Reports this morning are telling us that Ashton Kutcher will make $700,000 per episode of Two and a Half Men. While that’s $500,000 less than Charlie Sheen was making, he’s still going to be the highest paid TV actor in Hollywood.
Everyone has an opinion about this highly publicized fire-then-hire shift on the show. It’s hard to argue with those who believe Charlie Sheen made the show what it was. Without him, you’ve got a horribly awkward, mostly-unfunny Dad (Jon Cryer) and a not-cute-anymore, stupid teenager (Angus Jones). That’s not exactly a great recipe for a sitcom.
So what does Kutcher’s presence in all of this mean? Well, it remains to be seen. On That 70s Show, the last time he was on television (other than Punk’d), he played a spastic idiot whose antics and arguments with his snotty girlfriend (my beloved Mila Kunis) were sometimes funny. Since then, he has progressed to playing man-boys in romantic comedies. It’s hard to imagine him playing anything other than a man-boy on Two and a Half Men.
So maybe it will bomb. Maybe it will be a horrible, unfunny train wreck. There’s a chance it could be funny. But I’ll let you in on a secret–regardless of how funny this move turns out to be, it was a great move regardless.
The show trimmed half a million off its budget by letting Sheen go. They’re going to get a much bigger female audience with Kutcher on the roster. But these are semantics–statistics that mean good things but ignore the bigger issue.
The bigger issue: that show was blowing in its later seasons.
It was pretty funny in the earlier ones when Jones was little and cute. Kids say the damnedest things, right? Pair that with Charlie Sheen playing himself and have the kid parrot everything he says and it’s pretty funny. They said some outrageous stuff for prime time television.
But then the damn kid grew up, and even beside that, those jokes are not funny after the millionth time. A lot of
women critics will tell you the show is misogynistic and very offensive. I think those women should learn to deal with humor and stop watching if it bothers them so much. From a a standpoint purely concerned with humor, that show was getting less funny all the time.
I don’t care that Sheen made the show what is what–what it was was bad. Maybe Kutcher will also make it bad, but at least there’s a chance that he won’t. He can only take it upward, and that’s what I’m hoping he does.
But there’s some math to be done here. If Jon Cryer is one whole man (1) plus Angus Jones who is half a man (1/2) and Ashton Kutcher who is some man-boy mix (3/4 maybe?), exactly how many men are on this show?