"Two and a Half Men" has never demonstrated itself as a particularly original series over its now 8 season run, but the series has managed to be not only successful, but delightfully entertaining thanks to quality writing and acting. The series has managed to not only be terribly funny, but there's a consistency that's pretty remarkable in this day and age - it's really one of the most reliable sitcoms on TV (or, should I say, left on TV.)
The series stars Charlie Sheen as Charlie, a bachelor (read: womanizer) who has managed to make a fortune via jingle writing - enough to net him a beautiful house in Los Angeles. Bachelorhood is interrupted early in the series by the arrival of his brother, Alan (Jon Cryer) and his son, Jake (Angus Jones), who are both looking for a place to stay after Alan's ex-wife, Judith (Marin Hinkle) took a great deal after their divorce - including the house.
The series also benefited from its supporting players, such as Conchata Ferrell as no-nonsense housekeeper Berta and the wonderful Holland Taylor as Charlie and Alan's cold mother, who Charlie describes as the devil. Melanie Lynskey, who left the show and came back, is also perfect as the neighbor obsessed with Charlie. There's a certain way that Lorre plays the characters off one another that gives the show a certain charm - the characters spend much of the time irritated with one another, but underneath the one-liners there's a sense that they do care about one another.
The casting of the nervous Cryer against the laid-back Sheen was also a terrific choice, as the two opposites play off each other perfectly. Jones is also wonderful as Alan's underachieving, somewhat dim - although the character seems increasingly dimmer and lazier as the series goes on and he gets older - son. One of the funniest bits regarding Jake (Jones) happens in season six in the episode "Best H.O. Money Can Buy", as Alan and Charlie tell Jake that he'll be sent to military school to cover up for another situation. While they initially feel a little badly about the threat, they quickly realize that they can use the lie to get Jake to do whatever they please. In the end, Jake still manages to get out of trouble, in his own unintentional way.
By the sixth and seventh seasons of the series, some things remain the same while one major thing has changed: Charlie is in love. Season six introduced Chelsea (Jennifer Taylor) as Charlie’s eventual live-in love interest. By the end of the season Charlie’s ex-fiancée, Mia (Emmanuelle Vaugier), returns leaving Charlie questioning his feelings for Chelsea. For Alan, season six also led way to a romance with his receptionist, Melissa (Kelly Stables). There’s also the possibility that Judith’s new baby is his and not her husband Herb’s(Ryan Stiles).
Season seven continues with these characters and Charlie’s house becomes fuller. Charlie’s relationship dilemma is resolved, but that doesn’t mean his love life goes smoothly. In “Yay, No Polyps!” Charlie goes out of his way to schedule a colonoscopy just to get out of visiting Chelsea’s family, only to discover they’re coming to his house. Charlie must also try and help Jake and Chelsea get along in “Laxative Tester, Horse Inseminator.” By the second half of season seven, things are even more complicated for Charlie when his relationship becomes more strained which leaves him unfocused and haunted by visions of ex-girlfriends in “Gumby with a Pokey.”
Alan, too has his ups and downs and even starts seeing one of Jake’s friends mother, Lyndsay (Courtney Thorne-Smith) in “Keith Moon Is Vomiting in His Grave.” A highlight from the season is when guest star Annie Potts (who acted opposite Cryer in “Pretty In Pink”) plays Judith’s mom in “Mmm, Fish. Yum.” Meanwhile Jake is growing up and he starts dating and taking Charlie’s advice. And as he grows up, his dad and uncle become an embarrassment like in “For the sake of the Child” when Charlie and Alan won’t stop fighting in public. While season seven has a few so-so episodes, the majority proves why “Two and a Half Men” remains one of the best, well-written and acted sitcoms on television.
140 7-01 21/Sep/09 818-jklpuzo
141 7-02 28/Sep/09 Whipped Unto the Third Generation
142 7-03 05/Oct/09 Mmm, fish. Yum.
143 7-04 12/Oct/09 Laxative Tester, Horse Inseminator
144 7-05 19/Oct/09 For the Sake of the Child
145 7-06 02/Nov/09 Give Me Your Thumb
146 7-07 09/Nov/09 Untainted by Filth
147 7-08 16/Nov/09 Gorp. Fnark. Schmegle.
148 7-09 23/Nov/09 Captain Terry's Spray-On Hair
149 7-10 07/Dec/09 That's Why They Call It Ball Room
150 7-11 14/Dec/09 Warning, It's Dirty
151 7-12 11/Jan/10 Fart Jokes, Pie and Celeste
152 7-13 18/Jan/10 Yay, No Polyps!
153 7-14 01/Feb/10 Crude and Uncalled For
154 7-15 08/Feb/10 Aye, Aye, Captain
155 7-16 01/Mar/10 Tinkle Like a Princess
156 7-17 08/Mar/10 I Found Your Moustache
157 7-18 22/Mar/10 Ixnay on the Oggie Day
158 7-19 12/Apr/10 Keith Moon is Vomiting in his Grave
159 7-20 10/May/10 I Called Him Magoo
160 7-21 17/May/10 Gumby with a Pokey
161 7-22 24/May/10 This Is Not Gonna End Well
VIDEO: "Two and a Half Men" is presented by Warner Brothers in 1.33:1 full-frame. Picture quality can seem rather inconsistent, but even the lesser moments still look very good for a TV show. Sharpness and detail were often a bit better than basic broadcast quality, but the picture could look softer at times. Mild noise was also visible in some scenes, as well. No edge enhancement was seen, nor were any instances of wear spotted. Colors looked bright and well-saturated, with no smearing or other faults. At worst, the picture looks around broadcast quality, but it often stayed a bit above that level.
SOUND: The show is offered with a stereo soundtrack that offers a fairly basic presentation, but good audio quality.
EXTRAS: “A Charlie Harper Ex-Reunion” - several of the women who played Charlie’s girlfriend talk about their characters, Charlie, pick up lines, whey they returned to season seven, and more. At nine minutes, it’s a fun look back at the women in Charlie Harper’s life.
“Gag Reel” - the eight minute gag reel provides a lot of laughs and fun moments. Worth a look.
Final Thoughts: "Two and a Half Men" remains one of the best sitcoms left on network TV, with excellent writing and a superb ensemble cast. The DVD set does boast good audio/video quality, but very little in the way of extras. Still, recommended on the strength of the show.