You have been sitting on the very edge of your seat since the whole Charlie Sheen thing exploded earlier this year, eagerly anticipating important news on the future of your favorite sitcom, “Two and a Half Men.” (Or maybe you haven’t. Maybe you haven’t thought about Charlie Sheen since sometime in April, and reading his name reminded you of something that briefly captured your attention this past spring, and even though you can’t remember exactly why you’re pretty sure there was something.)
Well, if you were waiting for vital news about the most important show on television, you’re in luck. We have unofficial-official confirmation that “Two and a Half Men” will in fact kill off Charlie Sheen’s character this off-season (with the cause of death being deemed a very public and heavily-tweeted act of career seppuku). The season premiere will contain his funeral and a parade of his ex-girlfriends, something I am sure the show will handle with equanimity and grace and no misogynistic jokes whatsoever, that much I can promise you. And then Ashton Kutcher will show up or something and it’s a two-part premiere, by the way, a two-part premiere, because there’s just too much plot on this plot-driven show for them to wrap it up in just 22 minutes, so Ashton Kutcher shows up in the first part as a potential buyer of the house that serves as “Men’s” primary setting, and he doesn’t move in until the second, and by the second month of his tenure, his shout-oriented style of comedy will have made you forget all about What’s His Face, the guy with all the drugs and the baseball fetish.
His character’s name will be Walden Schmidt, and he will play an Internet billionaire with a broken heart. Read that sentence again, and make sure it sinks in, because clearly Chuck Lorre and CBS are certain they can do literally anything and this show will still be the No. 1 comedy on television while roughly 13 people watch “Parks and Rec” and “Community” each week.
Meanwhile, we here at Digressions await spoilers for the “Mike and Molly” premiere.
Exciting news for fans of “Two and a Half Men” and/or loud comedy: Ashton Kutcher is going to replace Charlie Sheen on the show, answering the question of, “Hey, is there an actor out there who wants $20 million dollars to mock Jon Cryer? Anyone?” The casting possibility was first reported by Broadcasting & Cable, coming in the wake of reports that Hugh Grant very nearly took the job.
So, Ashton Kutcher! He’s a person. He’s saying goodbye to a middling film career that never seemed to go anywhere; while he has been in some successful movies in recent years, all of them were due to the presence of other people (“No Strings Attached,” “What Happens in Vegas,” “Valentine’s Day”). The guy is best known for (a) being married to Demi Moore, (b) his technological investments and habits and (c) “Punk’d.”
He did get his start on “That ’70s Show” and created a hit with “Punk’d,” so he has a successful track record when it comes to TV comedies. Whether he’s actually funny or not is obviously a matter of personal taste. Me, i just hope he has finally learned how to deliver a punchline without shouting it.
This is a pretty lateral move for CBS. He’s not as buzz-worthy as Hugh Grant would have been, nor is he remotely scandal-ridden like Charlie Sheen. He’s famous, but not overbearingly famous; he’s successful, ish, but not so successful or noteworthy he will drastically change the feel of the show. (Hugh Grant is a movie star, and he would have definitely changed the vibe and potentially even made the show slightly interesting. Briefly, anyway.) They’ll lose some fans who just liked Sheen, and they’ll make up for it with some fans who just like Kutcher. The key thing for the network is going to be the audience age: If Kutcher’s presence brings some younger fans, as they undoubtedly hope it will, that could extend the show’s run by a couple of seasons. Once the show premieres, and we discuss the ratings with Kutcher as the lead, hopefully we can all go back to forgetting this show is on television. (Unless you’re one of the many, many people who like it. In which case…enjoy, I guess?)
Here’s the trailer for “No Strings Attached,” the first of two similarly-themed movies coming out next year about friends (Ashton Kutcher and Natalie Portman) who start hooking up but not actually dating or anything. (There’s also “Friends With Benefits,” starring Justin Timberlake and Mila Kunis and due next July.) You can guess the entire story arc without even watching the trailer: They’re friends! They hook up! One or both of them develops feelings! They contemplate ending their friendship and relationship! There is some sort of mix-up involving one of them thinking about seeing someone else! Then they realize they love each other!
Two noteworthy bits: This is from Ivan Reitman, who last crapped out “My Super Ex-Girlfriend” in 2006, and used to direct things like “Ghostbusters.” Also, is that Ludacris in the trailer, as one of Ashton Kutcher’s buddies? It is, isn’t it? Wow. Isn’t it great that he’s the only actor in this thing who starred in a film that won Best Picture?