S9E5: The season may have started on an impressive high note considering the unpredictable talents of Mr. Kutcher, but after last week's episode, we're losing our faith. Gone was the newfound energy, the character twists that were turning Two and a Half Men into a brand new show. Instead, we got same old same old with Walden devolving into a wooden knock-off of Charlie Harper.
Can Ashton redeem himself? Can the comedic actor find a consistent groove? There's only one way to find out: The scorecard! Here's the 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 third round of the Ashton Kutcher Two and a Half Men scorecard!
"A Giant Cat Holding Churro"
1. "This is not historically accurate. Medieval bakers did not dress like Chef Boyardee"
Two and a Half Men may have a new star front and center in its ads, but that doesn't mean Ashton's going to be in the spotlight of every episode. This time around, he was a supporting character through and through, alley-ooping jokes to Alan who finds himself struggling to make his relationship with Lyndsey work. After a sexless night in, Alan joins Walden, who's spending his evening learning to drink (aka sniffing whiskey). The two stumble upon a soft core porn that stars a vaguely familiar lady named Cinnamon. Yup, it's Lyndsey—and while Alan does his freak out thing, Walden casually heads upstairs to blow off some steam.
Personally, I like Ashton/Walden when he's in full clown mode, so consider me underwhelmed by more of the deadpan, lovestruck act. Let's hope Walden gets back with Bridget sooner than later—maybe he'll come alive.
2. "I already know how to have sex. How do you make buttermilk biscuits? That's the real mystery."
For being a self-made billionaire, Walden really has no attention span for anyone or anything. One minute he'll be talking relationships with Alan, the next he'll be blurting out new life goals he conjured up after watching Skinemax movies. For me, Two and a Half Men suffers from its Alan-centric episodes (I can only take too much whining and self-depricating jabs), so Walden's odd foray into cooking, at the least, mellowed the scene out.
Maybe deadpan Walden does serve a purpose, but if they're going to keep that side of the character around, the show should pair them up more often. It's like the episodes have to be about one character or another. Pair them up!
3. "Berta is making my head into a dream catcher!"
The prayer I had at the beginning of the episode is later answered in an obvious, but admittedly enjoyable fashion. Alan returns from spilling his darkest secrets to Lyndsey to find Walden and Berta in outer space, thanks to the redheaded maid's "secret brownie recipe." I have a special place in my heart for Dude, Where's My Car? and watching Ashton flex his pot humor muscles tickled my funny bone. The funniest joke of the episode was just watching Walden repeat the word "Snapple" over and over and over again. Simple, maybe a little cheap, but very funny.
4. "Alan, have a brownie! They're mmm mmm good."
OK, this is the Ashton I permanently want on the show. Walden scarfs down a few more pot brownies and comes up with an ingenious idea to make Alan happy: Throw a party with a Malibu College volleyball team! The oddest part is that Ashton plays this version of the character like a younger, hipper version of Jeff Bridges' The Dude from The Big Lebowski. Maybe that's sacrilege, but walking around with big sunglasses, free flowing shirts and a half-awake swagger, I couldn't help be reminded of the end all be all of stoner characters. He's just cool. Plus, he convinces six gorgeous co-eds to cover Alan with whipped cream, so he's good friend too.
5. "Are you having some sort of party in there?" "No, it's just a bunch of stoned girls dancing."
The episode ends with Lyndsey arriving at Walden's doorstep, and the party animal being just aware enough to conceal Alan by throwing him off the edge of the deck. Ashton carries this episode with physical comedy, an aspect of the show has really worked in his favor in the past. Loose the mumbling, introvert Walden—I like the one that robot walks back and forth while high out of his mind, while still coming off as the most charming guy in the room.
Walden manages to fend off Lyndsey for another day, but Alan, in true Alan fashion, screws it all up. Well, at least Walden probably got some action.
Total Points: 23 - Three Charlie Sheen Heads!
OK, Ashton. You have me back for a little while longer. While the blank stares and mumbling one-liners continue to pop up, a lively Walden appeared on tonight's episode and helped realize Ashton's full potential on Men. The show is strongest when Alan and Walden are paired together—and tonight was the evidence.