Judge David Johnson is half the man he used to be.
Our reviews of Two And A Half Men: The Complete Second Season (published February 13th, 2008), Two And A Half Men: The Complete Third Season (published May 26th, 2008), Two And A Half Men: The Complete Fourth Season (published October 27th, 2008), Two And A Half Men: The Complete Fifth Season (published June 11th, 2009), Two And A Half Men: The Complete Seventh Season (published November 3rd, 2010), and Two And A Half Men: The Complete Eighth Season (published September 2nd, 2011) are also available.
Men, men, men, menmenmenmen, men men mennnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn…
Never really watched this show before, but I have to say it's not too shabby.
Facts of the Case
Alan (Jon Cryer, Pretty in Pink) and his son Jake (Angus T. Jones) live with Alan's hard-partying older brother Charlie (Charlie Sheen, Hot Shots), an affluent jingle writer who lives on the beach and isn't terribly thrilled with the arrangement. See, Alan is an uptight kind of loser and Jake is an underachieving dimbulb. Basically, they cramp Charlie's style. This is the backdrop for this season (and I presume the ones that preceded it), which concerns itself with such storylines as Alan's relationship with his receptionist (and her mom), Jake's courtship with the cute daughter of Michael Clarke Duncan, and—most earth-shatteringly—Charlie's eventual commitment to a monogamous relationship.
This was a pleasant surprise. Obviously, Two and Half Men is a successful show, this being its sixth season and all, but I had always written it off as a hokey, standard-issue Odd Couple-like sitcom with a precocious kid tossed in to complete the formula.
Wow, it most certainly is not that.
Two and Half Men is surprisingly adult-oriented, sporting some of the most in-your-face innuendo I've seen in prime-time network sitcoms. It's no Married with Children, but the writers obviously aren't afraid to lay the double entendres on thick. Thankfully, it's not all cheap sex gags. The writing is consistently strong show to show, with many, many laughs to found. Though the situations aren't terribly unique (a wacky birth sequence, a very special "why-can't-I-commit" episode, the kid's first job, the blind date from hell), the execution is on the money and the writers make sure to give these familiar scenarios their own special spin.
It also helps to have real pros delivering your lines. Though I'm not sold on the fact that Jon Cryer should have bested Neil Patrick Harris for the Emmy, he's definitely funny here. His Alan is a hopeless dork, often oblivious to his sheer dorkness, though still sharp enough to give his brother grief. That contrast with Charlie, the debauched wiseass, is the primary propulsion of the show. The two actors have mastered their characters (Sheen just reels of smarmy remarks, but it's a role he was obviously born to play) and, six seasons in, the energy they use to play off each other is a powerful constant.
My favorite aspect of the series—far and away—is Angus T. Jones' Jake. What a masterful reaction this kid is! Instead of going down the well-worn path of having the kid be a cute, smart, constantly keeping the adults on their toes, and all that other sitcom-y crap, the creators have made Jake a complete idiot. He's oblivious and dumb and a constant target of derision by everyone that knows him. Jones is great, too, in projecting his inanity. The moments where I laughed the hardest typically featured Jake as the main player ("I got first base on the head and second base in the ear!").
Overall, a fine season and a genuinely funny selection of episodes. Big things transpire in the universe, but the bread and butter remains the interactions between the two and a half men—especially the half.
An attractive 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer and a 2.0 stereo mix are more than adequate in the technical department; extras include featurettes on Angus T. Jones, "The Women of Two and a Half Men," and a legitimately funny gag reel.
I laughed. Consistently and quite hard at times. Therefore, it's a winner. The DVD set is just as solid.
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