I love Two and a Half Men. It's the comedy that took over from Seinfeld and Friends. It's male drama without the military. It's way beyond Office which has a kind of existential lack of passion. Two and a Half Men is for me always a look inside the male psyche of mainstream America.
Dr. Carl Jung envision the internal world as archetypal. He had each of us carrying within us a regular Mount Olympus of characters. Gods in Everyman, by San Francsico Jungian Jean Shinoda Bolen tried to capture the players. She's European and Asian in her scope whereas Two and a Half Men summarize the majority of the American middle class men just like Author Miller's play Death of A Salesman spoke for an earlier American male persona. John Gray's, Men are From Mars, Women are from Venus "take" on American men is more in line with Two and a Half Men. It lacks the 'in your face' world of Charlie Sheen.
All the characters in the television series are in the psyche of the American male. There's Charlie Sheen, roughly playing himself, giving a new buzz to 'type casting' and reminding us comedically of Woody Allan's Purple Rose of Cairo where the Tom Baxter character romantically steps through the screen. In the modern Quantum physics view of Multiverse and Matrix Charlie Sheen's fascetious ironic drunken icon appears to be doing better than Woody's romantic one. Thanks to Hollywood papparazzi, lawyers and gossip columnists the transitions get easier every year. Art and reality blur as easily now In Washington as LA and New York.
In the Television series, Two and One Half Men, which only began in 2003 but seems as eternal as Seinfeld, Charlie Sheen plays hedonistic alcoholic bachelor jingle song writer, womanizer, living on Malibu Beach. "He is the classic "bad boy" so many American women fall for. He couples Svengalian and Alistair Crawley qualities with the ideology of Donald Trump and Corporate Materialism.Everything goes as long as one isn't caught. I dealism is a crock. Pleasure is what life is about. Two and a Half Men is the male counterpart to the hedonistic fatuous feminist" Sex in the City."
Jon Cryer plays, Charlie's chiropractic brother,Allan, father of his underachieving son Jake. He's the 'sensitive' boy. He's Stanislav Grof to Elli Lilly.
Holland Taylor plays Evelyn Harper, Charlie and Allan's Mother and Jakes Grandmother. She is the archetypal "lipstick feminist' high powered realtor, a female Hugh Heffner, arrogant and independent mother who Charlie and Allan explain their personal failure with and try occasionally to protect Jake from though Jake seems immune to his 'dysfunctional family' environment.
;Marin Hinkle plays Judith, Allan's vindictive self absorbed ex wife, Jake's mother. She leaves him for a lesbian like the other American tv good guy boring hero, Ross, in Friends. Judith's lawyer, emulating the legal standards of the divorce courts, sleeps with irresistable Charlie who refuses to be part of the lawyer's sexual on call harem corral. Her retaliation results in Allan left with huge alimony and maintenance payments and moves into Charlie's with Jake. Later, bisexual, Judith marries a "real" doctor who owns his masochism and lacks the perplexion Allan seems perpetually to display.
Masculism founder, Robert Bly describes Modern America as the "Sibling Society'. Charlie who was sadistic to his brother in childhood and would likely by most measures have been called a 'psychopath', especially given his mother Evelyn who outright is now goes through life side by side, with Allan protecting him painfully.. Charlie and Evelyn both might well have appeared in Dr. Robert Hare and Dr. Babiak's book, Snakes in Suits, "When Psychopaths Got To Work' if it were not for the redemptve process of this family. Allan and Jake humanize Evelyn and Charlie.
Conchata Ferrell plays Charlies obese lazy sharp tongued house keeper., Bertha. She the white help that replaced the black help that saved the rich from utter alienation on the party seen. One person's feet are on the floor at all times.
There are several endearing recurring characters, Melanie Lynskey, Charlies neighbour and stalker Rose being the most prominent and complex.
In addition there are always the women who pass through the core family of Charlie's househood. Charlie is a Modern King Lear character in his generosity and support of his family and all the various characters that take of his largesse.
Yet, Charlies, a jingle writer, not a rock star and Allan is a chiropracter and not a surgeon.
This said, men always have in their head a character like Charlie. He's especially there when they're drinking and drugging. Always they have a friend or someone they know peripherally who seems to be just like Charlie. Charlie's irreligious, contemptuous of women and love of pleasure just draws 'hotties' to them with the 'puers eternus' 'flying boy' 'peter pan' never being pulled down by their menstrual cycles and child bearing and mother in laws. There's close calls.but Charlie like Hodini escapes time and again. He gets the most amazing gorgeous, tolerant, sexy, rich fiancee , Chelsea, played by Jennifer Bin Taylor but somehow never gives up the play. Meanwhile most men are like Allan, wage slave paying for women to find themselves or trying to come up with the money to pay for dinner for a date with someone hoping to be a gold digger. Everyone in America has heard ad infinitum about the trials of single motherhood but there is Allan the single dad with Jake who is oblivious to encouragement and more interested in gameboy, food and farts. And all of us men have a Jake in our internal world along with all of society telling us to be like Allan only to find there's no pay off for being the good guy. You just end up sounding like a Hamlet soliquoy on the street in Manhatten with a hat on the ground.
Further the American male carries inside him the mother's generation of complaining judging angry women who condemned Heffner only to imitate them and now smoking and drinking and spending money on themselves , and rarely, very rarely men (See Are Men Necessary, When sexes Collide, by Maureen Dowd) in contrast to 'real men' like Charlie and Hugh Heffner who picked up the tab. Queen Elizabeth who the beattles thought a very fine lady, does represent something American women rejected hundreds of years ago. European women are as likely to go "Dutch", note the European context. when they French Kiss or Knock You Up in the Morning while Americans only get f**ked.
Further its common for successful men to have a stalker and no restraining orders work for men like they do for women. So men have a Bertha in their heads who remind them of the Pragmatim of the Father of American Philosophy, Emerson.
Increasingly aging Charlie turns to alcohol in the morning and alcohol in the afternoon. He's now stepped out of the show and is doing a lone tour surrounded by the lawyers and ex wifes and the children and social workers and schools and fans that pay for his soliquoy as they paid once for Shakespeare and gladly paid for Billy Connolly.
It's farce and secular life is at best comedy with the military terrifed that MASH might infect Bagdad and Kundaha as it did Vietnam.. The movie, the Tail that Wagged the Dog, did more harm for Washington political business than Al Queda who gives them cause to spend billions in Homeland Security failing before the marketplace war being waged by China along with China's theft of fighter plane technology and Cold War era cyber wars attacks on the west. There is Jackie Chan but no James Bond there yet. We are all waiting for another Dielsen movie thankful that Angelina Jolie holds us over with "The Tourist".
Men in America are given the mental world of 2 and a half men, jingles and chiropractic "massage" (as Charlie never lets Allan forget).
Just as Sex in the City left out the beyond bad hair days of real women Charlie only goes to rehab off screen and Allan doesn't have to live in a tent city and collect food stamps like 1 in 8 americans. He has an older brother to run to. When he sleeps with his receptionist she has a lawyer like his ex wife. The receptionist , Mellissa, played by Kelly Stables is a classic bimbo but has a lawyer. And her lawyer is better than Allan's lawyer and the domestic courts are pro women since women are more likely to use them than say, military courts, which used to play to men until the War Machine Industry wanted women to join and rape and sexual harrassment was the main way women were made to feel safe. Naturally America thereafter had to buy it's Kevlar from Canada as the American miltiary couldn't keep up keeping it's soldiers beyond gender safe when american women warriors needed lawyers to keep them safe. French Cultural Affairs minister had already shamed American women by saying "French women have never needed lawyerss to handle their men". Charlie's Stalker, Rose, doesn't have a lawyer but she crazy glued his penis to his thigh in his sleep suggesting she's more like the Assian Female Warriors who really are tough in the Ninja movies.
Women wonder what goes on in men's head. 2 and 1/2 men does sadly. Men want food, clothing, shelter, procreation, sex, pleasure and relationships. 2 and !/2 men remove the intensity of the relationships and depths of experience seen on the Christian programming channels or the Band of Brothers war series. There's a bumbling defeatest 'Waiting for Godot' quality about 2 and 1/2 men.
It's said that America, the empire after Britain and Rome won't go out with a bang but a fizzle. That's the sense with 2 and 1/2 men. It's no surprise either that Americans are filling treatment centres and returning to church as American women who didn't have to line up or pay for abortions in state abortion clinic factories are now lining up and paying big bucks for fertility clinics and surrogates and churches are insisting they go through pre nuptial assessments and educations before being married in the best back drops while men are demanding 'pre nuptials' since divorces were more popular with women than marriages when women began to compete with men in alcoholism and drug addiction. Britney Spears and Lindsay Lohan bad girls are in and out of treatment then get it.
There's little likelihood that Charlie will be lifted up in the Rapture and Allan won't be drafted soon. 2 and 1/2 men ironically is what's is going on in men's heads as art attempts to imitate life and life imitates art with great wads of money changing hands and going to lawyers , ad men, hair dressers and tax men. It's Hollywood.
Without the glitter of Fred and Ginger. Elizabeth Taylor died and 2 soaps were cancelled. Men can vicariously live through Charlie and struggle with Allan and hope for Jake. it's the archetypes American has today.