Pretty well, all things considered.
For those of you who missed it (and there aren’t very many of you, because the ratings were through the roof–but we’ll get to that in a minute), last night was the premiere of the Sheen-less Two and a Half Men. A few months ago, I argued that Ashton Kutcher could only take the show upward considering he would be paid less than Sheen, he would draw a female audience, and the show was completely stale as it was. Regardless of whether or not he made the show funnier, I told you, Two and a Half Men would benefit from Kutcher.
Let’s examine his entrance:
That’s a pretty bold first appearance–Kutcher’s Walden causes Charlie’s remains to be dumped on the floor. Who knew Two and a Half Men could be so symbolic and deep?
Before this scene, the show was living up to its reputation of being completely dried up. It was sort of a nice touch that in that opening scene they got basically every woman who ever had more than two lines on this show to come back (I would imagine they were compelled to by the prospect of meeting Kutcher), but they were all wasted with completely overused STD jokes in a scene that fell flat except for Rose’s appearance.
Every line that came from Alan, Berta, Evelyn, and Jake up until Kutcher’s appearance was completely recycled from earlier episodes. They really gave Jake absolutely nothing in this episode, and I insist that something has to be done with that boy to give him back some of the funny or else the show will die on the floor. The one burst of fresh air came from Judith (of all people) taking a jab at how Evelyn raised Alan.
So now what about Kutcher? How did he do?
Well, I’ll tell you, Two and a Half Men didn’t get Ashton Kutcher. They got Michael Kelso. His dialogue and mannerisms were essentially ripped from That 70s Show. Later in the episode, when Alan and Walden are sitting in a bar, Walden says, “I am tall, good-looking, and smart,” and I gawked, bewildered, at the screen, wondering if we are actually supposed to believe that Walden is smart. Because he is Michael Kelso, right down to that blank look in his eyes. (And that walking around naked gimmick is going to get really old really fast.)
It is probably a good sign that this show felt more like a pilot than a continuation of the old show. Maybe they’ll find a new formula that works. They left it a little up in the air as to how these three “men” will be living together for the next two years of show.
Because there probably will be two more years of show. Why, you ask? Well, friends, last night’s premiere drew almost 28 million viewers. That is astounding. It is nearly twice as large an audience as the show’s average viewership in any of its eight seasons.
Granted, that will go down (probably by a good amount) over the next few weeks, but unless the drop-off is astronomical, I’d say CBS totally won this round.
Oh, and Uncle Jesse stopped by to give us a gross tale from many years ago. I hope that didn’t happen while you were living in Full House.