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Talk about a public meltdown, Charlie Sheen has been there, done that… and has the tabloid headlines to prove it. But the controversies – from his public attack on Two and a Half Men producer Chuck Lorre, his drug abuse to his overall off-screen debauchery – which dogged him last year, are over. And instead of getting mad over being fired and Ashton Kutcher “replacing” him, the highest paid television star got even – by starring in and co-executive producing his own comedy, Anger Management, writes Debashine Thangevelo
WELL, I guess Charlie Sheen had the last laugh after all. Although producer Chuck Lorre killed Sheen’s Two and a Half Men character – Charlie Harper – in the eighth season of the Emmy award-winning comedy after last year’s very public fallout between the two, he couldn’t put the kybosh on the TV star’s career.
And, let’s be honest, Sheen was the show. Watching Ashton Kutcher fill his void was an amusing, almost preposterous thought (for a vociferous Sheen, too) which was validated in season nine.
In fact, witnessing Kutcher slip into the role of a well-heeled but heartbroken Walden Schmidt, who buys Charlie’s Malibu beach house, brings on déjà vu from That 70’s Show. Even those “naked” screen shots of Walden fall short of matching the commitment-phobic Charlie’s charm, philandering or irreverence.
In Anger Management, which is inspired by the movie starring Jack Nicholson, Sheen is cast as Charlie Goodson, a former pro baseball player who, after his sports career is cut short, becomes a sponge for an array of anger issues. That includes dealing with his teenage daughter who suffers from OCD (obsessive-compulsive disorder), his ex-wife and her new boyfriend.
Thankfully, he can unleash his frustrations in therapy to Kate Goodman (Selma Blair), but that isn’t the only thing he allows to run riot in their sessions (nudge, nudge, wink, wink)!
Interestingly, while the first season comprises 10 episodes, the popularity of the series, which broke ratings in the US with a record 5.74 million viewers tuning in, secured it an additional 90-episode commission from FX Networks.
Although Lorre goes about his business milking his various cash cow shows, Sheen continues to take not-so-subtle cracks at him.
We will not get into the character’s names of the two shows being similar, but the celebrity actor, who loves pushing boundaries, takes his payback even further by incorporating his strong sentiments into his Anger Management role.
Looking into the camera, he, as Charlie Goodson, rants: “You can’t fire me, I quit! You can’t replace me with some other guy – it’s not going to work.”
Hmm, looks like Anger Management might be a cathartic experience, too, for Sheen, who is smiling all the way to the bank.
In an interview with Hollywood Reporter, he shrugged off the obvious jibe at his former employers saying: “I think it was really smart that we dealt with that thing, about getting fired, right off the bat. I am tremendously grateful to be back in an arena I am familiar with.
He adds: “And don’t air your dirty laundry in public.”
In his three-decade long career on the big and small screens, amid marriages and divorces, Sheen, despite being crucified for his bad boy behaviour, unfailingly redeems himself in the public’s eye.
On starring in another comedy, he shares: “My legacy could not be what happened at the end of Two and a Half Men. I couldn’t have that be what everybody remembered about the show. I wanted to do something that was more about me, who I am as a person, as an actor. I wanted to do something that felt more of a warm hug than a snake bite, that took away the sting.”
Despite his flattering bank balance, Sheen has fallen – and probably will continue to – for the Hollywood trappings of fame. But by making mistakes and admitting it, his star will continue to soar in spite of what his detractors say or do. He just puts it behind him and moves on.
• Anger Management airs on Comedy Central (DStv channel 122) on September 24 at 10.35pm.