The ninth season of Two and a Half Men has proven to be somewhat challenging for the show's regular fan base. Now that viewers are being forced to live in a Charlie Harper-less world, Ashton Kutcher has done his best to pick up the slack and maintain the show's overall success — but it hasn't come as easily as one might think.
Despite Kutcher's A-list appeal, the sitcom hit a series low in April, earning only a 3.5 rating in their normally high 18-49 demographic. This made me wonder just how monumental Charlie Sheen's contribution to the show really was. So now that Season 9 is about to come to a close, I decided to take to the streets of the Big Apple and get some intel straight from the horse's mouth, so to speak.
After polling 100 people randomly on the streets of New York City, here's what I discovered...
Out of the hundred people I spoke with, 62% of them said they only watch reruns of the show that include Charlie Sheen. From a 49-year-old woman in Mission Viejo, California to a 27-year-old man in Tennessee, all of them claimed to just be interested in the "ones with Charlie Sheen in them." Now that's a pretty big chunk of the poll, especially coming from such a vast array of people.
Deep down, I figured Sheen was going to play a big part in their reason for favoring the old episodes vs. the new ones, but I was surprised to find just how deep their loyalties lie. Even those who don't like Sheen himself, still really enjoy watching his character on the show — who, funnily enough, very much resembled Sheen's real-life personality. So the fact that a majority of these people were able to put their own personal feelings for Sheen aside and simply just enjoy his role on the show is very telling of what a unique effect this actor has on the general public (or at least this particular group of people.) Even when they aren't fans of his, they're fans of his.
Then there were those who wanted absolutely nothing to do with the show — as in they wouldn't touch it with a ten-foot-pole. Surprisingly, 26% of the people I spoke with have never watched the show at all, which includes reruns and new episodes. Of that 26%, 15% were older women between the ages of 40-65, who either watch something else during that time slot (like Dancing With the Stars) or just find Charlie Sheen "repulsive" and never had an interest in watching it. So I guess there are at least some people out there who can't get past his personal baggage.
And that leaves us with the small 12% who still currently watch the show, even after Sheen's departure. Out of the 12%, 8% were younger women while 4% were younger men, with their ages ranging in the 20s and 30s. And while they still find the show pretty funny, their common complaint was not about Charlie's absence, but with another male character — or should I say half of a male character.
Yes, they're having a hard time adjusting to the fact that Jake is no longer a little boy because they miss the whole adult-child dynamic that came with him being young. Whether he was witnessing one of Charlie's benders or learning about his uncle's skewed view about how to treat women, it was always hilarious when Jake came to visit. But now that the show has lost the half part of their Two and a Half Men, fans that have still bothered to stick around miss that element of the show.
So after looking at the final tally...
62% Watch Reruns
26% Never Watch the Show
12% Currently Watch the Show
....the verdict is that Charlie Sheen's popularity is far superior to that of Ashton Kutcher's — at least among this particular group of people. Looks like Charlie is still "winning" after all.