Maya Rudolph, who played Judge Gen on NBC’s The Good Place, recently revealed that her character was modeled after Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Airing in September 2016, The Good Place follows Eleanor (Kristen Bell), a morally corrupt saleswoman who recently passed away, as she finds her way through the afterlife. The Good Place quickly became a fan favorite for its fascinating story, quirky jokes, diverse cast, and existential questions. On the show, Maya Rudolph played Judge Gen, an omniscient immortal being who decides where each human will spend eternity after he or she dies.
Though The Good Place ended this January after four seasons, its cast and crew have been keeping busy and are still gaining well-deserved recognition for their parts on the show. Maya Rudolph was recently nominated for an Emmy for her performance as the Judge on The Good Place, and though she did not win for this particular role, Rudolph went home with two Emmys in hand this past week - one for Netflix's Big Mouth and the other for Saturday Night Live.
In an interview with Deadline after her Emmy wins this weekend, Rudolph spoke about how her character was inspired by Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the influential Supreme Court Justice who sadly passed away this weekend. She revealed that not only was Judge Gen’s robe modeled after RBG’s, but also that the creators aimed to pay homage to Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s powerful, all-good, all-knowing persona with Judge Gen. Read an excerpt of the interview below:
“I was actually thinking about The Good Place a lot and about how we modeled her robe after Ruth Bader Ginsberg and how much of that was an homage to an iconic human being. When you think of a judge, when you think of all-knowing, when you think of powerful, when you think of all good, yeah, we modeled her robe after RBG, so that was pretty cool.”
Maya Rudolph’s insight shows just how influential Ruth Bader Ginsburg was not only to the American justice system, but to entertainment and media all over the world. RBG was a leading figure in the fight for gender equality and civil rights, and was once name-dropped on The Good Place by Tahani. While Rudolph’s Judge Gen greatly differs from Ruth Bader Ginsburg in real life, it is uplifting to know that the creators of The Good Place had RBG’s achievements in mind while writing a show about how every action, no matter how small, can have a great impact.
Though The Good Place had a short run compared to many other modern sitcoms, it taught many valuable lessons through comedy and imperfect characters. Even Rudolph’s character, the Judge herself, could be accused of being lazy and careless, but The Good Place maintains that despite each character’s flaws, their determination to do the right thing will eventually bring about the best outcome. It seems fitting that Rudolph’s character was modeled after Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who overcame countless difficulties, and whose legacy will live on both in American politics and in her impact on the global entertainment industry.