I was one of the 28 million people that tuned in last night for the Charlie Sheen/Harper-less debut of Two and a Half Men. I have been a fan of the show for years, it appeals perfectly to the raunchy adolescent boy that lives within me. Charlie Sheen's boozy, misogynistic mimbo was a LARGE part of that attraction. Jon Cryer's ability to play off of and react to Charlie Sheen made up the rest. Angus is also a funny kid, but not enough reason to watch a show. Like much of the television watching portion of America, I was curious to see how well the show would fare with Cryer now having to now play off of Ashton Kutcher. I can respond with a resounding, "eh."
The show was fine. The only truly funny parts in the season premiere came during the opening scene which featured the much discussed funeral of one, Charlie Harper. From the visual sight gag of Charlie's classic shirts and shorts combo hanging up next to the casket to the nasty, STD ridden women populating the "mourning" attendees heckling Alan about wanting to spit on Charlie's body, it was clearly a cathartic process for the show's writers and Chuck Lorre -- one final chance to stick it to Sheen and say goodbye to this character that drove them crazy for years. Then the show, just went on. Kutcher was fine, definitely working the puppy dog cuteness (though I think he looked kind of homeless with the nasty, stringy long hair). But really, this show is just another comedy, perhaps edgy for CBS tastes but there was definitely a lack of the saucy bite that infected EVERY episode of the Sheen era. How many big penis jokes can the writers make between now and the season finale? I understand why the show needed to go on, (a) its a cash cow for CBS and (b) out of pure spite to Charlie Sheen, there was no way Chuck Lorre was folding up his flagship and going home. But, I can't see this show continuing on beyond this season. The 28 million viewers will fall off next week, and fall off even greater after that. The show will be helped by the weak competition on NBC (The Playboy Club is certain for the chopping block) but I think Dancing With the Stars will ultimately be the final nail in this show's coffin.
In the battle of Keep or Delete, this one is definitely a Delete.