This slowly changes, however, and by the end of the season he's part of the family.
  • The Gadfly: Many of his goofy conversations and Oblivious Guilt Slinging with the residents seem, in retrospect, to be his subtle way of mocking and harassing them.
  • Good Feels Good: Like Eleanor, he comes to this realization, genuinely enjoying human life and trying to take care of them.
  • Grumpy Old Man: He dislikes his "millennial" co-workers (they've only been torturing people for a thousand years) claiming they have no work ethic.
  • Heel–Face Turn: After the humans keep figuring out that they're actually in the Bad Place, he teams up with them in the hopes of covering his ass. The influence of Eleanor and Chidi then sows the first seeds of genuine morality, and he finds himself growing genuinely fond of Janet and his former victims.
  • Heel Realization: He gets one in Season 2 when Janet starts glitching, and he thinks it's because he lied to her about this being the Good Place and kidnapping her from a Good Place warehouse. Even when they determine it's because of her heartbreak overseeing Jason and Tahani together, Michael still feels guilty since he erased Janet's marriage to Jason and is faced with a Sadistic Choice of killing her to save the neighborhood.
  • Hero Antagonist: His investigation into what's causing the disruptions in the Good Place leads straight to Eleanor. But then he decides to fight to keep her in. Ultimately subverted. He isn't and never was a hero until seasons two through four where he goes against the system to save the humans from damnation.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Sacrifices himself in Season 3, letting himself be captured by Shawn to let Eleanor get to the Judge.
  • Hidden Villain: Again, that first season finale reveal. It's not just a surprise that he's the bad guy, it's a surprise that this show even has bad guys!
  • Hollywood Mid-Life Crisis: Parodied. In "Existential Crisis", Michael developed a fast one after Eleanor told him to ignore his existential dread by pretending to be fine. It even included a Mid-Life Crisis Car, getting a tattoo ("It's 'Japan' in Chinese!") and an earring, and Janet posing as his Trophy Wife.
  • Humanity Is Infectious: After he teams up with the human cast, Eleanor remarks several times upon his increasingly human-like attitude and behavior. Eventually, they collectively him an "honorary human", much to his delight.
  • Humiliation Conga: Is subjected to one in "Dance Dance Resolution", when the humans are able to realize they're in the Bad Place... for over 800 attempts.
  • I Hate Past Me: By Season 3, Michael is not proud of his past actions. He avoids showing Eleanor too much of the past reboots because he hates the way he acted.
  • Immortals Fear Death: Chidi tries to give him perspective on mortality by asking him to seriously think about what it would be like to die, or "be retired". He utterly freaks out at the notion.
  • Ineffectual Sympathetic Villain: Especially after the first time he has to reset everything. Shawn has absolutely zero faith in him, all the other demons at his command question his plans (especially Vicky), and he doesn't even make it one day before Jason blows his cover and Eleanor realizes they aren't in the Good Place. He's much more competent when he allies with the humans.
  • Insistent Terminology: He's actually not a demon (and the Bad Place workers actually consider it racist), but since there's no other term that comes close he lets it slide.
  • Intrigued by Humanity: In Season 1, he says he is endlessly fascinated with human culture, which is why he went against the rule that architects are not supposed to live in the neighborhoods they design. He also kept a collection of mundane human objects (a tape dispenser, a slingshot, wax lips, a cheese grater, an eraser and a paper football.) This turns out not to have been part of the act; he admits in Season 2 that he's always wanted to know what it's like to be human, and he geeks out over activities such as riding a bus and buying a gumball while visiting Earth during Season 3.
  • Jerkass Has a Point:
    • Post Heel–Face Turn, he gets Eleanor to get closure with her mother by pointing out that Donna has changed. Saying that to any victim of emotional abuse is dick behavior, and Eleanor also had a point that her mother didn't change for her and treated her like an afterthought, but Michael was right that destroying Donna wouldn't make Eleanor happier. Eleanor eventually realizes this after confronting her mother.
    • He gets really upset with the Accountants and the Good Place executives for letting a broken system operate for millennia. Michael is very right, as the Judge eventually concedes after spending thirty years on Earth.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: He evolves into this over the course of Season 2. He's still got an edge to him, and is essentially the Token Evil Teammate, but he truly cares for the rest of Team Cockroach, and shows a lot more vulnerability and moments of kindness. And compared to the rest of the Bad Place, he's practically a saint.
  • Karmic Jackpot: He eventually receives one by accidentally signing a contract that makes him the head of the real Good Place. It's not what the Good Place Committee intended as a jackpot — they were banging their heads against the wall about Paradise not being fulfilling while looking for an exit — but it means that Michael has eternal paradise and the means to give humans the afterlife they deserve. The best part? He gets to spend it with the four humans and Janet that changed him for the better.
  • Kick the Dog: Michael literally kicks a dog into the sun, thinking it was A Glitch in the Matrix. Moments later, a woman asks if anyone's seen her dog. Michael brings it back good as new, thoughtlessly telling her owner that it's basically just a simulation of a dog and doesn't really feel pain, or love.
  • Large and in Charge: He's the head of the neighborhood and played by 6'3 Ted Danson.
  • Living Emotional Crutch: Team Cockroach as a whole, including Janet (so much as she can be called "living"), functions as this for him. They're the only true friends he's ever had, and the only things he cares about in the universe. By the end of Season 2, he is absolutely dedicated to getting them into the Good Place for real — and perfectly willing to risk the wrath of Gen to do so.
  • Manipulative Bastard: Subverted. He tries to be a Manipulative Bastard, but the unpredictability of the humans in his experiment is such a Spanner in the Works that ultimately Failure Is the Only Option.
  • Meaningful Name:
  • Minion with an F in Evil: Zigzagged. On the one hand, he likes torturing humans and messing with the main four just for kicks. But his personality is vastly different from his co-workers, and he seems aghast that they don't respect his seniority or authority:
    Vicky: Yeah but, I don't think you can pull it off. You can't even pull off those bow ties.
    Michael: [touches bow tie] That was very mean. But I'm gonna move past that, in the name of unit cohesion.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: It's implied in Seasons Two and Three, and confirmed in Season Four, that he thought being a demon and torturing people was fine because it was part of the moral balance of the universe. After all, he's in the Bad Place, and the system would only send them people who deserved eternal torment, riiiight? He begins to make a Heel–Face Turn when he realizes humans are truly capable of changing for the better, even in death. When he realizes the system is so forked-up, no one's been considered "good" for over five hundred years, the realization of how many good and decent people have been unjustly tortured hits him like a freight train.
  • Nerves of Steel: He's scared of Shawn, and for a rational reason. Even so, whenever Shawn confronts him for being a traitor, Michael manages to remain calm and facing his imminent doom with dignity.
  • Nice Guy: His initial persona as an angelic emissary trying to make the afterlife perfect. Turns out he's actually Affably Evil. Even after he's revealed to be a demon working for the Bad Place, he still manages to come across as fairly likable.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain!: As a new and original form of torture, he brings together four souls whose personalities are so perfectly out of sync that they'll torment each other for all eternity...and they proceed to make each other into better people.
  • Nice to the Waiter: He tries to put on this act with Janet in reboot one, but the reality is that while he's nice to his subordinates, he will lash out at them when things go wrong and was using Janet to simply Maintain the Lie. The first sign of Chidi's ethic lessons working was when he was faced with the possibility of having to marbelize Janet and "kill her", and he apologized on realizing that he couldn't do it and he hurt her by erasing her memory of marrying Jason. It takes until season 4 for him to treat all Janets and demons kindly and like people.
  • Nobody Poops: He doesn't need to excrete any waste and often forgets that its something that humans have to do, such as when he forgets to include bathrooms in an architectural blueprint he was working on.
  • No Social Skills: No human social skills, at any rate. Initially, Michael is perfectly charming, if a bit bumbling and insensitive, when dealing with humans — but that's an act. If he's not torturing them, lying to them, or lying to them in order to torture them, he absolutely flounders. He gets somewhat better with Team Cockroach, though he still thinks it's appropriate to propose killing them all as a solution to a problem.
  • Normal Fish in a Tiny Pond: While a cosmic being capable of building an entire dimension, Michael admits that this is his first real assignment and often implies that he's actually quite low on the celestial hierarchy.
  • Not So Different: From Eleanor. She correctly deduces his behavior is him lashing out because he's insecure.
  • Only Sane Man: In all of human history, he is literally the only angel, demon, or other celestial being who stops to think, hey, if no humans have gotten into the Good Place in over 500 years, maybe something ain't right.
  • Our Angels Are Different:
    • A Good Place architect seems to be, more or less, an equivalent of an angel, and he certainly seems to style his role of one as such, putting on a gentle, naive facade.
    • Come Season 3, however, and you have him rescuing humans from death to give them a second chance at life, constantly intervening in their lives to try and nudge them toward the good path, and then helping said humans help as many people as possible cross into the Good Place: He's essentially an angel in everything but name.
  • Parental Substitute:
    • In Season 3 he becomes a father figure to Eleanor, which is lampshaded.
    • Janet even refers to him as her "dad", with Gen as her "mom". She immediately changes her mind when she says it out loud.
  • The Perfectionist: Michael is such a perfectionist that the very thought of something messing up the perfect afterlife that he created drives him crazy. An attitude later validated after Shawn threatens Michael with "retirement" or similar punishment if the second attempt at his innovative torture town fails. And after he gets in way too deep with his 800 subsequent tries. When he recreates his Neighborhood for the experiment under Gen's guidelines, his repeat failures topped with the added pressure of the fate of humanity resting on the Neighborhood improving the humans in his care leaves him collapsing in a panic-attack the moment the experiment begins, forcing Eleanor to step in and act as "architect."
  • Pinocchio Syndrome: A lot of his Intrigued by Humanity tendencies imply this, with him admitting he's always longed to know what it's really like to be human. This is outright confirmed by the finale — and he gets his wish, Eleanor even telling him, "You're going to be a real boy, Pinocchio."
  • Reformed, but Not Tamed: He becomes this after his Heel–Face Turn. While he no longer tortures humans, he is willing to break the rules, lie to bystanders, and cheat to help the Soul Squad achieve real paradise. Heck, he was willing to take on Shawn and an army of demons to protect the humans and would have done so alone if Janet hadn't stepped in to take down most of them. Not to mention it was gutsy of him to break into the Good Place mailroom to save the Soul Squad from the accountants.
  • Running Gag: He has a tendency to invent slang terms that already exist, like "epic fail" and "chillax".
  • Satan is Good: He starts out as a Lawful Evil being with a knee-jerk contempt for humans who's job is to cause them misery. Out of fear of punishment from his boss Shawn (who is a Satanic Archetype played straight), Michael ends up siding with the humans out of preservation and soon develops a form of loyalty and fondess for them, unlike the actual Satan who started as a Lawful Good entity and became evil because of his contempt for them. He eventually becomes an official Ascended Demon and becomes ruler of the Good Place and his former boss's Good Counterpart.
  • Screw the Rules, I'm Doing What's Right!:
    • In Season 1, he tells Trevor to fork off — even if Eleanor doesn't belong in the Good Place, she's his friend and he's keeping her. Subverted, as this was part of the act.
    • Later played straight, when he starts working with Team Cockroach to try and get them into the real Good Place. At first it's to save his own hide, since he knows Shawn will not be happy if he finds out about the resets, but over time, he grows to care for the group. By the midpoint of Season 2, he's fully changed sides and is now actively working against his boss to help the humans.
    • In total defiance of Gen, he pops down to Earth multiple times to guide Team Cockroach into becoming better people. To say the results vary is a massive understatement.
  • Shipper on Deck: He gradually comes to root for Chidi/Eleanor.
  • Spanner in the Works: Michael ends up becoming the Accidental Hero of the whole series by simply doing his job. He proposes a new neighborhood in the hopes of impressing Shawn and revolutionizing torture, only to learn that humans are capable of change after death and keep improving no matter what he does to gaslight them. Then he learns that the system is so forked up that no one can enter the Good Place, exposing that Shawn was enabling a broken system. Cue Michael facing bureaucrat after bureaucrat in the divine hierarchy, before he and the Soul Squad convince Gen that something needs to change.
  • Stylistic Suck: In "Leap to Faith", his comedy roast of the main cast prior to shipping them off to the real Bad Place is rather weak, with only a few decent jokes in there. The demons present eat it up however, because they mostly find the humans' misery hilarious. It turns out that it was all for show, and most of the bad jokes or pot shots were hidden messages to the humans detailing an escape plan to them.
  • Surrounded by Idiots:
    • Most of the demons he has to work with are morons, Attention Whores, completely impossible to work with, or some combo thereof. The audience may find themselves feeling a bit bad for Michael!
    • He initially is plagued with this with everyone else in the afterlife regarding the issue that no one has made it to the Good Place in 521 years. The prideful accountants refuse to accept the possibility that there is an issue with their "perfect" system and refuse to look into it. The Good Place Committee is willing to help, but insist on taking over 1400 years to prepare their investigation, while thousands of people will continue to wrongfully be sent to The Bad Place. Even when revealing the cause of the problem to Gen, specifically that the system unfairly judges people for the multiple adverse external connections to their actions, like buying a tomato grown with pesticides and picked by exploited unpaid labor, Gen still refuses to take any responsibility on her own end, and says it's humanity's own fault for failing to consider the potential consequences of their actions beforehand.
  • Tentacled Terror: In "Tinker Tailor Demon Spy" he reveals that his true form is apparently a six-thousand-foot-tall squid, on fire, with teeth everywhere.
  • Time Abyss: He appears to be literally as old as the time itself, given that he lists his birthdate as "0". He also mentions that he's "been around for some time... all of it, actually."
  • Token Good Teammate: Of the Bad Place demons.
  • Token Evil Teammate: Throughout the first half of Season 2, when the main four only work with him because they have literally no other choice and still don't trust him.
  • Took a Level in Kindness: In Season 2, he only sides with the four main characters out of convenience, due to being blackmailed by Vicky, but after a while he starts to truly care about them and do some genuinely good actions in order to help out, despite still mocking their human limitations sometimes.
  • Troll: Many of the tortures he inflicts seem to be inspired purely by a desire to mess with people.
  • Unreliable Expositor: The audience has been trusting him as completely as the cast, and everything we think we know about this world and how it works comes from him. As the "architect" of this "neighborhood," it means even things we saw that he didn't tell us were arranged by him as part of his experiment. Even more than this being The Bad Place, knowing that Michael is the villain changes absolutely everything. Almost everything you ever thought you knew about the show's universe - big or small, comedic or serious - was said or arranged by him to torture just these four! Now watch it all again with that in mind.
  • Villain Has a Point: All the humans concede that he was right about why Tahani and Chidi ended up in the Bad Place. And while torturing Chidi during "The Trolley Problem," he makes the point that it's not so easy to sacrifice a life when you're actually at the controls and have to make the choice.
  • Walking Spoiler: Episode 13 makes talking about him at all basically impossible without spoiling The Reveal.
  • What Is This Feeling?: Has difficulty understanding and expressing the odd, human emotions he's starting to feel, such as concern for others, or guilt.
  • White Hair, Black Heart: He's a demon with hair as white as snow. Subverted as he learns more about ethics and becomes a somewhat more moral individual.

    Janet 

Janet

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/janet.jpg
"Hi! I'm Janet!"
Portrayed by: D'Arcy Carden

"I mean, it does matter if I know things, because I'm an informational delivery system, and I don't have a heart. But thanks!"

A walking talking user interface for the celestial mainframe, providing the neighborhood's residents with information about the afterlife and indulging their various requests as long as they are allowed by the neighborhood's rules.


  • Action Girlnote : Beats up Shawn and throws him into a wall to help Michael escape from the Bad Place. Even when she's depowered on Earth she can still take out half a dozen demons by herself, and then she gets her powers back and starts telekinetically throwing them across the room.
  • A.I. Is a Crapshoot:
    • Played for laughs. She gets rather glitchy after she's rebooted.
    • Later when she helps Jason and Tahani as relationship therapist, since she subconsciously remembers being married to Jason and she glitches whenever she attempts to lie about being happy. Then promptly subverted when she willingly offers herself up to be turned off and replaced before her lie glitches hurt people.
  • Ain't Too Proud to Beg: She's programmed to beg for her life if anyone presses her kill switch. As soon as someone balks, she reassures them that she feels no pain.
  • Alien Catnip: Magnets cause her to act drunk. She even gets a hangover afterward.
  • And I Must Scream: It's revealed that marbelizing a Janet doesn't kill them. Instead, they are turned into a screaming marble. While they can be revived, we've only seen it happen once.
  • Anthropomorphic Personification: She (and every other kind of Janet) is often described as an "anthropomorphized vessel" of all the knowledge in the universe.
  • Benevolent A.I.: A being with most, if not all the knowledge of the universe, Janet just wants to be as helpful as possible.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: When Trevor tries interfering with the humans, Janet tries summoning various items to see if they can injure and/or kill him. Only the fact she lacks her powers prevents anything happening. Later on, Shawn attempts to kidnap the humans, and Janet promptly fights off a bar full of demons in hand-to-hand combat to stop him. She even interrupts Shawn and Michael's pre-fight banter with a "Screw this! Let's fight!" and karate-chopping Shawn in the neck.
  • Big Red Button: In order to reboot her, one must push a big red button on an isolated beach.
  • Bizarre Alien Biology: Not an alien. Janets are sexless, genderless, human-shaped vessels of knowledge. They can summon anything they imagine or are asked for into existence, have a body temperature measured upward of several million degrees, don't experience the passage of time but do use it as a lotion for their skin, don't need to eat, get drunk near magnets, and aren't supposed to have blood (having blood is a sign a Janet is glitching). Also, shining a light in one ear causes it to come out the other refracted.
  • Blessed With Suck: At the beginning of Season 1, Janet was more roboticnote , acting on the default settings of Janet programming by only following orders and her failure to express any emotion or individual thought that wasn't blind optimism. After more than 800 reboots, she starts displaying a more complex, human-like personality, which also includes more negative human qualities like a capacity to lie, feel anger, sadness, jealousy and existential ennui. Since Good Janets aren't made to feel such emotions, this has caused a modicum of problems, including causing earthquakes and other mishaps whenever she lies (even when she doesn't know it), creating the unpredictable Derek who jeopardizes Michael's truce with the humans and frustrations with trying to keep the Neighborhood Experiment going in Season 4.
  • Brought Down to Normal: Along with Michael, being on Earth removes her powers. She's still insanely smart and apparently still has the capacity to remember everything she learns, but she can't just instantly absorb new knowledge anymore, nor can she summon things... much to her frustration. Like Michael, it's unclear if it made her effectively mortal, though.
  • Brought Down to Badass: Being on Earth negates her powers, but she still has complete knowledge of (and seemingly perfect memory of) the entire universe up to the point she entered Earth, which she's able to use to put together incredibly advanced sci-fi devices. She also retains all her knowledge of how to fight, allowing her to easily beat up a room full of angry demons.
  • Brutal Honesty: When Michael announces he's leaving the Good Place, Janet bluntly says it will not affect her in any way. Which is true, since she's an anthropomorphized construct with no real emotions.
  • Came Back Wrong: Every reboot she goes through adds another layer to her programming. In one reboot, she somehow bonded with Jason in a way no one could have anticipated and the two of them end up getting married. Michael finds this development to be so abhorrent that he decides to go reboot Janet again to try and fix things. And as of "The Trolley Problem", she's accidentally developed the ability to willfully lie (due to being rebooted 802 times) which causes potentially-catastrophic glitches throughout the neighborhood as lying fundamentally goes against her programming.
  • Catch Phrase:
    • "Janet?" (boop) "Hi there!"
    • Later on, "Not a girl" when someone refers to her as a girl, although she can sometimes sub it out for "Not a robot" when people describe her like that.
  • Cloud Cuckoo Lander: Her attempts to act human can come across as this.
  • The Cutie: Always friendly and glad to help. Every time she is updated, which is compared to a birthday, she likes to take a piece of birthday cake and smash it around where her mouth is.
  • Damsel in Distress: Not a damsel, on account of being not a girl, but "Tinker, Tailor, Demon, Spy" reveals that she's been kidnapped by the Bad Place while a Bad Janet has been pretending to be her to sabotage the experiment. The episode ends with Michael and Jason leaving the neighborhood to rescue her.
  • Death Is Cheap:
    • Though she is accidentally "killed" by Chidi when he presses her deactivation button, she comes back to life a few hours later as an updated version. Though as Eleanor, and Janet herself points out she is an anthropomorphic construction of information who wasn't born to begin with so therefore she can't technically die.
    • In "Dance Dance Resolution", each neighborhood reset requires Michael to reboot Janet, thus resulting in (at least) 801 more iterations of this trope.
    • Janet's manual reveals that a so-called permanent death would involve turning her into a marble. Michael finds that he can't do it when Janet tells him to so that the neighborhood stops glitching. We learn that marbleized Janets can be revived but they are conscious as marbles.
  • Dissonant Serenity: She always speaks in a friendly, upbeat tone, even when giving bad news or noting unpleasant facts.
  • Easily Forgiven: Justified in that she's a construct and technically not human, but Janet gets along well with Michael, considering that he kidnapped her from the Good Place and has rebooted her eight hundred times.
  • First Guy Wins: Jason was the first person who was nice to her after she rebooted, and they get married in Season 1. Season 3 reveals that Janet is still in love with him and has been all this time, though she doesn't remember it.
  • A Form You Are Comfortable With: She's the neighborhood's interface with the celestial mainframe. That said, she's not entirely a non-sentient construct in human form in the sense that she does have some sense of 'selfness' and even emotion at times, same as a sentient being.
  • Great Big Book of Everything: She can access information about everything in the universe.
  • Grew Beyond Their Programming: Given the above-mentioned growth with each reboot, she ponders that she might be the most advanced of her kind to ever exist after it's happened more than 800 times, and indeed comes off as far more human-like. The biggest change is that she is now able to feel emotions, and develop genuine attachments and affection for others. She even figures out a Loophole Abuse in her own programming.
  • Hammerspace: She either has access to one or is at least partially made of one, considering she pulls her user manual out of her nose and seems to be able to create objects out of thin air.
  • Have You Tried Rebooting?: If Janet glitches, or needs to be taken offline for a while, you can simply turn her off and back on again. It then takes her a few days to fully reboot.
  • Hypercompetent Sidekick: At first to Michael, then to Team Cockroach. Janet can do basically anything. But this gets played with in Seasons 3 and 4 when the pressures of having to do everything and being everyone's sidekick starts to get to her.
  • Insistent Terminology: Whenever someone refers to her as virtually anything, she'll quickly counter that she's not one, such as a robot or a girl.
  • Limited Wardrobe: The "variations of the same scheme" version. Her standard outfit is a vest, skirt and a patterned blouse which together look sort of like a flight attendant's uniform. Every time she's rebooted the color of the skirt and vest change along with the pattern of the blouse and the way she styles her hair. "Dance Dance Resolution" shows her in multiple variations of this outfit thanks to Michael constantly rebooting her.
  • Logic Bomb: Parodied. She is often compared to a robot, and becomes extremely confused that Chidi decided to come alone to the couples' spa, even saying "DOES NOT COMPUTE" over and over. Though she was just joking.
    Janet: (in a robotic voice) DOES NOT COMPUTE! DOES NOT COMPUTE! (laughs) I'm just kidding. I mean it doesn't compute, but I'm not gonna explode or anything.
  • Loophole Abuse:
    • She can side with the humans and Michael when they team up, because she was made to make humans' lives easier and tend to their needs. Eleanor, Jason, Chidi and Tahani are the only real humans in the "Good Place", so she can help them instead of everyone else.
    • While she technically Cannot Tell a Lie, her primary directive is to ensure the happiness of the humans under her control. Since there are actually only four humans residing in the Neighborhood, she is allowed to deceive the non-humans if it helps the humans.
  • Meaningful Name: 'Janet' comes from 'Jeanette'/'Jeanne', which means 'God is gracious.' Makes sense for a being designed by the Good Place to be forever courteous and all-providing for those in the afterlife.
  • Mechanical Abomination: Of the "Android/Angelic" variety. While she insists that she isn't a robot, she in an anthropomorphized celestial entity that operates not unlike that of an interactive program like Siri and Alexa, with various quirks similar to how you input information and request not unlike a browser or a computer. She can be "activated" by pressing her nose for three-seconds, she can be logged on by entering a four-digit key on a key-pad conjured on her hand, her marbleizing procedure is pressing her nose and inserting a paperclip behind her ear, she takes time to download all of the knowledge in the universe after she is "rebooted", there are many other Janets (including other Good Janets, Bad Janets, Neutral Janets and obsolete Disco Janets) that all run on the same network and they all maintain the existence of their respective neighborhoods.
  • Ms. Fanservice: She usually leans more towards pretty and modest, but Janet occasionally indulges in this via some of her outfits.
  • Nice Girl: Er, not a girl. (Nice Sort-of-a-Person?) Semantics aside, Janet is extremely kind, bubbly, and always ready to help out, to the point that even trying to be rude is against her very nature.
  • No Biological Sex: Janet is confirmed to be sexless and genderless. She physically resembles a human woman, and answers to the pronouns "she" and "her", but will always politely chime in with "Not a girl!" if someone calls her one. Given that she's a physical manifestation of all the knowledge in the universe, and the body is probably to make things more convenient for the humans she helps, it makes sense that Janets don't really have or need genders.
  • No Social Skills: Janet's very nice and polite, but tact is apparently not part of her programming, and she often drops some pretty harsh truth-bombs without any sort of attempt to take the edge off. While on Earth, she sees no problem with cheerfully informing a total stranger that the woman he thinks is his aunt is really his mother, leading Michael to quickly drag her away.
  • Offscreen Teleportation: Both in-universe and out-of-universe. She always appears and disappears via jump cut, usually appearing directly behind whoever called her.
  • The Omniscient: She's designed to know literally everything, right down to the smallest detail. A person cannot pick up a sandwich without Janet knowing about it instantly.
  • Only Friend: To Michael, after god-knows-how-long working together on their fake Good Place.
  • Out-of-Character Alert: She's visibly more annoyed with Eleanor and Brent, and delivering more Brutal Honesty in Season 4. It's not Janet; it's a Bad Janet impersonating her.
  • Perpetual Smiler: Always has a smile on her face, which often crosses into Dissonant Serenity territory when she spouts horrific facts about the Bad Place (such as Columbus being there because of the raping, pillaging and genocide he committed) or when she tells Eleanor how she can be killed.
  • Physical God: Janet knows everything and can create anything at any time. Seemingly her only limitation is not being able to lie, though the latest version has found a way around that.
  • The Pollyanna: Janet is constantly cheery and optimistic, which, in Season 4, is one of the ways that they realize she's actually Bad Janet.
  • Resurrection Sickness: After being killed and subsequently rebooted, she spends a few days having to relearn all the knowledge of the universe. Initially she can only say her name and "hello", and spontaneously generates cacti.
  • Robot Girl: Subverted/defied. While she is like a walking, talking, infinitely more helpful version of intelligent personal assistant programs like Siri or Alexa (even lampshaded as Eleanor calls her "Busty Alexa" at one point), she's neither a robot nor a girl (rather, a genderless interface for the celestial mainframe). Jason or the other characters repeatedly refer to her as one and/or the other, and Janet always has to correct them. The one time she doesn't clues in Jason that she's an impostor.
    Janet: Not a robot.(...) Not a girl.
  • Running Gag: Interjecting to deny whatever label or emotion is ascribed to her in casual conversation.
  • Saying Sound Effects Out Loud: When deprived of her powers of teleportation, she says the distinctive "bing" out loud because she's uncomfortable without it.
  • Shipper on Deck: Seems to approve of Chidi and Simone, having determined their hypothetical offspring would be incredibly attractive.
  • Single-Target Sexuality: After marrying Jason once, she retains this toward him through all subsequent reboots, even though neither of them remember it.
  • Spanner in the Works: Eleanor stuffed a letter to herself in her mouth, knowing it wouldn't go anywhere. She was right.
  • Stepford Smiler: Despite not remembering her romance with Jason, she's still subconsciously attracted to him and her conflicting feelings about seeing him with Tahani start having dire effects on the whole neighborhood.
  • Super Strength: She is capable of lifting and throwing Shawn across the room with a single hand.
  • Three Laws-Compliant: While she is not a robot, she still follows her own version of the Three Laws. She will try to preserve her own existence but this is trumped by her having to follow the instructions of the residents of the Neighborhood. However, her primary objective is to ensure the happiness of the humans under her care so she is allowed to deceive the non-humans running the Neighborhood.
  • Token Good Teammate: She is actually the only genuinely good part of Neighborhood 12358W, having been kidnapped by Michael from the real Good Place to sell the illusion that the residents are not in the Bad Place.
  • Trust Password: Although she isn't aware of it, saying "not a girl" to Jason is this for them. When she doesn't say it in Season 4, he realizes "she" (actually Bad Janet) is the mole.
  • What Measure Is a Non-Human?: Often Played for Laughs when Janet "begs for her life" or something similar to the horror of the humans, but played straight throughout Season 3 as Janet realizes she's in love with Jason and bonds with the other humans.

Newcomers

    John 

John Wheaton

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/f1f2fc54_84a6_42dd_9331_f1d89ab91ceb_screen_shot_2019_09_26_at_11713_pm.png
"Luckily before I died I pumped my face with 6 vials of juviter. I'm hoping that my corpse looks like a waxed tile-floor. My ex-boyf is gonna be supes jel."
Portrayed By: Brandon Scott Jones

A gossip columnist selected by the Bad Place for the new experiment. He had a history of writing disparaging things about Tahani.


  • Back for the Finale: He appears in the series finale, bidding Tahani farewell when she's considering going through the door to oblivion.
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: He seems like a nice enough guy at first glance, but it doesn't take long for him to reveal that he's a catty, sleazy, and self-absorbed gossip.
  • Camp Gay: He is very effeminate and mentions having an ex-boyfriend. When he reappears in "Whenever You're Ready", he mentions hooking up with Alexander the Great.
  • Character Development: Against all odds, he does become more mindful and concerned for the other humans in the neighborhood, which is confirmed when the experiment results come in and he made a large improvement in terms of points.
  • Everyone Has Standards:
    • Even he can't stand Brent's Jerkass behavior and refuses to stand up for the guy. On the last day of the experiment, he won't risk his life to save Brent when the latter falls into a potentially-deadly pit.
    • He also agrees to keep Jason's "secret" because he doesn't want to condemn someone to hell.
  • Evil Cannot Comprehend Good: Before his Jerkass Realization, he was unable to realize that Tahani genuinely is a nice person and wanted to forgive him for hurting her feelings. It's not until they connect over being excluded that he admits he was horrible to her and doesn't understand why she would give him a second chance.
  • Foil: To Tahani; they both used their sense of being excluded to drive their actions. In Tahani's case, however, she was motivated to do more philanthropy out of jealousy towards Kamilah and how her sister was better regarded, so she ended up in The Bad Place for having Secretly Selfish motivations. John was just petty and wanted to hurt people out of spite towards them, which means his motives and actions were corrupt.
  • Freudian Excuse: Tahani realizes one reason why he was so cruel and petty was that he resented being excluded from the lavish lifestyles of the rich and powerful. John eventually confirms this by means of a tirade about how he was paying bills, building a lucrative gossip site for himself while Tahani was relishing her wealth. Still, none of it negates the fact that he hurt people, spread lies about them, and just did lots and lots of morally repugnant things.
  • Gossipy Hens: All the way to owning a gossip blog. The first thing he asks Janet is what the weirdest celebrity hookup was.
  • Green-Eyed Monster: Part of his cruelty stemmed from his jealousy of how The Beautiful Elite had wealth, status and attention and he desperately wanted to be part of that.
  • Ironic Hell: It is eventually revealed that being in "The Good Place" with the woman he harassed was as uncomfortable for him as it was for her. That's why he was avoiding her gestures of friendship.
  • The Jailbait Wait: He proudly says that his site had a countdown clock for when the Olsen twins became legal. Though for what it's worth, his actor is only two years older than them.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: He was meaner about it than he needed to be, but he was apparently one of the few people who successfully identified Tahani's very real issues.
    Tahani: He made it seem like I was shallow, plagued with jealousy, and (bursts into tears) prone to fits of melodrama!
  • Jerkass Realization: In "Chillaxing", he finally admits part of the reason he's standoffish to Tahani is he feels guilty for harassing her to the point of mocking her bangs at a Broadway show via a scrawled note on a playbill, admitting there was no excuse for it. What's more, he's amazed that despite what he did, she's still willing to be friends with him and move on from the past. Even if he can't shed all of his Jerkass behavior, he wants to try and start.
  • Kick the Dog: He often made Tahani a target of his harassment. Tahani, who, for much of her life, was a Spoiled Sweet Nice Girl compared to the rest of the Fiction 500.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: He spent his life harassing the Fiction 500 due to feelings of jealousy and exclusion. Thanks to the Bad Place sending him for the experiment, he gets access to all the luxuries he couldn't afford but has to spend his afterlife with the woman he harassed, who goes out of her way to be nothing but nice to him and bury the hatchet. John finds he's unable to enjoy paradise when it comes with guilt, which spurs his own growth.
  • Master of the Mixed Message: When Tahani says she hopes they can be friends, this is his response (all with a bright, sunny smile on his face):
    John: Oh, my God. You are so cute. You are so cute, it's gross. You disgust me. I love you. Get out of here. I never want to see you again. I love you so much.
  • Paparazzi: He wrote for your run-of-the-mill, trashy celebrity gossip blog, and apparently had it out for Tahani in particular.
  • Take That!: Is a pretty clear parody of the infamous celebrity gossip blogger Perez Hilton.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: He claims the purpose of his blog was to "speak truth to power." It seems more likely he was just a horrible gossip.

    Brent 

Brent Norwalk

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/good_place_brent_the_worst_1200x750.png
"Steel's a sucker's game."
Portrayed By: Ben Koldyke

A materials salesman and one of the humans selected for the experimental Good Place neighborhood.


  • Abhorrent Admirer: The name of his Author Avatar Chip Driver's love interest, "Scarlett Pakistan," is clearly a riff on Scarlett Johansson. Although this indicates she's a synthesis of at least more than one target of his undesirable attractions, Scarlet Pakistan is also very evidently based mostly on Tahani. That is, an extremely racist and misogynistic, one-note caricature of Tahani that he finds attractive.
  • Accidental Misnaming: He has never called Chidi by the correct name (thus far he's called him "Chad" and "Chippy"), and has no interest in learning how to say it properly. He later gets Chidi's name right in Help Is Other People.
  • Angry White Man: Is a stereotypical middle-aged white male who feels confounded by the changes of the modern world. He frequently makes various racist, sexist and classist remarks (even pointing out how they are what is wrong with "this country") and treats "his secretary" Janet less like a person and more like a mindless slave and a sex object.
    Brent: My assistant, Janet, is a little uptight. I mean she hasn't worn any of my gifts.
    Michael: Have you been asking Janet to make herself clothes that you give back to her?
    Eleanor: Yeah. You're doing the math right there, bud.
  • Back for the Finale: He appears in the series finale, still going through a bunch of afterlife tests.
  • Break the Haughty: He starts off seemingly impermeable to learning genuine humility, even when Michael and Eleanor try to frame him for chaos in the fake neighborhood. Then Simone bluntly tells him his book is bad, Tahani follows suit, and Chidi punches him out when Brent shoves him for accidentally getting hit by his book. Later he's knocked into a fiery pit as part of the Soul Squad's last attempt at a Secret Test of Character for the experiment subjects and Chidi is the only one who chooses to help him out (and even then, it was only because of his own personal moral code). Then he's made to believe he's truly in the Bad Place, receives a vicious (though well-deserved) "The Reason You Suck" Speech from Chidi and has a breakdown as he undergoes a Jerkass Realization.
  • Can't Take Criticism: Throws a massive tantrum when the other residents criticize his book and call out how racist, sexist and just plain bad it is. He reacts so poorly he and Chidi end up in an actual fight over it.
  • Comically Missing the Point: When Eleanor and Michael orchestrate a chaos sequence centered around him, he runs to them and admits that he doesn't belong there in the Good Place... and instead he belongs in a better place than that; "The Best Place."
  • Evil Counterpart: To Eleanor. Eleanor also realized she was causing the chaos in Season 1, like Brent does in Season 4. However, Brent seriously and unironically thinks this is because of how great he is, and he continues to berate and insult Chidi, while Eleanor fell in love with him.
  • Foil:
    • To Eleanor. Eleanor, while doing horrible things, knew that she was committing wrong and was extremely guilty upon realizing that she was causing chaos in Season 1. She also reformed in part for Chidi's sake before admitting that she fell in love with him and stepped aside when he seemed interested in someone else. Brent, on the other hand, practices Selective Obliviousness and doesn't realize that he is quite terrible. He's interested in Janet, who is "not a girl, not a robot" and is already in a relationship with someone else, treating her as a sex object. Janet, who can't even have sex, broadcasts her disgust with annoyed politeness.
    • Much like Jason, he is a Manchild who has lived his entire life out of short-sighted ignorance and ended up in the afterlife due to his own ineptitude. However, while Jason has many of the more positive traits of childhood (blind optimism, curiosity, desire for friendship, fantastical idea of what love is), lived a life of street-crime and had lived just above homelessness, Brent behaves more like a Spoiled Brat who throws tantrums at the first sign of conflict, has committed (and gotten away with) various white-collar crimes and was born into wealth.
    • In terms of their backgrounds, Brent is a foil to Tahani. Both of them were born into wealthy upper class backgrounds and thus have high expectations and expensive tastes. Both of them constantly crave attention and tend to bring their status into conversations, Tahani with her constant namedropping while Brent does so with him constantly bringing up having gone to Princeton. The difference is Tahani's parents messed her up by constantly pitting her against her sister in competition making her feel like she had to earn their love and approval with their actions which corrupted her motives for any good things she did. Brent is messed up in the complete opposite direction, having been given everything in his life on a silver platter and thus meaning he has never actually struggled or earned anything in his life on his own merit.
    • By contrast, unlike Chidi, John, and Simone, he has absolutely no genuine desire to improve.
  • The Friend Nobody Likes: Has essentially been pressed into this role by nature of the experiment and his own personality. Between the titanic sense of entitlement, the inability to take criticism, the casual bigotry and the endless bragging, it's hardly surprising that the others he has to be around begin to treat him with disdain. It's worth noting that when he falls into a sinkhole, John and Simone opt to leave him to it and Chidi actually seems rather unhappy that he's philosophically committed to rescuing a guy who lives, breathes and craps smugness.
  • Giftedly Bad: With his Chip Driver novel. He really did pour his soul into it and considers it a masterpiece work, but everyone (including Bad Janet) agrees it's the worst thing they've ever read.
  • Hate Sink: He's racist, sexist, arrogant, self-centered, running a business that harms the environment, and the only one who thinks his golf game is any good. He also gets considerably less development than the other characters, with no humanizing peeks into his backstory or hints toward redeeming qualities, because there aren't any.
  • Heel–Face Door-Slam: Played with. "The Funeral to End All Funerals" reveals he was the only person to actually get worse during the experiment, but his genuine apology to Chidi during the very last minute of the experiment did redeem him from a very low score to just 1% worse.
  • Hypocrite: In "A Girl From Arizona, Part 2", Brent says that he believes that people rejecting personal responsibility and expecting handouts is a major problem in society, all the while being completely blind to the fact that he got handouts his whole life. Later, in "A Chip Driver Mystery", he aggressively pushes responsibility for everything that goes wrong for him onto others, from blaming the poor reception of his novel on Simone and Tahani being "mean" and prejudiced against him to insisting that his golf game went badly because Michael sneezed.
  • Ignored Epiphany: By the time the finale rolls around, Brent has gone through - and failed - so many times that the people testing him have resorted to simply telling him what the right answer is. Even then, he still doesn't get it.
  • It's All About Me: Eleanor even points this out, stating that men like Brent think the whole world revolves around them while begrudgingly admitting that it's kinda true. Chidi cites this as the first and main reason why Brent is a terrible person.
  • Ivy League for Everyone: Invoked; he sees the fact that he went to Princeton as indicative that he's a great individual, and will take any opportunity to mention it in conversation.
  • Jerkass: He's a rude, arrogant, stubborn and entitled bigot. His egotistical and narcissistic attitude is so annoying that not even Chidi likes him and calls him a bad person. Given the eventual fates of everyone else, the show confirms that no other character is as obnoxious and bothersome as Brent is. Even the demons.
  • Jerkass Realization: In "Help Is Other People", he realizes how much of a dick he was his whole life and all Season 4 and genuinely apologizes to Chidi about it, though he doesn't finish due to the experiment being over. The next episode shows that it did end up factoring into his final judgment and greatly boosted his point totals, but not enough to give him a positive score.
  • Jerk With A Heart Of Jerk: Brent constantly seems to be on the brink of discovering something profound about himself, but only behaving even more rudely and terribly. In fact, the only time he doesn't behave like this actually gets cut off - he's about to apologize when the experiment ends, freezing him and Chidi. It did still seem to count toward his point totals, but not enough to give him a positive score.
  • Manchild: Despite being around 50 to 60 years old, being an Angry White Man raised in privilege has made him incredibly thin-skinned and prone to tantrums. He spends most of the time golfing with the instant-win setting turned on, only to immediately accuse Michael of sneezing as the reason why he misses after it is turned off. When everyone voices how bad his book (and by extension, his own personality) is, he complains about how much of a victim he is and cancels his book signing "because of these mean women."
    Bad Janet: Ah, middle-aged American male fragility. You know why they're called baby-boomers, right? Because the tiniest little pin-prick to their ego and boom: they become babies.
  • Nice to the Waiter: The "treats the staff badly and is therefore a bad person" flavor. Upon being introduced to Janet he immediately assumes that she's his secretary and is consistently rude to her.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: His name, "HR complaints", Ivy League cred, drinking issues, and Angry White Man shtick all point to him being at least partially inspired by Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh.
  • Obliviously Evil: He has no malice and doesn't realize how damaging his bratty behavior is because he's been protected from consequences all his life. This fact makes it quite difficult to reform him, as he doesn't believe he has any need to reform.
  • Oh, Crap!: When Eleanor and Michael confirm that Brent and Chidi are in the Bad Place in "Help Is Other People", Brent's cockiness that had been in place since his first appearance completely drops as he's forced to realize he's not nearly a good person as he thought and that his theory of being worthy of "The Best Place" was completely unfounded. He tries to retain his composure after Eleanor and Michael leave the room but fails, as Chidi's subsequent "The Reason You Suck" Speech underlines that Brent is a genuinely bad person and sends him further into a panic.
  • Parental Neglect: He offhandedly mentions that he had a child back on Earth, but doesn't seem to think much of said "dumb kid" and doesn't care that he is now permanently out of their life.
  • Political Correctness Gone Mad: At least that's what he thinks. When he's told that Janet isn't a secretary, he starts complaining about "all the terms" he's expected to learn.
  • Politically Incorrect Villain: Unambiguously a bad person, and leans heavily into casual misogyny and racism. He then gets defensive and angry whenever he's called out on it.
  • Pretty Fly for a White Guy: A part of his casual, unthinking racism coupled with trying to earn points for friendliness to secure a spot in "The Best Place". In "Tinker, Tailor, Demon, Spy", he calls Chidi "my brother" and imitates a stereotypical black American accent, despite Chidi not being American. Simone quickly gives the appropriate reaction.
  • Some of My Best Friends Are X: Denies being a racist by pointing out that his dentist was black.
  • Spanner in the Works: moreso than the the two actual Demons working as moles, or the people chosen specifically to hurt Chidi and Tahani. He actually got worse in death, and even a heartfelt apology at the last minute wasn't enough to save him. And that was under the best case conditions. Without Chidi, he's on attempt 15,724, and still hasn't gotten better.
  • Stylistic Suck: The awful descriptions in his crime novel are also inspired by the work of... unfortunately, legions of male authors, even highly acclaimed and established ones. "Her eyes were as brown as the brownest crayon" is barely Pastiche.
  • Strawman Political: Brent seems to be intended as a caricature of all of the worst stereotypes of his demographic (rich, right-Wing baby-boomer men). He is portrayed as being wrong on every issue, basing his opinions entirely on unexamined prejudice and privilege (leading him to doing and saying various unapologetically sexist and racist things), reacting disproportionately to criticism and behaving as though the world revolves around him and has earned it himself despite inheriting his privilege.
  • Take That!: Mike Schur confirmed on the podcast that he's a parody of Brett Kavanaugh.
  • Token Evil Teammate: While nobody in the new neighborhood deserves to be in the Good Place (per the old rules), everybody else improves quite significantly, except Brent, who actually gets worse.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Literally in this case. The reason he died was that he won a drinking contest with a pilot and got to fly his helicopter.
  • Wants a Prize for Basic Decency: He seems convinced that his "personal belief" that Martin Luther King Jr. was a good person is bold and insightful, and begins his quest to garner "Best Place" points by opening and closing doors for people.
  • Write Who You Know: In-Universe, he writes a novel and bases the love interest on Tahani and the nerdy sidekick on Chidi.
  • You, Get Me Coffee: By his first night in the Neighborhood, Brent has asked Janet for so many things (one of which being a BLT) that Janet (who was created solely to answer questions and give humans stuff) finds it annoying. Though of course, she found it condescending that he asks for clothes in her size and "gifted" them to her, expecting she would wear them. Odds are this falls in the "Make Me a Sandwich" category given his political incorrectness.
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