Bewitched swapped Dicks, why can’t Men swap Charlies
Once upon a time there was an endearing little sitcom called Bewitched. It was predictable and more than a little cheesy, but it was good fun.
A few decades later, there was another sitcom called Two and a Half Men. It was predictable and more than a little cheesy, and it mightily sucked.
Two and a Half Men resumed overnight, after a six month absence caused by Charlie Sheen’s quest to simultaneously screw every woman in the world along with his own dignity. He succeeded in both.
Much like the NSW Labor party, Sheen was cast aside for committing pretty much every stupid act imaginable, and going stark raving mad in the process.
Now, it’s all very well to keep Two and a Half Men alive for this, its ninth season. The show is popular, after all, even if the jokes are squeezed out with all the subtlety of a teenage boy squirting zit pus on a bathroom mirror.
But what’s with Ashton Kutcher’s new character? The 33 year ring-in, better known in real life as Demi Moore’s man bag, plays a dotcom billionaire, Walden Schmidt, instead of Sheen’s old character Charlie Harper. And that’s just a cop out.
Not to say that Walden Schmidt may not turn out to be a character with just as much sleaze value as Sheen. On last night’s first show, he went upstairs with two women while the perennially hapless Alan spent the night alone.
But Kutcher should’ve stepped straight into Charlie’s shoes, not just a character with the same taste in footwear. He should’ve been Charlie Harper. And he should have been given every chance to play the character better than Sheen himself ever did.
Continuity is no impossible dream. When actor Dick York left Bewitched after 156 episodes playing hapless husband “Darrin”, he was replaced by actor Dick Sargent for the show’s remaining 84 episodes.
Give or take a smaller chin, no one blinked an eye. Normal transmission resumed as we, the viewers, happily pretended it was the same old Darrin after all. Or the same old “Derwood”, as the witch-in-law from hell Endora used to sneeringly call him.
Two and a Half Men people could have, and should have, pulled the same trick. And it would have been beautiful.
Why? Because after his sacking this year, Charlie Sheen this year became probably the most vile, big-headed human being on the planet, if you don’t include the evil robot who plays the “person” called Kyle Sandilands.
Sheen’s rants this year were totally out of control. He began with the perfectly true premise that he dares to speak his mind when everyone else in Hollywood speaks nothing but recycled clichés, but what actually came out of that mind of his was pure drugged-up, ego-fuelled gibberish.
Worst of all were his rants about “winning”. Here was everything that is ugliest about America, celebrities, and American celebrity culture. You get more chicks, more money, more fame, you win. It is the worst message imaginable. For sending it out there to the kids, Sheen deserves every piece of misery that comes his way.
Alas it seems karma hasn’t yet kicked in. Said to be the highest-paid TV actor ever, Sheen has still got the money, which is half of all that really matters to him, because money keeps the hangers-on hanging on.
The other thing that matters to him is acclaim. He can pat himself on the back for being such a kick-ass Charlie that he somehow turned a show with really limited laughs into a smash hit.
Kutcher could’ve put a bullet in all that. Imagine if Kutcher redefined the Charlie Harper character. Imagine how sweet it would’ve been to read reviews to the effect that Sheen had been made totally redundant. That he wasn’t missed. That he was effectively written out of TV history. That he was now, effectively, a loser.
That would have been a winning moment for all of humanity.
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