Because I couldn’t bring myself to sit through Ashton Kutcher’s debut on last night’s “Two and a Half Men,” I went around the Internet and read a bunch of reviews. And let me tell you, it is a DELIGHT to read TV critics who’ve been forced to sit through an immensely popular show that they have no desire to watch. Newsday’s Verne Gay summed up the collective “meh” with this non-opinion:
So, we’ll see where this goes. Last night was neither terrible, nor good. It just was. Some fans probably hated it; some are probably willing to give it time.
Inspired by the tepid reviews (and FilmDrunk’s fun review game), I went ahead and recreated the plot of last night’s “Men” using only expository quotes (no analysis!). The fun part is the quiet, seething distaste that slips through the cracks.
Charlie Sheen’s departing character, Charlie Harper, was written off via the oldest trick in the book: getting killed offscreen in such a fashion that his demolished corpse required a closed casket. Rather than being shot down into the Sea of Japan, however, Charlie fell—or was shoved—in front of a speeding train in Paris, causing him to explode like a “balloon full of meat.” Ha ha. [A.V. Club]
The opening funeral scene — played to a congregation of old girlfriends and Martin Mull… hunted for laughs in herpes and other sexually transmitted diseases. [Chicago Tribune]
In attendance were any number of past “conquests,” including characters played by Jeri Ryan, Emmanuelle Vaugier, Jenny McCarthy, Liz Vassey, Jodi Lyn O’Keefe and Tricia Helfer. [TVLine]
The funeral took an odd turn when Charlie’s mother used the forum to brazenly hawk her dead son’s for-sale beachfront property. [TVLine]
…with prospective buyers including John Stamos (who once had a one-night fling with Charlie, a threesome that turned into a twosome) and Dharma and Greg. (I suppose I should say “Jenna Elfman and Thomas Gibson,” but, no, the two were actually playing Dharma and Greg, so that’s just easier.) [A.V. Club]
John Stamos got huge applause for his surprise cameo, which culminated with the revelation that Charlie Harper had sex with either John Stamos or Uncle Jesse. I’m not sure which. [Fienberg]
Ashton Kutcher’s Walden Schmidt turns up, drenched, after trying to drown himself in the ocean and finding it too cold. [A.V. Club]
Cause of the suicide attempt? Deep love for his wife Bridget, who left him. [Fienberg]
Kutcher made his entrance as the setup to an old sitcom standby, the someone-spilling-cremated-ashes joke. [EW]
We were half-way through the episode and wallowing deeply in bitterness before Ashton Kutcher’s Penis even made his first appearance arriving in a hail of cremains, which were then DustBusted up to be desecrated another day. [Fienberg]
And when Kutcher turned up as naive billionaire Walden Schmidt, most of the jokes were about the size of his package. (Alan, complaining, “One-point-three billion [dollars], and he’s hung like an elephant!”) [Sepinwall]
[Kutcher] is worth 1.3 billion dollars, stemming from selling something or other to Microsoft stemming from the Zune. Yes, a Zune punchline. And if you don’t have a clue what a Zune is, The CW would tell you to Bing it. [Fienberg]
What you may not have heard is that Walden is “hung like an elephant,” something he proved a number of times by walking around naked. [EW]
Alan decides that Walden needs a pick-me-up and takes him out drinking, Walden hooks up with two hot chicks, and we’re in for another season of crazy, wacky times. [A.V. Club]
Okay, how about just a little bit of analysis? How is the show different with Ashton Kutcher?
“Nice to Meet You, Walden Schmidt” felt pretty much like every other episode of “Two and a Half Men” that I’ve seen over the years: unrepentantly crude and/or cruel. [Sepinwall]
Nothing’s changed. Ashton Kutcher may have joined the cast, but the same collection of writers is still churning out jokes about threesomes, venereal diseases and flatulence. [MTV]
Nudity. Fart jokes. And references to genital warts. [The Hollywood Gossip]
The raunch. The babes. The fart jokes. [Newsday]
What may have gotten lost in the media shuffle that Two and a Half Men has occupied in pop culture over the past year or so is that this is quite a crappy little show. [EW]
Wow, I can’t believe I didn’t watch it. Ladies and gentlemen, the most-watched sitcom in America.