By Ken Tucker
Updated February 14, 2011 at 12:00 PM EST

Charlie Harper was as excited about going to Paris as Charlie Sheen might be: “They have their own Disney World and they serve wine!” he exulted on this, the last new Two and a Half Men for a while. Monday night’s episode was light on Charlie and heavy on Alan (Jon Cryer), who’s been running a ponzi scheme on those nearest and dearest to him. Like most editions of the series, this half-hour traded on antic silliness. This included Alan’s lengthy session in a confessional with a priest, which included such exchanges as “Are you even Catholic?” “No, but I’m a big fan.”

Two and a Half Men is never going to aim for wit or innovation, but it moves right along, thanks to regular director James Widdoes, and the adept timing of both Sheen and Cryer. No matter what his extracurricular activities are, Sheen can be counted on to deliver even the soggiest line with a bracing dryness, and his deadpan reactions are equal to those of his Emmy-winning colleague on another Chuck Lorre show, Jim Parsons of The Big Bang Theory.

If you believe Sheen, America’s most popular sitcom is going on a “forced hiatus” imposed by the production company in an effort to compel the actor to tidy up his off-camera act. Whatever the reason, Two and a Half Men wrapped up Alan’s ongoing ponzi scheme story line this evening, clearing the way for Sheen’s Charlie to take center-stage on the show whenever production resumes.

Twitter: @kentucker

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