Tuesday, January 26, 2010

TWO AND A HALF MEN -- Two restraining orders and a hit man

If you’re a showrunner it seems there’s always something. Either it’s meddling executives, or a rough cut that still needs work, or an actor arrested for assaulting his wife, or the most common nuisance – a actor thinking there’s a hit man out there to kill him.

Welcome to the happy set of TWO AND A HALF MEN. Charlie Sheen might have to miss a rehearsal or two for his domestic violence trial. It’s hard to set a production schedule when you don’t know how long your star will be cross examined. And a showrunner’s typical complaint – right in the middle of a runthrough the jury returns and his lead has to scamper back to the courthouse. They can’t return the damn verdict until after the restaurant scene??

And there are always the million little distractions. Do you have to record station promos this week? The studio still hasn’t secured music clearance for that song you want to use. Can Charlie’s restraining order be temporarily lifted so he can see his wife in the hospital?

Now Jon Cryer, he’s not exactly low maintenance either. He’s currently embroiled in an ugly divorce and custody battle that has apparently escalated to where Jon seriously believes his ex-wife had put a hit out on him (and I’m guessing wants him to pay for the hit man). This threat appeared real enough that last week they filmed the show on an empty stage sans the studio audience. Actors feed off the energy of live audiences and showrunners really hate it when assassins spoil that. Fortunately, Cryer now feels the threat has been abated so it’s safe once again to attend a filming of TWO AND A HALF MEN without worrying you’ll be whacked by a stray bullet.

Beyond that, it’s just dealing with all the tabloids, conferring with the FBI, and keeping an eye on the torrential rains that threaten everybody’s homes.

On the other hand...

because TWO AND A HALF MEN is such a hit they get very few network notes. So in the end, I’d still rather be the showrunner for that show than most of the others.

19 comments:

Ian said...

I think you have the beginnings of a fine new sit-com right here, Ken.

Anonymous said...

Ditto Ian. Actually, Ian and you should collaborate on that one and give me a 2nd lead, the Larry to Jack Tripper or Kramer to Jerry. Dibs on the lowlife who hangs around and could potentially be trying to take out one of the first leads.

Steven said...

I stopped watched Two and a Half Men after the second season when I realized that every episode is a redundant, double entendre fest. However my mom still watches it so I catch bits and pieces of it every week. Sure Charlie's engaged now on the show, but before that he'd date an eccentric woman every episode before breaking up with her Allen used to function as a moral compass for Charlie, but now he acts the same way Charlie does and is always looking to get it on.
The kid and maid are smart asses and any guest stars usually are reduced to playing horny mother in laws.

There's no character development whatsoever, but Chuck Lorre and the network doesn't care 'cause they're getting big ratings like you mentioned.

Matt said...

I'll bet one of the network notes is: "We think that, in the future, it might be best if Charlie Sheen tried NOT to assault his wife."

Anonymous said...

"Two and a Half Men" should be just relaunched: "Halfway There"!
The kid has one desire - to get enough financial support to leave the apartment and scene of these aging men forever. They're going to be broke, especially as healthcare issues start coming up. He's desperate for finance, so sometimes aspires to be more like Alex Keaton / Family Ties, but scratch his surface and there is a human there. Can anyone there afford paying for college now? The way the economy is going to be especially in Cali, they'll have to fire their full-time domestic help with one orgasmic, snide remarkfestic episode. The result being that the kid takes over that position for a bit, literally cleaning up after the two men. He starts to realize what a mess their lives are and remain, and vows to do anything to get enough money to be independent and leave. (And really, I don't know anyone with full-time, on-the-books daily help who isn't working many, many more hours than either of those characters seems to.) So he goes for all kinds of tricky-but-plausible entrepreneurial schemes, always failing in the end due to him being mostly human rather than the redundant empty double-entendre spewing guys he calls family. Eventually he finds his growing up hanging around listening to horny, rich grandmothers and half-naked women running in and out of the apartment and of course the foibles of his uncle and father left him with a natural understanding of what women DON'T want, and through twist of tv-fate he ends up partnering up with some aspiring woman entrepreneur to become her "man friday" type as she starts her own business. She happens to be living with her sister, who is divorced with a child just about the age our kid was when he started on "Two and a Half Men". With his semi-position, he's now showing up daily at their house to report in and see what needs to be done. He offers advice in their zany world... etc..etc... Anyway the point is, Phyllis Diller should play the grandmother.

Paul Duca said...

At the very least they should consider rechristening the show TWO AND THREE QUARTERS MEN..I mean the kid has hit puberty, correct?

Anonymous said...

There are those problems and the fact that the "kid" is now about 23.

Mike Bell said...

I think they should just work these real life scenarios into the show. I mean, you can't write this stuff! It's comedy gold!

They could bring back Rose as a hitwoman hired by Judith to knock off Alan. The problem being, Rose still has that whole stalking Charlie thing going on. She becomes all twitterpated at the sight of Charlie and accidentally whacks Ryan Stiles character instead.

Meanwhile, Charlie could finally marry Chelsea and take off for ski resort vacation, where they get into a drunkenly violent argument on Christmas morning. Charlie is arrested, putting his contract to write a new "Charlie Waffles" children's CD in jeopardy. Rhichard Kind could reprise his role as Charlie's manager. Richard Kind is always funny.

At the last minute, a terrible Pacific storm blows in and washes Charlie's Malibu house away, forcing the cast to move in with Charlie's whacky neighbor Gary Busey in the spinoff "Hey! Who's Watching The Fire Hydrants?!"

Diogo said...

And in Irony news at whatever time you're reading this, NBC just picked up a pilot from Conan O'Brien. Yes, you read that right.

Dana Gabbard said...

Diogo, is that any stranger than when NBC picked up ED from David Letterman's company soon after he split with them and ran it for a few seasons? Everything is about the ratings...

Diogo said...

it's not strange, as much as, it's odd. his tonight show chair is still warm, the statements of both parties during this whole affair are still out there for anyone else to see them, and they go and do a thing like that. I hope it's not just as fallback for the bad press the network has gotten about this whole deal. Letterman said it best: NOBODY is blamming Conan. Between his new show on NBC and Jay Leno on Oprah, these promess to be interesting times.

te said...

I believe (well, I did read it somewhere) that continuing the deal with O'Brien's production company is part of the settlement.

Not that that makes it any less weird. And it doesn't mean they have to actually run the show.

BigTed said...

To be fair, the accusation against Sheen appears to have been a "He said / she said while massively drunk and then recanted as soon as she sobered up" situation.

So while I agree that he would have been fired already (or the show canceled) if it weren't such a massive hit, but there's still reason to keep an open mind.

Anonymous said...

Duck, Ducky!

Buttermilk Sky said...

Charlie Sheen is a typical product of a two-parent, heterosexual, Roman Catholic family. I can't believe California still allows them to marry.

And yes, I'm being facetious.

Mike Bell said...

I can't stress enough. Richard Kind is ALWAYS funny.

WV: Shibil. I don't know what it is, but whatever it is, I'm against it.

jbryant said...

Was it Ken who recently joked that for the title of the show to continue to make sense as the kid keeps growing, we'll have to start considering Jon Cryer to be the "half-man"?

Whoever said it -- good one.

John said...

I'm still waiting for the episode where Charlie buys over 2,500 seats in the left field lower deck at Anaheim Stadium trying to catch a home run ball.

Erica said...

Charlie Sheen has next to no talent and it is beyond me how this show has lasted as long as it has.