Friday, February 25, 2011

My take on Charlie Sheen

This is the Friday question I've gotten from about fifty people over the last three hours.  What is my take on the whole Charlie Sheen/CBS debacle.  The latest development is that CBS and Warner Brothers have discontinued production on TWO AND A HALF MEN for the remainder of this season.  And who knows if it'll ever return?  My thoughts...


There’s a great movie from 1957 called FACE IN THE CROWD. It was directed by Elia Kazan and beautifully written by Budd Schulberg. In this film Andy Griffith plays a charismatic good ol’ boy who becomes an overnight sensation. As his fame and power grows he becomes more and more of a hateful monster. And finally, as the end credits are rolling on his live television show, thinking the microphone is off, he starts telling the audience what he really thinks of them – that they’re stupid sheep. This causes a huge uproar. He’s exposed for the asshole he is and his career is ruined. As a TV writer, I think it’s the feel-good ending of all-time.

I’ve always lamented that today you could never remake that movie (even with Russell Brand) because stars shit on their audience all the time now, and practice abhorrent behavior, cheat on spouses, commit crimes, make scandalous sex tapes, physically abuse people, whatever – and it never damages their career. In some cases it even improves it.

Luckiest of all was Charlie Sheen. It seemed no matter what this psychopath did, fans returned to TWO AND A HALF MEN. I’m sure O.J. thinks that his big mistake in slaughtering two people in cold blood was not starring in TWO AND A HALF MEN.

Well Charlie Sheen has now had his FACE IN THE CROWD moment. Finally! It is soooo long overdue.

He strikes his wife and gets away with it, shoots an ex-fiancĂ©, trashes hotel rooms, abuses hookers, goes on drunken tirades, violates parole, is allowed to rehab at home (what a joke that is), and pisses on anyone who attempts to help him conquer his demons, so naturally he thinks he can get away with anything. Including an ugly anti-Semitic tirade against Chuck Lorre, the man who suffered with and tolerated this ungrateful maniac for 177 episodes. I guess Charlie must’ve felt, “Hey, Mel Gibson got away with it without any repercussions, so can I?” Well, whattaya know? He was wrong. Seems drugs and alcohol do not help you think clearly after all. And before you Tea Party zealots defend this hate monger by saying he was just practicing his First Amendment right, know that he also called Thomas Jefferson a pussy.

I applaud CBS and Warner Brothers Television for pulling the plug. I feel bad for the rest of the cast and the crew, all collateral damage – just like the furniture in hotel rooms Sheen has destroyed, and I’m sure he has as much regard for them as he does for the lamps he broke.

Throughout all of Sheen’s escapades Chuck Lorre has been nothing but supportive. He has always taken the high road, only expressing concern for Sheen’s well-being. He’s been a mensch, or as I’m sure Charlie would call him – a “dirty” mensch.

TWO AND A HALF MEN is a huge franchise, a cash cow for all concerned, and a rating juggernaut for CBS. Sheen has seriously jeopardized that franchise. Excuse me, but isn’t that grounds for a little lawsuit? How many millions do you think Sheen’s recent tirade will cost CBS and Warner Brothers? If I’m an attorney I’m going after him. Charlie would be wise to get himself one of them Jew scheister lawyers.

It has always been my contention that money and power just makes you more of what you already are. Charlie Sheen is a monster, a horrible human being.  And now he's just another FACE IN THE CROWD, which is good because I can't stand looking at him.

126 comments:

That Neil Guy said...

But Jaime Weinmen brings up a good (if horrifying) point - by just shutting down production and not going ahead without him, isn't CBS saying they want Sheen to come back some day?

Here's his take on it: http://www2.macleans.ca/2011/02/24/they-should-replace-charlie-sheen-with-randy-quaid/

emily said...

But how do you REALLY feel?

Seriously Ken, I couldn't agree more. What a selfish crazed bastard. I hope Jon Cryer and the rest of the gang land on their feet. They deserve better.

Mark said...

>>...money and power just makes you more of what you already are. Charlie Sheen is a monster, a horrible human being.<<

You do know, of course, who spotted that "talent" long before anyone else did?

Gordon Gekko!

Considering that his dad starred in "Apocalypse Now," it's kind of ironic that Charlie's been terminated BECAUSE OF extreme prejudice!

bubbabubbos said...

"I’m sure O.J. thinks that his big mistake in slaughtering two people in cold blood was not starring in TWO AND A HALF MEN." Oh boy, that might be the funniest thing you've written Ken. The Red Bull I had been drinking was coming out my nose after I read that!

The Milner Coupe said...

I agree with you Ken. As for the show being canceled, except for the loss of employment for the crew, I couldn't care less. I never understood it's success. It's as stupid as Sheen is despicable. So let's hope this punk now disappears into reality rehab land and we can somehow avoid looking at his smug, rapidly deteriorating face.

And as for him calling out people to throw down in an octagon? Hey Charlie boy, you looked in the mirror lately? Cocaine is not the best training regimen. Your body looks a lot like your teeth. I'd go easy on the threats.

Anonymous said...

And what made him a monster. Daddy is a great liberal hero, but it looks like he wasn't much of a Dad.

John Leader said...

Well said, Ken.
CBS can and should replace him for next season.
The show would be different without him, but I think it could survive.

Miserable Dreamer said...

This guy has finally gone off the deep end. It is interminably frustrating to keep trying to help someone who doesn't want to be helped.

I remember a good friend of my dad's who started a downward spiral. Dad tried everything - an intervention, watching his friend in shifts with other friends, talking to him, praying with him, whatever - eventually, his friend let him know he was not interested in further attempts to "save him."

A couple weeks later, dad gets a call - his friend had shot himself.

I don't see the Charlie Sheen Story having a happy ending!

Bisto said...

What makes you think that Tea Party zealots would be offended by an insult to Thomas Jefferson? The Texas Board of Education, dominated by Tea Party types, is currently having its textbooks re-written to minimize Jefferson's part in American history. Apparently, that whole "rights of man" thing makes them uncomfortable, to say nothing of how close he got to a non-white person.

Blaze said...

I think the Justice Department and Authorities should quietly arrange a new reality show with a desperate network or cable channel.

"Chaotic Celebrities Treated Like Real People!"

Watch the stunned, shocked faces of your favourite wild cannon as they realize they're going to prison...just like you would!

I'd sure watch it.

RockGolf said...

Coming this fall to CBS:

One and a Half Men

WV: "pulaud" - How Charlie Sheen will pronounce "applaud" next week.

Anonymous said...

You know what would be great? The show has a wonderful cast, minus Mr. Sheen, of course. Chuck Lorre is a very talented man. He should rework the premise and make greater use of Holland Taylor and Conchata Farrell. Then add some additional characters and put more emphasis on Jake. That kid is gold, I'm telling you. He's the reason I watch the show at all. Do it, Chuck. You know you can.

Gary said...

Carlos Estevez, yeah that's his real name, is a nut.

Seriously, with the right person, they could replace him and really freshen up the show. Just seeing how they handled it would give them a boost in the ratings. Then just let the good writers take over.

TC said...

What would you do in a situation like this-- would you eliminate the character but keep everything else, like Valerie/The Hogan Family, or completely retool the basic concept, etc?

Whitney said...

Well, honestly pulling the plug on the rest of the season and not the series entirely makes me think that they're hoping to figure out what to do. I'd imagine that with his contract, they have to consult their legal team.

Ultimately too, it gives them time to come up with a change- whether it's replacing Charlie with a new character or taking the series in a new direction. I'd rather they have time to figure it out and handle all the legal issues, than just throw something together quickly in an attempt to keep the show alive.

John said...

Ken, I think part of the reason why people kept letting Sheen get away with what he was doing in real life was that the role he played on "2.5M" was basically a more in-control version of real-life Charlie.

Since the show it most resembles to begin with is "The Odd Couple", it's kind of like the way Tony Randall's love of opera in real life made sense to people, because it fit with Felix's personality. If real-life Charlie trashes a hotel with a bunch of hookers, isn't that just a possible plot line for next week's show? Just change the location from The Plaza to Chateau Marmont, and you've got yourself a sweeps week episode.

Where Sheen finally went too far was in the Jew-bashing rant, since Charlie Harper's supposed to be happy drunk, who only gets mad at his mom, his brother and his brother's fat kid. You can't square TV Charlie and real-life Charlie with this one (though if you wanted to say something that would deliberately get you thrown off the show, this would be a pretty good way to go).

Ian said...

Great comments, Ken, and I quite agree with you. It always amazed me how while "Two and a Half Men" seemed to revolve around the Charlie Harper character, Sheen himself was called upon to do very little. Meanwhile, his co-stars - John Cryer in particular - were delivering knock-out performances week after week.

Chuck Lorre and CBS did what they HAD to do under the circumstances, but no doubt we haven't heard the last of Charlie Sheen laying the blame for the show's cancellation at the feet of anyone but himself.

The way I see it, the only winner in this entire scenario is Mel Gibson, who gets to pass the mantle of biggest self-destructive narcissistic asshole to Sheen.

Charles H. Bryan said...

@RockGolf "One and Half Men" isn't the worst idea. Charlie Harper dies, leaves no will (of course), and a kid shows up with Charlie's DNA and worldview. Alan could be his court appointed guardian or some such. Call Justin Bieber's agent now!

I couldn't agree more with the idea that money emboldens someone's inner self. When someone gets Fuck You Money, don't be too surprised when they someday say Fuck You.

Andrew said...

Wait...it's wrong for stars "to shit on their audience" with abhorrent behavior and insults but it's okay for writers to gratuitously shit on supposed "tea party zealots"?

I've never been to a tea party meeting or rally (I'm not much of a joiner) but from what I've seen slapping women around, shirking your responsibilities and anti-Semitic rants aren't on their agenda.

I'm also pretty sure that people who understand the First Amendment know that while it protects Sheen's right to say something, it doesn't protect him from others talking about him or non-governmental sanctions for his actions.

I love people like you who are so gosh darn tolerant you simply won't tolerate people who aren't just like you.

Yeah, Sheen's an ass and I'm glad you called him out on it (bravely after his career is in the tank and it can do you no harm in Hollywood) but you might want to consider that boorish behavior by entertainers isn't limited to assholes in front of the camera.

In the future you might want to remember that not every who watches your shows or movies agrees with you politically. Insulting them for no good reason beyond the fact you have an honest disagreement about things is a "Face in the Crowd" moment people who aren't liberal deal with on a near daily basis in pop-culture.

Or you know, you can just go on patting yourself on the back for you tolerance and respect you extend only to people who agree with you. Your call.

MikeBo said...

Ken,
Best take on Hollywood's loose cannon collection that I've ever seen. Producers don't really ask for much - know your lines, answer your call on time, don't act like an idiot! I've met lots of famous performers during the course of my own career. The truly successful ones understand that they have have an obligation to their craft to act like professionals and respect their fans. Charlie Sheen will not be remembered as a great performer just an out of control addict who threw it all away.
Mike Botula

jeffrey said...

The show MUST continue...Is Dick Sargent available????


Jeff Prescott, San Diego

Michael said...

Miserable Dreamer, thank you for a far kinder answer to "Anonymous," who is a gutless jackass, than I could have managed.

I have never watched a full episode of the show and never planned to anyway. I hope for the crew's sake that something gets worked out.

In the meantime, Ken, you make a point here and I'm not sure you intended to make it. Look at all of the things Sheen has done that are wrong or illegal. But what finally led to real action? Anti-semitism. I'm sorry, but the big question is why CBS and (perhaps) Chuck Lorre tolerated all of this other stuff.

Twintone said...

I think the is a new development of the 21st Century Celebrity. The Kardashians made over 60 million dollars in 2010. Their fame all springs from a sex tape. Same situation with Paris Hilton.

Remember about 20 years ago when an incident at an adult bookstore practically brought Paul Ruebens career to a halt? Or how a documentary TV show caught Shelly Berman being angry off camera and it put his career on ice?

Mark said...

@Michael wrote:
>>Look at all of the things Sheen has done that are wrong or illegal. But what finally led to real action? Anti-semitism. I'm sorry, but the big question is why CBS and (perhaps) Chuck Lorre tolerated all of this other stuff.<<

Because having sex with hookers is just "business"...

THIS was personal!

MBunge said...

"I've never been to a tea party meeting or rally"


So, you just make a habit of taking offense at comments that have absolutely nothing to do with you?

Mike

VP81955 said...

Mel Gibson is Kim Jong-il to Charlie Sheen's Moammar Qaddafi.

Charlie Harper dies, leaves no will (of course), and a kid shows up with Charlie's DNA and worldview. Alan could be his court appointed guardian or some such. Call Justin Bieber's agent now!

Not a bad idea, but if Justin's unavailable, perhaps Chuck Lorre should try that premise, but this time reincarnate Charlie Harper as a woman (yep, "Goodbye, Charlie" redux). And for that role, Chuck should cast someone whose career owes a lot to him (and has tried again and again for another hit sitcom) -- Jenna Elfman.

Rob G said...

Here is the easy solution to keep the show on the air, fresh, funny and most importantly Sheen-free: Uncle Charlie has run off on a surprise wedding, has gone crazy -- you pick it. As Alan and the kid return from the wedding, visit to the crazy house, etc. there's a knock on the door. Turns out Alan and Charlie have a half brother -- from their father so same last name. The half brother can be younger (for the coveted age demo), better looking, and just when Alan thinks he finally has the Malibu house to himself, now he has an unwanted visitor -- sounds good for at least 3 years of jokes. For fun, turns out the Harpers' real last name was Harpowitz (but the father had it changed which no one knew about) and the brother has always been known by the original last name. And for even more fun, they decide to give Jake a bar mitzvah to honor their heritage -- now you have two full men (Alan and Jake) and a half (the half brother). Not bad if you ask me.

MATT said...

Load up the truck with money and back it up to Matt Le Blanc's house. It's a win all around because:

1. This shit show may actually become funny.
2. The cast and crew can keep working and with a star who won't snort their careers up his nose
3. CBS/WB will win the PR battle, not to mention kill in the ratings.

Dad Solo said...

Anonymous hates liberals so much that he blames Martin Sheen for the actions of his 46-YEAR-OLD son.

Very impressive, Anonymous -- you really, really hate liberals!

Nerdie McSweatervest said...

What Andrew said. I like this blog, and will continue to read it, but Mr. Levine's Tea Party remark was gratuitous and unfair, and unfunny to boot.

Also, MBunge, re: "So, you just make a habit of taking offense at comments that have absolutely nothing to do with you?"

And what's wrong with that? I'm not Jewish, yet I found Mr. Sheen's remarks offensive. Does that make me a self-important busybody?

Jonathan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jen said...

He is such a selfish jackass. Hundreds of people who worked hard on that show are without a job thanks to his behaviour.

I wish CBS had recast his role or killed off his character, and I hope that pulling the plug on the show means they'll rework it for the fall. It would be awesome to see it come back as a bigger success without Captain Cocaine.

Now all I can hope is those poor kids of his never have to be in a room with him again.

John said...

Replacing Charlie with Michael J. Fox would of course be the move that would provide the most symmetry, since it was Fox's illness in the first place that helped Charlie get out of his visit No. 1 to purgatory, after his Heidi Fliess-and-other antics KOed his big screen career.

(As for the Tea Party stuff -- Alex Jones' radio show since 9/11 has bee the go-to place for Truthers and people who believe the Israelis also knew along with Bush about the attacks in advance, which is why the Jews-control-the-world-and-are-broadcasting-through-my-fillings right-wing and the "Loose Change" fire-can't-melt-steel left wing love the show. Charlie's already spouted some madcap Truther ideas in the past that fits in with Jones' show, so it's no big shock he'd jump in all the way and go on the air to embrace the rest of Alex's anti-Semitic world, which takes the ugliest parts of the left and right and mixes them for the tin-foil hat crowd. Not really the same as either the Tea Party crowd or your average SEUI protester).

bettyd said...

I'm glad to read your comments, as I looked here this morning wondering if you would address this. I used to love the show, but broke up with it a few years back. There was a lot of the same type of jokes that I was tired of.

I would, however, come back with a new cast member if the premise changed a bit. Not a re-cast, or long lost cousin wiht the same personality, but a new cast member with a different source of conflict.

I do love the idea that Charlie dies without a will, and Alan thinks he has it made. Of course another long last son, relative, etc. shows up needing help and it all goes to shit.

Charlie Sheen was an excellant actor back in the day. See Platoon. He also made my laugh hard at "wild thing" in that baseball movie. Bob U - "juuuuust a bit outside" still makes me smile!

As with all addicts (see Gibson, Mel and Houston, Whitney) it is a shame to see.

MBunge said...

"Does that make me a self-important busybody?"


1. Not liking the Tea Party folks is not the same thing as anti-semitism.

2. When somebody makes a one sentence reference to a political group where the harshest word in the sentence is "zealots" and your response is a multi-paragraph whine, all the while claiming to not be a part of the group being referenced, you are a self-important busybody.

Mike

Jonathan said...

Ken you insensitive bastards. You've offended Andrew and Nerdie McSweatervest with your tea party remark. At least I think McSweatervest was offended, I couldn't tell if he was being sarcastic or not with that name. Regardless, the point is that the tea party can crush unions, destroying working people's lives, but don't call them zealots because that hurts their feelings.

My two cents (since that is what the internet is for expressing): Anyone who loves TV, movies, or even a funny commercial should realize that the people who make all this stuff, and this is pretty much everyone up and down the production chain, have all benefited from the power of collective bargaining. And attacks on one union's ability to collectively bargain, even the ability of state bureaucrats in the Midwest, is an attack on all. That's why the tea party is full of zealots.

Not to mention, you know zealot simply means someone who is fanatical in their belief for something, oftentimes describing someone who is fervently and aggressively patriotic. While I know the word typically has a negative connotation, it does seem to describe the tea party fairly accurately. I'm kind of surprised they haven't taken up the mantle themselves.

evie said...

Great post. Glad there are some in Hollywood who've had enough. It is absurd that he's been able to keep his job for so long.

And I'm glad to hear that Sheen telling people he's close to a $50M deal with HBO is a lie. I thought perhaps they'd lost their minds as well.

Tom Quigley said...

How To Cook Your Own Career

In a large cooking pot:

Add 8 or 10 bottles of Tequila

Stir in 50 or 60 grams of Cocaine

When the mixture starts to bubble, drop in half a dozen hookers

Fold in 3 or 4 failed, half-hearted attempts at rehab

Sprinkle with generous amounts of sociopathic and irrational behavior, along with a goodly portion of anti-semitic rants

Cover and roast slowly for 3 months

Anonymous said...

>he starts telling the audience what he really thinks of them – that they’re stupid sheep. This causes a huge uproar. He’s exposed for the asshole he is and his career is ruined. As a TV writer, I think it’s the feel-good ending of all-time.
I’ve always lamented that today you could never remake that movie

They did remake it. It's called the Obama Presidency.

Mel Ryane said...

Excellent comparison to FACE IN THE CROWD. I couldn't watch "Two and a Half or a Quarter or an Eighth...."
because of my distaste for Lost-His-Sheen. Let's remember that these writers had track records before this show and they will after. Move on.

SliceOfLemon said...

@Anonymous - Martin Sheen has three other (grown-up) children, and none of them behave like Charlie Sheen, so perhaps you'd like to recalculate your assessment of his parenting skills.
Charlie Sheen is an adult who is responsible for own actions.

Oscar the Grouch said...

I'm not much of a zealot, tea-party loyalist, or even a conservative, but I do know this much: Let thee without sin cast the first stone.

Is Charlie Sheen an egotistical ass? Don't know, never worked with the guy. Are his remarks about Chuck Lorre inappropriate and in bad taste? Well, sure. BUT... the fact is we don't know the whole story with Sheen and Lorre--is there some sort of animosity between the two? Don't know, but personality clashes in Hollywood? You betcha, but when it comes to making money such clashes usually get set aside.

We've already establish Sheen is an asshole (or at least that's the conclusion from most people). Is Lorre a saint? Can't say, don't know the guy (but I have read his vanity rants--he does seem fairly passive-aggressive)...

Could all of his be some sort of power play? In Hollywood? Nah. Never happen. But here's a prediction: before Two and Half Men is done, I bet everybody kisses and makes up. Can't let a little feud get in the way of making some serious money, right?

Mike said...

Ken, why do you write that Chuck Lorre has been nothing but a class act in handling this when he's putting cards up at the end of each show ripping on Sheen?

Mike Barer said...

It wasn't Charlie Sheen that made me enjoy the show, but the show.

Nat G said...

Last year, when it looked like they would be without Sheen for a few weeks, my suggestion was to simply temporarily recast Charlie Parker - keep the same script, just have Betty White play the role. Would've killed.

This year, I've been thinking about having them do a few episodes of Two-and-a-Half Men Season 32. Get Martin Sheen to play Charlie, have Cryer play Jake, not sure who should play the old Alan....

But really? I think they should have some other pilot on hand. Do a little fresh set dressing, and have the same crew, same writers, same everything - you're telling me that with Jon Cryer, Holland Taylor and Conchata Farrell, one couldn't find another good sitcom to make? And if it doesn't fail... it's so much easier to let Charlie Sheen walk away then.

(I've found the show too uncomfortable to watch ever since it became clear that Sheen was not playing a role, only tamping his real self down with character.)

Anonymous said...

99% on target, Ken. Charlie Sheen is all you say and less.

I only wish I knew more about Chuck Lorre. Is he the tolerant, high-minded man describe him to be or is a star kisser, willing to look away and put up with anything as long as the big money is rolling in? Rabbi or rock star wife? I just don't know.

And it would be the ACLU defending his rights, not the Tea Party

Anonymous said...

What would motivate you to connect the Tea Party with anti-semitism, defending anti-semites or standing up for creeps?

You pass out some harsh words here, maybe save a few for the mirror.

Patrick in Baltimore

Patrick said...

What would motivate you to connect the Tea Party with anti-semitism, defending anti-semites and standing up for a creep?

You pass out some harsh words here, maybe save a few for the mirror.

Patrick in Baltimore

AlsoJohn said...

Charlie's behavior is deplorable and he has jeopardized the livelihoods of lots of people involved in the show. But I can't help but ask the question; Why does this happen so often on Chuck Lorre shows? Brett Butler, Cybil Shepard and now Charlie Sheen.
I'm not blaming him, but does this guy have the worst luck in TV when it comes to casting the leads for his shows with such a**holes?

Rory L. Aronsky said...

Opening line at the start of the Oscars: "Charlie Sheen could not be here tonight because of what he deems, quote, "the staggering number of money-grubbing Chaim Levines in the room, who could not even begin to fathom the power of my fire-breathing fists." Remember kids, drugs are bad if you make it obvious." ;)

media_lush said...

hmmmm, over here in the UK I think we seem to tolerate the traditional Hell-raiser personae rather more than the prudes who seem to regard this behaviour on a par with Saddam's sons hi-jinks. I think the fact he maintains a good relationship with his exes says far more about the man than some of the comments here;

here's a small sample from a UK gossip site: http://grab.by/99Lk

On a personal level I'd love to go out partying with this guy as I'm sure it would be a night to never forget.

Mac said...

Well done, CBS. I wish every coke-headed,
pissed-up bastard who treats people like shit and gets away with it because they're front-of-camera, would get the plug pulled on them. They won't, but it's nice to know that now and again it happens.
It's a shame for the other cast and crew, but in the long run, working with a total bastard isn't worth it, whatever money you're making.

Anonymous said...

What would motivate you to connect the Tea Party with anti-semitism, defending anti-semites and standing up for a creep?


Possibly because he made the comments on the Alex Jones show, a favorite haunt of Rand Paul among other Tea Party darlings?

Steven E. Gordon said...

It's areal shame that all the BTL crew are the ones that will suffer the most from this.
If I was Lorre I think I would have settled once and for all and killed off Sheen's character. Or, at least, have him in a critical car accident that would leave him in bandages for as long as they wanted and allow them to put anyone they feel like on stage in his place. That would leave the door open if (a big IF) Sheen ever did get his shit together.
It almost seems like throwing the baby out with the dirty bathwater to me.

OmniRespectful said...

Re: the political comments here, I find it terribly counterproductive for people to label each other and react so negatively all the time. We might actually make progress in this country if everyone would realize that we have more in common than we have differences, and engage in purposeful, meaningful dialog, instead of continuing to perpetrate the "we said, they said" circle jerk. But whatever, go ahead and do your thing. It's America, and while I may not agree with what you say, I will defend your right to say it.

I just weep for Charlie's parents and his children, and for the crew members of the show that are now potentially out of work. It's hard to believe that anyone working with Charlie on a daily basis could let him continue this downward spiral unabated without proactive consequence. It really is criminal the way gobs of money can make folks put up with just about anything. I pray that Charlie finally experiences some serious consequences from his actions and that he finds a way to straighten out, for the sake of his family if not himself.

Jeff said...

Time for the coach to make a call. Pull Charlie, send in Emilio. It's not like hIs career is too busy right now.

AlaskaRay said...

I can't stand Charlie and have not watched his show in a couple seasons. If CBS recast the show and replaced him, I would certainly give the show a try once again. Sheen thinks he's what makes the show successful, but it's really the writers' snappy dialogue.

Ray

I said...

Carlos Irwin Estevez undoubtedly has enough money to never work again, which is a good thing, because he probably won't.

Cybil, Rosanne, Bret and Carlos can just sit around and compare careers, and try to determine who really won.

Andrew said...

MBunge,

Commenting on a blog that invites comments is being a "busybody"? Um, Ok.

BTW-If the rule is you have to be personally offended or attacked to comment, you may want to let Mr. Levine know that. The whole thesis of his post is, "stars shit on their audience all the time now, and practice abhorrent behavior, cheat on spouses, commit crimes, make scandalous sex tapes, physically abuse people, whatever – and it never damages their career."

By your logic Mr. Levine and the audience of Sheen's shows shouldn't care or say anything unless they are personally impacted by any of things Levine lists.

You sticking with that concept?

Nathan said...

Retooling the show is an excellent idea. The Charlie Harper character can be played by a dummy who is just be eternally "passed out" and the rest of the cast can just "act around him". It's not so different from what worked for Weekend at Bernie's.

And they can just use artful placement of props and furniture to constantly block the view of the dummy's face. They do that all the time when actresses get pregnant.

I see three more seasons easily.

Eduardo Jencarelli said...

Personally, I don't get why people get upset or judgemental at all over an actor like this. I mean, it's not like he's their close friend, or anything like that. He's just a person doing a high-profile job, who happens to also be addicted.

I don't recall people slamming Aaron Sorkin for being caught carrying cocaine. And he was in the middle of producing The West Wing, at the time. Is it because he isn't a high-profile actor?

It's a matter of separating the actor from the character. You don't watch a film or a show to see the person/actor. You watch it to see a story being told through characters, regardless of who's playing them. The guy's personal life is irrelevant.

If he wants to drink and do drugs, who am I to judge him?

I only draw the line when it starts to really affect other prople (his former spouses, for instance). Otherwise, it's his life to do away with as he wishes.

As for the tea party zealots reference/comparison, I could do without. And I'm a hardcore left-wing liberal, so that's saying something.

Tamara said...

Ken, I love your writing. Every now and then you post a blog entry that I think, "why can't I write like that?"
Thanks for the post. I'm in total agreement. And I loved your thoughts that money and power only accentuates who you truly are. Great insight.

Fitz said...

Charlie should rent Soapdish. That dinner theater version of Death of a Salesman might need a new Willie Loman.

Rory L. Aronsky said...

Retooling the show is an excellent idea. The Charlie Harper character can be played by a dummy who is just be eternally "passed out" and the rest of the cast can just "act around him". It's not so different from what worked for Weekend at Bernie's.

Afteroon at Charlie's.

Rory L. Aronsky said...

Afternoon, even.

WV: mersesom - The name of the demon inside Charlie Sheen.

Mike Barer said...

Let's remember that when we used the Carlos Estevas handle, we may be offending Hispanics. 2 wrongs don't make a right.

Rory L. Aronsky said...

2 wrongs don't make a right.

It does when you're in a car with my parents on the freeway and my dad misses two exits.

Anonymous said...

I don't see how Sheen's remarks were anti-semetic. He was just making a jab at the guy using his real name. Of course, Charlie doesn't use his real name either so I don't see where he gets off but, to call him an anti-semite is an over reaction. A hypocrite yes, but not anywhere approaching Mel Gibson level jew hating.

Ted said...

Wow, great comments section today.

Is Keifer Sutherland available?

Rory L. Aronsky said...

Is Keifer Sutherland available?

Nope. He signed on for a pilot at Fox:

http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/sns-rt-television-us-kiefertre71l7y2-20110222,0,6345433.story

Miserable Dreamer said...

Eduardo said: "If he wants to drink and do drugs, who am I to judge him?

I only draw the line when it starts to really affect other prople (his former spouses, for instance). Otherwise, it's his life to do away with as he wishes."

I agree - personally, I don't care what Charlie Sheen does. I don't know him and am not a big fan. I won't lie and say I feel bad or will weep for the cast and crew of the show - they're pros, and they will find other jobs on other shows.

But it's a shame when someone has the pedal to the medal, gunning it towards a brick wall, and not only do they see the wall but they seem to be enjoying the trip. There is nothing you can do for someone who doesn't care.

I'm not religious, not by a longshot, but sometimes it's almost like some of the wealthy have bargained their souls in exchange for material comforts. They don't realize it, of course, and by the time they're reaping the benefits, they don't care. But I wonder if, say, 19 year old Charlie Sheen would have second thoughts about the whole "acting" thing had he known where his life was gonna end up?

Maybe. Probably not.

Infauxtainer said...

Ken, little is perfect in this world but you made the cut with this piece.

My first thought was about the cast and crew's careers and how Sheen's thoughtlessness throws them back on the unemployment line. It's not something anyone likes no matter how well they're doing.

At least Sarah Jessica Parker admits to mulling over leaving Sex And The City when it was on the air (not knowing there would be films to follow) understanding that such a move would affect the livelihood of 100+ people.

My philosophy: Just be a pro, not a shmo.

Karen said...

How can anyone even call Charlie Sheen an actor?

He was acting on Two and A Half Men? I thought he was just playing himself..drinking, chasing women, treating everyone else like assholes! Good Riddance to you!!

I hope the rest of the cast and crew can come out of this with a better show NOT including Sheen.

YEKIMI said...

I think the "Happy Ending" Charlie Sheen will have is when he's found dead, face down in the snatch of some coked-out hooker.

WorstWriterEver said...

I loved the Simpsons episodes that you wrote Ken, but truth to be told you're really not shining here.

Anyone who thinks that Chuck Lorre is a good guy here, just go to his webpage and read the censored vanity card. There really is no defense for that one.

Ron R. said...

Remember the "morals clauses"? Whatever happened to them? This guy, and many others, should have been off the air years ago.

Rory L. Aronsky said...

Remember the "morals clauses"? Whatever happened to them? This guy, and many others, should have been off the air years ago.

Hooray for Hollywood! That screwy, ballhooey Hollywood! ;)

Rory L. Aronsky said...

I meant "ballyhooey." Because my spelling is so spectacular. ;)

Rory L. Aronsky said...

By the way, if you're looking to Hollywood for morals, why? Just live according to yourself.

Nat G said...

"Anyone who thinks that Chuck Lorre is a good guy here, just go to his webpage and read the censored vanity card."

I've read it. A picture of his knuckle. Sorry, but I don't see what's wrong with it.

And no, Chaim is not Chuck's real name. It's "Charles". "Chaim" is his "Hebrew name" -- you know how when you took Spanish class and they told Pete that his "Spanish name" was Pedro? It's like that in shuls as well. So it's not a case of Sheen merely noting that Lorre isn't using his real name, or trying to address the "real" Lorre.

--Nassan G.

Adam Paull said...

Hi Ken - long time no see!

CBS could be onto a goldmine here... Kill Charlie's character off on Two and a Half Men as suggested (a huge rating bonanza for that two-part episode) then follow it up with a new reality show - "Shit Charlie Sheen Says"

Sheri, Sheri Baby said...

Couldn't wait for your comments on C.S.. Ken. Great stuff.

He's a monster who has now become a pariah.

It's over for Charlie Sheen.

Ah sweet Karma.

D. McEwan said...

"Andrew said...
Wait...it's wrong for stars 'to shit on their audience' with abhorrent behavior and insults but it's okay for writers to gratuitously shit on supposed 'tea party zealots'?

I've never been to a tea party meeting or rally (I'm not much of a joiner) but from what I've seen slapping women around, shirking your responsibilities and anti-Semitic rants aren't on their agenda."


If you've missed the raving racial bigotry of the Teabaggers, who are well-known to refer to the president by the N-word, and whose ranks are, I assure, filled with anti-Semites, you truly havn't been paying attention. They all believe that "A Jewish cabal of bankers run the world" paranoid crap.

Let's see what the Teaqbaggers' agenda IS: Stripping union workers of their collective bargaining rights, cutting funding for social programs, healthcare, and education, while increasing military spending, trampling the seperation of church and state to make this country a theocracy. And frankly, they'd love to see slavery come back. Cutting school lunches for kids, while extending the Bush tax cuts for the rich. Oh they are lovely, if overwhelmingly ignorant and stupid, people. As a whole, they believe in their make-believe god, Creationism and Reaganomics, but don't believe in global warming, nor that it was the very policies they embrace that has bankrupted the country.

They're morons.

Oh, and this is Ken's blog, so he can express whatever opinion, political or otherwise, he likes. You don't like it, read something else. I'm sure Ken will refund all the money you paid to read this column.

I can't say I'm very stirred up by the Sheen controversy. I have never watched the show, and another out-of-control actor binging makes for fun copy, but hardly impacts my life.

The character of Lonesome Rhodes in A FACE IN THE CROWD (You hit on Whittington's all-time favorite movie there, Ken) is far more toxic, destroying the lives of all he touches with malicious intent. And the ending worked because his onscreen image was that of a folksy, Arthur Godfrey-type personality, so his exposure (which is done deliberately by Patricia Neal) reveals a man who is nothing like who he played on TV. Sheen's scandals show him to be just the guy he plays on TV, only more so.

If they bring it back without Sheen, wouldn't it just be Two Men? Because I always assumed Sheen was the "1/2". That kid is twice the man Sheen is.

Tallulah Morehead said...

If a major star can't indulge in sexual excesses, and spend his/her life in a constant state of intoxication free of any consequences, then the terrorists have already won!

Jeffrey Leonard said...

They didn't think "Spin City" could survive without Michael J. Fox, but it did. Ironically, the guy that kept the show afloat was Charlie Sheen. Crazy how things like this have a way of happening.

WJenkins said...

What I don't understand is why do the jerks that have the meanest comments in this blog ALWAYS refer to
themselves as "Anonymous". Oh yeah, now I know... they are a bunch of COWARDS!

xjill said...

LMAO @ Tallulah. Am completely perplexed by the political discussions in the comments - we are reading Ken's blog entry about Charlie Sheen on a sitcom, right? WTH?

I really like this idea:
Charlie Harper dies, leaves no will (of course), and a kid shows up with Charlie's DNA and worldview. Alan could be his court appointed guardian or some such. I've never watched the show but I'd watch that just to support the remaining cast.

And yes, although I think little of most Chuck Lorre shows he has been pretty stand-up through this bs.

bettyd said...

This is a question for next Friday, but related to this discussion. Approximately how many staff will be out of work when a typical show stops production for this reason or because of cancellation? Of course Two and a half Men has a small cast, but I assume it is the same number of camera people, writers, etc for most 3 camera sit-coms.

LNWR said...

Amen. Thank you. The fact that this stupid show with its sociopathic star went on as long as it did is yet another indication of women's true position in our society. If Sheen had done the anti-semitic thing earlier, and maybe thrown in a sprinkling of other racially hate-based behavior, he would have been canned long ago. But it's OK to beat up women. Seriously.

selection7 said...

Not really. Hollywood can do all sorts of horrible, degrading things and get away with it, but insult the showrunner and the damaged egos require cancellation? Get over it. If this show kept going, I wouldn't be surprised to see it get HIGHER ratings now (based on the lack of discrimination by its viewers in the past). Sheen is a monster but it's only words and he's only a man. The people responsible for pulling the plug are the ones resonsible for pulling the plug, period.

Nerdie McSweatervest said...

MBunge said
'When somebody makes a one sentence reference to a political group where the harshest word in the sentence is "zealots" '

That one sentence suggested that the Tea Party is sympathetic to anti-Semitism. That is harsher than calling them zealots. That's my complaint. I don't speak for Andrew, but I think that's his complaint too.

bubbabubbos said...

"Before you Tea Party zealots defend this hate monger"? Ken, you really should get out of Hollywood once in a while and mix with the "little people". Who exactly is out there defending Charlie Sheen? Does Sheen fit your stereotype of a 'Tea Party zealot'? I guess so.

Anonymous said...

Are there some Tea Party people who are out there? Yep. And there are some on the far left who are as well.

But Ken, many of us don't approve of Charlie's hateful attacks on his producer, nor how he has jeopardized the livelihoods of his colleagues.

And your blanket generalizations of an entire group of people merely show your own hatred and prejudices.

WorstWriterEver said...

You know, there is a reason that the latest vanity card was censored.

Bottom line here - and I know Ken Levine does not want to discuss it - is that even though Sheen's behavior isn't acceptable at all, the quality of Chuck Lorre's writing is even worse.

That's what Sheen is saying here.

mcp said...

The ironic thing Charley Sheen's situation is Chuck Lorre created "Two and a Half Men" with three male leads in response to dealing with:

Rosanne
Brett Butler
Cybil Sheppard

Now, all of them are looking pretty good.

Anonymous said...

Someone should tell Chuck Lorre to:
(1) have the Charlie character die and leave his house/money to the Jake character,
(2) have the Jake character find out that he has fathered a baby boy with someone, and
(3) have Jake (one man), Alan (second man) and Jake's baby (half man) live in the house.
It would change the show a great deal, but...

John Pearley Huffman said...

I don't quite understand Ken's Tea Party remark and don't think the comparison to Budd Schulberg's "A Face In The Crowd" is quite apt. However, I also don't understand why anyone would argue that he should avoid either of those comments on what is clearly HIS BLOG.

As to Charlie Sheen, well, it's sad any way you look at it. Sure Sheen may be a boor, but he's also a father and the shut down of a show always throws other people's lives into turmoil.

I hope he recovers to the point where his demons don't live on and chase his children.

Tom said...

Martin Sheen's got a boy in acting?

Nat G said...

"They didn't think "Spin City" could survive without Michael J. Fox, but it did. Ironically, the guy that kept the show afloat was Charlie Sheen."

If by "keeping it afloat" you mean he road it to cancellation, with the show dropping from 33rd place to 78th place over the course of two seasons....

Anonymous said...

Nothing to add. This is the definitive summary of an ass whose luck has hopefully run out.

Matt Patton said...

The only thing that was truly annoying about all of this (I never watched 2-1/2 MEN) is that it brought out all of the "celebrity shrinks" on the cable-news shows to pontificate. About three seconds of Dr. Drew and my mom channel-hopped to 24-hour classical music. Grieg is much less annoying.

As for Ms. Morehead, while she may have abused substances and led an, um, active social life, I suspect there were fewer beatings, shootings and trashed hotel rooms. I suspect. At least she doesn't call up tin-foil hat radio shows . . .

Charlie R said...

Now I know who is the half of a man in Two And A Half Men ! Get help Charlie , YOU REALLY NEED IT !

blinky said...

LEAVE CHARLIE ALONE! HE IS A GENIUS!!
You can see me shrieking this over and over again on my YouTube video. I am in my tightie whities and writhing on my moms bathroom floor.
Look for my new post: LEAVE GHADAFY ALONE! HE IS A TYRANT GENIUS!!

Tallulah Morehead said...

"Matt Patton said...
As for Ms. Morehead, while she may have abused substances and led an, um, active social life, I suspect there were fewer beatings, shootings and trashed hotel rooms. I suspect. At least she doesn't call up tin-foil hat radio shows . . ."


You take that back!!!> Imagine having the nerve to insinuate that I've never trashed an hotel room or beaten or shot anyone! I have a reputation to maintain!

Robin Colcord said...

Never mind remaking "The Bodyguard." "A Face in the Crowd" has never been more timely. Who is Glenn Beck if not a 21st century incarnation of Dusty Rhodes.

By the way, apropos of nothing, this is the best blog on the Internet.

cadavra said...

Robin: Hey, it's not for nothing that Keith Olbermann refers to him as "Lonesome Rhodes" Beck.

Wallis Lane said...

Turns out Ken Levine's real name is Chad Bentley Whittinghill III.

Let's see Charlie Sheen use that.

Buttermilk Sky said...

After a rocky start, Robert Downey, Jr., another son of showbiz privilege, seems to have turned his life and career around. Sheen could surprise us.

Or maybe the unknown relative who inherits his house could be played by Michael Richards. I have a feeling he's due to return from exile.

Come on, folks, the world is in turmoil from Wisconsin to Libya, and we're obsessing about a sitcom actor. Who's got the problem here?

MARCIA said...

Charlie goes to NYC to pen a musical. Rents his house to a friend because he doesn't trust his brother. Cast someone else in "his" part and let him squirm. As a crew person, enough with the you'd be nothing without me attitude. They would be nothing if we weren't there to film him. No man is an island in TV. It takes a village. Replace the village ass!

Thank you Ken

Sebastian said...

I'll say here what I said elsewhere:

The people who were enabling him are just as responsible for this. The DA who let him off numerous times, Chuck Lorre and CBS only thinking about the money and the flock of sheep who keep tuningin to this pile of garbage of a show (like me).

Because all I can take from your analogy with that movie is that THE CROWD was making the poor guy from the middle of nowhere that asshole he would never have become if they just had let him stay where he was. Hollywood ruined him.

You shift all the blame to him because he's "a horrible person".

Yeah right. As if he is the only person who becomes despicable once he gets enough fame, money and power.

I for one would never ever say that I myself would not behave like a total ass should I ever get into his position of getting everything I want whenever I want it, basically being Midas and turning everything I do into gold.

Sorry Ken but you say he turned everyone away who wanted to help him. Where's the evidence for that? Who wanted to help him? And did these people have an ulterior motive, say, "If we can only get him to keep it together to get past the 100 episode mark". You know because the show is such a cash cow.

And now you want him sued. A guy who's so obviously an addict.

Classy.

MBunge said...

Andrew - "Commenting on a blog that invites comments is being a "busybody"? Um, Ok."


No, genius. Reponding to a one sentence reference to a group where the strongest term used to describe them is "zealots" with a multi-paragraph whine, all the while claiming to not be a part of the referenced group, is being a busybody.

I know I'm just repeating my point, but you clearly didn't understand it the first time.

Mike

MBunge said...

Nerdie - "That one sentence suggested that the Tea Party is sympathetic to anti-Semitism. That is harsher than calling them zealots. That's my complaint. I don't speak for Andrew, but I think that's his complaint too."


I didn't draw that inference, but I suppose it's not an unreasonable one.

However, I'm pretty sure Andrew wasn't motivated by his concern over causal use of the anti-semite label. His whine is pretty much a textbook example of the childish obesssion many conservatives have with their suspicions that people "look down on them". For a political movement that seems to worship manly strength and slobbers all over the concept of rugged individualism, they're as sensitive and desperate for approval as the most shallow high school girl.

Mike

D. McEwan said...

"Sebastian said...
Because all I can take from your analogy with that movie is that THE CROWD was making the poor guy from the middle of nowhere that asshole he would never have become if they just had let him stay where he was. Hollywood ruined him."


First off The Crowd is a different movie from A Face in the Crowd. Secondly, when Patricia Neal first meets Lonesome Rhodes in A Face in the Crowd, he's in jail: Clue #1 that he was already a jerk before show business touched him.

Your point about enablers is well taken, but then you added: "As if he is the only person who becomes despicable once he gets enough fame, money and power," i.e. the "Look what they made me do" defense, beloved by five year olds. No one else's bad behavior excuses him. And vastly more people have had money, power, and fame without turning into raging dickheads. It doesn't turn you into someone else; it unleashes who you really are.

People are responsible for their own actions.

D. McEwan said...

Oh, and Lonesome Rhodes never sets foot in Hollywood. His show business career is in New York City. But go ahead and blame Hollywood, which was uninvolved. As long as we're shifting blame around where it doesn't belong. Now whenever I behave atrociously (often, according to some), I will "Blame it on Rio." After all, I've never been there, so it must shoulder the reponsibilities for my behavior.

No More Narcissists Pls said...

Can no-one see that Mr. Sheen was belligerent in his behavior that got his narcissistic butt into trouble and the show cancelled? I doubt it was anything to do with any so called Jewish type bashing..

Anonymous said...

To Ken... Which part was anti-semitic? Was it Sheen calling Lorre "Chaim?" I'm confused and would like a little clarification here. Seems like Sheen calling Lorre a maggot is worse. Now, if he had sad something like "this jew maggot" I would feel differently. Feels like this is being considered an anti-semitic rant, when in actuality it's just a rant. Am I wrong?

MikeBo said...

Gawd! Now we have the "Must See Charlie Sheen Interview" on the "Today Show," home of the limp-wick human interest story, complete with snarky interrogator. What's next? Charlie Sheen infomercials?
Mike Botula

Pamela Jaye said...

Alan and Dan were discussing in their podcast

"Under what circumstances would Charlie Sheen be back on 2 1/2 Men?"

I suggested they "ask Ken Levine about the episode where Mike (Kevin Kilner) played an extra in an episode of Blue Justice that Kim (Nancy Travis) was directing. Really. They finally found the perfect solution."

Did you ever post that episode? Or at least that scene - from the time they started shooting with Mike?

Rory L. Aronsky said...

What's next? Charlie Sheen infomercials?

Infomercials pushing the "Drug Called Charlie Sheen."

"For that exploded body you've always dreamed of."

Pamela Jaye said...

you did! you posted it! I just found it tonight while reading Charlie Sheen articles to my best friend while waiting to, as it turns out, listen to William Shatner interview Scott Bakula on a channel I don't get, over the phone.

Thank you. I think I love this one more than the one where Gary is in charge and accidentally says NOW.

Pamela Jaye said...

oddly, the last time I tried to comment, Firefox screamed that I had cookies disabled, but then this time, it went right thru.

d said...

I've noticed something since the jaw-dropping interview (don't lie: something in/on your person violently succumbed to gravity's herculean influence. for me, it was my perineum).

Charlie looks more and more like a recent Corey Feldman. It's hard to pinpoint at first...something in the gaunt, taught cigarette chamber of a throat, the thin mouth...perhaps in how their world-weary gaze mixes inside lil'-bitty eyes with a satanic disregard.

But compared to each other, Corey's career couldn't be any less meteoric.

On the other hand, Corey--like Charlie, though to a lesser degree--retains some kind of inexplicable hold over the public...Both for the novelty of his misery and for his undeniable talent...So they're the same and not...like imperfect twins.

It's like they come from the same dojo of stardom. A kind of Cobra-Kai of greatness. Who's captain of that fighting team? Mel? Charlie? M.Jackson? O.J?

Anybody have a top 5 ALL-TIME list of celebrity Greats who are also TOTAL F ups (to a mind-boggling degree)? AND provide a reason for your order...Mine:

1) Michael Jackson
(reason: he WAS the very incarnation of mythos: "man-boy with voice of angel has apotheosis, , arguably most influential entertainer on earth/becomes GOD-MAN, yet disfigures his face and body beyond recognition..."
2) Elvis
(http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r4CI8WxyC0E&feature=related)

3) O.J. Simpson
Doesn't he have to be on everyone's list???

4) Mel Gibson/Charlie Sheen
I'm cheating



5) Mike Tyson
Who knew he talked like Charlie: "if you try it (the drug, Charlie Sheen) once, you will die. Your face will melt off and your children will weep over your...)

CallMeChaz said...

My wife and I never missed an episode of Two and a Half Men until several years ago. The straw that broke the camel's back came when Sheen started ranting that Bush staged 9-11 (among other problems Sheen was having). Haven't watch his show or any new products since then. When actor's personal values hit certain lows we avoid supporting them financially (bye-bye Tom Cruise, Madonna, Alec Baldwin...)

D. McEwan said...

D, You listed OJ third? You think Michael Jackson's psychosis and Elvis's disappation and accidental death are worse than murdering two people? And you omitted chld molestation from Michael's list of shortcomings. I'd lead with his chld molesting.

sophomorecritic said...

Is theorize that the reason Academy Awards acceptance speeches and the like 90% filled with thank yous to obscure people the audience never heard of is because it's industry etiquette.

If someone on your show won an Emmy or Golden Globe and didn't use their 45 seconds to thank you, would you be pissed at them when they returned on the set the next day?

Does this scenario even remotely mirror reality?

Pamela Jaye said...

D -
I would have included Robert Downey Jr. - but he managed to sort himself out.

Hugh Laurie is also wildly talented, but his screwups are limited to adultery (once upon a time) and depression (apparently no suicide attempts. yay)

I'm getting minor reminders of Katherin Heigl too, now that I think of it. But perhaps she has repented...