By Todd McFliker
The eighth season of the smash comedy, Two and a Half Men, premieres this Monday night at 9/8c on CBS. The 30-minute Emmy Award nominated show has been the top-rated sitcom for the past four seasons with its unique exploration of relationships and parenting.
Two and a Half Men follows two brothers, a teenage son, and the many women that surround the three bachelors. Charlie Sheen is the aptly named Charlie, a hedonistic writer from Malibu with money in his pocket. His lifestyle may have been ideal for a single man until his uptight brother Alan, played by Jon Cryer, and nephew Jake, played by Angus Jones, became permanent guests in his beachfront house. Then there’s their mother, Alan’s neurotic ex, and the wise-cracking housekeeper. Despite the sticky situations that evolve in the weekly sitcom, one message is consistently clear: both Charlie and Alan truly love Jake. As a family, the trio and their supporting cast offer often hilarious, yet meaningful insight and lessons into the joys and challenges of fatherhood.
In the new episode airing Monday night, “Three Girls and a Guy Named Bud,” Charlie is going through a bit of the blues. Despite cutting back on drinking, he’s making some bad decisions after losing his fiancée, Chelsea. Sparks fly as Alan continues his humorous relationship with a single mother, Lyndsey, played by Courtney Thorne-Smith of Ally McBeal and Melrose Place. Holland Taylor stars as the grandma that still manages to find some romance, as Angus Jones portrays the often-times frustrating life of young Jake.
In May of 2008, Sheen married real estate investor Brooke Mueller. It was the actor’s third marriage, and the first for Mueller. In 2009, the pair had twins, Bob and Max. On Christmas night of the same year, Sheen was arrested for domestic violence. He later plead guilty to misdemeanor assault as part of a plea bargain that included 30 days in a rehabilitation center, 36 hours of anger management and probation.
Sheen is not the first Hollywood star who delivers lessons through his portrayal of a popular fictional character that are quite different than the struggles and decisions of his real life. While Two and a Half Men creator and Executive Producer Chuck Lorre may be able to script actor Charlie Sheen on camera, the Hollywood star’s destructive decisions off camera have told a different story. Lorre says none of Sheen’s run-ins with the law have negatively affected the show. In fact, Sheen recently signed an agreement to return to the situation comedy for another two years for a reported $1.78 million per episode.
Perhaps a future episode will feature Charlie and Alan signing up for a marriage education class to learn skills to help them improve communication, understand emotions, and give Jake good role models for his own future relationships?
With our without a PAIRS class episode, thanks to Two and a Half Men, there will be plenty of risky business on Monday nights. One can only hope Sheen himself will tune in for his own lessons on fatherhood.
A newlywed, Todd McFliker is an award-winning reporter, photographer, and the author of All You Need is Love to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb. He earned his Masters in Communication from Lynn University.