Monday, October 22, 2012

Two and a half men

After plowing through 8 seasons of 'Two and a half men'  on dvd, till Charlie (the real one) got kicked out, two major things remain with me. One, the series is not as funny as it seemed when viewing isolated episodes on tv with a time gap. This is probably applicable to any comedy series like say 'Friends'. After a point, the cues and gags become predictable, we know when the background laughter is going to come. Some gags don't bring out even a smile. So while the series is indeed damn funny, it isn't the laughathon one might expect after viewing a few episodes. Secondly, I had a sneaking thought that the series was homophobic even when watching episodes on tv. It seems to be valid. Granted that this is a comedy series and I not expecting a 'Brokeback mountain' but some basic sensitivity please. There is thin line between being irreverent and being insensitive and the gay jokes mostly border on the latter.  Irreverence is good in the sense that it helps one take down the holy cows and their holier than thou attitude, but insensitivity is just being callous. All through the series, there are jokes on Alan's (and in some cases Charlie) suppressed homosexuality, jokes on Alan coming out, Alan saying that he is happy that 'Jake at-least isn't gay' and what not. Even the story about 'Chlsea's' father turning out to be gay and hooking up with his old friend seems like a bad parody of 'Brokeback mountain'. 

The actors mostly salvage the series when the writing lets it down. Cryer (Alan) is probably the best of them. It's easy for the viewers to like Charlie as most of us probably want to be like him, but do not dare so :). On the other hand Alan is probably closest to a lot of us in real life, in the sense that like Alan we want to do a lot of things but are afraid to do so and to add to it are jealous of others who do exactly what they want. And Alan as a character is a wimp, leech,  whiner, sponging of others, to put in a single word loser. It's easy to lose interest in him. But Cryer ensures that this is not so, it is not that we like 'Alan' but rather like to hate him and somehow are drawn to his antics even if there is a sadistic pleasure in seeing Alan get into trouble. Angus as Jake probably had an easy time in the earlier seasons as a little kid where he just had to act his age and be suitably dumb. But in the later seasons he comes on to his own. Of course the post wouldn't be complete without 'Berta' who has the most acidic lines in the entire series. Her repartees are damn funny, but only if you are not in her firing line. Holland Taylor is suitable self-absorbed and narcissistic as the character of Evelyn harper demands. 
A quick browsing of YouTube yielded some funny scenes.

1. Alan Playing with himselfAlan getting caught jacking off because the miser couldn't bear to see the pills he had bought earlier expire.

2. Charlie Harper sucks. Charlie's expression on seeing a website devoted solely to trashing him is excellent.

3.Satan. Charlie's greeting to his mother.

5. Alan's Christmas poem(?). Check out Charlie's addendum to the poem at the end :)

I couldn't find the clip where charlie goes to a store with jake to help jake buy a gift and where jake messes up with charlie's head, referring to charlie's funeral. It's Jake's scene but Charlie's reactions are priceless and reminds us once again that the success of the series is mainly due to the actors.

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