I did not watch the new Two and a Half Men with Ashton Kutcher because once I heard they were going to kill Charlie Harper, I just couldn't bring myself to do it. I don't care for Charlie Sheen, but Charlie Harper was rather loveable in a way. He had a heart of gold beneath all that wildness. He might have been a womanizing jerk, but he was also a good guy when it counted.
I've watched a lot of this show in reruns because it happens to be on at a time of day when the Hubby and I are relaxing together once he comes home from work. I admit it took me a little bit to warm up to the show, but then I began to see the humor in it.
And I liked all the characters for who they were. They were always true to themselves, no matter how screwed up they might be. Alan messing up a relationship with a woman because she told him that Judith said Herb was the best lover she'd ever had. Charlie wanting so desperately to keep random women on the string but cutting them all loose because he truly loved Chelsea. Herb and Alan finding common ground through their relationship with Judith.
I probably haven't seen any of the last season's episodes, so I can't say whether or not the show was growing stale, but I'm really irritated at what the writers did to get rid of Charlie. They weren't true to his character, no matter how funny they tried to make it. Charlie Harper was a good guy. But they forgot they were supposed to be writing for Charlie Harper's exit and instead wrote one for Charlie Sheen. Because Chuck Lorre was pissed at Sheen and wanted to prove he was the guy in control.
Well, yeah, he is the guy in control. But I think he's shot himself in the foot with this one. You have to be true to the character. And he wasn't. I've read the reviews, and apparently the funeral was a big joke. Alan didn't cry? Really? The guy who cried when he got sex for the first time in ages didn't cry when his brother died? And Jake might be nothing more than a teenager who wants to eat all the time, but he actually loved his Uncle Charlie as a kid. Would he really not feel even a shred of remorse? Or how about Charlie's mother?
She was always portrayed as a cold bitch, but would the woman who once stood on Charlie's balcony and told him that she was going home because he'd just said he loved her and he could only screw it up from there really only be concerned about selling his house?
I just can't buy it, and I won't be tuning in. If I'd been in charge, I'd have replaced Charlie Sheen with another actor. I'd have let Charlie Harper go on living and fornicating and doing all the usual stuff he did. I can like Charlie Harper without liking Charlie Sheen (who I believe is not a nice man at all). Soap operas had a knack for replacing characters. At the beginning of an episode, they would announce “Today, the part of Storm Handsome-Moneybags is being played by Joe Fabulous.” And the show would go on.
Maybe Two and a Half Men is done. Maybe it was already growing old and stale and its time was up anyway. But it's definitely up for me. I can't watch it now because I can't forgive the writers (Lorre in particular) for cheating their character and making it personal. It just isn't the same show anymore, no matter how young and handsome Ashton Kutcher is (without the long hair and beard – don't know what's up with that, but it's not flattering).
Maybe replacing Sheen with another actor wouldn't have worked either, but at least Charlie Harper would have still had a chance to get things right in his life before the show ended. The lesson here for writers, I believe, is to think long and hard about what you do to your characters. Make sure it fits their character and is fair to who they are. I've killed off my characters when I was sick to death of them, but that was only for me because I deleted all that stuff and continued on with the story.
You have to be true to your characters! You've set them up to be someone, with flaws and wants and needs, and you can't thwart that at the end or you risk alienating your readers. I suppose it's different for television writers, when an actor becomes the embodiment of the creation, but the viewers still fall in love with the characters and expect justice for them in the end.
I don't like what they did to Charlie Harper, but I had no say in it. Now, for God's sake Chuck Lorre, don't you dare kill off Sheldon or Leonerd or Raj or Howard or Penny! Or Amy or Bernadette!