The biggest problem with Anger Management isn't that it's focused on the antics of Charlie Sheen that unfolded over the last year or so in the media, but the fact that it falls back to Charlie Sheen's typical sitcom shtick instead of taking advantage of his outrageous public personality. In fact, the show comes off more like a modern day version of The Bob Newhart Show, albeit with blunt talk about sex. And despite the fact that it airs on FX, home of the edgy It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, Louie and the weirdly wonderful Wilfred, it actually more closely resembles Sheen's last sitcom Two and a Half Men in look, feel and attitude. And that's a disappointment. It's like FX was so excited to land Sheen after his meltdown that they didn't bother to make sure the sitcom they bought was a good fit for their network brand, or that it was something anyone would actually want to watch.
Charlie is playing Charlie (again, much like on Two and a Half Men) a divorced therapist who deals with a group of patients who have anger issues. He's also got a sassy ex-wife who tells it like it is, a daughter with OCD (though that isn't addressed again in the second episode we watched), a chummy neighbor and a sexy bed buddy (Selma Blair) who is also his sometimes therapist. It has all the trappings of a typical multi-camera sitcom and the dialogue that followed made us groan. Much like Whitney Cummings' humor was watered down for her sitcom, so has Sheen's personality. Aside from poking fun at the CBS fallout in the first few seconds of the pilot, there's not much worth noting. Here is just a sampling of the worst lines from the premiere:
"I told my dad that I was coming here to change my passive aggressive behavior and he said, 'While you are there can you work on not being gay.'"
"While I was in 'Nam, dodging enemy fire and watching my best friends die, I kept saying to myself, 'Hang in there, Ed, because one of these days this queer is gonna shove a sparkler up his ass and it will all be worth it."
"You might want to throw some seeds up on that bald head of yours."
"If you sign it now, I can bounce and you can check out my ass when I leave."
"I'm not angry. My boyfriend cheated on me so I shot him in the balls."
"Look how mad he is, he looks like a bull getting a prostate exam."
"There's other stuff we can do... what do you got in the fridge?"
"Unemployment... it's not just for psych majors anymore."
"I didn't go to college, but I did go to a lot of frat parties and what I learned is that when the guys start fighting, it's time to pick up your clothes and go."
"You're a club promoter, dude, you're realistic about glow sticks and E."
"I like him, he's good with Sam, he's got a great sense of humor and he's got two Ferraris." "Ooh, honey, I remember when I lost it and it was a world of pain."
"You ever see a tow truck hauling a tow truck? But there's only one tow truck I trust and unfortunately I'm having sex with it."
"Sorry, Charlie, you'll have to put your cobra back in your pants."
"Sean's just too opinionated... plus he manscapes really weird. I won't tell you what he does, but he calls it the Abe Lincoln."
If those lines make you laugh, well, you probably also enjoy Two and a Half Men reruns... so this show is for you. As for us, we'll be watching Louie and trying to ignore the existence of Anger Management.
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