If you tuned into the season premiere of "Two And A Half Men" last night expecting one last glimpse of Charlie Harper, you were sadly disappointed. Rather, you were treated to an array of guest stars, and Charlie’s replacement, Ashton Kutcher, as Walden Schmidt, a hairy, gangly innocent, who apparently is “hung like an elephant.” Oh dear. It’s never a good sign when a show chooses casual nudity over clever, biting repartee. By offering up Kutcher as a classic ‘himbo’ over Charlie Sheen’s cynical roué, the show has drawn a line in the sand. Sadly, there may not be many who wish to step over.
At a memorial for Charlie, Alan’s (Jon Cryer) eulogy is constantly interrupted by the sea of Charlie’s ex-girlfriends/lovers, amongst them Courtney (Jenny McCarthy) and Sherri (Jeri Ryan) who chime in with their own epitaphs, and a list of the venereal diseases that were Charlie’s legacy. Charlie’s widow, Rose (aka his stalker) explains that there wasn’t much to bury, as ‘he exploded like a sack of meat’ after his fall onto the Paris subway track. Fell or pushed? Rose ain’t saying, but she did come home to find him with another woman just before it happened …
Evelyn, Charlie’s mom, takes the opportunity to announce that she’s selling his beachfront home. He may have left the house to Alan, but the three mortgages won’t pay themselves. A guest at the funeral (Martin Mull) asks if there’s any chance he will be repaid the $38,000. owed to him for ‘pharmaceutical’ purchases, but he, too, is out of luck.
At the open house, potential homebuyers include John Stamos, who drops hints of a threeway with Charlie that continued after the girl left, and ‘Dharma and Greg’ (Jenna Elfman and Thomas Gibson,) now much older and not very happily married. As Alan tearfully says his own goodbyes to Charlie’s cremated remains, he is startled by a large, bearded, wet man, plastered against the patio window. It’s Walden Schmidt (Ashton Kutcher,) fresh from an unsuccessful suicide attempt in the ocean. He needs to use the phone to call his ex, who apparently finds him a little immature. You think?
As it turns out, he’s also a billionaire, having sold his computer ideas to Microsoft, and, when he casually strips off his clothing to be dried, very well endowed. This is just the first of three times that Walden will casually drop trou – and he’s fond of hugging Alan while naked, to Alan’s chagrin.
Is Alan just a nice guy, helping out a needy stranger, or is his quick friendship largely based on Walden’s fortune? Either way, Alan takes Walden out for drinks, and discovers that Walden, like Charlie, is a chick magnet. With two babes in tow, Alan and Walden head back to the beach house, but the trio climbing the stairs have no use for Alan.
Heady from his conquest, Walden reappears to tell Alan that he’s buying the house to thank him for his kindness. Where does this leave Alan and son Jake? Based on the show’s premise, still there. But the title card teases … “to be continued…”
Did Ashton Kutcher live up to your expectations? Can ‘Men’ survive without Charlie Sheen? And will you tune in next week to see what happens next for Alan and Jake? Let me know what you think about the season’s premiere, and if you’ll be watching this fall.