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What Celebrities Are Better Older?

By Pajiba Staff | Comment Diversions | September 29, 2016 | Comments ()

By Pajiba Staff | Comment Diversions | September 29, 2016 |


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I’m from the generation that knew Cheers was the biggest thing on television, but was just a bit too young to really get it. It premiered the year after I was born, and ended its run when I was only 12, so my awareness of it was limited to later seasons. I even had the blasphemous assumption that Rebecca was always Sam’s love interest and did not give Diane the respect she deserved. But I still knew who Ted Danson was; he was the biggest sitcom star in the world, as well as one of the non-Mahoney guys from 3 Men and a Baby. Danson has never really had an “off” era as far as working goes. He went from Cheers to some TV movies, he dated Whoopi Goldberg (and did really horrific/embarrassing blackface), and he even had a second successful sitcom on network TV, which is almost unheard of. But the thing is, Danson has been in the public eye for so long that something happened to him that we almost didn’t notice.

He got old. Y’all, Sam Malone is turning 69 this year. And here’s the thing about that, he is doing it fantastically. In fact, I’m going to go ahead and make the incredibly bold statement, feel free to break beer bottles on your respective bar ends if you want to fight me on this, that Ted Danson is so much better at Ted Dansoning as an older man than he ever was as a youngin’. We almost didn’t see it happen. With roles on shows like CSI, he played it straight-laced, just another white-haired dude solving crimes. But the first hints of the greatness of old man Danson peeked around the corner at us, we lucky few who were among the cult audience of the vastly underrated HBO series Bored to Death. Danson’s work as a dandyish, neurotic socialite against Jason Schwartzman’s Jason Schwartzmanny amateur detective rivals Cheers or Becker for consideration in the pantheon of Danson’s comedy roles. But the truly potential blasphemy that I’ll present to you is this: Hank Larson on Fargo season 2 is the best work Ted Danson has ever done.

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Of all the greatness that came out of that season, Danson was my favorite. The blend of his sense of awareness of his own aging poured into the character of a small town sheriff who has just seen far too much senseless violence, combined with the off-putting aww-shucks Minnesotan cadence was superb. It had to be Danson in that role, it had to be the culmination of the man who has loomed large over television since before I was born with the realization of the man he’s aged into being.

Whenever I drive by an ad for the new NBC series The Good Place, and I see Danson grinning at me, not in the casual button down shirts and baseball jackets of Sam Malone, but in a blazer complete with pocket square and bow tie, I think to myself “Yeah, this is where you belong Ted.”

Who are some of yours? Let us know in the comments!

Riley Silverman wants to be better when she’s older, she’ll be the greatest fan of your life.


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