Last night FX shown double opening bill of Charlie Sheen’s new sitcom “Anger Management”, loosely based on movie of the same title with Jack Nicholson. 46 years old and earning considerably smaller salary than his last TV endeavour Sheen and producers of the show have managed to secure quite interesting Debmar-Mercury syndication deal for this project guaranteeing them order of 90 episodes from FX if the show’s first 10 episodes is successful enough.
The series opening scene attempts brave bridge between the script and real life events of Sheen’s angry tirade against his “Two And A Half Men” producer Chuck Lorre and consequent raving meltdown in front of media that spawned well known wave of internet memes and countless autotune remixes of his infamous “winning” interviews. The bridging itself was done quite well and raised a chuckle, but what followed for the rest of both episodes can only be described as very average test tape outtake material barely glued together by both leading actors.
Charlie plays Charlie (yes, again), Dr. Charlie. predictably an anger management therapist sidekicked in private life by his girlfriend, a psychologist, played competently by Selma Blair (“Cruel Intentions”, “Hellboy”) and professionally invested in a sofa full of stereotypical characters with mild anger issues, probably developed because they fail badly at comedy acting. Sheen’s safely scripted role and with Blair as second chair, the series is probably safe enough to run through all of the 10 ordered episodes, but there isn’t much going for it otherwise. This time around Charlie doesn’t have anyone to bounce his “cool kid” routine off, he looks incredibly tired and does his role on autopilot. But the sofa of highly predictable, high strung, miserable, megalomaniac, douche and bigoted patients delivered with the kind of skill and talent you would expect to find at the back of American Idol first auditions queue is an anchor to this boat. This format and topic almost immediately asks for one off celebrity guests and enough interaction between secondary characters to create secondary mini plots. None of which is delivered. Repeating the same jokes about narcissist, gay, voyeur and an old bigot, just doesn’t make for good comedy these days and becomes very repetitive after 15 minutes. It’s not for me. I don’t think this series will survive season one without major cast reshuffle, but I wish Mr. Sheen the best at securing full 90 episode run.