Charlie Sheen—already boring?

The Sheen media blitz is over, the network is in lockdown, and the “Winning” catchphrase seems to have come and gone


This is probably just a case of me extrapolating my own reactions to the world at large, but does it seem like the Charlie Sheen story has fizzled out already? TMZ seems to be reaching for stories sometimes, including this completely irrelevant (but hilariously URL’d) story. They do have stories about him and his kids and exes, but a lot of that is just conventional run-of-the-mill celebrity custody stuff. The Sheen media blitz is over, the network is in lockdown and not showing its hand on what it plans to do, and the whole “Winning” catchphrase seems to have come and gone in about two days.

If the story has burned out, it sort of makes sense. Sheen may think he’s famous and beloved because people love him, specifically. That’s what he means when he says he’s “Winning.” But of course he was only “Winning” because he had a huge hit TV show, and though the person he plays on TV is very close to his real life persona, the fact remains that millions of people loved that fictional guy on TV, not the real guy. Now that he’s (at least temporarily) without a show, he may be more interesting to the people who didn’t watch his show, but he may also become less interesting to the millions who love his show.

It would be an interesting and appropriate ending to the story if the realization dawns on him, slowly, that there is a difference between fiction and reality and that the popularity of Two and a Half Men can’t just be carried over into the real world — and that without his show, he’s diminished. The impression I got was that he felt free to risk blowing up the show because he thought he didn’t need it; but of course he does need it as much as it needs him. And the story of the guy who thinks he’s bigger than his show is an old, old one. I wonder if he’ll start to try and grovel a bit to get his show back, if only as it starts to dawn on him that Charlie Harper is more popular than Charlie Sheen, and that “Winning” depends on having a hit show.

It would be quite something if he tried to get back on the show and they decided to go on without him, which is the scenario I’d most like to see for a number of reasons. All of that probably won’t be decided until the fall schedules are announced in May, though. But speaking of replacements, here’s a flashback to the moment that made Sheen a TV star in the first place (rather than a washed-up movie star), his replacement of Michael J. Fox on Spin City. The show did well enough with him to last two seasons instead of the one that the network was originally expecting. This despite the fact that the show had lost not only Fox, but creator/showrunner Bill Lawrence and several key actors, including Alexander Chaplin and Connie Britton, who didn’t come along when the show relocated from New York to Los Angeles.

This is why I think the network could find a reasonably well-known actor to take over for Sheen if they really wanted to. The risks for an actor are high, since he’ll be blamed if the show tanks without Sheen; but if the show continues to do well, it could springboard him to his own star vehicle, exactly the way Spin City got Sheen his own show.


Finally, for another Sheen perspective (Sheen-spective?) see this post by Justin Fowler, who talks about the effect the Sheen implosion might have on the popularity of the show. Because it consists entirely of horribly people doing bad things, its popularity depends on the audience understanding it as an escapist fantasy. If people start to think that Sheen is not in fact having fun, that might carry over to the way they view the show and encourage a reading of it as a dark, depressing, despairing kind of thing.

If you think about it, Sheen has been pretty careful not to deliberately hurt his show’s overall brand, no matter how crazy he acts. He always insists that he is living a happy, consequence-free life and that the rest of us are jealous of him. That is an exact description of the appeal of Charlie Harper: he is the closest thing to a happy person on his show because he ignores the pointless moral rules that hold back lesser mortals like his brother. I don’t think Sheen has confused himself with his character; I think he and his character both try to exemplfy the idea that amoral people have more fun. The problem for Sheen is that people may no longer believe that he’s having fun. For years, that was the thing we knew about him — that he was a horrible person but enjoyed it. Now that he has no show, we may not be as willing to agree that he has a great life. And that could eventually filter into the way people look at his show: it’s a lot easier to envy Charlie Sheen the TV star than Charlie Sheen the former TV star.

Filed under:

Charlie Sheen—already boring?

  1. While most women are quick to get the daggers out on Charlie, most men are collectively thinking "lucky lucky guy". Of course none of us will ever admit that to our closed minded partners and risk punishment to our dull lives.

  2. Just like Lohan, Speers Sheen is a complete waste of skin who unfortulately breathes the same air as all of us and pollutes the planet with all of their "what about my needs" BS.
    Enough allready! On to the next timewaster!

  3. My bet is on Sheen coming back. He is exhibiting all the classic signs of Bipolar I. Oprah will want him on just like she did Patty Duke. In fact Sheen should be reading her books, "Call Me Anna" and "A Brilliant Madness"

  4. If Charlie was a Rock n' Roll Legend, all would be just fine and dandy…go on a bender,,,dry out for awhile, bender , dry out, bender, find God , bender, go on tour,,,and so on, and so on…but if your an Actor it's over, take the kids , freeze their assests, do an intervention, call Dr's Drew and Phil…all else fails ''Oprah'' she will fix things….Stay tuned folks Charlie will be right back !…Just my opinion….

  5. Who really cares….just a thought. Millions of dollars earned being a waste of space.

  6. "fact remains that millions of people loved that fictional guy on TV, not the real guy"

    Opposite for me. I hate the TV show and take every chance I get to rant about how bad it is. Seriously, it's just terrible. The real guy? Unbelievable. Not since Mike Tyson's face tattoo have we seen a celebrity reach this level of crazy*. The thought that he's actually passing drug tests and coming up with phrases like "Can't is the Cancer of Happen" and having fire breathing fists is simply astounding. I applaud you, Charlie Sheen, I really do.

    *Despite a good run by Sheen, Tyson still wins on all around craziness. Did you know he races pigeons? Also, for the record, he has a face tattoo, partially bit a man's ear off, shouted that he wanted to eat someone's children, and wanted to beat someone 'into Bolivian'. Oh, also, he spent a few years in jail for rape. You know you're pretty messed up when the fact that you're a convicted of rape doesn't make the top 5 moments of your crazy life.

    • Well, like I said, the people who would never have watched the show in a million years are going to enjoy Sheen in real life a lot more than Sheen on the show. (It's never been a terrible show, and — before According to Jim left its role as #1 critical punching bag — wasn't that poorly-regarded, getting Emmy nominations for Best Comedy. But it's never been anything like a great show either; it was just the top of a poor crop.) But I do assume that most of its multi-million regular viewers don't think of themselves as following the adventures of a barely coherent crazy person.

      The odd thing about the show's success is that like Seinfeld, it's made millions of people fall in love with characters the creators and actors clearly consider horrible — and like Seinfeld, there could be a backlash if viewers get the idea that they're wrong to love the characters (even if they are).

      • I can't believe that you are comparing Sheen's show with Seinfeld. Seinfeld had likable characters and great writing… two major differences!

  7. Yup, cuz we all know the ending to this soap opera.

    • I don't. Tell us, OriginalEmily1. How is this story of a man who has been passing his latest drug tests going to end?

      • Dead in a hotel room somewhere.

        His 'drug tests' are as genuine as the ones on Michael Jackson or Elvis were. You can buy anything in Hollywood.

        All his pronouncements are just the coke talking.

        • Thanks for clearing this stuff up for us. Glad you know all about Hollywood drug tests. Thanks, and have a good weekend.

          • Well, if you don't, you're not very old. LOL

            Have a good one too.

      • Of course, the best false drug test result money can buy.

  8. Sheen is a lousy actor and now he is a has-been. He's an addicted person, who thinks way too highly of himself.
    This so-called actor will fizzle soon, when peope realize that a life of drugs, booze, porn and Charlie is anything but admirable or healthy.
    What type of people actually look up to him or his lifestyle? Not many mature, responsible adults do.
    There are plenty of shows that have some intelligence to them. This is not one of them.
    It's about an older, over-bloated, drug and booze addicted pervert living the dream life of an adolescent.
    I give him one thing though, he has MONEY.
    Other than that, there is not much going for him.

    • @ Kay….Two and a Half Men is the most watched Comedy in Prime Time…Averageing 15.2 million Viewers per episode, so obviously Charlie must be doing something right..even my Staunchy, uptight, Mother-inlaw (sorry Mom ) adores Charlie…She say's he is sooo ''naughty ''…but a lot of fun……!

      • Really – does your fun loving MIL knows he abuses the woman's he's emotionally attached to? He's a 50 year old with 5 children, who's abused himself into insanity. He is now being exploited for his entertainment value.
        It's a really sad situation for everyone involved. When it's over , I predict there will be a lot of remorse. I hope to God he doesn't impregnate one of the 'Goddesses' during this craziness.

        • @Jan.. I was commenting on the ''Charlie'' character of Two and a Half men…not the real Charlie Sheen…His Character is funny,,,the real life Charlie…not so much .

        • Because no woman scorned has ever lied —ever. Right, Jan?

          Charlie Sheen has many flaws, and I don't even watch his show, but I won't throw a guy under the bus because of things his ex-wife and a bunch of drug-addled hookers say. I'm going to need more than that to go on.

          I know, I'm just cynical like that.

      • The most watched comedy does not mean Charlie is doing something right but in fact it's because so much of America is doing something wrong.

  9. It's a lot easier to envy Charlie Sheen the TV star than Charlie Sheen the former TV star.

    Do we know how Charlie's finances are? 'Cause unless he's likely to have financial troubles, isn't the only difference between Charlie Sheen the TV star and Charlie Sheen the former TV star, that Charlie Sheen the former T.V. star doesn't have to go to work every day?

    I still think it's easier to envy the T.V. star, but if the main disadvantage for the former T.V. star is that he has more time to spend with his live-in girlfriend the model (and his OTHER live-in girlfriend the porn star) I'm not sure that it's A LOT easier to envy the employed Charlie.

  10. Who cares??

  11. Charlie Sheen's aka Charlie Harper is one character whose behaviour I have been tired of the last couple of seasons. I was waiting for his behaviour to hit rock bottom. So…who agrees with my idea:
    Charlie leaves for a long party somewhere. Meanwhile, Judith Harper kicks Herb out. Where does Herb go? He moves in with Alan. Then, Jake can be the guy with all the girls and Alan and Herb can be the embarrassment to Jake. What would we have………TWO AND A HALF MEN!
    Who agrees?

Sign in to comment.