It’s very rare that a comedy – or any kind of show for that matter – will last twelve years. Two and a Half Men did just that. Now, some may say it was five years too long. Others might estimate that number is closer to an even dozen.
The series ended with only one of the original “Men” still in the cast after years of drug-fueled rants, social media feuds, and just plain weird behaviour that often over-shadowed the show itself. And in that finale, producer Chuck Lorre addressed everything that had happened and was said both on- and off-set. It was a masterpiece of a finale.
I wasn’t a fan of Men’s irreverent, crude and generally offensive humour. But I had to applaud the show’s “What are they going to do? Fire me?” mentality in its final hour.
The entire episode revolved around the idea that Charlie Harper did not die in an accident with a train in Paris as originally claimed by his psychopathic stalker-wife. Instead, she had held him captive in her basement for four years until he escaped to exact revenge on his brother for continuing on in his absence – a not-so-subtle “take that” at Charlie Sheen’s public comments that the show couldn’t continue without him.
So the majority of the jokes were aimed at Charlie Harper-Sheen, constantly alternating between the character and the actor. They mocked his feud with Lorre, his video rants, his drug and alcohol use, and his sexual proclivities.
As was the case for most of the show’s twelve seasons, most of the jokes were cheap and off-colour. The writers and the actors knew it. It was as though everyone figured there was just no point in pretending to be polite anymore.
And it seemed that just about everyone wanted to be in on the final farewell/Charlie Sheen hack job. The psycho-stalker-wife dropped by. Charlie’s illegitimate lesbian hyper-sexual daughter had something to say. A handful of Harper’s exes appeared. Even Christian Slater and Arnold Schwarzenegger had scenes to discuss the strange and ridiculous storyline of the show.
Most shocking was that somehow even Angus T. Jones – who played the little “Half” man for over ten years before publicly disparaging its writers and his part in the destruction of family values on television – deigned to appear on-set to once again disparage the show. Of course, this time, it was scripted with pointed looks at the camera by everyone.
Like Men had been throughout its run, the show was ridiculous and tacky. No stone was left unturned, no topic off limits. It was a no-holds-barred, take no prisoners, burn it down to the ground series finale that purged twelve years of pent-up poison from our system.
But Lorre wasn’t just being petty. The piece de resistance involved dropping a piano on Charlie Harper at the very end. Followed by one for Lorre himself. In the end, putting himself on equal footing with Sheen.
And giving him the final word on the matter.