- Entertainment and Media
An Honest Review: Two And A Half Men: Sheen over Cutcher Any Day
the ideas, thoughts, and viewpoints in this story, are those of me, Kenneth Avery, and not necessarily those of CBS Television or any of their properties, companies, or their staff or employees as well as HubPages, editors, monitors, writers and their staff and employees as well.
In short, I'm out on a limb. But I don't value nets anyway. And I am not about to waste your time with a lot of stuff about 'this is a first for me,' or a 'bear with me as I' share my personal views about the 2011 season of Two And a Half Men with Charlie (Charlie Harper) Sheen's replacement, Ashton Kutcher. Did I say 'replacement'?
Besides Mark Harmon, Tom Selleck, Jeff Probst and Alex O'Laughlin, the next two best things to happen to the CBS Television Network are Chuck Lorre and Jerry Bruckheimer.
Bruckheimer, if you are a faithful fan of CBS, created the still-lucrative and ratings constants, CSI: Miami; CSI: New York and CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, shot in Las Vegas and a lot more highly-successful shows that has made CBS billions and made this network a dominant force among the "big three" networks that include NBC and ABC.
Lorre is not a slouch by anyone's standards. He is credited for the creation of CBS' 'cash cow," Two And a Half Men, The Big Bang Theory, and from another time and space: Grace Under Fire and Dharma and Greg. Lorre also serves as an executive producer for CBS's Mike & Molly. A bull pen that's hard to beat any night of the week. Just ask the exec's of competing networks.
Not that Lorre is a genius. But near it. For all of his projects have either hit the ratings in meteoric fashion, or became fan-favorites over night. Or both. Mostly both.
Personally, and strictly my opinion, Lorre wasn't thinking clearly when he tried to replace Charlie Sheen, who plays the always-colorful (in language and lifestyle) Charlie Harper on Two And a Half Men, with slacker icon, movie co-star and camera spokesperson, Ashton Kutcher. That's right, good people who are sold-out to CBS for their nightly entertainment. Ashton Kutcher.
This has nothing to do with Kutcher's character. Moral stance. Or political alliance. I could care less who he supports for president in 2012. What I do care about is his valiant 'attempt,' to actually try to replace an actor of such talent and wit as Charlie Sheen. It had to be about money. About $800,000.00 per episode. At that price, Kutcher can afford (for awhile) to be lax, laid-back and placid in his role as "Walden," an internet billionaire suffering from a nasty divorce who is befriended by Charlie Harper's brother, Alan, played by Jon Cryer.
Then the plot supposedly fits into place. "Walden" moves in with Alan Harper and son, Jake, Angus T. Jones, whom I saw once in the hit movie, The Rookie, with Dennis Quaid, and all should be living happily ever after--Charlie Harper. I said should be. But not so.
And here are the reasons why that Ashton Kutcher will not stay in Two And a Half Men.
LET'S LOOK AT THE SHOW'S PREMISE.
Charlie Harper has it made in the shade, pardon the metaphor. Harper is a wealthy man thanks to his numerous successful ad jingles. Harper also loves alcohol, in any flavor, hookers, women who can move under their own power, and a few occasional illegal drugs thrown in to make Sheen's character lovingly-unpredictable, but a guy that you just have to root for in each week's debacle about his personal life and loves or those of Alan, his brother's constant trying to make a life for himself and son, Jake while feuding with ex-wife, Judith.
Alan Harper, with son, Jake, turns up one day on Charlie Harper's doorstep, or Malibu beach home step--asking for "a night's lodging. Two tops," as Alan puts it to Charlie who, being all the things I mention, lover of booze, gambling, hookers and the occasional controlled substance, does have a heart and lets Alan and Jake move-in for what he thinks is a night or two which turns into a few years. All with Charlie's disgust shown in most every episode.
CBS had the perfect mixture. A carefree Charlie Harper, 'burning the candle at both ends and the middle," now having to deal with squeaky-clean, uptight, and chronic-worrier, Alan, his brother and Jake, his under-achieving nephew. And throw in Roberta, Charlie's house keeper who smokes a joint every now and again with lots of paid "vacations," that Charlie doesn't remember, and you have the working formula for a show's success. On any network.
Okay. I'm the first to admit it. Charlie Sheen's personal life has not been in the same league as Walt Disney, Ozzie Nelson, or Roy Rogers. Whose life has? Sheen's life has been in and out, mostly inside rehab, in trouble with 'ex's' Denis Richardson and Brooke Mueller, in jail. Out of jail. In the news. On tabloid covers. Tearing up motel rooms. Paying for damages all with that mischievous sparkle in his eyes. That was Charlie Sheen. And CBS knew these character flaws, if you will, going in when they cast him as Charlie Harper.
On DirectTV's Audience Channel. In one of these phone-in's Charlie Sheen coined the phrase, "winning," as a reflection to his own life after Two And a Half Men. Yes, Sheen burned up the talk radio lines and helped their ratings when he "left" Two And a Half Men as well as selling-out Carnegie Hall in New York for a one-man show that included several major cities on his "Truth Torpedo Tour."
And I don't know about you, but I have to pat Charlie Sheen on the back for he was among the first celebrities to arrive in Tuscaloosa, Alabama after the killer tornados of April 27, 2011, where he presented Tuscaloosa mayor, Walt Maddox, with a check for $1 million dollars to help with the recovery and rebuilding efforts. I didn't see Ashton Kutcher anywhere near the storm damaged area, but that is not to say that Ashton isn't a caring man. I just used that as a pointed-comparison to Sheen and Kutcher.
Personally, and with all the hoop-la, screaming girls under and over 16, I think that when the new wears off of Ashton Kutcher, CBS will staHas Sheen got an alcohol and drug problem. Certainly. But not beyond fixing. And I don't believe that Sheen's off-screen shenanigans were to boost interest in Two And a Half Men. The show was already pushing the top of the ratings before Charlie was "let go," as Lorre and the associate producers said, but only after several attempts to have a private sit-down with Sheen to iron out their differences which boiled down to Sheen coming to work intoxicated as Sheen vehemently denied on all the major talk shows on television and radio. Oh yes, he had a phone-in after he left Two And a Half Men, with his buddy, Dan Patrick, formerly of ESPN, now doing rt to see Two And a Half Men start to slide in the ratings and that equates to loss of ad revenue. We cannot have that can we?
Personally, I would love to see Charlie Sheen return (from the dead) as Charlie Harper. Writers hold the answer to his return in their hard drives even as I speak. And did you catch the Sept. 22, 2011, premiere of Two And a Half Men with that cheesy, over-done, funeral where the star of a show has died and now his family and friends are tearfully paying their respects? Not as infeasible as Bobby Ewing's death on Dallas and having is wife, Pam, played by Victoria Principle awaken in bed to hear Bobby in the shower. No, Charlie's exit from Two And a Half Men was not that cheesy, but can easily be written and explained . . ."if," Charlie Sheen were to agree to come back to the show while it's still running on top.
What do I have against Ashton Kutcher, you ask? Nothing. Not one thing of a personal nature. I did enjoy his role on That 70s Show as Michael Kelso, "boy toy," with an an oblivious attitude toward common sense. I like Kutcher at that time. But over the years, what has he really evolved into? Can you tell me a few solid, distinguishable differences in his acting? I fail to see them, if any.
As "Walden," on Two And a Half Men, it's like an older "Kelso," just saying memorized lines. Jon Cryer, Alan Harper, and Jake, Angus T. Jones, carry the workload of Two And a Half Men, but there's that shy, retiring, arrogance from Kutcher's role that I cannot tolerate. Actually, I don't want you or all of Kutcher's fans to be upset, I cannot tolerate arrogance from or in anyone. That, in a nutshell, and the writers always giving "Walden"/Kutcher the funniest lines and Cryer, who is the proverbial underdog on the show, the worst-possible sitcom situations that for the most part, can grind on a person's nerves.
For my money, I would take a return of Charlie Sheen as Charlie Harper to rejoin the existing cast, but without Ashton Kutcher, whom can be written out easily as he came on the show. And all of this Charlie Harper dying was nothing more than a cleverly-designed practical joke that Charlie Harper and college frat buddy, "Walden," had set up months ago when they met by accident in a bar (of course) in San Diego. Harper wanted to give his mom, played by Holland Taylor and of course, Alan, Jon Cryer, some needed-payback for the months of frustration Charlie had built-up because of Alan and Jake's living with Charlie without paying rent.
Just about any scenario with Charlie Sheen . . .returning to Two And a Half Men will be absolutely fabulous. Don't worry about Ashton Kutcher. I hear he and current wife, Demi Moore have split up, so Kutcher can live comfortably with the alimony Moore will probably pay him and with the cameras he sells on television ads, Kutcher will be okay.
Until someone else on some other hit show on CBS has a few bouts with a less-than-acceptable social life, and he will show up. Ashton Kutcher. Fill-in for the stars.
Only on CBS.