Tuesday, July 19, 2011


ONE OF THE BENEFITS of driving a taxicab on the night shift is that I am mostly spared the idiocy that the networks call "prime time television". I do enjoy "Criminal Minds" and some other police procedureals; and "Harriet's Law" is entertaining when I can catch it. But sitcoms have been basically insipid dreck since at least the onset of the 1980s. I hated "Friends", I hated "Will and Grace"; and although I think "Seinfeld" was funny, a little bit of Jerry Seinfeld goes a long, long way.

So when I heard about "Two and a Half Men", I thought: stupid. A dad and his brother raise Dad's tweener son.

So when Charlie Sheen began acting up and wound up getting fired, I thought: well, good. He's playing a role model for a young kid on TV and then he goes acting like some hybrid of Alestair Crowley and Otis the Mayberry town drunk? Well no wonder they cut him loose. Can't have a guy like that playing the family member of a young boy!

THEN LAST NIGHT I WOKE UP FACE TO FACE WITH THE SHOW. I often leave the television on when I go to sleep, since it drowns out the sirens and loud obnoxious drunks just outside my window. When I wake up, I watch about 15 minutes of whatever is staring me in the face, and then get ready and go to work. Last night, what was staring me in the face was "Two and a Half Men."

The opening scene was of the boy and his - girlfriend, is it? - feeling their way through an awkward attempt at romance, only to be interrupted by the boy's drunken uncle "Charlie" (Sheen) who inserts himself into the conversation and changes the subject to condoms and his experience with "the clap". When the girl gets grossed out and leaves, the kid vows revenge on his uncle.

The boy's revenge comes with an opportunity to suggest to his dad (Jon Cryer) that he invite his sluttish, shrewish grandmother over to the house to celebrate her birthday. Cryer accepts, and on the way over the grandmother asks to be taken to a pharmacy to buy lubricant so she can masturbate more efficiently since her "HooHa" is rather dried up.

At the pharmacy they meet the proprietor (Martin Mull) who is sucking on a popsicle that Mull says is a "Codeine Pop" He and Grandma seem to hit it off, and he is invited to the party. He asks what to bring, suggesting various powerful narcotics. Sheen tells him to bring "whatever (he) wants to bring.

Later back at the house, Grandma is eagerly awaiting Mull. When he shows up, it turns out he has brought a 30-year-old model (who explains that she lets Mull "climb on" her a couple times a month in exchange for rent money and drugs. A round of disgusting sexual references ensues, and the evening ends with Grandma hooking up with the model for a little lesbian sex.

In the end Mull tells Sheen and Cryer that it's a pity that he took "a fistful of Viagra" in anticipation of some sex, whereupon Sheen and Cryer run out of the room.

The final scene is of Mull talking to a prominent tent in the crotch of his pants.

Firing Sheen from this series is like the producer of a documentary about pigs wallowing in shit telling a farmer that they can't use his pigs because they wallow in shit even off-camera. Real life Charlie is arguably a superior moral character to the one he plays in the show. CBS is going to have to troll Skid Row relentlessly to replace him.

To say that Charlie Sheen's private life disqualifies him from starring in this telecast of a sewer is ludicrous. And whatever actor replaces him will be marked for life by the role.

CBS owes Sheen an apology.

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