Anger Management Review: Season 1 Episode 1- ‘Charlie Goes Back To Therapy’

Charlie Sheen is back on our screens, for better or worse, with a brand new comedy based on the Adam Sandler film of the same name. Does it show Sheen’s funny side or has all that tiger blood and winning gone to his head?

Laughter tracks have haunted American comedies for years now and has also become integral to their structure, ironic as a comedy should never tell you when and where to laugh. Never before have I found a laughter track so irritating and obviously fake than the one in Anger Management ; it takes away from the slim pickings of laugh out loud moments found in the first episode.

I am not one for crucifying a series before it gets on its feet, FX aired the first 2 episodes together and a review on that is forthcoming, to try and give it more weight on a network that is known for its scripted TV shows. Charlie Sheen does exactly what he did in Two and a Half Men with the slimy charm combined with anger issues, irritating work life and a long list of easily beddable women. Most of the comedy comes via Sheen himself, with a great dig at firing from Two and a Half Men within 20 seconds of the beginning. There is no doubt that this is Charlie Sheen doing Charlie Sheen starring Charlie Sheen with only Selma Blair (Hellboys girlfriend in the films) bringing any star quality to the show.

The first episode sets up the premise of Charlie Sheen as a anger therapist whom has his own anger issues after almost flooring his ex’s current fling with a lamp. The premise is flimsy but allows Sheen to fly off the handle when necessary which will hopefully lead to some bi winning antics and something a bit more off the wall; the episode, despite all its advertising and push by Sheen, is pretty tame in terms of humor and where it goes. Standout moments would have to be Sheen attempting to explain his ‘black rage’ to two gay black inmates at a prison and Sheen’s ex’s new boyfriend sprouting out the same argument regarding percentages over and over again.

Unforntately the few highs are mitigated by the general boredom I felt during the rest of the show. The show itself is reasonably inoffensive and just about hits the 30 minute mark but I found even that slightly too long. The obvious gay jokes that pepper popular culture are there and waiting for you to not laugh at. Wafer thin characters are rife ,including Sheen’s whom is trying for caring father of a child with OCD but coming across as a random bloke who finds OCD faintly amusing and wants a good excuse to leather his ex’s boyfriends. It appears that Sheen and his cowriters decided to do a checklist of every mildly funny element in a  comedy that has aired in the past few years; attractive ex wife that the main character has feelings for, a job that throws them into stupid situations, and the token ethnic/gay guy to provide cheap laughs.

Sheens  second debut outing into the realms of TV has been pretty lukewarm with most professional critics. Other than the hope that the mad and bad Charlie Sheen is unleashed at some point, the show itself doesn’t seem to have a lot going for it, particularly as Sheen just seems to revel in giving the two fingers to Chuck Lorre because he actually managed to find employment again.

The removal of Sheen from Two and a Half Men has meant that the show has lost quite a few of its perks as it falls to Jon Cryer to do far more physical jokes in the absence of Sheen’s jipes. To make the show better, Sheen needs someone to bounce off to produce the comedy as its running on thin ice and vapour at present which is a shame but, thanks to the hype surrounding Sheen at the moment, is no real surprise.

Author: Adam Leith

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