In defence of Two and a Half Men

It seems even in America there are 'TV snobs" just don't get Two and a Half Men. Are they really the new Oscar and Felix?

25mIt seems even in America there are those who just don’t get Two and a Half Men. Despite the fact it is the country’s #1 comedy, it is frowned upon by many critics and “TV snobs.”

In Australia it’s not much different. The show continues to pull a surprisingly big audience, despite Nine’s best attempts to run it into the ground. Yet it’s hard to find much love for it amongst reviewers (I’d certainly fall into that grouping too).

Save for Chuck Lorre’s output, the traditional 3-cam live-audience show is bit of a rarity these days, and as a result those laughs do seem very forced when compared to single-cam no-audience comedies. The era of traditional sitcom seemed to wane with the passing of the greats like Seinfeld, Frasier, Friends, Will & Grace, Mad About You, Everybody Loves Raymond et al. No doubt it will return.

How can it ever compete, artistically, to  Weeds, United States of Tara and the dark Nurse Jackie? Presumably it isn’t trying to. 30 Rock consistently beats it in awards too.

Yet it’s Charlie Sheen who has the numbers, and the pay packet, to write home about.

One US journo is keen to point out that Two and a Half Men is perhaps a modern-day Odd Couple. Indeed, both shows began from the premise of one male moving in with another when their marriage broke up (in 2.5 Men they seem to have forgotten it was due to Alan Harper’s wife beginning a same-sex relationship).

At msnbc, Susan C. Young highlights 6 episodes that “TV snobs” might re-consider that are, she believes, amongst Two and a Half Men‘s finest half-hours.

They include:

– Megan Fox, then just sexy and 17, as Berta’s granddaughter Prudence in the first-season gem dubbed “Camel Filters + Pheromones.”
– “Old Flame with a New Wick,” Charlie discovers that his old girlfriend Jill, who dumped him years ago, is now dating his mother.
– Fifth-season episode “The Soil is Moist” dances a careful ballet of not-so-subtle double entendre. In an extended exchange, in which Herb thinks he’s talking to Charlie about the joy of gardening, Charlie is clearly talking about plowing a different kind of field.
– In a fifth-season episode called “Media Room/Dungeon,” Charlie does everything he can to get out of escorting Evelyn to a charity event. But in a moment that jettisons every previous mommy dearest remark over the years, Charlie discovers he actually doesn’t mind it.
– In the second-season episode dubbed “Can You Eat Human Flesh with Wooden Teeth?”, Judith hands over the parenting reins to Charlie and Alan for a week. But Alan’s got an IRS audit and Charlie, well, we know what Charlie’s got on his personal agenda. Neither are quite ready to be primetime parents.
– Third-season episode “Always a Bridesmaid, Never a Burro” embodies the essence of the series, serving up banter and slapstick in equal portions. The show is packed with the kind of humor fans adore, including Charlie talking about the time he convinced Alan that it was Almond Roca in the kitty litter box.

Over to you. Are these amongst Two and a Half Men‘s best?

Or is it just more penis innuendo at 7:00?

Source: msnbc

59 Responses

  1. Although I much prefer British sitcoms or The Big Bang Theory, I admit that Two And A Half Men isn’t really that bad. While it’s hardly ever my first choice in a timeslot, I enjoy it whenever I am free of any other television arrangements and find it quite witty. Most of the whinging does come from Seven bigots, and it’s not like Nine put it on any more than Ten do with The Simpsons or to a greater extent Seinfeld on Go!, so it’s rather unfair that Nine gets more of a bashing.

  2. It’s kind of like movies

    mainstream movies critics hate, whilst arty farty movies are praised upon. And its the mainstream movies that get the big bucks and all the love.

    Shows like 2.5 men are designed to provide entertainment to a wider audience. It’s business. Shows that are in it for only meaningless awards and critical praises are long forgotten, cut short and dumped to a crappy time slot.

    Your jealous rage won’t stop people watching this show. If you had to spend millions of dollars on making a TV show, would you go mainstream in a return for you money and much love, or go down the artsy road for your ego pleasure and the lost of your money?

    2.5 men will go down in history as a funny successful sitcom of the 2000’s.

  3. Unlike most US sitcoms it doesn’t rely on people screaming to make it sound any more funny that it is.

    Not on par with Seinfeld by a long way but still enjoyable. People must be judging Charlie Sheen more than the script.

  4. I don’t mind the show but please Channel Nine Australia go back to the drawing board and find us something Fresh and New for your weeknight 7pm Timeslot.
    How hard can I be to make a 21st Century Price is Right or Sale of the Century/Temptation with New Hosts or find some Comedies that are not Modern Takes On Your Odd Couple,Different Strokes or My Two Dads amongst other things Nine used to show going back to the Kerry Packer when he was alive days.

  5. Loathe Two and a Half Men (even if they did have a guest appearance from Lucy Lawless), but love Big Bang Theory also from Chuck Lorre.

    As long as Nine continue to show Big Bang Theory on Nine/Go, I don’t really care if they screen 2.5 Men over and over and over and over and over and over again.

  6. I’ve tried to watch and like it – on the ‘a bezillion people watch and love it and they can’t all be wrong, can they?’ analysis – but it’s just not for me: slow, predictable, not very funny and – and this is something I hardly ever think – sexist verging on unpleasant in its attitude to women (plastic sex objects bent over various b bits of furniture in the house in ill-advised positions; taken advantage of by Charlie when they’re drunk, because they’re crazy, horny sluts, etc.)

    Best will in the world, I actively, thoroughly do Not enjoy it.

  7. The show is hit and miss funny. You can have a couple of dull epsidoes, then a really funny one. I dont watch repeats of it, it is not like Friends, Will and Grace, and Seinfeld where I can watch every episode 20 times or more.

  8. While the show is undoubtedly crass at times, it does as pointed out have a throwback to the classic “3 cameras and a live audience” sitcom.

    It’s comfort food as a sitcom and not trying to be anything more than that, ergo its appeal.

    Nothing wrong with going to TV’s equivalent of the late night kebab.

  9. It’s so popular for one single reason ..it’s bloody funny! It’s also a smartly written and witty show that is well acted by the very talented ensemble cast. Remember Cryer won an emmy. There is a history of extremely popular shows derided by the critics and 2.5 Men is just one in a long line. Another eg is Friends.

    And as can be seen by the ratings the people prefer the classic multi camera/live audience sitcoms and this format will continue to outrate the single cam ones and rightly so as most of them raise as many laughs as an ep of RPA.

    And lastly much of the reaction to 2.5 Men here can be put down to Seven fan boys who hate it because it’s on Nine.

  10. Are all 2.5 Men fans, Seinfeld fans like Paul??? Cos i don’t find either of them funny. Sure it rates well, but that’s 1.3 million that love it, i hope that means there’s 20 million that hate it. And there’s a reason it doesn’t get nominated for Best Comdey Series Emmy’s. Jon Cryer won, but you can be a good comedic actor while being in a crap show. Eddie Murphy is a great comedian but his movies are woeful.

    2.5 Men = crap

  11. Oh I forgot to add that even though those episodes listed may be good (I wouldn’t be able to say as I don’t watch the show anymore) for there to be only 5 or 6 “great” episodes out of 150 odd episodes that have been produced is quite a poor effort 😛

    And also here is to hoping Nine actually start using the success of Men to launch some other sitcoms that they have in their closet rather than depending on airing Men in every slot they have.

  12. I am not at all a fan of the show. I’m not that much of a TV snob whilst I do watch a huge collection of critically acclaimed shows i.e. Curb, Weeds, Nurse Jackie, Dexter, Flight of The Conchords, Entourage, Breaking Bad amongst my favourite programs I also like a fair bit of guilty pleasures including Greys Anatomy, Desperate Housewives, Private Practice, How I met your mother, New Adventures of Old Christine and I’ve even really gotten into Chuck Lorre’s other sitcom Big Bang after initially snobbing it for 2 seasons due to the fact it was created by the same guy as Two and a Half Men; but its actually really funny.

    Something about Men that really just iritates me

  13. I’m not a fan of sitcom “classics” like Friends and Seinfeld but unlike Two and A Half Men they are actually funny. I’ve seen all those episodes in that list and they are perhaps the best of a very ordinary series. I honestly dont understand what is funny about it. Especially on multiple viewings.

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