One of my favorite comedians of all time recently said that ‘”Two and a Half Men’ has set back the sitcom 10 years.” While I generally agree with Adam Carolla on most any issue, this particular topic is where we diverge. I happen to think that ‘Two and a Half Men” is a great show. Apparently, roughly 14 million other random people who are not Carolla agree with me (and to be fair, viewers of the show would probably not listen to Carolla anyway).
Going on season seven, a rare and remarkable feat in today’s television climate (quick, name three other shows who are in their seventh season. I’ll wait. Anyone?), ‘Two and Half Men” has become the cornerstone of the awesome CBS Monday night line up (biased opinion, but are you going to challenge me? That’s what I thought). The beginning of the show was a snapshot into American ingenuity and desperation. Co-creator Lee Aronsohn was in desperate need of renewing his health insurance and needed to write something. Chuck Lorre agreed to help, and they made beautiful music together. The rest is history.
By now, you probably know what this show is about, but if you’re a little behind, let’s refresh. Charlie Harper, a bachelor living the life that every teenage boy dreams of (boozing, whoring and seldom working), is rudely interrupted when his younger brother Alan is forced to move in with him following a bitter divorce from his ratty wife Judith (ratty personality, but she looks fantastic). Alan brings along his son Jake, who is somewhat slow. In addition, they have a glorious supporting cast with the mother, the housekeeper and the hot stalker (seriously, they’ve covered all the bases for a solid sitcom). The plot centers around the mismatches created when someone like carefree Charlie is forced to live with an uptight loser like Alan.
Does it sound lame? Sure. Are some of the stories a bit
stretched? Absolutely. Is the laugh track a complete overkill? Without a doubt. But there’s something great about the show that just can’t be measured. Perhaps it’s the fact that Charlie Sheen, himself a boozing whoremonger who rarely works, plays basically himself, which makes for great comedy. Or maybe it’s the fact that a kid is prominently featured in a sitcom with an actual personality, and that makes it awesome. I don’t know. What I do know is that the show is great and it continually makes me laugh, which is more than I can say about most things on TV (VH1 programming aside).
In the early seasons of the show, most episodes featured a ‘bimbo of the week” in which Charlie would sleep with some hot blonde (because everyone likes blondes, I’m pretty sure that’s a scientific fact) and break up with her, which would cause some sort of tension in the house, primarily from Alan being jealous. In recent years, Charlie has begun to settle down. It didn’t work out the first time he almost married a chick but, the past two seasons, viewers have witnessed an incredible transformation as Charlie has become engaged and had to learn to settle down.
Lest we forget the other half of the dynamic duo of brothers, Alan has also had his share of relationships. Most end up badly. However, for a man who is really nothing to look at (Jon Cryer, you poor bastard) with a crappy job as a chiropractor, no house, divorced with a kid and some severe mother issues, he sure pulls in some fine tail. Unfortunately for him, all the women he sleeps with are usually crazy, creepy or odd.
The appeal of the show is obvious. The humor is really broad, it has a kid in it and the storylines are light and fluffy. No one talks about abortions, teenage pregnancies or any of the topics that would make people in middle America nervous.
Speaking of the kid, he’s been used brilliantly on the show. Starting off as a 10-year-old, the writers have gradually increased his contributions and humor as he aged to the point where he is sometimes allowed to carry an entire plot. It will be a sad day in television when it will be time for him to graduate and go to college (also, it would never happen, as the entire premise of Jake’s character is that he’s a dumbass).
Good characters, good acting and hot chicks can take you far in today’s television climate and it has worked for ‘Two and a Half Men” to the tune of seven seasons and counting. You can catch ‘Two and a Half Men” every Monday night on CBS at 9 p.m.
Maystrovsky is a member of
the class of 2010.