Two and a Half Men's September 19 season premiere is quickly approaching and with Charlie Sheen's Charlie Harper now exercised from the cast, fans are eagerly awaiting how show creator Chuck Lorre will explain the actor's sudden departure.
Rumors have been swirling. We learned a few weeks back that Harper would in fact be dead at the start of the season, with murmurs that the womanizing jingle-composer would fall on to subway tracks during his trip to Paris (with a murderous Rose possibly covering up foul intentions). Yeah...that's OK. I guess.
The problem is, Two and a Half Men isn't just killing off a character in a TV sitcom. They're killing off Charlie "Warlock" Sheen and the year's worth of baggage—and they need to do it in style. Here are a few ideas that could live up to the man, the myth, the legend:
"The Referential Death" - Charlie Dies in a Freak Zoo Accident
The show established that Charlie jetted across the Atlantic to France for a little quality time with his fiance Rose, but the whole "fell in a subway" angle doesn't open the door for any inside jokes. Sheen's been writing material for this Season 9 opener since the entire fiasco that led to this firing began (see: The Charlie Sheen Glossary), so why not use it? Send him to Paris' Ménagerie du Jardin des Plantes, have him fall into a cage and let the tiger blood spill. Gruesome, perhaps, but the man is an F-18 fighter jet after all.
"The Important Lesson Death" - Charlie Dies from an Undiagnosed STD
Taking a page out of the "very special" Nancy Reagan/Different Strokes episode, in which the former First Lady stops by to "Just Say No" to drugs, the TaaHM premiere could use its momentum to teach an important lesson. Charlie was a womanizer, sleeping around and not thinking twice. Maybe that funky red patch he ignored for a few weeks comes back to get him, opening the door for a teary-eyed Jon Cryer to deliver a poignant, breaking-the-fourth-wall PSA.
"The Double Life Death" - Charlie Dies During a Covert Spy Operation
Eternal bachelor burnout with a penchant for sexual hijinks—sham. Jake and Alan never realized was that Charlie's less-than-perfect lifestyle was really a cover-up for his career as a CIA agent. Whenever Charlie was off with a woman, he was really infiltrating the infrastructure of world powers and ensuring we'd never see a World War III. He died during service—something Mission: Impossible-like— and what appears to be a clumsy accident is really the facade for a patriotic demise. Noble.
"The Horror Mystery Death" - Charlie's Been Dead for Twenty Years...
Trying to continue a sitcom after killing off one the main characters is odd enough, so the creative forces behind Two and a Half Men have an opportunity to go really out there.
With paranormal TV being all the craze, the show could reveal have Alan digging for truths on his brother Charlie, only to realize that Charlie's been dead since they were kids. True, this would rewrite the entire show from beat number one, but think about it: when Alan discovers Charlie's never existed, he begins to realize his entire life is a fabrication. His brother, his ex-wife, his son Jake—all lies. When Ashton Kutcher shows up, Alan tries to piece together his "real" life, while avoiding the voice of the imaginary son he never had. Trippy!
"The Spiritual Journey" - Charlie Didn't Die, He "Found" Himself
Another throughline that could extrapolate from Charlie Sheen's real issues and twist them for laughs. While Two and a Half Men decided to take the morbid route in order to write Sheen off, they could have easily found a way to keep him from appearing without sentencing him to his death. A peaceful alternative: while in Paris, Charlie has a revelation and realizes he's been doing it all wrong. Los Angeles was a place for indulgences, but with a newfound sense of life and apprecation, Charlie sets off to the Himilayas to live amongst wise monks...to live a "winning" life.
At least this way, you could bring him back on the show if need be. And with a shaved head.
"The Ripped-from-the-Headlines Death"- Charlie Suffers a Mental Breakdown
With all the tension between Charlie Sheen and Chuck Lorre, it's no surprise that the show went the direction it did. But the move would be an even bigger spectacle of Lorre went for the throat and depicted Harper's demise as an extension of Sheen's real life downward spiral. The show could depict Alan watching interview footage of Sheen flipping out and concocting his maniac schemes—only to end with Harper kicking the bucket. If Lorre wanted to go for the jugular and publicly shame Sheen, he could do it using Two and a Half Men, advertisers be damned.
"The Comedy Death" - Charlie Dies in a Falling Piano Accident
The rules of comedy state that when you drop a piano on a person it is always funny. The horrifying aspects of killing a human being with a giant musical instrument are never considered. It is always funny.
Why try and weave some coherent, plot-driven reason for Charlie Harper's death? Just drop a piano on his head. That way, whenever he comes up over the next season, you can drop the "piano fell on him" line. Cue up that laugh track machine! Comedy gold on its way.