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. Wow I just read Catherine Deveny, she really needs to get rid of this feminist point of view and wake up. Has she ever watched Sex and the City or Desperate Housewives. Oh no because it has women as the characters, she doesnt see fit to attack it., the chacters in both those shows are just like Charlie and Alan.

  2. I always enjoy these threads… The irony is exquisite. People herding around their standard, being so pretentious and lofty, denouncing what they see as low-brow entertainment, then, in the same breath, citing reality tv or soap operas (which includes the current spate of us cop shows) as a shining example of what the proletariat should watch. It’s truly priceless, keep it up, it’s more amusing than anything on the box.

  3. To me it just seems forced and easy. I have barely watched it though. A little bit too obvious in the jokes and the approach to saying punchlines and pausing for laughs bugs me. Great audience sitcoms only ever have really had a pause when it’s really funny. The spontaneous pauses. Not structured as someone says a line, setting up the next person who says a the punch line and everyone pause for laugh.

    One thing that may make me re-consider, I used to lump How I Met Your Mother into the same category as this for lame us sitcoms. However after having little else to watch on a plane last year, it’s now one of my favourites. Although that’s partly because of the characters coming from an identifiable place, 2.5m doesn’t seem to have that. So I would not say I could honestly truly rule it out as being terrible, I have just seen little to make me sit down to watch whole episodes. Always something I am generally a fan of comedies that are the snob ones. Love curb, it’s always sunny ect.

    FYI Funniest show on tv is, “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia”

  4. Catherine Deveny ‘s article is completely miopic. Yes, the female characters are caricatures – so are the men!
    The story is seemingly written from the viewpoint that while the women on Two And A Half Men are all two dimensional bimbos, somehow the men are well-rounded, if immoral, role models. That is ridiculous. All of the characters on this show are vile, that’s exactly the joke.

Leave a Reply