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NOEL HOLSTON

 
 
 
 
 
Two and a Half Amens
November 29, 2012  | By Noel Holston
 
 
Two and a Half Men
finally made me laugh. Well, OK, the half man did. It was a first, and as a much-appreciated bonus, I didn’t even have to watch the show.

I laughed out loud — practically did a French Roast spit-take — when I read the news online that costar Angus T. Jones, who literally has grown up over the course of the show’s 10-season run on CBS, had denounced the sitcom as Satan-sanctioned "filth" and urged his fans to stop watching lest they lose their souls. A video of him regretting his complicity to his new spiritual guide, a Seventh-day Adventist minister named Christopher Hudson (above right), went viral. As of this writing, Jones has apologized, sort of, for biting the hand that signs his hefty paychecks (estimated at $350,000 per episode) as well as those of his co-stars and show’s crew, but he’s put everybody involved in an awkward spot.

I’m not sure which I found more hilarious: Jones’s taking almost a decade to have a Road to Anaheim moment and realize what a sleazoid show he’s on, or series creator Chuck Lorre’s being forced to deal with another rogue co-star. It seems like only yesterday that he had to replace Charlie Sheen with another exploitable bad boy, Ashton Kutcher, after Sheen returned from a vacation on Bizarro World with jet lag, jitters or some sort of brain-eating parasite.

Sheen’s latest pronouncement, by the way, is that Two and a Half Men is "cursed," and it does look kind of like the karma sheriff has arrived.

Jones’ assessment of the show is, of course, hyperbolic. If he believes it constitutes "filth," he needs to get out at night in greater Los Angeles a bit more. Or at least do some Internet surfing.

But his assessment is in the ballpark. Two and a Half Men is as smarmy and smutty as network sitcoms get. The central character — a charming rake or a slimy snake, depending on your notions of manhood — was custom-tailored to Sheen’s personal reputation as a lothario, whoremonger and substance-abusing party animal. When Sheen’s freak-out led to his character being replaced by a similar cad played by Kutcher, a tabloid darling himself, the only big change was less fondness for booze. The show’s piggish attitude toward women, along with its enthusiasm for crotch humor, remains undiminished.

The question now is not whether the show can go on but whether it can go on with a cast member who has made it exceedingly clear that he believes the material he’s doing is morally repugnant. Devoted fans are highly unlikely to suddenly adopt his view, but Jones’ hypocritical presence could end up an unwanted distraction.

The guess here is that Lorre and company as soon as possible will bring in a new kid actor who’s more age appropriate to the “half” role and whose parents or guardians could care less about him being exposed to bad role models and penis jokes. They’ll pack Jones’ character — Jake — off to college far, far away. Or have him join a monastic order. Or, if the vengeful tendencies Lorre displayed in Sheen’s case are still in play, have him tragically trampled to death during the altar call at a mega church.

I feel kind of sorry for Jones. I’d feel even sorrier for him if he hadn’t so quickly lost the courage of his convictions.

Satan never sleeps.

 
 
 
 
 
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