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In order to protect her human friends from the demons chasing them, Janet (D’Arcy Carden) brings them into her void, where they all appear as versions of her in the aptly titled “Janet(s)” episode of the third season of NBC’s afterlife comedy “The Good Place.” The episode is technically complex because Carden had to be composited over and over as versions of herself, Eleanor, Chidi, Tahani and Jason in the scenes. But things become even more complicated as Eleanor begins to lose sense of herself while trying to have a heart-to-heart with Chidi, glitching into a couple dozen different individuals and eventually causing the void itself to break apart before he stops her spiral by kissing her.

Dylan Morgan and Josh Siegal
“It was Mike Schur himself who said, essentially, ‘What if she just starts to become other people?’ And that unlocked a really exciting comedy gain for the scene while also allowing us to have a danger that had to be overcome to get Eleanor back to who she was both literally and figuratively. There were five or so main people that we cycled through and each one of them got a line that had to serve double duty, both as a thing Eleanor would say in the situation but that there would be added comedy by the look of the person saying it. Having an older man say he couldn’t remember anymore had immediate power; having a bodybuilder say he was scared, that got to be a joke. Those things we scripted very carefully.”

Matthew Freund
“It starts off kind of slower and then it speeds up, and as it speeds up, there are more and more actors, so for me it gets more complex as the scene goes on. When they shot the different versions of Eleanor, using the background actors, there was no Chidi-Janet; it was just them clean of anyone else. And then they shot separately all of the Chidi-Janet reactions and all of her dialogue. Sometimes they would line up, but a lot of times I had to [adjust] the scale to try to get it to match a little bit better. You’re doing something very technical, but you’re also trying to retain the emotion and the comedy.”

David Niednagel
Visual effects producer
“When we first started the episode it was going to be all-white, no furniture in the background, and Morgan, our director, said, ‘I think you’re going to want some geography in there or it could get boring.’ So we had the furniture, and when everything was crumbling we really wanted to play up the couch and the painting behind them breaking apart because it helps sell what was going on and it looked very visually cool. We knew there were specific camera angles where, if we shoot it this way, we can figure out in post how we want to finesse it. So it came down to those camera angles, and I had created some tests, so we had a specific vision and then handed it off to Zoic Studios.”

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Courtesy of NBC

Morgan Sackett
“This scene was a lot of little parts, and I always think of the part where they kiss as a different scene because we shot it on a different day. For that, I told D’Arcy it was going to be very weird because she had to kiss wax lips. She set the template by kissing them first, and it was very technical with her body position and head position. It had to match for when Kristen [Bell] reappeared in the frame, and Kristen is so much shorter than D’Arcy, so it was a lot of ‘your lower lip needs to be a little more this way.’”

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David Miller
Director of photography
“Because it takes place in the white limbo, the lighting of it was fairly simple in getting everything to match. For the kiss, it was a lot of painstaking adjustments to get the head position, recording it, and then getting on the other side to record that, and also dealing with everyone’s height differentials. It was the mechanics of the turntable that did all the movement; the camera was locked off. A Steadicam wouldn’t have allowed for the precision; it had to be repeatable. The difficulty was getting the lips to match up correctly.”