After denying that Charlie Harper (Charlie Sheen) would be killed off in a ‘Meat Explosion,’ the character’s death was described just as it had been rumored. Melanie Lynskey’s Rose took the podium at Charlie’s funeral and, after weathering the heckles of Charlie’s many exes, including Jenny McCarthy and Jeri Ryan, among others, she described Charlie’s death and her role in pushing him in front of a Metro train in Paris.
The producers were at least honest about one thing; they promised no lingering sentimentality and indeed, there was no sentimentality. Charlie’s funeral was marked with jokes about the many STDs that he both contracted and passed on, among many other unsavory insults. Before the introduction of Charlie’s replacement, we find that though Charlie left his Malibu pad to Alan, he can’t afford to keep it. The house is up for sale and producers took the opportunity of an open house to bring on some surprising guest stars.
Up first was John Stamos, a rumored replacement for Charlie Sheen before Ashton Kutcher signed on, who delivered one of the episode’s ugliest and dumbest lines. Most welcome however, was an appearance by Jenna Elfman in character as Dharma from Dharma and Greg. And, in case you didn’t get that she was in character, there was Thomas Gibson as Greg. It kind of stunk that the producers forced the pair to match the nasty tone of the rest of the show by having Dharma and Greg bickering and threatening divorce, but as a fan of that goofball series, Dharma and Greg’s brief cameo was welcome.
As Alan said goodbye to Charlie’s urn–”This is familiar, me talking and you inside a bottle, not listening”– with plans for a dignified spreading of his ashes on the beach, Charlie is quickly spilled all over the beach house as we meet his replacement, Walden Schmidt (Ashton Kutcher). Walden has just survived a suicide attempt; apparently he tried to drown himself but the ocean was too cold.
Later, Alan takes Walden out for a drink and afterwards, the two pick up a pair of bimbos at a bar. Waldern admits that he is a billionaire and then cries about his break up to the two girls. Alan follows suit, crying about his ex-wife. Somehow, they manage to get the women back to the beach house. The next bit was predictable but it worked as a rather humorous reminder of the types of situations that Alan has lived with throughout the series.
I laughed a few times during the new Two and a Half Men but I wouldn’t call my first experience with the show memorable. I like Ashton Kutcher and it’s obvious that Jon Cryer works very hard for laughs, but I find the show’s nasty streak unappealing and a little creepy. Since the season premiere ends with a ‘To be continued’ I may check it out again next week, but don’t call me a Two and a Half Men fan just yet.
On a side note, television writers need to put a moratorium on the use of human ashes as a comic device. It was disturbingly funny in the series finale of Rescue Me but it was played out by the time Alan spilled Charlie in Two and a Half Men. Though I will say, Alan talking to the dust buster after having cleaned up Charlie was darkly funny and one of the episode’s better moments. Let us know what you thought about the season premiere in the comments.