Reviews: Two And A Half Men

How a Mediocre Show Became Bad (Then Got Worse)

Two And A Half Men is one of those shows that only lasted so long because it was scheduled between other, better TV shows, and collectively, people couldn't be bothered to change the channel. But with that in mind, it was surprisingly passable. At first.

Charlie was a complete jerk who secretly deep deep deep deep deep down actually cared about his brother and nephew. Alan was the standard Butt Monkey who things never went right for. Jake was a dumb but lovable kid. There's a sassy housekeeper, Alan's nagging ex-wife, and an overbearing mother who's basically a much less-funny Lucille Bluth. But while it was generic and clichéd and dull, it genuinely wasn't all bad.

Then the Flanderization hit.

Charlie became a complete asshole. Alan became the cosmic chew toy of the universe. Jake became too stupid to function. The comedy just didn't work as well. Charlie wasn't a Jerk with a Heart of Gold, he was just an unbearable dickhead. Alan became more of a jerk too - I imagine so audiences would still laugh at his misfortune - but it looked less like he too had become a worse person, and more like he had gone slightly insane after the universe continually conspired to make him as miserable as possible while his brother continued to fall upwards. Jake really only existed to milk the 'Get it? He's stupid!' jokes.

Then Charlie Sheen left.

I don't know why the show even bothered to continue. Ashton Kutcher came in as some goofy young billionaire who bought the house and continued to live there, but there was really no reason for the characters to continue interacting.

And while I understand why it happened, I really don't like how they killed off Charlie Harper. I know, it was a real life Take That to Charlie Sheen's ridiculous behaviour, but back in its alpha phase, when the show was still barely bearable, there were a few moments that were actually... nice. Nothing special, but actual decent traditional sitcom moments. And all of those are retroactively ruined when you kill off the character involved so that you can temporarily flip the bird to some irritating actor who pissed you off.

One bright spark; I caught the last episode, and for all its eye-rolling, pointless cameos, and fourth-wall-breaking humour, it was actually pretty funny. One last hurrah for a mediocre show that became terrible.