Is Ashton Kutcher the Right Man to Save Two and a Half Men?

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CBS and Warner Bros. are doing their best to move Two and a Half Men viewers into a Post-Sheen World.  Last week they announced that Ashton Kutcher is replacing Charlie on the cast for a fall 2011 season. According to Deadline, the old Sheen-ified show was intentionally held back from running for a "Best Comedy Show" Emmy:
 
With 16 produced and aired episodes, this past eighth season of the CBS comedy Two and a Half Men is eligible for a best comedy series Emmy Award. But the veteran sitcom, which has been the subject of controversy surrounding now-former star Charlie Sheen, won't be in the running. A source at the show's producer Warner Bros. TV confirmed that Two and a Half Men was not submitted for best comedy. According to a show insider, the feeling was that, given the circumstances this past season, Two and a Half Men should not be submitted for consideration in the best comedy series category.
 
In similar unnecessary news, please note that I will not be competing in the 2-year old Toddler Division at my regional Miss Binky Tiara pageant. Also, my cousin's 1997 Hummer is not attempting to qualify for America's "Greenest Car" team in the Global Warming Olympics.  Captain Obvious, FTW.
 
Seriously, Two and a Half Men certainly hasn't been Emmy-deserving funny in a long time so not submitting the show for consideration is not a big loss. But perhaps producer Chuck Lorre is trying to clear the deck of the oily sawdust left over from the Sheenwreck in preparation for the new half-man parade led by Ashton Kutcher.  The news of his contract has made a lot of people happy:
  • The 2.5 Men team must be happy about working again.
  • Jon Cryer, Angus T. Jones, Conchata Ferrell, Holland Taylor and the rest of the cast must be happy to be moving forward with a co-star who won't upstage them too much. Ashton was a doll on That 70s Show, but he lacks brilliant timing and has a limited range so landing him is not exactly a comedic coup. 
  • PR workers have a new story to spin. Instead of defense against "Torpedoes of Truth" from Sheen's inexplicably massive Twitter stream, they have a new guy to promote.
  • Of course, Ashton's happy. He said signing on is like winning the lottery. with a reported close to a million for each epidode, he's making some pretty big bank in his first year. If the show succeeds in getting renewed for another season, he will take credit, but if it doesn't, he won't carry the lion's share of the blame. That's #winning, for sure. And he didn't even have to drink Tiger's Blood. (I think.) (I hope)
  • Airbnb's happy, as Ashton invested in this start-up last week. Kutcher is tech start-up savvy, so Two-and-a-Half Trickledown Economics is sweet for the geeks.
  • Advertisers are probably happy. There will be a plethora of eyeballs to sell to, at least during the show's first few episodes as lookie-lous want to see how Kelso will take to his new joint--or will tune in to see if Sheen's predictions of a flop pan out.
  • Movie-going audiences like me are happy. Truly, it's a public service if Chuck Lorre can keep Ashton on television and away from the film sets where he has tortured us with bad movie after coughKillerscough bad coughNoStringsAttachedcough movie.
  • Sheen himself might even be happy that the show will go on, as his contract purportedly nets him a substantial take whether he's in each episode or not--though between morals clauses and other contractual obligations, it will be a while before the lawyers hash this one out. Which means, as usual, the lawyers are the happiest of all.
I think I would have been happier if they had brought on Demi Moore instead of Mr. Demi Moore.  She's more of the playboy in the family, isn't she? I'd love to see her throw down a whiny Cryer, and she's been on the cover of Vanity Fair in a suit and everything, so I think she qualifies.  She doesn't have comedic chops, either, but apparently that's not a criteria. I wonder if it's too late to get her people talking to their people? It might be a little awkward with Ashton, but isn't this whole Two-and-a-Half-Lorre-Sheen-Kutcher thing just that, at best?
 
What about you? Does Ashton interest you enough to tune in, are you loyal to Team Tiger Blood, or is the whole thing two and a half pounds of ridiculousness to you?

Deb Rox blogs like a freaking butterfly, stings like a Tweet, and is wondering if her leftover fireworks from New Year's Eve will be safe to use in July. There's no expiration date on M-80s, right?

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