Warner Brothers officially announced today that Ashton Kutcher will replace Charlie Sheen on Two and A Half Men. The announcement finally gives closure to show fans like me that hoped against all odds that Charlie Sheen and Chuck Lorre could get along.
Talk about killing the goose that laid the golden egg. I never thought that this would be the end result. I really thought that cooler heads at CBS and Warner would prevail in the end and make nice with Uncle Charlie. Yet instead, the producers have found arguably the quickest way to kill the show altogether with Kutcher.
According to reports, Ashton Kutcher wasn’t even the show’s original choice. Hugh Grant was first in line to take over the role until he withdrew from negotiations after what he cited as “creative differences.” Good move. Nobody wants to be known as the guy that killed one of the most successful sitcoms of this generation. Was Pauly Shore not available?
NPR’s Linda Holmes observes the move as, “Men’ will instantly feel about ten years younger, about ten degrees warmer, and about one-tenth as likely to become mired in miserable, hair-tearing drama, and you have to think everybody on that set is ready for everything to calm down already.”
Here is the deal. I think this show has come close to peaking several times with or without Charlie Sheen. The kid just got way too old and skinny to play the “Jake” character that had been hanging around for several years. Yet week after week the chemistry between Sheen and Jon Cryer was enough to hold it together and continue to produce great television. Without that chemistry, the show is done. Kutcher doesn’t have a prayer of seeing more than two seasons of the show.
I never really quite understood the sensitivity of Chuck Lorre to begin with. It isn’t as if Charlie Sheen came out of left field with his attacks on Lorre. Lorre included cryptic messages insulting Sheen during the closing credits while Charlie was in the midst of one of his many controversies. I don’t think Charlie has anything to be sorry about.
Wow, it looks like someone listened when I told my wife that I wished someone would pay Ashton Kutcher to stop making movies.