Two and a Half Men might be on-the-face and explicit but is an absolute treat. It revolves around a dysfunctional household, headed by a well-off debauchee man and consisted of his unlucky, divorced younger brother and his dense nephew. It continues to be one of the best comedy shows ever aired, five years after it wrapped up.
1. Quick Review
Two and a Half Men is an uproarious joke machine, chucking out jokes that are rib splitting- until the eighth season. The last four season just loses its mojo.
2. Series Info
Two and a Half MenAir Date: September 22, 2003 Status: Finished Studio: Chuck Lorre Productions, The Tannenbaum Productions , Warner Bros. Television No. of Seasons: 12 No. of Episodes: 262
3. Is It Worth Watching?
Two and a Half Men introduced the world to Charlie Sheen’s undeniable charm and charisma.
Charlie Harper is a music producer for kids’ commercials on television. But his lifestyle is far removed from his innocent profession. He is a hedonist and his business is pleasure.
Charlie’s bachelor life suffers a blow when his younger brother Alan, a struggling chiropractor, comes to stay with him after getting divorced. To make things more difficult, Alan has joint custody of his son Jake, who comes to live with them every weekend.
These are the two and a half men from the title, around whose lives the show revolves.
Charlie tries to keep up with his booze and one-night stands but finds it difficult with an underage boy and his dull brother around.
However, gradually, Charlie, Alan and Jake form a tightknit unit with each helping out the other in tight spots.
The show was about Charlie, Alan and Jake until season nine. At the ending of the eighth season, Charlie goes to Paris with his stalker Rose. It is revealed to the audience in the premiere of the ninth season that Charlie died by falling in front of a subway train in Paris. Quite possibly, Rose had pushed him in front of the train to get revenge on him for cheating on her.
The story changes greatly in the ninth season because of this development. With the owner of the house dead, Alan and Jake have to move out. They find out later that a young billionaire divorcee called Walden Smith has bought the house. Walden invites Alan and Jake to live with him because he needs friends.
II. Detailed Analysis
Like almost all sitcoms, Two and a Half Men does not have a specific story. Every season deals with Charlie, Alan and Jake’s lives. The only difference is that Jake grows up every season. But that does not take anything away from the show’s fun factor.
It has some of the best comedy scenes and amazing one-liners in sitcom history. The cast plays off each other very smoothly, especially the three titular characters.
In fact, Two and a Half Men is a dream show for men, made by men and about men who have been constantly wronged by women. The portrayal of women in the show is slightly problematic apart from Berta, the Harpers’ housekeeper. She is a no-nonsense lady and is the only person who can set the Harper brothers straight.
The story of Two and a Half Men has no positive role models or characters worth emulating. It makes for great comedy though. Charlie’s illicit shenanigans (which Jake often becomes drawn into or influenced by), the Charlie- Alan duo and Jake’s bluntness are guaranteed to bring laughs. That is the main draw of the show.
Therefore, when Charlie was killed off in the ninth season because of the actor’s unruly behaviour, the fate of the show was in dire straits. When Walden Smith was brought in to replace Charlie Harper, the show did not remain the same.
Charlie Harper, played by Charlie Sheen, is definitely the heart and soul of the show. Sheen’s portrayal of the nonchalant playboy and hedonist accounts for almost half of the laughs in the show.
Alan Harper himself is a great character. Jon Cryer plays the role of the unsure, bumbling brother amazingly. He is the perfect foil to Charlie’s character. Charlie’s interactions with Alan borders on bullying but are, weirdly, very enjoyable to watch.
Jake’s innocence is also a very essential part of the show. Without it, the show would possibly become pretty obnoxious. Angus. T. Jones does a good job of portraying the lazy Jake who often takes a leaf out of his uncle’s book much to his father’s disgust.
Of course, Berta cannot be missed. The housekeeper’s deadpan expressions and straightforward quips are hilarious. Some of the best scenes in the show definitely feature her. The actress Conchata Ferrell even received an Emmy nomination for her performance.
Naturally, when Charlie Harper’s character was killed, fans were not happy. Ashton Kutcher was cast as Walden Smith but everyone knew that replacing Charlie Sheen was a near-impossible task. The show started suffering because of this. It was not completely bad but it did not have the spark that the earlier seasons had.
5. Final Thoughts
Two and a Half Men will always remain one of the best comedy shows, especially for Charlie Sheen’s acting. If you are a fan of sitcoms, this should definitely be on your watch list.