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Emmy episode analysis: Ted Danson (‘The Good Place’) becomes a real boy in ‘Whenever You’re Ready’

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Ted Danson is nominated at the Emmys once again for his performance as Michael in “The Good Place.” It is his 18th overall bid and record 14th one in Best Comedy Actor from the TV academy, which gave him two Emmys for another NBC comedy, “Cheers,” in the early ’90s. This is his third comedy actor nomination in a row for “The Good Place,” which concluded its fourth and final season in January. Danson is submitting the series finale, “Whenever You’re Ready,” for consideration.

The series finale opens with Michael trying in vain to learn how to play the guitar. He has an air of melancholy throughout the episode as each of his friends makes the decision at various points in time to leave the Good Place. Eventually, Michael becomes jealous and tries to exit through the existence-ending door to no avail; only former humans can do so, while supernatural beings like Michael cannot. To make Michael happy, Eleanor (Kristen Bell) makes a plan with the Judge (Maya Rudolph) to have Michael fulfill his wildest dream: to be a human. They transport Michael to Earth, and he is visibly content with the knowledge that he doesn’t know what is to come in the afterlife, just like a human being. We see a cameo from Danson’s real-life wife, Mary Steenburgen, who teaches him guitar, and he has a series of good and bad days while clearly living life to the fullest. The episode, and by extension, the series, ends with Michael meaningfully telling a neighbor to “take it sleazy.”

Will the third time be the charm for Danson? Let’s weigh the pros and cons.

SEE Don’t count out Ted Danson just yet at the Emmys, warns one rogue Expert

PROS

Danson is a TV veteran who can now add another iconic character to his resume. “The Good Place” gave the actor the ability to be weird, zany and heartfelt all at the same time. This final episode is a testament to his genius as an actor, especially in his attempts to walk through the door; he makes the moment simultaneously hilarious and heartbreaking. He also gets to be the focus of the show’s final minutes as ordinary interactions become extraordinary for a guy who finally gets to be human.

This is also the perfect opportunity for voters to reward “The Good Place” if they are not voting for it in Best Comedy Series. Danson was one of the show’s first nominations in 2018 even before it broke through in comedy series, so they’ve clearly had an extended love for this character. Voters may be most impressed by Danson compared to the other two presumed front-runners, Eugene Levy (“Schitt’s Creek”) and Ramy Youssef (“Ramy”), who are decidedly more subtle in their performances.

SEE ‘Good’ news: Ted Danson just stretched his own Emmy record to 14 nominations in comedy actor

CONS

“The Good Place” has never won an Emmy and despite growing in nominations every year, voters might not feel that they owe it an award in any category. For as understated as Levy and Youssef are, one could easily imagine the former getting swept in with a major embrace of “Schitt’s Creek” or the latter riding the wave of his Golden Globe win in January. Neither actor has won an Emmy for acting while Danson already has two.

While “Whenever You’re Ready” gives Danson plenty of strong scenes that display his full range of comedic and dramatic ability, the focus is split with concluding the stories of five other characters, so voters might not be as wowed as they would be if he dominated the episode.

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Denise Richards: Did Charlie Sheen Force Her to Quit Real Housewives?

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Fans have been wondering if the real reason that Denise Richards left The Real Housewives had everything to do with her infamous ex.


Did Charlie Sheen pressure her to quit?


Throughout this season in particular, Denise Richards was adamant about not letting the show mess up things for her family.


That meant her marriage to her eccentric husband, Aaron Phypers. That meant no one saying the wrong things in front of her children.


And that also meant doing nothing to jeopardize her custody situation with her infamous ex-husband, Charlie Sheen.

Denise Richards Makes Accusations at the Season 10 Reunion


Denise had a central, pivotal role in this season — and plenty of conflict with Kyle even before her alleged affair with Brandi Glanville was revealed.


So why would she back out of another season, when she could likely have demanded that Bravo pay her whatever the hell she wanted?


Many fans have wondered if her ex-husband intervened, giving her an ultimatum: quit RHOBH or he would take her to family court for exposing their kids to that world.

Denise Richards Glowers While Garcelle Beauvais Worries


But Page Six reports that, though Charlie Sheen supports Denise in her decision to hand over her diamond, it was not his doing.


Speaking through his publicist Jeffrey Ballard, he shared: “She does what she wants in these matters.


“And,” Charlie added, “I applaud her decision of ‘one and done.'”

Denise Richards Goes on the Offensive at the Reunion


Denise was actually on two seasons of the show.


It is unclear if Charlie is unaware of the details of his ex-wife’s career, despite them being public knowledge.


It may also be the case that he is aware that she did two seasons, but just wanted to say “one and done” because that’s how his brain works.

Denise Richards Dreads Seeing the Housewives Again


Reports say that Denise left because Bravo wasn’t willing to pay enough to meet Denise’s demands for increased salary.


On the other hand, Denise’s camp has claimed that Denise left without negotiating because she was so ticked off about her experience on the show.


That is kind of sad to consider, since it was Denise’s decision to make that season miserable for herself. Weird.

Denise Richards Checks Out of the Reunion


Even before Denise was embroiled in the Brandi drama, she seemed to not be having a great time.


We know that editing can be selective, but … from the strip club steak incident to Aaron claiming that he’s being followed by, uh, Big Pharma, Denise felt “off.”


A little feuding with Kyle Richards is normal and healthy for anyone. But Denise just didn’t seem to be vibing with the show.

Denise Richards: I am F--king Denise Richards Kyle!


If your heart isn’t in being on the show, you’re not going to have a good time.


Denise took offense at every mild jab from her castmates and seemed to build up intense and enduring resentments.


That is not a recipe for happiness. That kind of bitterness will only fester and lead to misery.

Denise Richards Smiles and Plans to Sue


Denise was also unwilling to play ball, apparenting making it rain cease-and-desist orders in her futile attempt to silence the stories about her.


The sad thing is that she could have really had a powerful storyline and a much better time on another season.


We’re just glad to hear that, whether it was finances or unhappiness, it was Denise’s call to quit the show.

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Stream Tyler Childers’ Protest-Minded Surprise Album Long Violent History

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Ever since he released his 2017 album Purgatory, the Kentucky singer and songwriter Tyler Childers has been one of the biggest stars in the world of rootsy country music. (Childers doesn’t like the word “Americana”; he likes to be known as a country musician. But Childers is a lot closer on the spectrum to his frequent collaborator Sturgill Simpson than he is to, like, Florida Georgia Line.) Last year, Childers followed up Purgatory with Country Squire, one of Stereogum’s favorite country albums of 2019. Today, he’s followed it up with Long Violent History, a powerful attempt to engage with a cultural moment.

Long Violent History has nine songs, and eight of those songs are lovely traditional fiddle-based instrumentals. The final song, also called “Long Violent History,” is a sparse, anguished waltz-time protest song. The song attacks all the police violence against Black people and the protests against it, and Childers does everything he can to make the points of the protests concrete to an audience who may be hostile to those protests: “In all my born days as a white boy from Hickman/ Based on the way that the world’s been to me/ It’s called me belligerent, it’s took me for ignorant/ But it ain’t never once made me scared just to be/ Could you imagine just constantly worrying/ Kicking, and fighting, and begging to breathe?”

In a video accompanying the album, Childers says that he’s heard from people in his audience who don’t understand the protest movement. Childers also lays out why he thinks it’s important to have empathy for people who are constantly made to fear for their lives. It’s a powerful display. Listen to the album and watch Childers’ video below.

Long Violent History is out now on Hickman Holler Records/RCA. All of the profits from the album are going to the Hickman Holler Appalachian Relief Fund.

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Salma Hayek’s a Festive Firecracker In Tight Top Screaming ‘Viva La Mexico!’

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Sporting the black shirt that hugged her curves in the most perfect way, Salma Hayek proved to be a festive queen in the high-energy clip. Wearing minimal makeup, but making sure to slap a bold red lipstick on, the “Like a Boss” star wore her highlighted hair down and green and red pepper shaped earrings.

Confidently displaying her festive fit, Salma Hayek screamed into the camera multiple times “Viva La Mexico!” speeding up the timing each time.

Scroll to watch her “Viva La Mexico” clip!

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