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TV Column
Posted at 10:52 PM ET, 09/19/2011

Ashton Kutcher makes his ‘Two and a Half Men’ debut


Men men men men, manly men men men! Angus T. Jones, Ashton Kutcher, Jon Cryer. (MATT HOYLE - CBS / WARNER BROS.)

Throughout the civilized world, and in portions of Hollywood, one question alone has been on every lip for weeks: How will “Two and a Half Men” creator Chuck Lorre kill Charlie Sheen’s character, Charlie Harper, and will viewers accept Ashton Kutcher as the series’ new star?

Monday night, all was revealed. Literally, in Kutcher’s case.

Charlie Harper died a terrible death, off camera, when he slipped on a Metro platform in Paris and fell in front of an oncoming train, and his body exploded “like a balloon full of meat.”

Yes, we’re in for a half hour of Chuck Lorre comedy with malice.

(Monday ‘Men’ clocks record ratings)

Sheen’s—uh, Harper’s—death scene was recounted by eyewitness Rose – Charlie Harper’s longtime stalker, played by Melanie Lynskey – who was the heavily veiled guest at Charlie’s funeral, telling family, friends, and lots of women who came to spit on the body – fooled, them, he was cremated -- that she’d gone to Paris with Charlie, he’d proposed to her, and the next few days were the happiest of her life. Only she came back one day after shopping and found him with another woman. But she forgave him, because she loved him unconditionally. Except that, in one of those unfortunate coincidences, it was the very next day Charlie took his “spill” at the Metro.

Oh, and Kutcher, who plays heartbroken internet billionaire Walden Schmidt, is introduced to the show’s millions of fans, as the guy who suddenly appears, soaking wet and looking like a scared kitten, on the balcony of Charlie’s Malibu house -- which Charlie has left in his will to brother Alan Harper (Jon Cryer), only with three mortgages, so it’s being sold.

Alan, stunned at the sight of Soaking Frightened Kitten Guy, accidentally tosses Charlie’s urn of ashes and Charlie’s remains are scattered all over the living room—and Kutcher literally walks right over them. Talk about your symbolism!

John Stamos comes to the open house. He decides he can’t buy it when he remembers that he and Charlie – Harper, that is -- engaged in a drunken threesome in the living room, during which the chick unfortunately passed out, but he and Charlie kept going. Lorre keeps piling on the Charlie Harper character assassination.

Dharma and Greg – yes, the characters from that other Lorre sitcom -- walk through Charlie’s house. She loves its feng shui, only they get into a fight in which Dharma threatens to take Greg’s rich family for every penny, and he air-shoots himself in the head as they walk out. Yes, still a comedy.

Ashton uses Alan’s phone to call his wife to tell her he has just flung himself into the ocean to kill himself because she has dumped him. Only he didn’t realize the water would be so cold. She tells him to buzz off. Alan tries to console Walden by telling him about the time his wife dumped him and he was brokenhearted and broke, just like Walden is now. Walden tells him he’s an internet billionaire. Alan convinces him to join him at a bar and pick up women. Walden strips off his wet clothes. All of them. Cryer delivers the line about how Walden is not only worth a billion dollars he’s “hung like an elephant.” We speculate as to whether that line was negotiated in Kutcher’s contract to join the show.

At the bar, Kutcher successfully picks up two dumb chicks by crying about how much he loves his wife who has dumped him. Back at Charlie’s house, the two chicks take Walden up to Charlie’s bedroom and they have a three-way, leaving Alan downstairs – just like old times.

The next morning, Walden emerges downstairs, nude and pixilated, to the kitchen where housekeeper Berta (Conchata Ferrell) is working. Big laugh in the studio audience, big implication Ashton really shot this in the buff.

“I dig your house, so I’m going to buy it,” Walden, still naked, tells Alan. He hugs Alan. Naturally, because this is a Chuck Lorre sitcom, at that very moment, in walk Alan’s ex-wife Judith (Marin Hinkle), and son Jake (Angus T. Jones).

“This is Walden and he’s going to buy the house,” Alan tells them, embarrassed.

“I like him” ex says of naked Walden.

OK, we’re beginning to get it. Now that Jake is growing up, we’re gonna get Alan fathering the guileless Walden — a sort of “Forrest Gump” with a laugh track, or “Of Mice and Men” with “well-hung” jokes!

By  |  10:52 PM ET, 09/19/2011

 
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