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Anger Management: Both Mad and Disappointed

Anger Management S01E01 & S01E02:
"Charlie Goes Back to Therapy" & "Charlie and the Slumpbuster"

Before we enter our Socratic dialogue on tonight's advancement in television arts that is Charlie Sheen Presents: Anger Management, I'd like to tell everyone a little bit about my rocky past. As a child I showed promise, both in looks and studies. I excelled in my lessons and became favored as a model boy before both of my parents became famous professional clowns and perished in a structural art disaster at Burning Man. From there I fell into the rough and nasty life of a teenage runaway spending my formative years hooking in Circuit City parking lots and ripping off tourists all over the Northwest before joining up with a crew of traveling carnies. We huffed paint, ate garbage for sport, and held dust-covered orgies beneath Ferris wheels from Pomona to Pawtucket. I'll stop there—notice how you don't give a damn about my past?

Whether I'm lying or not is irrelevant: This review is about a subject matter other than myself. It is about a TV show filled with fake characters and constructed environments. We are not meant to consider what goes on behind the scenes. Our role as an audience is to simply enjoy the scene itself, fantasy and all. Yet 99.99 percent of why this program is happening is a very real person's public meltdown at the center of it all: Shawnee Smith. Wait, I mean this guy…

That's right Charlie Goodson. The ex-baseball player turned therapist whose story of career hiccups caused by a tantrum of largess very closely resembles that of the man beneath the mask: You know, that one guy who talked about tiger blood and goddesses or whatever. Are we still supposed to care about that? Kind of.

Tonight's pilot (which aired right after a day's worth of Two and a Half Men episodes) opened with a total dupe-fest of a shot, wherein "Charlie" shouted at the camera head-on about being replaced in between punching something just out of frame. It turned out he was only demonstrating to his therapy group how to express anger, and not in fact offering a window into a dimension wherein the universes of Two and a Half Men and Anger Management intersect. I don't know about you, but at the exact moment of this flawless meta psych-out, I opened the window and heard every viewer in America collectively go "Whaaaa?"

Hey, we all know the tale of Charlie Sheen, and Anger Management expects us to. Why else would FX air a marathon of Sheen's former sitcom leading into the premiere and then start things off a with a torch-passing joke about all the unpleasantness concerning the—well let's just say he was mad about losing his job, and leave it at that? Hey look, baseball!

Kenny Powers much? So the first episode centered around Charlie (Goodson) getting pissed at his ex-wife Jennifer's boyfriend (Shawnee Smith as Jennifer, Brian Austin Green as the boyfriend) for telling his daughter Sam (Daniella Bobadilla) that college isn't all that important. Honestly without seeing any promos for this show but at least knowing it would air on FX, I was surprised to be hit with the basic sitcom setup but oh well maybe it was in Sheen's contract or something to allow for the maximum phoning-in of "it." Anyway Charlie was seriously concerned for his daughter's future, but B-Green was like "Nah, I'm right. College blows!"

I'd agree with this sentiment based on student loan debt alone, except both Jennifer and Charlie seemed to be doing alright in the money department, so sorry B-Green, you are wrong. College is a great way to meet people and connect over issues, like the environment or God. But let's back up a bit. When Charlie is not being a caring father, he runs a therapy group for stereotypes out of his living room, lending his expertise to a gay man, a schlubby hipster, a stuck-up rich girl, and a grizzled Vietnam vet. Also, he's having relations with fellow therapist and friend with benefits Kate (Selma Blair) on the reg, and the two seem to enjoy the freedom said stringless boot-knockin' affords them. I mean look at these two sexin' sexers:

What a swinging dude. So after this epic score sesh, Charlie got the call to go pick up his daughter and nearly flew into a lamp-smashing rage over the continued nerve of B-Green.

For some reason, this scene was played for semi-seriousness. Sam was SHOCKED to see her father behave thusly (maybe he used to beat her mom with lamps?). On any other sitcom this would be dismissed. Hell, I think I've seen people fly down stairs in skis without other characters so much as batting an eye. But not on A.M. This ugly display of violence in the home shook Charlie to the core, so much that he opened up about it at his other therapy group in prison, comprised of some goofs who also likely murdered people.

Through some conveniently surprising wording ("hey I just talked myself into a plot point!"), Charlie came to the realization that he himself was in need of therapy. Let me repeat that: The therapist needs…therapy! WHAAA? Calm down folks. It's just BAFTA-quality writing. After saying "So long, suckers!" to the perps, Charlie headed home to pop some brews and chow down on some tasty pretzies with his best bud and neighbor to seriously discuss the possibility of returning to therapy.

The only foreseeable problem was that Kate was the one therapist he trusted (huh?). So Charlie was faced with the ages-old problem of giving up a sure bang in exchange for the healing his heart so sorely needed. After all, he did almost smash a man's brains in before his daughter's very eyes. In the end there was some thing about therapists not taking advantage of patients, except if those same therapists were patients to each other to create equality. I don't know, but it did end in Selma Blair getting to taste God knows what residual flavors are souring up this dude's mouth (I bet metal and Tapatio hot sauce). SMOOCH!

Luckily when the credits rolled, it was NOT time to head to the garage and take apart car batteries out of boredom, because next up came Episode 2: "Charlie and the Slumpbuster."

Did I mention Brett Butler plays a lady bartender on this show? Remember how she got kicked off Grace Under Fire for some pretty unseemly behavior? But hey, the woman's trying nowadays and that's more than can be said for a lot of us. Still she's on the show because of her history, and I say "good." For my money, A.M. should go for broke and replace every cast member with some kind of famous burnout. Take note, Talking Cigars with Clown Noses Who Write this Show, it is not too late for Lindsay Lohan to guest as Charlie Goodson's illegitimate daughter. Anyway, this second episode opened on a date between Charlie and this P.Y.T. who existed only to show what kind of ditzes he's been into lately (literally).

She was being kind of an airhead and Charlie put up with it because I'm sure he just wanted to play doctor with her (wink wink…gross). But wouldn't you know it, his dear child and her mother showed up and made the exact same expression I made at the coincidence that they would all run into each other at the very same bistro.

So anyway, Charlie felt like a real A-hole that his daughter figured him for a man who just likes to bang idiots, no matter the cost (bistro prices). Then the next day Charlie's home stereopy group welcomed a new soul named Mel (played by Kerri Kenney)

She was down in the dumps after undergoing cosmetic surgery because some baseball player whom she did the deed with broke her heart. Everyone in the group said they could relate to having their hearts broken by someone in which they had placed hope and trust. Then the old-timer made a joke:

Timely! When the group regained its composure from all the crazy laughter that definitely ensued, Mel called out Charlie for being that self-same ball-player. Turns out, back in her hometown of Beloit, Wisconsin, Charlie had used her as a the titular "Slumpbuster," a.k.a. an unattractive woman baseball players purposely sleep with to break a losing streak. This show should be so lucky to get a comedic pro like Kerri Kenney on board. It says a lot that the only line that made me laugh out loud came from Kenney and solely had to do with her delivery (and got the smallest laugh-track response): "Sorry I'm late. I couldn't find the house. And then I found it." Trust me it was funny when she said it.

What made me pretty uncomfortable about this storyline was how every single character agreed on the alleged hideousness of what was really just a silly costumed woman who frowned. Basically it sucks that there's this character whose role it is to make Charlie squirm because of her looks. He's the real dirtbag here. Whoops, just fell off my soapbox. Okay, Charlie had the excellent scheme to cook Mel dinner so she didn't feel so bad about the whole thing. Problem was however, Charlie didn't know how to make spaghetti?

Yeah for serious, this grown man was like, "There are no instructions. It's like door knobs, you're just supposed to know what to do." Then fifteen seconds later he figured out that there were directions on the box. Okay.

Long story short, the dinner turned into a full-on rouse where Mel thought she and Charlie were dating and everyone in his world got a big ol' kick out of it—how funny it was to see him going around with some broken person. Finally things escalated to the point where Mel surprised Charlie, bare-assed in his own kitchen ready to share carnal knowledge.

Then he was like "Pump the brakes, look you really were just another superstitious lay on my part and I am sorry." Then she was okay with that version of the truth, and in the end he was a good dad.

It's easy to focus on what doesn't work about this show, so I'll try and keep that part brief: everything! No just kidding. It's a pretty neat experiment to build the awareness of a gawking public into the DNA of a program. But it seems like this show is part of Sheen's therapy back into celebrity normalcy. The flare-up got us watching, but business as usual is not going to keep us paying attention. Sometimes the jokes almost hover closer to "edgy," but they're quickly snapped back into familiar and safe territory with this weird need to moralize within the story. I say make him 100 percent indulgent; then the fun will come from watching his world collapse around him, laugh track and all. I mean, that's the reason we watched the first time anyway.


QUESTIONS?

– What does Anger Management bring to the table that other shows don't?

– Is this the greatest show on Earth?

– Is this a good show to just check out to?

– Is life worth living if you just want to check out to bad TV?

– Is Charlie Sheen just rusty?

– Is this his swan song?

Comments (63)
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i actually like Anger Management or liked rather, until they decided to add the laugh track to the show. God, now its so irritating i can not handle it. Take the laugh track off please so people can just watch the show and not have to listen to a bunch of on cue laughing throughout the entire show!!! They are ruining this show by adding this, that the reason i couldn't handle watching S#*t my Mother Says was because of the laugh track!!
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I was amazed upon visiting here as the articles are all very informative.

My congratulations to the people behind the success of this website.

You really rock guys! Keep up the good works!



http://happinessdirect.com/
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I saw this episode and I understood that Charlie Sheen is one lousy actor. He got away with just appearing to be a bad actor because he is after all Martin Sheen's son and he looked mediocre as many other actors in 21/2 men.But I am realising now that they made him look good because they were actually decent actors that know how to share.

Now with this cast, we can see him for what he's worth, and it ain't much, the latter word being an overstatement.

I am glad I have seen this as now I can safely say to anyone who might ask why I will not ever watch anything with Charlie Sheen in it.

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I dont get how from his last episode in 2 and a half men, to this, he looks like he's aged about 20 years :/
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indeed. I found that too...
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Not good. That's how there is to it.



Can someone tell the writers/producers/showrunners of this show that they'r on FX and not NBC? You don't need to be PC in cable - go for blood already!
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Dull, dumb and boring and the canned laughs are annoying... That's all I can say.

But, as someone pointed out, people who like sheen will probably like the show.

I don't think it will survive long.



What was that at the beginning? Was he (kind off) talking to Chuck Lorre? or the Network? ;)
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well, i like it. the little video of him losing it on the field was hilarious. breaking his knee while trying to break the bat. i still chuckle. it got potential. they just can't slip into the 'full house mothod' if i can already predict the episode lead in, anti-climax, climax, and finale then we got problems. but this one 'could' have potential.
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My only complaint... is that it's nothing special. Just another sitcom. Nothing special: if you like Sheen you'll probably like the show.



The disappointing thing about that, is FX is usually pretty cool about taking edgy and risky shows. Different, at least from the common network-fair. Instead we have them pimping the exact same kind of recycled sitcom that every broadcast network airs.



I hope they're not pulling a SyFy and going from "let's do shows like THIS" and then become some generic station.
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Who can really watch this show without expectations and be objective about it? I sure can't, the author was trying to but always got drawn back into Charlie Harper / Charlie Sheen scenarios. The show is probably not that awesome as it could be on FX it is not as bad as people are trying to make it. The biggest difference for me is how Sheens is now the lead talker on the show while at 2.5 Men he was reacting and commenting to Alan and Jake most of the times. I never thought Sheen was a great actor but he picked his roles wisely. I am not sure if she should start changing his strategy now, and I believe the show will undergo massive changes once they can react to the first reviews. I will definitely give this season a chance.
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Nice analysis (not). Burn Notice is on season 6 (?) with every ridiculous plot and dialog you can imagine (oh and much, much worse); Prison Break, a hundred other shows. You want to nitpick at a plot, of a comedy show, starring the legend himself. Perhaps you should rethink that, thanks (read: who gave you a job, anyway).
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The best I can say for Anger Management is that it's not the worst thing I've seen.



First, I have NO idea how this is at all related to the movie. Aside from the anger management itself, there is nothing at all even remotely similar.



Also, I hate the laugh track. There were about four times that I could count that the laugh track laughed at something that wasn't a joke or meant to be funny.



Third, there was absolutely nothing original. Charlie seemed to be playing Charlie from Two and a Half Men, with Alan's backstory mixed in (career-man and divorced with kid).



The positives? I actually laughed a few times. Also, aside from Brett Butler, I didn't have much of a problem with the characters -- yes, I was even able to tolerate BAG. But I hated Brett Butler.



Anyway, I don't think I'll watch any more episodes.
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What's with the annoying laugh tracks ?? Reminded me of the bad sitcoms from the late 80s and early 90s. It seems every second sentence made "audience laugh" - it obviously wasn't from or couldn't be from real studio audience, because no sane person would find it that funny. I was looking forward to it but found myself checking the time halfway through the first episode as I couldn't wait for it to end.
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Well they are bringing the "canned laughs" back on bad sitcoms of the 2000s...
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this show has already gotten a green lught for season 2



oh my...



When I was watching I was actually glad the second episode ended, so I could go to sleep. Actually, the realization that I would go to sleep gave me a bigger smile than any of the jokes in the first two episodes.
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I figured the reports were exaggerated until I was able to see for myself just how bad the new show is. I was not a big fan of 2-1/2 men but at least it had it's laughs.



I really hope people aren't dumb enough to keep watching this crap, I don't want to see this renewed for 90 more episodes.
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though I love Charlie Sheen, this is not a one man show, and the supporting actors/actress are either not funny, or may be the writing was not up to their talent. From what I have seen in the first two episodes, this show has no future unless something dramatically changed. In Two and half men every character had its momentum, and the jokes came out naturally unlike in anger management, where they force the joke on you. though it is not really a funny one.
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your use of words like "sesh" and "pretzies" annoys me. i quit reading when i realized it wasn't a one time thing.
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It wasn't as funny as Two and a Half Men when Charlie was on, but long-term, Anger Management has more potential than Two and a Half Men. The Two and a Half Men characters have been ruined. They've reduced Alan to a gold digging idiot. What I liked the most about Anger Management is the relationships between the characters. Everyone seems to just get along and no one's stupid. The comedy comes from the situations, kinda like Seinfeld. I'm not throwing the towel on this show yet.
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Very perceptive comment. 2.5 was funny out of the gate and all 2.5 of them earned their money for 5 seasons and then it started downhill as most series do after a while. Actually Charlie got out while the gettin' was good and after Alan got his emmy the writers ruined the rest of it. Ashton Kutcher did okay but couldn't replace Charlie and the show became an also ran quickly. Conchata Ferrel always hit the mark smokin' as well as devil mom Holland Taylor and I even thought Judith was always fun especially with Ryan Stiles. The decline after Charlie left only proved how important to the show he was.
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I think that it was a little slow but has promise. It's going to have to grow on me like Two and 1/2 Men did. A lot of people commenting on the show are Charlie Sheen haters, so it's no surprise that they didn't like it.
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Shocking Charlie Sheen plays yet another dude named Charlie. What, is this guy so messed up in the head that he can't even remember his characters' names unless they're the same as his?
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Boy someone's a little nitpicky, aren't they?
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I thought it surprisingly tame and to be a fairly standard sitcom. I was expecting something more daring, to say the least. I've seen worse shows. Honestly, I think he should have stayed with Two and a Half Men, as it seems like Charlie just moved away and changed careers. I think they could have cast Bobadilla, the daughter, as his daughter on "Men" from one of his many past relationships. That might have freshened things up there. I do not see him wanting to stay long in this.
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To answer your questions.

-What does Anger Management bring to the table that other shows don't? Charlie Sheen

-Is this the greatest show on Earth? No and...(what's your point? You only watch one show)

-Is this a good show to just check out to? Depends on your personnality

-Is life worth living if you just want to check out to bad TV? Negative much. It's a matter of taste. If I don't like it, I don't watch it. (Life's already better)

-Is Charlie Sheen just rusty? No he's just Charlie Sheen.

You either like Charlie Sheen or you don't. Nobody is forcing you to watch it. You have most likely over 100 channels, that's what they're there for.
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Right on the money...
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To be fair, her job kind of forces her to watch it.

And I thought it was shitty, so off to the other 100 channels for me...
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Didn't even know this was on.
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Then what are you doing here?
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It was like watching a Wal-Mart commercial . . . with the funny parts deleted.
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Not on the money at all...
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I thought the laugh track really enjoyed it. For me, it was watching grass grow.
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Clever but also wrong...
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I wasn't particularly bothered by this being yet another very mediocre sitcom churned out by Hollywood. The major networks are littered with them. What bothered me the most was that it was a very mediocre sitcom AIRING ON FX.



This network was pretty much always good at making generally excellent dramas and that excellence continues to this day. However, they took a lot longer to find their strength in the comedy department. Happily, this finally changed with the likes of greatness such as Sunny, Louie and Archer. Sadly, Unsupervised was a recent dud and Anger Management is even worse. These later entries don't bode well for the network that (IMO) is the single greatest maker of high quality original fare in the non-pay-channel world. (AMC, despite a few very strong entries, is still way too hit-and-miss to be considered in FX's league.)



This show was simply nowhere close to the standards of excellence that I've come to expect from FX and I was sorely disappointed with it.

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Brilliant! Loved it! Winning!
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Staff
I LOVE THIS. This review made me laugh more than Sheen has since his HotShot days.
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This was an epic snoozefest. Nothing original, new, or daring. Nothing particularly funny. Charlie Sheen being himself, basically. Wow! Will someone come pay me to be myself? Why do people watch this crap and continue to endorse him?
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Because he IS funny...
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Watched it and enjoyed it. Your questions are irrelevant.

Was it entertaining? YES.

Was it funny? YES.

What more do you want from a comedy?

Do you wish that you were Charlie Sheen? Clearly YES, Jealousy makes you nasty.

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Oh SNAP and also on the dime, good one...
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I watched the pilot and that was it. No more of this for me. What Two and a Half Men has going for it is slightly sharper writing (LOL) and better characters (Alan, mostly). Anger Management has no funny people.
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It was good to see Brett Butler again no matter what and 2.5 is in the toilet now and Alan isn't funny without Charlie. He's clearly not in Conchata and Holland's league or his writers aren't...
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What does Anger Management bring to the table that other shows don't?

It doesn't bring anything but more of the boring same



Is this the greatest show on Earth?

No, the greatest show on Earth is still Game of Thrones



Is this a good show to just check out to?

No, not even an OK show to have as background noise



Is life worth living if you just want to check out to bad TV?

...dunno..



Is Charlie Sheen just rusty?

Nope, Charlie Sheen being Charlie Sheen was what Two and Half Men was



Is this his swan song?

Maybe, he is Charlie Sheen, the man has 300 more chances before he hits rock bottom
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this is a informative article, Thanks for it
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this show is garbage...
1
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I hate charlie sheen, I have no intention of watching another show of him (as I never really liked two and a half men either) and I like reading anything he is bashed.. that said, still this is a poorly written piece.. too many and irrelevant questions, too much rephrasing what has been already seen by the audience with too many pics that interrupt the flow of the text and too little actual analysis/ comment.. I slightly understand trying/following the safe and already appreciated formats of Price's or Tim's for the beginning, but then still, it should be a humble one, with a calmer tone..
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I agree with you on the first part of your comment (The Charlie Sheen part); as for the review, well, how can you review something which is so bad that is "unreviewable"??
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1. Charlie sheen 2. Not by a long shot 3. It's fine better than the one you're riding 4. Life is always worth living 5. Sheen was fine the show wasn't perfect but it WAS funny. 6. Is it yours
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I'm just disappointed that its a sitcom. That style is so dated now, I'd really like to see Charlie Sheen do some single cam work, that way it'd at least be a bit more realistic and fit in easier with the FX comedy lineup.
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the writi ng is not terrible, just mediocre semi-predictable ... but not brand crap.



Sheen was good. he seemed to be tweaking or on something in a few scenes, but it was all good.



the only acting and stereotyping that i really really no really hated, was the prisoners. all of them. the hick, the hispanic, the gay blacks... please. terrible writing and acting there.



but the show was ok. i'm not even a sheen or 2 1/2 men fan, but i wanted to sheen on his tv comeback.... and i say it was just fine



if this show builds or finds itself, it could get that guaranteed 90 more episodes.... but right now, its just basic burger, bun and meat, no premium ingredients, onion rings, no drink or sides.
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