Of Management and Men

Last updated 07:47 06/09/2012

Let me say this before we go any further: Anger Management is terrible.

Believe it or not, I actually had reasonably high expectations for Anger Management (Wednesdays, 8.30pm on TV2) before it started. Despite my qualms with his former show, I've always felt Charlie Sheen was a talented guy, capable of far more than he'd been doing for the past decade (or, at least, more than he was allowed to do).

20120906Early chatter about the show was positive, with various reports stating that Sheen was back at his creative best, turning in a great performance and inviting figures from his personal life on to the show as guest stars - Denise Richards appears next week, and Charlie's dad Martin Sheen shows up near the first season finale. The buzz was good.

I also had reason to hope his new show might be good based purely on the fact that it airs in the United States on FX, which, until this point, had a spotless record in original programming: Anger Management joins Louie, The League, It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia and Wilfred in FX's comedy stable, alongside original dramas Justified, Sons of Anarchy and American Horror Story. That's a quality lineup of shows that rivals HBO's and AMC's.

That Anger Management broke a ratings record - it now sits as the highest-rated sitcom premiere in cable history (that is, among shows not airing on the US networks ABC, NBC, CBS and Fox) - is proof of what FX's motivations were in doing a deal with Sheen and the various production companies involved.

We're only a couple of days removed from a blog in which I praised choosing creativity over instant ratings success, but Anger Management serves as a good reminder that television networks are all about chasing the almighty dollar, no matter how much we might applaud original ideas.

The truth is that Anger Management is more like Two And A Half Men than any of the other original comedies on FX's schedule*. Sheen's former show hangs over everything - and not just because he is involved: just like Men, Management is a lazy show that seems to indulge its star, settling for easy jokes in the name of turning Sheen into a human punchline delivery machine.

It's crass, it could probably be accused of casual racism, and it seems to be more obsessed with sex than the average 18-year-old male. Its co-stars are instantly forgettable, with the exception of Selma Blair, who has the potential to be Sheen's equal but always stops short of being the smartest or funniest person on-screen.

Yet, I think it might still be better than Two And A Half Men.

One of my biggest problems with Two And A Half Men (I mean, aside from the fact that it isn't funny in the slightest) is that it is a kind of comedic "wolf in sheep's clothing", using sexual innuendo and silly euphemisms to sneak adults-only content into an earlier timeslot.

By contrast, Anger Management is a show made for adults and airing on a network that lets it be brazen with much of its content. It is what it tries to be, unlike Two And A Half Men, which is pretending to be something it isn't.

It's just a shame that what Anger Management is trying to be still isn't very good.

What do you think of Anger Management? Is it better than Two And A Half Men?

(*) Though it is worth pointing out that FX does show repeats of Two And A Half Men thanks to a syndication deal with Warner Bros Television.

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Dave   #1   08:01 am Sep 06 2012

Agreed. It is awful. Two and a Half Men is just as bad. And Anger Management is just a remake of the same rubbish jokes with the same recycled storyline. Yawn. C'mon America - you can do better.

Leon   #2   08:07 am Sep 06 2012

Anger Management is better than the last three seasons of 2.5 Men, but not as good as the early 2.5 Men series. So that is a muted kind of praise for the show, but hardly a rave.

They really only play the "milking Charlie Sheen getting sacked from 2.5 Men" card in the first episode, and then it goes away again.

Selma Blair is definitely the best thing about this show, and by quite a margin. Plus, and I have to say it, considering the lack of difference in age between Selma Blair and Charlie Sheen ... well, it definitely shows you that Charlie's party times lifestyle hasn't been easy on his body or face. Whereas Selma looks absolutely stunning.

As for the actress who plays Charlie's onscreen ex wife. Oh dear. I wince my way through every line she utters. How she got that job is a mystery to me.

alison   #3   08:10 am Sep 06 2012

Phew. I thought it was just me. I did not like Two and a Half Men and never watched it I dont like humour where the "punchlines" are such that they almost tell you when you should be laughing. It goes without saying, Anger Management is on the same level as Two and a Half Men. Its all about the dumbing down of our tv viewing. I mean we have The Ridges coming next! my brain is melting in anticipation.

Vic   #4   08:24 am Sep 06 2012

I'm not overly impressed with Anger Management either, but i love Charlie Sheen and I loved the first 6 seasons of Two and a Half Men. I've never heard or seen any of the FX Stables comedies mentioned in the above article so can't compare, however like most things doesn't this just come down to personal taste?

Naomi   #5   08:45 am Sep 06 2012

I watched one episode and gave up - the ads confirm I made the right decision.

seth   #6   08:51 am Sep 06 2012

Selma Blair is stunningly hot - ever since Cruel Intentions, she's been magnificent - worth watching the show just for that compared to the old bags they have on 2.5 Men these days - eye candy ++.

Steve   #7   08:55 am Sep 06 2012

The first episode of anger management was great but the rest have been a little disappointing.

Ross   #8   09:08 am Sep 06 2012

Missed first couple of episodes then caught last weeks one, needless to say I will be missing the rest... I find his same character in this new family just doesnt work...Its always been sexual inuendo jokes on two and a half which worked as a bachelor making inapropriate statements around his nephew...Worked on a superficial level

Shelly   #9   09:35 am Sep 06 2012

Sad to say but Anger Management is awful. We kept waiting for it to improve but somehow it just stagnates. Boring storylines, unimaginative characters, forced humour like it's trying too hard. Perhaps could have better if Charlie had been the one going to therapy.

MJ   #10   09:36 am Sep 06 2012

I managed to watch the first episode - having heard a lot of hype I had high expectations but it was TERRIBLE.

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