Tuesday, 20 September 2011

How does Two And A Half Men get by without Charlie Sheen? S09E01 Review!

So lets be honest about this from the start. I've never particularly liked Two and a Half Men. I've seen more than a few episodes and the show also pushes the lowest of humor and after seeing three episodes you've pretty much seen them all. Sure from time to time they tried to insert emotional arcs which for the most part focused on Charlie Sheen getting engaged but the wedding not happening or Jon Cryers character getting close to happiness only to self destruct. While I would never have made a point to watch an episode of Two and a Half Men I made a point last night! I mean with all the Charlie Sheen/Chuck Lorre controversy of the last year how could you not watch? So how did the show fair with absence of Sheen?

The ninth season opens smack bang in the middle of Charlie Sheens Harpers funeral with Jon Cryers Alan in the process of giving the eulogy. As the camera pans we see the funeral attends are fill with women Charlie has wronged in the past. What was kinda striking here that from what I could gather some of the women here had ended with Charlie on good terms, the funeral scene, instead of making an attempt at some emotion serves only to throw below the belt punches at Sheen. It pretty much implies that no one cares that his gone and the show is almost better without. We see Alan and Charlies mother using the funeral as a way to pimp Charlies house out now that Alan can no longer afford it. No while Evelyn was always portrayed as a bit of a bitch was she always this malicious? And the final speaker at Charlies funeral was stalker turned fiance turned killer (?) Rose. This I got a chuckle out of. While it comes across as cold having Rose push Charlie in front of a Metero is at least some what comical.

Following the funeral we get a glimpse of Charlies family mourning him in his beach house. A scene that could have used a bit more emotion is instead laced with weak insults and fart jokes. Hilarious. We jump forward again to the open house a few days later. Theres nothing much here, we learn that John Stamos and Charlie Harper once had a threesome with a girl on Charlies couch, only the girl passed out. We see Jenna Elfman and Thomas Gibson reprise their "Dharma & Greg" roles, that show was co-created by Men creator Chuck Lorre. But no ones willing to take the house. What follows this actually quite a nice scene. We see Cryer mourn over his dead brothers ashes. Its funny but not so funny that it takes away from the rare emotional scene which was surprisingly nice. And as Alan goes to scatter his brothers ashes on the beach we Ashton Kutcher standing on the balcony. Que massive screams from the crowd.

We learn Kutchers character, internet billionaire Walden Schmidt, was trying to kill himself by flinging himself in the ocean but couldnt hack the coldness of the water. After a phone call to his ex begging her to take him back and a quick strip down, hes "hung like an elephant!", we follow Alan and Walden to the bar. This is where we really start to see the differences between Kutcher and Sheens characters. Sheen was an alcoholic seemingly able to bring home anyone. Kutcher has no game and doesnt like the taste of booze. In a role reversal Alan teaches Schmidt how to pick up women and the boys bring two ladies home. However, once again Alan is left alone "masturbating and crying himself to sleep" while someone upstairs has sex with two women. Theres something very familiar about this situation.....

The episode ends with Walden deciding to buy Alans house as a TO BE CONTINUED... flashes across the screen. So what did I make of the episode? It was good, there were some laughs to be had which is really the highest praise I've ever given an episode of this show. Kutchers character is clearly written to his strengths, and while the character may be a little to Kelso for everyone I enjoyed. But the real standout here is Cryer. Playing the straight man in such a fantastical universe is hard and he really pulled it outta the bag here so kudos to him. One question remains though. Has Angus T. Jones always had this little to do?

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