Film and TV

The Week In TV

Spring is a-comin', TV is still going, and I'm an F-18, bro. This was the week in TV Land:

• Holy shit, Charlie Sheen. I mean, holy shit. This has been the craziest week yet in the public life of one Carlos Irwin Estevez. Sheen's been a noted douchebag for a while now, with documented drug abuse and battery charges offsetting his good-time-dude image on CBS' execrable Two and a Half Men. Even as recently as this year's Television Critics Association press tour, CBS entertainment president Nina Tassler said, "On a personal level, we are concerned, but he has his job, he does it well, and the show is a hit." That's the nicest way possible to say, "Yes, he beats his wives, but our ratings are through the roof, so don't come asking me to make a moral decision. This is Hollywood."

Yet last week, Sheen was actually fucked up enough to call CBS' bluff.

On Thursday, as CBS was preparing to get the show back on track, Sheen called into The Alex Jones Show and went totally raisin cakes, lashing out at the network, series creator Chuck Lorre, and pretty much everyone else in the world. He said he has "magic and poetry at [his] fingertips," adding, "Most of the time, and this includes naps, I'm an F-18 bro, and I will destroy you in the air and deploy my ordnance to the ground." That is a quote. Seriously. He also challenged Lorre to a fight, referring to him repeatedly as Chaim Levine. Lorre was born Charles Michael Levine, but Sheen's decision to hammer home the "Chaim" comes off as weirdly anti-Semitic, not to mention weird for a guy who was born with a different name, as well. Lorre had already poked the crazy bear with a stick a couple weeks back, though, joking about Sheen's habits in one the show's post-credits vanity cards.

As a result of all that, CBS has pulled the plug on Two and a Half Men production for the remainder of the season, and I've got my fingers crossed that this spells the end of the titanically unfunny show forever. The Atlantic's Ta-Nehisi Coates said it perfectly: "Two and a Half Men is the show that no one I know watches -- which is to say a hell of a lot of people." I cannot imagine anyone voluntarily watching the show, let alone taking any real joy from it. It's exhausting and abrasive. More broadly, I'm glad that Sheen is finally going to deal with the consequences of his actions. When normal people go on drug binges, beat their wives and girlfriends, and insult their bosses in public, they pay big time. This chucklehead's been clocking $1.8 million an episode, which was the highest salary on TV. He deserves every fraction of discomfort he's invited on himself.

Some good has come out of all this, though: Cats Quote Charlie Sheen. You're welcome.

• Wow. I expected the Oscars to blow, but last night's show was staggeringly bad. James Franco and Anne Hathaway, bless their misguided hearts, didn't have a single good moment that wasn't immediately drowned out by the producers' raging desire to capture the MTV Movie Awards demo. The Oscars can be fun and playful -- past hosts who've killed have always been comedians -- but the show this year was so desperate to be cool that its various attempts fell flat and died hard. Bringing out Billy Crystal again just underscored how much better he was than just about anyone else who took the reins of the show. My brain started to melt sometime around the moment Harry Potter got auto-tuned, but really, it was gone long before then. Even by the standards of bloated awards shows, this one was bad. I vote for Robert Downey, Jr. and Jude Law to co-host next year.

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Daniel Carlson
Contact: Daniel Carlson