S9E17: Last week, our infamous pal Charlie Sheen came out of the woodwork to once again criticize Two and a Half Men: "I'm tired of lying. I'm tired of pretending like the show doesn't suck. I'm tired of pretending like Ashton [Kutcher] doesn't suck." Come now, Charlie. You obviously haven't been keeping up with the show.
Then again, maybe he saw an advanced preview of tonight's gross-out extravaganza. Two and a Half Men is a hit or miss operation, but the past two episodes (especially last Monday's "Sips, Sonnets and Sodomy") have been as solid as ever. This week...well, Charlie's right. Men and Kutcher took a nosedive.
Here's the scorecard breakdown:
One Charlie Sheen Head (1 - 10 Points): Ashton, you were in this episode.
Two Charlie Sheen Heads (11 - 20 Points): Ashton, you landed a few jokes, but we can't stop thinking about good ol' Charlie.
Three Charlie Sheen Heads (21 - 30 Points): Ashton, you earned tonight's laugh track. Solid.
Four Charlie Sheen Heads (31 - 40 Points): Ashton, we're impressed. You've surpassed Sheen-level kookiness.
Five Charlie Sheen Heads (41 - 50 Points): Ashton, you're scaring us with classic levels of comedy. Charlie who?
That's that, now on with the Ashton Kutcher Two and a Half Men scorecard!
"Not in My Mouth"
1. [Should be smooth sailing from here on out.] "I doubt that."
As they can often be found doing, Walden and his British significant other Zooey kick off the episode flying back from a romantic getaway to San Francisco, with a spat of turbulence throwing the evening into turmoil. As the plane appears to plummet, Walden screams, "I LOVE YOU!" Zooey just hopes this isn't the end.
I had hope for a Two and a Half Men turkey with this week (the bowling three-in-a-row term, to clarify), and the action-packed opening starts things on the right track. The wild scenario is a unique way to open the can of worms that is professing love, and Ashton's skills for physical comedy make it an off-the-wall scene. Literally, Walden is physically bouncing off the walls, all while taking a punch to the guy when he doesn't hear the same profession from his lady.
2. "I'm gonna go change my underwear before I get diaper rash."
The lack of heartfelt cry leaves Walden troubled. He returns to the mansion to find Alan and extremely drunk Lyndsey, who recommends he drowns his sorrows in a fine red wine. As we know, that's not exactly Walden's cup of...alcohol (unless there are Appletinis involved), so he throws one of his usual temper tantrums and scurries off.
There's a surprising lack of joke's in tonight's episode, aside from Lyndsey's binge drinking quips. Ashton breaks down like a 14-year-old girl when he doesn't hear "I love you" out of Zooey's mouth. Honestly, I thought we were past this side of Walden and I'm unhappy to see him back. He grew up after his marriage to Bridget was 100% off...or at least, I thought so. You could make a case for why Walden slips back into whiny mode, but instead of feeling logical, it feels easy.
3. "I can't just [uuurp] leave things the way that they are [uurp]"
And suddenly, everything goes down the toilet. Another literal statement.
Clearly desperate for advice, Walden seeks guidance in Alan, who deals with his own girlfriend issue: Lyndsey stuck in the bathroom, puking her guts out. Between throwaway lines of emotional exploration, the two men attempt to hold in the contents of their own stomachs, as Lyndsey spews and spews and spews (bravo, sound effects guy).
I wish there was more. This string of gags fills the entire episode after the halfway point, making what could have been a poignant crossroads for the Walden/Zooey relationship and turns it into one big potty humor riff. Ashton doesn't have room to do anything—he's constantly interrupted by sounds of throwing up!—so he just delivers lines with the occasional near-yarf. A series low.
4. "I said I love you and the only thing I got in response was the unsurprising fact that you didn't want to die in a plane crash."
Walden heads to Zooey's pad to be upfront, tell her he loves her and await a truthful response. But he doesn't get it. Heading out to London for business, Zooey can't even begin to deal with Walden's needs and puts the whole ordeal on hold. Not cool, in Walden's book. At this moment, the relationship is over, and the millionaire playboy immediately finds a new plaything to take home. He parades hot-lady-in-red-dress around the house for Alan and Jake, but Alan sees through the calculated move. Walden's golddigging rommate finally has a point: stop being a baby and go say you're sorry to your girlfriend. Walden Facetimes (thanks Apple!) with Zooey to apologize...but not before she catches red dress lady in the background.
Ashton possesses a power I think Charlie Sheen lacked: the ability to be genuine. The manchild can whip up some honest emotion when he wants to and in this bit with Zooey, he confesses his feelings without entirely resorting to toddler tactics. Now if they could throw in some funny jokes too...
5. "A little? I'm going to have to get a new plane!"
Walden makes little progress with his phone call, so he packs up Alan and Lyndsey, takes to the sky and heads to London to right his wrongs. Unfortunately, Lyndsey's had quite a bit of wine to drink, and the entire flight is one big vomit fest. Eventually, the trio lands and finds Zooey, where Walden can say he messed up and she can finally be honest with herself. Zooey loves Walden. Walden loves Zooey. Make-up kisses abound and are cut-off on key as Lyndsey barfs directly into Alan's mouth.
If I didn't think the bathroom scene could stoop lower, the airplane sees takes the cake—then quickly spits it up all over the place. Ashton and Jon Cryer have zero to do in this episode, besides react whenever Lyndsey is spewing her bright pink muck across their faces and the plane interior. Maybe there were jokes in the final scene that reunited Walden and Zooey, but I couldn't tell. My head was in a bucket trying to keep my dinner down.
Total Points: 17 - Two Charlie Sheen Heads!
Two and a Half Men, you let me down. Two top-notch episodes and then...this? This indescribable mess was a sorry excuse for what the characters in the show are capable of doing on a comedic level. Respect them, Creative Masterminds! Puke is never the answer.
Am I overreacting or did tonight's Two and a Half Men make you ill?