Image Credit: Greg Gayne/CBS; PacificCoastNews.comCharlie Sheen is well aware of how much Two and a Half Men fans have always loved his performance as playboy Charlie Harper, which has earned him four Emmy nominations. Personally, I haven’t watched first-run episodes in a couple of seasons, but as recently as a few weeks ago, I found myself watching a repeat in syndication and laughing out loud. Yes, Sheen’s problems were in the news, but to me, he was still Charlie Harper — the lovable cad. It wasn’t until his most recent rants that I started hearing Charlie Sheen‘s voice instead of Charlie Harper’s; the actor and the character have finally become separate.
Sheen has said he’ll show up at work next week, even though production on TV’s most popular sitcom has been halted for the remainder of the season. I think in his mind, he’s doing it for the fans, the people he believes are on his side — the people he knows he can’t afford to lose if he’s going to give CBS or any network a reason to gamble on him. But do fans of Two and a Half Men really want him to show up for work when he’s this angry and sharp-tongued? What’s being played out publicly isn’t lovable. Right now, Charlie Sheen’s all-too-real life is dominating Charlie Harper’s fictional one. And we’re not laughing.
I’m with EW’s Ken Tucker, who suggests “rather than reduce him to this week’s joke or demon, a decent alternative might be to try looking at him as someone who requires some compassion.” I’m not suggesting Two and a Half Men fans are deserting Sheen. No, instead, we’d prefer he’d step away and take care of whatever he needs to before rushing back to set. It’s a shame for fans to lose a beloved series, for however long, but the Two and a Half Men they knew — in first run — is already gone. New episodes won’t be anywhere as enjoyable until we can look at Charlie Sheen again and see Charlie Harper.
At least that’s how I see it. What about you?