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. It is a great show providing you have not seen the episodes a million times over to Death but having said that Nine are butchering the show to death.This was originally supposed to seen as filler for the summer while Temptation was off the air but now it is their 7pm offering.

    What would Kerry Packers thought from beyond the grave be about that?

  2. It astounds me how many people don’t think this show is funny. I think it is quite hilarious. It has well rounded and relatable characters. I laugh at almost every joke no matter how many times I’ve seen it. I particularly love the third season when Alan is going out with the girl in her early 20s. The favorite episode being where Charlie hooks up with her mother and Alan’s ex hooks up with her father.
    I think it is, and will be a classic , in the way that other sitcoms that never won awards were. Like Happy Days, Laverne & Shirley, The Brady Buch, Gilligans Island. Also as far as the “artistic” shows, I’d rather watch 2.5 men than watch the edgier cable shows the critics like. My life is edgie enough. Is Tara even a comedy?

  3. One of the worst shows on TV now and absurdly it’s successful. As Mac put it, agonizingly unfunny.

    I suspect this show is actual funded by the pentagon and used in the torture of suspected terrorists at Guantanamo Bay.

    A show entirely reliant on a laugh track and idiots.

  4. @Craig – I very much doubt there would be much left of Curb Your Enthusiasm if they screened it in the same timeslot. Crass and misogynistic 2.5 Men may be, but at least the characters don’t swear :o)

  5. The only reason why so many people watch it is because its on a million times a week because it’s very cost effective for channel 9. It only costs them 7 thousand an epidode to air, before when Temptation was in its spot, that cost 40 thousand dollars, understand the reason?? This show is just so pathetic not even getting hooked on marijuana would make me want to laugh at this (btw i don’t smoke weed). Last tuesday I was waiting for Curb Your Enthusiasm to come on and I decided just watch the 2.5 men episode before it. I was very relaxed this time I seriously wanted to laugh out loud at something, I didn’t but I tried, it was full of cliche dry jokes and every word that came out of charlie sheen and the fat kids mouth had absolutely no direct or indirect meaning and did not contribute anything spectacular towards the situation they were in, It bored me s**t. Then Curb came on and within 5 minutes Jerry seinfeld and larry were sitting in there office and a lady with a short top and a fat stomach came in and they made aware of that discussing how to tell her how ugly and offence the look was on her yada yada and I went balistic with laughter and the jokes were colourful and plentyful, there was progression and the scenerios added up very well towards the end which was brilliant, if anybody saw it last week it was real laugh out lout Comedy. Coming back to 2.5 Men, Curb your enthusiasm is the only hlaf hour comedy show that doesn’t use a script so you can see how naturally funny they are, unlike 2.5 men with a script with s*t jokes and s**t actors well maybe it will be on 2 million times a week instead of 1 million, thats how dumb and dry alot of people are.

  6. @Mac, the line “Ooooh men” was not recorded by a ten year old boy, but it is the of a female voice. Cant people just ignore it, I mean honestly if you dont like the show then dont comment on it. I would rather watch this, then a show about saving money, saving people lives, finding a farmer a wife and changing ladette to lady.

  7. I used to hate it too. Then I was sick and watched a marathon. Now I kinda love it. It’s possibly the most subversive US network show since the 70s. Does it peddle smut jokes? Sure, but they’re often smarter smut jokes than you’d find in comparable sitcoms (of days gone by).

    I’ve come full circle in my opinion on three camera sitcoms too, I think they certainly have their place and it might be time for a comeback.

    Aside from the fact that Weeds and United States Of Tara aren’t even the same genre (I certainly have never laughed in either, even if I appreciate them as shows), they are niche premium cable shows and not designed for mass consumption.

  8. I watch the new eps but that’s it, unless there is nothing else on. Maybe Nine would be wise to rest the show come December and try out something new in the time slot, or maybe Curb Your Enthusiasm from the start?

  9. If you have intelligence there is nothing remotely funny about 2.5 men. I mean even when Friends made penis jokes, they were at least funny and smart. 2.5 is just stupid and caters to a broad audience of lazy couch potatoes.

    And please don’t accuse me of being a 7 fanboy, I am not. I can barely stand HIMYM. Which people think because it’s “cute, it is good. Oh please. The days of funny live audience sitcoms has come to an end.

  10. Comedy is always deeply personable. I just didn’t get Monty Python most of the time, yet it has a huge cult following. Is it bad comedy – no just not my sort of comedy. I rarely watch 2.5 men, but each time I do I get a few smiles and laughs from it. Horses for courses.

    Having said that, I do think there is a certain elitist element in a lot of these TV blogs. I am always amazed at the lengths that haters go to express their opinion about a show that they consider low brow. Ignore it and let people enjoy what they want. We are all different.

  11. i don’t think i am a tv snob, i don’t mind the occasional low brow show, beauty and the geek is one of my fav shows at the moment.

    but 2.5men is the lowest most unintelligent form of comedy. and it is not even funny if there is nothing else on our family watches it and there is not one laugh for the whole 30 mins and there are so many eye rolling moments.

    the fact that it is so popular is a bad reflection on our society.

  12. I have tried many times but I just don’t like it. I’m not a tv snob – I watch a lot of what I term “good crap” – love The Simpsons, Greys, Despos – as well as some of the more critically acclaimed – Tara, Big Love, a lot of HBO stuff. I’ve tried several times to watch and enjoy this show, but just don’t get why so many people love it. I’m a sitcom fan, and thinking of some of the greats like Friends and Will and Grace, TAAHM just can’t compare – I barely get a laugh out of a first viewing, but after watching my favourite Friends or Will and Grace episodes for the 40th times I’m still in hysterics. Thinking of some of the ‘great moments’ of Friends for example, makes me realise that I’d call about 10 eps of every season “Great” with the rest being “really good”.

  13. It’s like people who say they don’t watch much television but seem to know everything that’s going on in a wide range of shows. People don’t admit they watch it but know enough to be offended so they must wach it. I find the show funny. The joke is on the brothers for being so out of touch in their views. If you don’t like it don’t watch it but don’t in any way think you are superior to the rest of us who just want to kick back and laugh at the ridiculous antics of the foolish brothers. It’s a sitcom not a documentary.

  14. Agreed, that those who don’t enjoy don’t seem to get it. There is some subtle humor in this show (that reminds me a little of Arrested Development), it’s the people who just pick up the punchlines and think ‘oh, a penis joke, that’s fresh’ and write off the show. Although Nine have abused the show to no end, I still don’t mind watching a 15th time repeat episode when nothing else is on. I think if Nine moved the ‘daily’ repeats to GO! and just had the 7.30 new (or relatively new) episodes once or twice a week, it would work better for the network. But who knows what the people at Nine would pick for a 7pm replacement. (Was there talk about something codenamed ‘not the 7pm project’ with Eddy?). Probably an awful american reality show…

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