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Does Ashton Kutcher Make Two and a Half Men Watchable Now?

Maybe this will lose me all of my comedy cred in this universe, but I never completely hated Two and a Half Men. I definitely never watched it on a weekly or even monthly basis, but if another person flipped it on while we were hanging out at a relative's or friend's house, I would sit and watch it and chuckle. But in terms of a weekly series, I would deem it unwatchable, because what discerning appreciator of comedy could possibly stand that much canned laughter and Charlie Sheen crammed into one half-hour?

Now, take away Charlie Sheen from that equation and add Ashton Kutcher: does that sound any more enjoyable? Or significantly less? Given that Kutcher has never actively inflicted violence on another human being, I'm gonna give the point to him on a humanity scale. As a comedian, though, specifically as Walden Schmidt -- insanely attractive, albeit suicidal Internet entrepreneur-turned-billionaire who feels completely comfortable walking into a stranger's house to make a phone call to his ex-wife -- Kutcher brings absolutely nothing to the table... expect that he isn't Charlie Sheen.

Maybe it's not his fault that Schmidt is in no way believable and completely underdeveloped -- I don't think the Chuck Lorre and the gang can fairly just say that this guy is "weird" in order to cover all of the bases for his character's baffling motivation. Kutcher was fun to watch back when he was Michael Kelso on That '70s Show, but you can't just throw a celebrity in for the sake of them being a celebrity and get people to watch... actually, you can. That is exactly what you can do on a show like this, one which regularly raked in 13-15 million viewers every week and can unironically throw out lines like, "He loved to be spanked while wearing women's panties," while at a character's funeral and have it be one of the biggest "jokes" of the night. More proof: The other high points of the evening were the John Stamos (whose entrance called me to yell "CARL!" out loud) and Dharma and Greg (another late Lorre creation) cameos. I would've preferred way more of those, because for one second, it allowed Two and a Half Men to be the slightest bit self-aware. Otherwise, it was back to jokes whose punchlines were that iPods existed, and isn't it so funny that we're making a pop culture reference? It reminded me of being in middle school and we'd have Burger King day once every few months; the very idea of Burger King coming to school?! Burger King isn't what we usually have in school! What is happening?! THIS IS AMAZING! ORDER ME TWO WHOPPER JRS!

But yeah, add up the fart jokes of "Nice to Meet You, Walden Schmidt" and the Kutcher writing/acting, I'd say no, this show is no more watchable on any kind of regular basis than it has been for the past eight seasons. Frankly, the entire premise and execution (Alan Harper literally says to Schmidt, "I just went to one funeral, I don't want to be part of another," and that's how this dude becomes integrated into the cast as Alan's new buddy) would have worked better as an overextended cutaway on an episode of Family Guy -- I would've much preferred that, actually. At least Seth MacFarlane would've had the sense to add the obligatory canned catcalling when Schmidt walked around Charlie Harper's former Malibu mansion completely in the nude.

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