Anger Management (FX) (Renewed) - Series Premiere: Synopsis, Review and Ratings
‘Anger Management’ premiered on June 28th at 9/8c with two back-to-back episodes on FX. In the series, Charlie Sheen plays the role of Charlie Goodson (yes, this is confusing when you’re expecting to hear ‘Harper’, only to realize that isn’t going to happen anymore). Charlie is an anger management therapist with a daughter, an ex-wife and a past of seducing women. The show is loosely based on the 2003 movie of the same name starring Jack Nicholson and it is produced by Sheen and his brother Ramon Estevez.
Update: Rating-wise, 'Anger Management' is doing very well. It's premiere drew 5.47 million viewers and a 2.1 rating in the all important 18-49 demographic. That's a record in cable comedy premieres and the number of total viewers also set a record for all FX premieres. In its second week the show lost 38% of that, attracting 3.37 million people.
'Anger Management' employs the 10-90 model, which means that it has 10 initial episodes and will get renewed for 90 episodes, if at all, to bring the number of episodes to syndication levels.
Update (08/29): 'Anger Management' was the highest rated new comedy series on cable, averaging 4.53 million total viewers. Therefore, FX has given the show the whopping 90 episode order. In the seasons to come, Charlie Sheen's real-life father Martin Sheen ('The West Wing') will play Charlie Harper's.. wait, Charlie Goodson's father.
The episode starts with Charlie Sheen giving a clear message to his former employees, badly hidden as an example of Charlie Goodson describing this as the things one could say to release stress. After what happened, it seems like a good way to start his new show. After this, he starts the anger management group session. When the newest member, a woman, comes in, Charlie's womanizing powers come out. I don't know if it's scripted or just his persona, but he does it very well. As expected.
During the introduction he gives the newest member, we learn that Charlie used to be a baseball player, but after an angry outburst he accidentally broke his own knee, ruining his career.
When Charlie’s daughter Sam (Daniela Bobadilla, ‘Awake’) comes in, he realizes she is stressed when her OCD is acting out.
Charlie goes to talk to her. It turns out that Sam’s mother Jennifer (Shawnee Smith, ‘Becker’) has a new boyfriend and that he has been saying Sam shouldn’t go to college. Now, Sam is confused about what she should do. Charlie talks to her and comforts her, like any good dad would do (who would've guessed?).
His good-parenting streak gets cancelled out right after, however, when we see him in bed with a female friend.
Charlie talks to Jen’s new boyfriend about him saying Sam shouldn't go to college, and it turns out to be quite the 'fight'. Just as Charlie is about to give in to his anger by hitting the guy with a lamp, Sam comes down and he has to control himself.
Charlie decides he needs to get back into therapy for his anger issues, but there is only one therapist he trusts; Kate (Selma Blair, ‘Kath & Kim’), his best friend. With benefits.
For her to be his therapist, they will have to stop their sexual activities. So they do, but as soon as Charlie has apologized to Jen’s now ex-boyfriend, he tries to get the benefits part back in his friendship with Kate. He does this by analyzing her, therefore eliminating the patient-therapist conundrum and creating a therapist-therapist situation.
The second episode starts with a new patient coming into the group, Mel. She turns out to be one of Charlie's one night stands who found out that the only reason he slept with her was because she was the ugliest girl in the place, a baseball superstition called ‘the slumpbuster’.
Mel has had some very negative effects from this when this came out and she wants him to tell her she wasn't the slumpbuster. Of course Charlie says so, but she won't believe him (would you?). So he decides he should have dinner with her to make her feel better and to build her self-esteem.
That night, while he is cooking, Kate makes Charlie realize that perhaps, this woman is a stalker. However, Charlie can’t cancel the dinner because he feels guilty about what he did to her. And also partially because cancelling on your stalker is probably a bad idea.
The night turns out to be very peculiar, to say the least. Mel talks about all the plastic surgery she had to look better, although everyone in the series agrees that it didn’t go very well.
Then, the worst thing imaginable happens: Sam and Jen come by, and because Sam thinks Charlie is a superficial man who only dates hot women, he tells her Mel is his date.
Sam mentions this to Mel as they meet, and Mel is over the moon with joy. Jen isn’t sure whether this is true, but she plays along and invites Mel and Charlie to come and make jewelry with her and Sam the next day.
When Mel and Charlie go to Jen's to make jewelry, we find out that Charlie cheated on Jen with Mel. This is probably the reason Jen and Charlie got a divorce.
Back at Charlie’s house Mel goes to drastic measures to seduce Charlie. That is, if your definition of drastic includes sitting in a kitchen, naked. Charlie realizes things are going too far. He wraps her up in a tablecloth and explains how they can't be together. Mel realizes they're not really dating and that she was his slumpbuster after all. She’s mad, but they talk and somehow, Charlie makes it better. The episode concludes with Charlie telling Jennifer he’s going to Mel’s hometown to walk up and down the streets holding her hand, showing all the neighbors who were laughing at her that she isn’t just his slumpbuster.
‘Anger Management’ is what would happen if Charlie Harper from ‘Two and a half men’ would have gotten married, had a child, cheated on his wife and gotten divorced, only to become a respectable man, albeit with an ever persisting love for women. The humor is comparable to the ‘Two and a half man’ humor, and the only real difference is the role Charlie Sheen plays. After all these years, I almost forgot that he is an actor and that he is capable of playing more than one role, although apparently he is not able to remember any other name than his own. It’s refreshing to see him as something other than just a womanizer. Although he’s no angel in this series either, but then again: how could he? Who would watch a show in which Charlie Sheen is a goody two-shoes? All in all, this show is just as entertaining as ‘Two and a half men’ is. There were some very nice jokes, although it also had some not so very funny moments. Still, if you like ‘Two and a half men’ and want to see something similar with Charlie Sheen starring in it, ‘Anger Management’ is the show for you.
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