Two and a Half Men

It’s never a good sign when principal stars leave a show. In the case of Two and a Half Men, the writing has been on the wall for the last three years. Despite the title, the upcoming season of the show will now feature a young woman instead of Angus T. Jones. The actor who played dumb but sweet kid Jake has left, with producers deciding to replace him with a girl who will play Charlie’s daughter. Could this be the final nail in the coffin for the long-running show or will it reinstate Men at the top of the ratings heap?

Men barely resembles the show it once was. Where it originally depicted an uptight man and his son living with his laid-back brother, the show took a turn when star Charlie Sheen’s personal life began to overshadow the series. He was cut in season eight after “creative differences” with the show’s creator, Chuck Lorre. A new lead played by Ashton Kutcher was introduced as a replacement.

Unfortunately, Two and a Half Men only made it through one season with Kutcher before scandal struck again. In a religious rant posted on YouTube, Jones slammed his cash cow, claiming that it was “filth” and begging viewers to stop watching. It was no surprise to see his character slowly phased out until he was no longer there.

Since Sheen left, the show lost a lot of its charm. Yes, Charlie (the character) could be selfish, sexist, and mean, but Sheen carried it all off with such aplomb that is was hard to dislike him. Recent seasons have seen the put-upon Alan (Jon Cryer) become much more conniving and annoying, but he can’t carry it off the way Sheen did. And the jokes about Walden’s (Kutcher) looks and money are even more one-note than Charlie’s womanizing.

So what’s a show to do when two of the original cast members of a three man show are gone? Add more, of course! Deadline broke the news that Jones’s character will be replaced by a 20-something girl who arrives at the house looking for her dad, the now-deceased Charlie.

The ratings for Men have been declining, but an average audience of 13.4 million people is still pretty impressive, though far from its peak audience of 16.4 million in 2004. Producers obviously hope that the addition of a female cast member will be enough to save a slowly sinking ship. It will come down to casting and plot. Will Charlie’s daughter be built from her father’s mold or will she be the opposite, a moral compass to keep Walden and Alan on track? Either way, it’s a last-ditch effort of a dying TV dynasty. If you love it, enjoy it while it lasts.

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