How to Save “Two and a Half Men” May 3, 2011Posted by Mary W. Matthews in Humor, Popular Culture, Television.
I don’t actually see much hope for “Two and a Half Men.” The show is built around the contrast in two definitions of manhood; its implicit assumption is that a real man smokes, drinks, and whores — unlike the pantywaists who fall victim to ballbreaking women like Judith and Evelyn. (All women are beautiful on “Two and a Half Men,” but with very rare exceptions, all women are ballbreakers, bitches, dimbulbs, or lunatics.)
I am a member of the first generation to be children of television, and I’ve seen a lot of shows that tried to soldier on after losing a central character. All of them failed: “The X-Files” without Fox Mulder. “All in the Family” after Edith died. “Scrubs” without J.D. “Sanford and Son” without Lamont, the son. “The Hogan Family” after the departure of Valerie Harper. “Three’s a Crowd,” which was “Three’s Company” after the departure of sexual gaiety, not to mention the departure of Jack’s constantly having to pretend to be gay. “The Golden Palace,” which was “The Golden Girls” without Bea Arthur. “One Day at a Time” without Julie. “Happy Days” without Richie. “Rhoda” without Joe Gerard. “WKRP in Cincinnati” without Jennifer, Andy, Venus, or Johnny Fever. And this is just the first few TV shows that sprang to mind, by no means a complete list.
If Chuck Lorre tries to continue “Two and a Half Men” with the same premise — the allegedly hilarious contrast between drunken lechery and emasculated amorality — the “revamped” show will fail. In most ways, Charlie Harper was virtually indistinguishable from Charlie Sheen, so trying to shoehorn a “Charlie II” into the show will at best result in snarky comparisons with the two Darrens on “Bewitched” — when actually on “Bewitched” it would have been like trying to replace Elizabeth Montgomery.
Besides, the whole “isn’t drunken lechery cute?” angle was milked dry about three years ago. Incompetent Alan needs to either man up or get off the pot. Jake needs to become something more than an amiable moron/slacker. “Two and a Half Men” can only go on for Seasons 9 and beyond with a complete reboot.
My initial thought for Chuck Lorre was to promote Ryan Stiles: Have Herb’s marriage to Judith break up, and have Jake and Herb move into the beach house with Alan. The problem is that Herb and Bertha are the only two attractive characters on the show (well, Rose), and the whole structure of the show has been to contrast Charlie’s drunken, lecherous sexual immaturity with Alan’s morally weak, sexually timid milquetoast masculinity. The big, dramatic contrast between two milquetoasts won’t cut it for even one full season, much less a hoped-for Season 14. Plus, how could Herb and Alan afford a nice house on the beach, and Bertha, on top of two alimonies?
Then last night I was thinking about how Jake is no longer “half” a man. Angus Jones was born October 8, 1993, meaning he will be 18 years old for Season 8 of “Two and a Half Men.” Here’s my suggestion for Chuck Lorre: Have Jake get a girl pregnant, some time last fall. The “Two and a Half Men” of Season 8 would become Alan, Jake, and Alan’s grandson.
The mother of Jake’s son could be Nicole, the never-seen hottie. Nicole had her baby without ever even telling Jake she was pregnant (“I just thought she was porking out”), and had been planning on raising him as a single mother. Her parents, however, thought Jake should be told he was a father, and blow the whistle on Nicole in the opening episode of Season 8.
Have Charlie Harper be “missing, presumed off on a bender” for the first show or two. Nicole is missing too, leading to agitated visits from her parents (who might be Charlie’s degenerate and untrustworthy replacements) and innuendoes about Charlie’s potential as a kidnapper. In the show’s reality, it turns out that Charlie was driving down a busy highway, saw Nicole waiting at a bus stop, and offered her a ride home. But alas, ten minutes later an out-of-control semi had other ideas, and both Charlie and Nicole were killed instantly. Leaving Jake the only parent his baby now has.
For reasons unknown to me, Charlie left his entire gigantic estate (he’ll become posthumously beloved) in trust to Jake, most of it locked up tight until Jake has been someone’s valued full-time employee for at least ten years. (There’ll be a generous monthly allowance for the beach house, Bertha, etc.) The trustees should include Alan, Judith, and a rapscallion (Charlie’s replacement character) — a male version of Courtney, the Jenny McCarthy character. Perhaps Nicole’s father? Played by Gene Simmons, someone like that?
Oooh, how about Paul Reubens? I’d LOVE to see his protean sexuality on “Two and a Half Men”! (Reubens’s epic death scene in the otherwise disappointing Buffy, the Vampire Slayer make the whole rest of the movie worthwhile.)
Charlie could have left Bertha enough in his will that she could start a small eatery and employ Jake as a cook, with a way for him to work his way up to head chef after a years-long apprenticeship. As a far more central character on the show, Jake is going to have to react to Charlie’s death by wanting to become “Charlie II,” then being constantly frustrated that the terms of the trust make inheritance contingent on moral responsibility and good citizenship.
If you who are reading this think I have a good idea — that is, making the “Two and a Half Men” be Alan, Jake, and Alan’s infant grandson — would you be so kind as to send a link to someone who knows someone connected with the show? I don’t care about getting the credit for my idea; I just want the show to go on and be considered successful at least long enough for Chuck Lorre to be able to tell Charlie Sheen to kiss his low-rent, nutless, pi——t, clownish, sociopathic ass.