I know I fixated on the episode title last week but really, two weeks in a row in which the title has something to do with a toilet? Is that really necessary?
Putting aside the off-putting episode titles, this week’s Two and a Half Men got off to a fast and funny start with the return of Holland Taylor as Alan’s (Jon Cryer) mom, Evelyn Harper. We haven’t seen Evelyn since Alan weaseled his way out of her house and back into the beach house with Walden (Ashton Kutcher).
The opening banter between Cryer and Taylor was fast and funny with Taylor nailing Alan repeatedly with jokes that played perfectly into Alan’s many, many shortcomings, especially his barnacle like ability to cling to his room in the beach house.
Evelyn dropped by to see Alan because, finally, Charlie did actually leave him something; though not anything Alan actually wanted. It turns out, Charlie Harper had something of an inner life; he kept a journal. Naturally, Alan checks whether there is cash in between the pages; there was not.
The opening sample from Charlie’s journal was rather brilliant:
“To whom it may concern, if you’re reading this it means my heart or lungs finally gave out. Or I rejected my new liver. Or my brother wouldn’t give me a piece of his. Or I choked on my own vomit; or somebody else’s. Or some crazy chick pushed me in front of a bus.”
Alan’s spooked reaction to that last line was one of the big laughs of the night. While the rest of “Those Fancy Japanese Toilets” attempted lame shock by having Evelyn seduce dopey Walden, the best laughs kept coming back to Alan reading Charlie’s journal.
It’s enough almost to confirm fan suspicions that Two and a Half Men really is missing Charlie Sheen. What else can you take away from the fact that despite being dead, Charlie Harper got all of the biggest laughs in the episode?
- Did Jake (Angus T. Jones) lose his virginity in this episode? I doubt that it matters in any way and the writers didn’t seem to think it mattered but it seemed kind of notable.
- The only thing that I enjoyed about Walden and Evelyn’s story was that for once a character wasn’t forced to talk about how gorgeous Walden is. Holland Taylor didn’t play Evelyn as intimidated or impressed by Walden; he was merely as sport for her own rapaciousness.
- That said, we can’t go a week without someone bowing to Kutcher’s handsomeness and thus we get Jake’s tutor/crush Megan (Macey Cruthird) who is so turned on by Walden’s good looks that she sleeps with Jake because he was the closest thing to man in the vicinity.
- FYI, Walden did not walk around naked this week. He was naked in bed with Evelyn but it was appropriate as they did have sex. (Ugh!)
- What was with the scene in the garage? I get that comparing Walden and Alan’s cars plays well toward Alan’s often very funny inferiority issues, but the scene gave Alan little to do but watch as Walden did a childish bit of business about his hybrid car.
- Finally, Charlie’s journal gave us what qualifies as sentimentality on Two and a Half Men. Alan reads a passage in which Charlie recounts his reaction to Alan moving out, briefly, last season: “Alan moved in with his girlfriend yesterday; how stupid is she? Oh well, it doesn’t matter; like a non-specific urinary infection I’m sure he’ll be back before long. Truth be told, I actually kind of miss the jug eared freeloader.”