I was forwarded this “exclusive” item about the fate of Two and a Half Men post-Sheen, and found that it says… basically nothing. This is not a knock on the writers of the piece, Kim Masters and Lacey Rose, who are writing what they know and, perhaps, all anybody knows at this point. But literally all we really find out about the show is this:
Sources tell The Hollywood Reporter that series co-creator Chuck Lorre has hatched an idea to reboot the Warner Bros-produced sitcom with a new creative direction that does not involve Sheen, who was fired from the series in March. Lorre is said to have presented close associates and Men co-star Jon Cryer with the plan, and the studio and network are aware of his intentions. According to an insider, Lorre has told Cryer this re-boot would involve a significant role for him and the introduction of a new, yet-to-be-cast character.
So the sources didn’t say what the plan is, merely that there is a plan to bring it back and that it will involve the current cast plus a new character to take Sheen’s place. But we all expected that even without insider information. Again, this isn’t the writers’ fault, but it does show the inherent limitations in articles based on anonymous insider sources. What we wind up knowing is either that a) the insiders won’t tell us anything and are just giving the appearance of leaking information, to get their show into the press, or b) the insiders really have no idea what’s going to happen, but want us to think they do.
Which is why the interesting information usually comes from on-the-record stuff, where the insider is authorized to talk (or, even better, isn’t authorized but goes on the record anyway; but that’s sadly rare). For example, Greg Daniels has a lot of interesting stuff to say about plans for The Office in the coming post-Carell episode; he can’t get specific about what’s going to happen either, but at least he can suggest some of the reasons behind the decisions they’ve been making. And he can get specific about stuff that’s happened in the past, which are arguably more interesting than speculation about what’s going to happen next season.
More about tonight’s Michael Scott farewell after we see it. Meanwhile, you can read Willa Paskin on the question of whether the goodwill for Steve Carell (who is genuinely beloved by viewers and colleagues) is spilling into the portrayal of the goodbye to Michael Scott (who is at best sort of grudgingly liked). The answer is probably yes, but that’s probably unavoidable. And maybe it shouldn’t even be avoided. Seinfeld‘s finale was controversial in part because it tried to be a farewell only for the characters as they exist in the world of the show – annoying people who aren’t liked by much of anyone outside their little circle – ignoring the love we had for them after watching them for such a long time. I think that was a mistake, and maybe not even a well-intentioned one.