Welp, this is terrible.
The series premiere of FX’s “Anger Management” delivered 5.5 million viewers, making it the most-watched series premiere in the network’s history. The second episode grew to 5.7 million viewers — a very good sign. Among adults 18-49, the show delivered 2.7 million viewers for its debut, then another 2.9 million viewers for Episode 2. Anger Management was also the most-watched scripted comedy series premiere in cable history if you exclude children’s programming. [EW]
To put that in perspective for you, 2.5 million people watched “Wilfred,” and 1.4 million watched “Louie.” Both of those figures represent fairly substantial increases over their ratings from last season, but you don’t need to be a Mathlete to see that they got trounced by “Anger Management” (in fact, the huge viewership for Sheen’s new show probably had a lot to do with the bump). Now, in general, I try very hard to not get upset about ratings, because it’s a complete waste of time. Does it bother me that glorified talent shows beat critically-acclaimed scripted programs every single week by a wide enough margin to fit Chevy Chase’s ego between them? Sure. But going to 11 every time it happens would do nothing but put me on high doses of blood pressure medication.
But this one … this one bugs me. And not even because it more than tripled the numbers for “Louie” (although that doesn’t exactly tickle me, either). It bugs me because Charlie Sheen is a world class goon, and he keeps getting rewarded for it. He was a goon before he was cast on “Two and a Half Men,” he was fired from “Two and a Half Men” for continuing to be a goon, and then he did a ton of goon-y interviews where he came off like a crazed, blabbering narcissist. Despite all that FX gave him another show, which was promoted almost entirely by reminding everyone what a goon he was, and millions of people still tuned in. I know I’m up on my Pollyanna soapbox here, but Jesus Christ, America. Knock this sh-t off. There are literally hundreds of other things on TV, go find one that doesn’t involve validating years of crappy behavior by an overprivileged creep. My hope here is that the numbers were inflated by a bunch of people watching the premiere out of morbid curiosity, and they’ll return to Earth in the coming weeks. Because if not, I’m gonna need that blood pressure medicine after all.