‘Anger Management’ Pilot Recap: “I Will Never Love You”

Charlie Sheen is back on television in a new sit-com. If this notion in itself were enough to get you excited, without any other context behind it (such as whether the show is, you know, any good), then you’d be the perfect undiscriminating audience for ‘Anger Management’, perhaps the laziest alleged “comedy” to hit the airwaves since… well… since Sheen’s own ‘Two and a Half Men’.

No, that’s not fair. ‘Two and a Half Men’ at least has jokes. They’re not funny jokes, but they’re actual jokes, with set-ups and punchlines for a studio audience to pretend to laugh at when prompted with big glowing signs that demand “LAUGH NOW, LAUGH NOW, LAUGH NOW.” ‘Anger Management’ doesn’t even try that hard.

The show is a traditional multi-camera sit-com, which is actually a first for the FX network, and hopefully the last as well. If the producers insist that it’s filmed in front of a live audience, I would ask for proof of that. The laugh track is painfully canned. There’s no way those laughs are coming from actual people.

As he usually does, Charlie Sheen plays a character named Charlie, because he’s no longer capable of remembering any other names. The gimmick is that Charlie is an anger management therapist. Get it? ‘Cuz Charlie Sheen is famous for having anger problems. But now he’s supposed to counsel other people with anger problems. Even though he’s a guy who really has anger problems. Get it? Are you sure? Do I need to explain it again? I can talk slower if it helps.

That’s it. That’s the whole thing. Beyond the premise, there aren’t any jokes in the show, or anything that would even remotely register as funny to a breathing human. FX aired two episodes back-to-back for the premiere last Thursday, called ‘Charlie Goes Back to Therapy’ and ‘Charlie and the Slumpbuster’. There wasn’t a single laugh the entire hour.

The supporting cast is filled with B-listers like Selma Blair (Charlie’s girlfriend), Michael Boatman (his best friend), Brian Austin Green (his ex-wife’s new boyfriend) and Brett Butler (his favorite bartender). Most of them look lost, except for Butler, who I’m sure is just thrilled to be employed again and no longer homeless. I’d say that the former ‘Grace Under Fire’ star looks haggard, but it’s Brett Butler. She looks alive, so that’s pretty good.

Ugh. The show is horrible. Unless you hate yourself and are a masochist, don’t watch it under any circumstances.

8 comments

  1. RollTide1017

    Well, I guess I really hate myself because I loved the pilot. It is much better then Two and a Half Men with Kutcher. I’ll keep watching to see where it goes.

  2. Who is Brett Butler? Is she pretty famous in America? I have never heard of ‘Grace Under Fire’. Butler’s Wikipedia page is quite empty too.

    • Josh Zyber
      Author

      Butler is a comedienne and actress who had a moderately-popular sit-com in the ’90s in the vein of ‘Roseanne’. She’s most famous for publicly clashing with her producers (including Chuck Lorre) and the way both the show and her career flamed out due to her raging alcoholism and drug abuse. In other words, she’s Charlie Sheen’s role model.

  3. I’m curious to give it a go. It was Sheen’s sarcastic/dead-pan delivery that usually made the bad jokes in Two and a Half Men funny any way. Given how terrible Two and a Half Men is now with Kutcher, (well, it had been terrible for a few seasons, but Sheen made it amusingly watchable), I’ll at least watch the first couple of episodes of this to see if it’s any good.

    • OK, but you have to admit he didn’t exactly set “Spin City” ablaze either. That show just worked because of Michael J. Fox (and the always hilarious Brian Bostwick).

      • I think that’s a good example of Sheen doing what Kutcher is now doing, taking on a series that had already passed its sell-by date (I used to enjoy Spin City). The problem is producers unwilling to let something go when it’s had its chance and should end on a high rather than flogging a dead horse. 😉

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