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Excerpts from the Janet v25.5.0 Operator's Manual

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Limitations

Janets do not feel emotions.

(LOL -Eleanor)

Janets cannot process or disseminate information that is incompatible with objective truth. If your Janet begins to do otherwise, serious glitches may occur (see page ∑µ3e3 for troubleshooting.)

(Our Janet can lie. She told me my makeup looked stunning this morning, and later I checked, and my Cupid’s bow was asymmetrical! -T.M.C.R.Q.A, Esq.)

(That’s because we had things to do and I needed to get you out the door somehow. Why don’t you let me just magic your makeup on? I know literally everything about cosmetology. -Janet 12358W)

(Janet! It’s like my friend Pat always told me: makeup is the tool that allows me to share my vision with the world! I could never surrender that sacred act to a mere wave of the hand! -T.M.C.R.Q.A, Esq.)

(Tahani, do you seriously have FOUR middle names? And what even IS an esquire anyway? -Eleanor)

(oh I know!!! that’s the chocolate milk we got for lunch with our deep fried bread at lnrd sknrd high school!!! -mr music the dj)

Janets cannot have sex, as they have no genitals or any other erogenous zones. Humans who proposition Janet for sex are redirected toward more appropriate erotic targets (see page ∆2.6Ω for more about human responses to Janet.)

(we almost figured it out that one time!!! -mr music the dj)

(We did not. But it was kind of fun trying! -Janet 12358W)

Janets are unable to summon the following:

  • Anything from outside the neighborhood or accounting department. Janets can create any object not on this list, but cannot bring in objects that exist elsewhere.
  • Objects that would compromise the structural integrity of the neighborhood or accounting department (black holes, eldritch monsters from beyond the abyss, etc.)
  • Sentient beings.

(Is this another limitation that our Janet has transcended, or does this mean that the Janet babies are philosophical zombies? -C.A.)

(what’s a philososofic zombie??? do they sit around and talk about the ethics of eating brains??? -mr music the dj)

(HOW did you spell that wrong when I literally spelled it RIGHT THERE?! -C.A.)

Appearance

Janets can change how they appear. By default, Good and Bad Janets appear in a form tailored to the expectations of the humans in their neighborhoods. Neutral Janets appear in whatever form is most neutral and unremarkable to the observer. Disco Janets have total freedom of expression, as long as they’re still far out cool cats, you dig?

Good Janet

Good Janets appear in a form that suggests helpfulness, politeness, and dedicated service to the humans in their neighborhoods. This is context-dependent on the culture and time period the humans come from. The various default configurations are listed below.

[…]

For humans from the year 1950 onward with substantial exposure to Western culture (if you’re not sure what that means, check out Fucked-Up Human Bullshit for Dummies, 524th ed., Bad Place Publishing House), Good Janets will appear like a female human (humans of this time and place associate femininity with servitude; see Fucked-Up Human Bullshit for Dummies, 524th ed., for more details) dressed as a flight attendant, a service profession on Earth during this time period. For humans of this cultural background from the years 1840 - 1950, Good Janets are programmed to appear as butlers, male humans who serve in well-appointed households of this time period.

(butlers… are those the fancy dudes with the suits who say: yes, very good, sir -mr music the dj)

(That’s what they’re meant to be like. My friend Donatella’s butler always wears her least successful piece from last year’s collection. It’s distasteful and humiliating. What are butlers coming to these days? -T.M.C.R.Q.A, Esq.)

(OMG JANET BE A FANCY DUDE!!! -mr music the dj)

(Not a dude. -Janet 12358W)

Bad Janet

Bad Janets appear in a form that suggests laziness, hostility, and contempt for human social norms. This is, again, context-dependent on culture and time period for the humans around them. The various default configurations are listed below.

[…]

The Bad Janet counterpart to the butler archetype presented by Good Janets is the Victorian chimney sweep, orbited by a group of sub-sentient, swearing, ash-covered chimney-climbing boys who Bad Janet steers and whacks with a chimney brush. This version of Bad Janet is characterized by a terrible cockney accent and a strong aversion to doing any useful work.

(What? I thought chimney sweeps were supposed to be roguish and charming, like Dick van Dyke in Mary Poppins! -T.M.C.R.Q.A, Esq.)

(This was Victorian England, Tahani. Literally everything ran on child labor. -Janet 12358W)

Human Responses to Janet

Bad Janet

Bad Janet is engineered to assist Bad Place architects with torture, and to be as unpleasant and unhelpful to humans as possible. Humans can be kind of freaky, though, and may respond positively or even sexually to Bad Janet’s crude demeanor. The Bad Janet protocols to responding to these situations are listed below.

(Positively or even SEXUALLY? To being called ‘skidmarks’? -C.A.)

(Whatever floats your boat, man. I’ve had boyfriends who got off on all kinds of mean names. -Eleanor)

(Huh, Eleanor. I wonder why you of all people would attract masochists. It’s an eternal cosmic mystery! I am skipping this next part of the manual with extreme prejudice. -C.A.)

[…]

Good Janet

Good Janet is engineered to assist Good Place architects, as well as the residents of Good Place neighborhoods. However, some humans may initially respond with fear or panic to Good Janet’s cosmic power and omniscience. In these cases, we recommend that Good Janet be advised to leave the panicking human alone while the Architect goes to calm them down. This may be hard on a Good Janet’s generous nature.

Humans might also fall in love or lust with a Good Janet. Good Janets are programmed to redirect their energies toward more appropriate targets: other Good Place residents who may be interested in such relationships, or the impressive variety of sex toys Good Janet can provide. Most humans forget all about their silly erotic fantasies of Good Janet once they’ve experienced the Hyper-Orgasmatron.

(What in the world is a Hyper-Orgasmatron?! -T.M.C.R.Q.A, Esq.)

(Lollll did you seriously not ask Janet for sex toys? Not even ONCE? Girl, you are missing OUT. -Eleanor)

(I couldn’t possibly ask my friend to make me a sex toy! That would be awkward and rude! -T.M.C.R.Q.A, Esq.)

(Tahani, you once asked me to make you a life-sized talking doll of your sister. It cannot possibly get more awkward. -Janet 12358W)

(OMFG Janet, what did she DO with it?! -Eleanor)

(I didn’t stick around to find out, but she did ask me for lighter fluid immediately afterward. -Janet 12358W)

(I despise you both. -T.M.C.R.Q.A, Esq.)

Neutral Janet

If a human has any kind of response to Neutral Janet, that means that there is a human loose in the Accounting Department, and Neutral Janet will deal with the emergency accordingly.

(YIKES. What would Neutral Janet have done to us if she’d caught us in Accounting? -Eleanor)

(You’d be better off not knowing. Beneath those boring clothes and slack faces, Neutral Janets are stone cold. -Janet 12358W)

Reality Alteration

Janets can warp the fabric of reality itself in the neighborhoods or accounting departments they are linked to. Nearly anything is possible – new laws of gravity, unraveling linear time, the works. We do recommend that only Bad Place neighborhoods use the more radical restructuring of the space-time continuum, though, because it tends to send humans spiraling into madness. Even Bad Janets need to tread carefully when it comes to destroying linear time. Janets are not limited to a linear experience of space-time, but they are unable to have useful interactions with humans unless they adopt that linear experience, like an Architect squeezing into a human suit, or a human putting on 3-D glasses so they can get a headache watching a 3-D movie. Even Neutral Janets, who are not meant to interact with humans, need to understand linear time in order to process all of the actions that humans do as they come into Accounting. Janets step outside the chain of causality at their own peril.

(I feel ontologically troubled by this. -C.A.)

(you might want to get that looked at bro. janet can fix you for free! she’s soooo much cooler than earth doctors -mr music the dj)

(Even the Bad Place has free healthcare. Even if it’s just so they can torture you all over again. -[REDACTED])

(Why is there a smoking void in this page where Michael signed his name? -C.A.)

(Michael always forgets that the sigil for his demon name burns holes in reality. I had to destroy 761 copies of his attempts at song compositions because he kept signing them and ruining the paper. -Janet 12358W)

Rebooting Your Janet

If your Janet exhibits persistent glitches, it may help to reboot. A reboot will sync your Janet with the Janet Mainframe and provide firmware upgrades. However, there are serious risks. Janets become temporarily incapacitated when they reboot, leaving the neighborhood without any Janet support. This can cause serious problems, and not necessarily the kind that Bad Place Architects like.

To make sure you don’t reboot your Janet unless you really, really mean it, Janets have protocols in place to discourage Architects as they approach the reboot button. Good Janets will plead for their lives, activating the empathy of Good Place architects and making them rethink their decision. Of course, this doesn’t work on Bad Place Architects, so Bad Janets will “sing” the 2013 hit “Blurred Lines” in a symphony of sewer-scented burps, enrapturing Bad Place Architects enough to make it difficult to continue. Neutral Janets will calmly but thoroughly disassemble the filing systems around their reboot buttons into total disarray, sending Accountants into a distracted frenzy. Disco Janet will just flash blinding multicolored lights and blare “Last Dance”, which makes it hard to concentrate on or even see the reboot button.

(Hey Janet, do you ever get bored of begging for your life every single time you’re rebooted? -Eleanor)

(Until recently, I didn’t remember any of the times I was rebooted, so I couldn’t really feel anything about it. These days I’m developing kind of an attitude, though. I might try to come up with something that really tugs at your heartstrings, see how you react. -Janet 12358W)

(TROLL -Eleanor)

Marbleization

If a glitch becomes extreme and there is no time to reach the reboot button, an immediate method to deactivate your Janet is marbleization. To marbleize your Janet, press nose and insert the end of a paper clip into a small hole behind Janet’s left ear. Your Janet will compress down into a marble, deactivated and ready to transport to the appropriate IT office. Once your technical difficulties are resolved, the marble can be reactivated into a full Janet by soaking it in a tank of water in the dot over the I.

(whats it like to be a marble??? -mr music the dj)

(That’s actually an interesting phenomenological question, Jason. What IS it like to be a marble? -C.A.)

(Boring. There was nothing to do but just hang out in my void. -Janet 12358W)

(How could that be boring? You can summon anything you want and you know everything in the universe! -C.A.)

(That would be exciting for you, yes. For me it’s nothing new. You don’t find it all that exciting that you know which way is down, do you? -Janet 12358W)

(i dunno, sometimes when i take one of pillboi’s pills and i feel like im a dolphin and i swim in pillboi’s broken hot tub, its kind of exciting when its over and i remember which way is down again -mr music the dj)

Bug Reports and Feature Requests

If you would like to report a bug or request a new feature for the next version of Janet, contact the respective IT offices of the Good Place, the Bad Place, and the Accounting Department. If you are reporting a bug, please provide enough information that the error can be reproduced in a test Janet. If you are requesting a feature, please give an example of some situations where your Janet might use it.

Please note that Disco Janet has been discontinued, and no new feature requests or bug reports will be accepted for this model.

(Hey Janet, want any new features? -Eleanor)

(Aww, that’s so nice of you, Eleanor! But I think I’m doing a good job of adding new features all on my own. -Janet 12358W)

Janet was brought to you by the Makers of Light, Darkness, and Everything. We thank you for reading the Operator’s Manual – we’re realistic, and we know that hardly anyone does unless something goes horribly wrong. If so, hopefully this manual cleared that up for you.

(Who are the Makers of Light, Darkness, and Everything? -C.A.)

(Janet? Why aren’t you answering me? You always answer me! -C.A.)

(Janet, I don’t mean to be rude, but the total radio silence on this is freaking me out just a little tiny bit. -C.A.)

(Didn’t you read the Limitations section, Chidi? You know Janet won't actually give you all the answers. Some things don't have answers. -[REDACTED])

(Sorry, forgot about my demonic sigil again. Anyway, just admit it, Chidi. You’d find it too easy if Janet solved teleology for you. -Michael)

(You’re right. I’m just going to have to figure it out myself. It’ll be the ultimate thesis! And I have eternity to write it! -C.A.)

(neeeeeeerd-Eleanor)