Apparently, “Two and a Half Men” creator Chuck Lorre is a little bitter about Charlie Sheen.
At least, that’s the takeaway from the series finale of “Two and a Half Men” — one of the most popular shows on TV for the last decade — which was basically an hour-long slap at its former star. Can you blame the writers? The erratic actor certainly put them through a lot. But Lorre and the writers got the last laugh, literally, as they heaved insult after insult at Sheen, certainly as payback for his infamous 2011 meltdown that temporarily halted production.
Also not helping matters: Lorre offered Sheen a cameo in the season finale, but he turned it down. See below.
From jokes about drug use to prostitutes, the writers appeared to delight in reminding viewers about all of Sheen’s very messy public scandals. The finale’s set up: Though Sheen’s character Charlie Harper “died” in the Season 9 premiere after getting hit by a train (setting up the introduction of his replacement Ashton Kutcher), it turns out Charlie has been alive all this time. He was just trapped in a dungeon by his stalker-turned-wife, Rose (Melanie Lynskey), but managed to break out and escape.
Anyway, Charlie is now on the loose and seeking revenge because he’s incensed that anyone had the nerve to continue life as usual without him. Sound familiar? Here are some of the shots taken over the course of the episode, with some fact-checking about real-life incidents:
Joke: Charlie’s brother, Alan (Jon Cryer), learns that Charlie has $2.5 million of unclaimed songwriting royalties, and naturally tries to get the money. Only problem: He needs Charlie’s death certificate and no one can find it. Walden (Kutcher) takes to the Internet to look up information but can’t find any details on Charlie’s death. What does he locate? “I found this crazy rant about a former employer,” Walden says.
Real life: When “Two and a Half Men” shut down production after Sheen went on one too many incoherent radio interview rants, Sheen called Lorre a “contaminated little maggot,” among other things.
Joke: Rose warns Walden that Charlie is coming after him for revenge, even though they never met: “I told him all about you. How you’re richer than him, prettier than him, moved into his house and carried on like he never existed.”
Real life: Well, pretty much that.
Joke: Walden receives a threatening text from Charlie: “You despicable troll. You thought you could replace my ninja awesomeness, you lame clown. I will deploy army of assassins to destroy you, I will bring my bayonets of truth to the hexagon of death where I will carve my initials into your reptilian skull and cover you in tiger’s blood.”
Real life: During his many interviews in 2011, Sheen indeed frequently brought up assassins; truth; ninjas; and tiger’s blood.
Joke: Alan and Walden enlist a police lieutenant (guest star Arnold Schwarzenegger) to help find Charlie. Schwarzenegger notes that Charlie died in Paris under mysterious circumstances. Alan replies: “It wasn’t that mysterious. He was taking a lot of drugs and pissed off almost everybody.”
Real life: Not so veiled, was it?
Joke: Walden: “This guy has some serious rage issues.” Schwarzenegger: “Has he tried anger management?” Alan: “Yeah, but it didn’t work.”
Real life: Hey, “Anger Management” lasted 100 episodes!
Joke: Why Charlie’s seeking vengeance for Alan: “He didn’t think I could go on without him. He thought I was more of a supporting character in his life. But it turns out I was more of a co-lead.”
Real life: Sheen did call Cryer “a traitor and a troll.” Joke’s on him — after Sheen’s departure, Cryer was allowed to enter the Emmy race as a lead actor instead of supporting, and won the trophy in 2012.
Joke: Walden: “I’m not letting Charlie drive me out of this house. I reward his bad behavior.” Alan: “Yeah, that’s only supposed to happen in show business.”
Real life: The show did shut down for a few months … but stayed around for four more seasons.
Joke: The cop finally locates Charlie — Schwarzenegger calls and tells Alan and Walden that Charlie was found “in bowling shirt, cargo shorts and babbling away incoherently.” Oh, and he was “in a trashed hotel room with a hooker in the closet.”
Real life: This.
Joke: The “Charlie” that Schwarzenegger found was actually Christian Slater, who (in a cameo as himself) claims that someone drugged him, dressed him up in Charlie’s clothes and left him with a screaming woman in the closet — who stole his watch.
Real life: Again, this.
Joke: In the very last scene, a “Charlie” lookalike sneaks up to the house, apparently to murder Alan and Walden — except a piano falls on his head and he dies. Zoom out to show creator Chuck Lorre in a director’s chair, smiling. “Winning!” he says. Then a piano falls on his head, too. The end.
Real life: Sheen famously brought that catchphrase into the lexicon in 2011, and it’s safe to say Lorre has probably dreamed of that type of ending for some time.
After the episode aired, Lorre posted the real story of Sheen’s non-cameo to one of his famous vanity cards. Apparently, Lorre and Co. wanted Sheen to show up; go on a rant about drug abuse; and remind everyone that he’s a “ninja warrior from Mars.” But Sheen wanted a more heartfelt ending, so he turned them down.
Sheen, for the record, didn’t miss a chance to take another swipe at his former boss. In a tweet earlier Thursday, Sheen plugged his “much-anticipated cameo on network TV”… on an episode of ABC sitcom “The Goldbergs” this week.
“I go where the love is,” Sheen wrote, proving that he, at the very least, has an ounce of self-awareness.