Does Alan deserve to be a Butt-Monkey, or or is it Laser-Guided Karma for some unnamed act—or acts—of wrongdoing on his part before the show started?
Is Charlie just a bastard with a disregard with everything that isn't connected to himself and a petty abusive douchebag to Alan or just a petty douche from being more abused than Alan when they were kids?
Is Judith just a complete bitch for no reason, or is she lashing out after having actually been treated like crap by Alan and Charlie during her marriage to the former?
Did Evelyn merely insult and emotionally abuse Charlie and Alan growing up, or did she sexually abuse them as well? Is this the reason why they both hate women and treat every woman like a substitute Evelyn with whom they still wish to resolve their conflict?
Better on DVD: Inverted with earlier episodes. The first couple seasons were less plot-based and relied more on one-liners, making these episodes seem a bit repetitive if binge-watched.
Broken Base: The show's quality after Charlie Sheen was fired. Most fans seem to agree that Season 9 (the first with Ashton Kutcher) is the show's worst season, as the writers were trying to find their feet again. Some regard the following seasons as an improvement, thanks to a major Re Tool in the cast and humor, while others regard them as being only slightly better than Season 9, and still way worse than the first eight seasons.
Rose. Since her first appearance, she's had little depth than being Charlie's obsessive stalker and has never grown past that, but for some reason the writers continue to bring Rose back year after year and had the other characters claiming she was perfect for Charlie. Then she passed the Moral Event Horizon by killing Charlie, and not only does Rose get away with the murder, but a year later turns out to have started stalking Walden. And unlike Charlie, where she started stalking him because she couldn't let go of a one night stand, was doing so for no reason whatsoever.
Apparently, she never killed him. She only said she did so no one would search her house, since she's a good candidate for causing Charlie to go missing for a long time.
Darkness-Induced Audience Apathy: To put it curtly, the casting crew is just a plain mess. The two main characters, Alan and Charlie, are hardly much different from the other selfish Jerkass characters on the show, which makes it confusing for the audience on who exactly they're supposed to be rooting for.
Designated Villain: Charlie sometimes gets hit with this whenever he and Alan are fighting. The best example is "All Our Leather Gear is in the Guest Room", Charlie may have been petty about it but he has every right to not want bowls in his living room that he doesn't like. Instead the show makes it seem like Charlie's in the wrong and he's forced to take back Alan.
Some of Charlie's antics have creepily become real, as in 2009, Charlie Sheen had to go to rehab for personal problems and his marriage has taken a turn for the worse. Also Jon Cryer's ex-wife was reported to have hired a hitman on him. When Charlie asks Judith if he wanted Alan dead, this gives an odd dose of realism to the joke.
Also, Charlie once mentioned that he'd rather close his eyes permanently than give up alcohol. It was funny at first, until Charlie Sheen got kicked off the show due in part to his drunken antics and his character got Killed Off for Real off-screen in the season premiere.
In an early episode, Charlie wakes up hungover and remarks that he's either extremely hungover or has been hit by a train.
All the jokes about Charlie's promiscuity and all those women who catch sexually transmitted diseases from him take a crazy dark turn when it's revealed that Charlie Sheen is HIV positive in real-life.
"Trust me, darling. I promise to stick around long enough to identify your bloated, gin-soaked, syphilitic remains."
A throwaway exchange from one of the earlier seasons takes on a whole new level of hilarity with the season 9 premiere:
Jake: If you died, would any of those women be at your funeral? Charlie: As a matter of fact, a lot of them would. Granted, a few of them would just be there to make sure I'm actually dead.
The entire episode, "The Devil's Lube", where Charlie imagines what his own funeral would look like, and thinking he'll die unhappy, decides to marry Rose, of all people. Well...
In one episode, Charlie mentions to Alan that the only people Jake hangs out with besides them are military recruiters. Guess what happens to Jake at the end of Season 9?
When Angus T. Jones became a born again Christian and apologized for calling the show "Filth" the episode that aired shortly after the incident "I Scream When I Pee" had Jake proudly announce that he has the clap.. (And keep in mind Jake knew very well that he now has an STD but is proud that he has something "sexually transmitted".)
In Season 10, Walden pretends to be a poor man named Sam Wilson, and Alan scorns him for living a double life. In Season 11, Alan ends up doing the same thing by pretending to be Jeff Strongman.
Ho Yay: Spoofed in one episode when Charlie and Alan pretend to be gay. Alan gets rather too into it, whilst Charlie repeatedly denies anything in that direction, naturally squicked due to the fact that they're brothers.
Alan and Walden keep ending up together, with one of them naked. And Alan had a "problem" in the morning.
Alan and Herb's friendship.
Idiot Plot: The Charlie/Rose/Manni Quin is this for some due to the idea that Charlie being sort of friends with Rose for eight years despite his attempts to get her to leave him alone clearly means he's in love with him.
Informed Wrongness: In one episode, Alan wants Charlie to let his girlfriend to move in with them. Although Charlie is portrayed as unfair for refusing, he does have very good reasons for saying no: chiefly being that it isn't Alan's house- it's Charlie's, Alan contributes little if any financially, and Charlie is already letting Alan and his son Jake stay rent free. Of course, Alan still lets his girlfriend move in without telling Charlie, then holds a party without asking.
Les Yay: Kandi and Lindsey end up in bed together at the end of "I Scream When I Pee" when Kandi tried to convince Lindsey that Alan rejected her.
Magnificent Bastard: Charlie achieves this status in the season 3 episode "And The Plot Moistens" in which he lies to both Kandi—who Alan is dating but is considering breaking up with—and Jake's teacher—whom Alan is also dating and considering a long term relationship with. First, he covers for Alan's date with the teacher by telling Kandi that Alan is out buying her a diamond necklace, then he reveals this to Alan, knowing that Alan will likely be unable to afford an expensive piece of jewelry. Alan then buys Kandi the necklace to keep things smooth between them. Charlie then covers for Alan's next date with Kandi by telling the teacher that Alan is off doing volunteer work with teens. Kandi then shows up to the school musical in which Jake is appearing wearing the necklace and Charlie tells the teacher that Kandi is one of the kids whom Alan helps and Kandi inadvertently reveals to the teacher that she(Kandi) and Alan have been sleeping together, oblivious to the web Charlie has spun, and ultimately sabotaging Alan's budding relationship with the teacher. Charlie all but admits that he did it just for his own personal amusement.
Moral Event Horizon: For Rose, it's killing Charlie, no matter how much of a jerk he was and how crazy she is.
"Of Course He's Dead" (the Grand Finale) revealed that Charlie did not die (although Rose did try to kill him) but was kept in a dungeon Buffalo Bill-style, which may still count.
Never Live It Down: Alan's... experiments during his youth, which are mentioned from time to time (to be fair, Charlie apparently talked him into most of them).
Nightmare Fuel: The episode "Hi, Mr. Horned One" is really disturbing to watch.
No Yay: While a small (but vocal) minority of fans did legitimately ship Charlie and Rose, most viewers were deeply unsettled by their relationship and the eighth season's repeated rationalization of Rose's prolonged stalking and often violent and malicious behavior as "sticking by Charlie all these years". This, coupled with the fact that when they actually got their Relationship Upgrade, it was directly the result of Rose's machinations and they never spent even a moment of screentime as a mutual couple was the target of heavy criticism and actually could've conspired to end the show had the Re Tool not been necessitated.
Overshadowed by Controversy: For its first eight seasons it was seen as a fairly standard-issue sitcom — albeit one with an unusually high proportion of jerkasses among its characters — but nowadays it's virtually impossible to discuss the show without talking about Charlie Sheen's (and, to a lesser extent, Angus T. Jones's) Creator Breakdown and subsequent exit.
The Scrappy: The only people who aren't The Scrappy to someone is Berta and Herb. Here's some of the most prominent though.
Charlie because he is often an unsympathetic jerkass to Alan and may have been responsible for how Alan turned out as a person due to all of the childhood bullying and other horrible things he did to Alan, though he did express regret for being such a crappy brother several times.
Alan has also become this for some people in the later seasons due to him turning into a mooch who never wants to pay for anything if he can help it and doing it without remorse. Even with Walden, who has never done anything wrong to him.
Jake because he turned into a rude ungrateful jerkass who was completely unsympathetic to either Charlie or Alan despite everything they did for him and then just degenerated into a Literal-Minded idiot stoner.
Judith for being an abusive jerkass who constantly uses lawyers to bully and control Alan and goes out of her way to make his life hell for kicks like giving her lawyer to Kandi when Alan and Kandi are getting divorced. Judith also constantly plays the victim and when she marries Herb, she treats him even worse then she treated Alan for no reason and becomes very abusive towards Jake as well.
Evelyn because she's a narcissistic control freak who abused Charlie and Alan throughout their entire childhood and adolescence and still continues to do so in their adulthood with guilt trips and making everything about her.
Rose because she's a stalker who constantly manipulates her way into Charlie's life without remorse and even planned to get him sick so she should drug him for several weeks so she could move in and try to force her way into his life for good. Later she even fakes getting married so Charlie will want her and then kills him and stalks Walden for no reason other then she can. Later it turns out she didn't kill Charlie, she just faked his death and locked him in her basement for a few years and she got away with all of this.
Kandi because she was a very Literal-Minded idiot who didn't care one bit about Alan as a person and then married him for no reason beyond "The sex was amazing." and the stuff he bought her. After that, she turned into a massive bitch who kicked him out for a ton of little reasons and was very unsympathetic to his reasonable concerns about his financial status in regards to the condo they bought together.
Walden has become a Replacement Scrappy for quite a few people due to fans seeing him as a poor replacement for Charlie.
Many of Charlie's ex-girlfriends, like Mia and Chelsea. Mia because she forces Charlie to change everything he is just because she wants him to be a completely different person. Chelsea because while a lot of her criticisms about Charlie were valid, she did almost nothing but nag him and then ditched him for another guy.
Chelsea's parents; her mother's a white supremacist, and her dad's an in-the-closet homosexual who eventually comes out of the closet and they're not even given any depth beyond her father coming out of the closet and just being used to parrot some gay jokes with his partner.
Eldridge, Jake's friend. He's even more stupid than Jake and not even remotely likable.
Some people argue that it happened in Season 7 or 8, due to the jokes becoming more juvenile and asinine and the three titular characters being Flanderized.
Strawman Has a Point: We are supposed to side with Rose, whom Charlie has thrown off like a fake dollar eight years ago, and her ruining Charlie's dates and stalking his ex-girlfriends ought to be Laser-Guided Karma punishment for his Casanova attitude. But Charlie is right; Rose has been ending her relationships. Jerk Ass as he is, he does tell the truth.
When Walden starts dating Rose in Season 10, Alan is treated as completely unreasonable for repeatedly telling Walden not to do so.
They Changed It, Now It Sucks!: Ashton Kutcher replacing Charlie Sheen, some fans are claiming that while he is a talented actor, he just dosen't fit into the show very well and comes across as a poor man's substitute. Some people also feel this way about the new decor of the set.
Charlie and Rose moving to Paris. It could have been left as resolution for their arcs while still removing Charlie from the show. Instead, Rose finds Charlie in bed with another woman and throws him in front of a train, then practically gloats about it, becomes The Artifact without Charlie and starts stalking Walden.
Mia's return was hyped up as a Cliffhanger to close out the season 6 finale, but gets completely thrown out the window in the first episode of season 7.
Introducing Ashton Kutcher as a new character instead of The Other Darrin. It would have been a far better Take That! to Charlie Sheen than anything they do in the show and would have kept the show's original tone.
The baby mystery as to whether Judith's newborn belonged to Alan or Herb.
Alan. Pretty much the last few seasons consist of him getting repeatedly screwed over in some way, he was almost Driven to Suicide in "It's like working for Caligula", his son is quite possibly the most bratty, unappreciative teenager ever portrayed on an American TV show, Charlie tends to be an asshole, his mother is an unrepentant horrid mother that can't see any flaws in herself, his ex-wife is a bitch that said she'd rather die alone than be with him, the list just goes on and on. It's sad that Chuck Lorre really makes him a live action MegGriffin.
Of course, some people see him as a Jerkass Woobie due to his sponging off Charlie while constantly criticizing every aspect of his life and biting the hand that feeds him, as well as his becoming a horrible father to Jake.
Charlie was a Jerkass Woobie. As he points out, his mother is a abusive narcissist who drove his father into an early grave and constantly abused him and Alan from an early age and often neglected him in so many ways. Even as an adult, she still treats him like crap and has made him unable to ever have a meaningful relationship, which has often come back to bite him. Not to mention that his brother constantly mooches off of him and does nothing but criticize him. This is all Played for Laughs.
Judith is a subversion. She sees herself as lonely and long suffering, who claimed Alan was controlling and stole her youth. However, it is blatantly obvious that when the two were married it was the other way around and her completely unsympathetic behavior make her anything butThe Woobie.
And Herb. He's probably the nicest and most decent guy in the whole show, and suffers all kinds of abuse from Judith, not to mention his daughter Milly might not even actually be his. Ramped Up to Eleven after Judith divorces him.
Whenever we're reminded of Louis' life as a foster kid. Especially on Christmas!