Pop Rocks: The Family That Rehabs Together

This continues to be the Winter of Charlie Sheen's Discontent. The Two and a Half Men star followed up a Christmas Day arrest on domestic violence charges with the announcement that he has finally checked into rehab:

In a surprise development Tuesday that casts doubt on the rest of its season, television's top-rated sitcom, "Two and a Half Men," halted production after its star Charlie Sheen announced he was checking into a drug and alcohol rehabilitation clinic.

"We wish him nothing but the best as he deals with this personal matter," said a statement attributed to CBS, Warner Bros. and executive producer Chuck Lorre, who, according to sources familiar with the situation, were caught off-guard by the actor's move. Studio and network officials would not address the issue further on the record.

Sheen did not show up for work on Monday and his bail -- which requires that he not consume drugs or alcohol -- could be revoked in Colorado, where he is awaiting trial on domestic-violence charges. The actor's spokesman, Stan Rosenfield, described his client's decision to enter rehab as a "preventative measure" and added he would "take some time off" from the series.

Sheen will be in rehab for two weeks, because a fortnight is more than an adequate period of time to address substance abuse problems stretching back 20 years. Who knew Ferris Bueller's Day Off would be so prophetic?

I'll admit to a certain amount of schadenfreude at this news. Not because I'm particularly happy that Sheen, who showed such promise in Platoon and Wall Street, continues his downward spiral, but because it may finally herald an end to Two and a Half Men, the show that's done more to destroy American comedy than Dane Cook and Jeff Dunham combined.

This isn't Sheen's first trip to Trembling Hills (he did a stretch in 1998 after a cocaine overdose), but this particular trip has one unique aspect: it coincides with current wife Brooke Mueller's own stint. And while sources differ on whether she's in for her own drug problems or because of the psychological effects of Sheen's abuse, one thing is certain: this is clearly the best thing for their kids.

Imagine how much better Sheen's twins Bob and Max, who turn one next month, will have it compared to the actor's other three kids. Sure, the older children had to endure dad's involvement in the Heidi Fleiss scandal, his affection for porn stars, and the acrimonious divorce from second wife Denise Richards (and the two children of that union had the additional "honor" of being trotted out for display on mom's tortuous reality show), but they also knew periods of semi-normalcy. Those relatively idyllic times made the weird shit that much more difficult to deal with, and will probably lead to long-lasting psychological effects.

The new kids, on the other hand, will likely never experience such problems. They'll never be unlucky enough to know a time when their parents, and especially dad, aren't in the process of fucking up. How refreshing it must be to have that kind of consistency in their lives. I mean, most of us -- those of us without celebrity parents, I mean -- have to wait years before discovering our parents are irresponsible flakes who shouldn't own a pet iguana, much less raise children. Sheen's kids will never know that disappointment, because they've known what a shmuck their father is almost from Day One.

If nothing else, it's going to make for a great reality show in about twelve years.

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Peter Vonder Haar writes movie reviews for the Houston Press and the occasional book. The first three novels in the "Clarke & Clarke Mysteries" - Lucky Town, Point Blank, and Empty Sky - are out now.
Contact: Pete Vonder Haar