Thursday, March 3, 2011

A Land of Dreams & Dust

Most Monday nights for the past however many years it has been on, Margaret and I have watched Two and a Half Men on CBS. Brain surgery it is not. Harmless, sophomoric, unsnap your skull cap and sit back and enjoy the ride entertainment designed to do nothing but allow one to laugh a bit on a Monday night? For us, more often than not it has been.

Its placement on the TV schedule juxtaposes it nicely vis-a-vis House on Fox, which we also watch regularly. For one hour every Monday night Hugh Laurie plays a role that my old college roommate Jay Bauer and I used to fantasize a quarter-century ago about being able to play. Laurie plays a character who (a) has no filter; and (b) fears no consequences - or at least that is what he would like you to believe - and simply says what he wants, when he wants about whomever he wants.

Until the past several weeks, I had no clue that Charlie Sheen shared the dream of Bauer and me. To be fair, Sheen not only apparently shared it but refined it and honed it in order to take it to a level that I never imagined was attainable. Then again, never having had a job where someone pays me $2,000,000 a week to walk around dressed like an aging cabana boy and recite words written for me by someone else in the hope of making people laugh, I am certain that even had I ever envisioned living this particular dream to the extent that Sheen has been doing so recently, I never would acted upon it.

Sheen is either the single-most clever and calculating manipulator of the media to come down the Hollywood Freeway in my memory or a man whose train has completely jumped the tracks. I caught a few minutes of his 20/20 interview on Tuesday night, which was just one stop on his recent, scorched earth press tour. Wow. Equal parts entertaining and horrifying. I am confused though how one who has tiger blood and Adonis DNA appears to have been saddled with Weed Whacker hair. The price we pay I suppose.

I read something over the weekend (in the New York Post I think) that referred to Sheen's new tattoo, which he has across his chest. It is an homage to his father's classic film Apocalypse Now, which Sheen apparently lists among his most recent obsessions. Sheen the younger starred in Platoon, which was released in theatres in the late 1980's. The casting of the younger Sheen in that decade's Vietnam War opus was not accidental, given his father's role in Apocalypse Now a decade earlier. Platoon was well-received and won a number of awards and established Sheen as a movie star. His father nearly died while filming Apocalypse Now in the Philippines. Given that fact and the fact that the erstwhile Charlie Harper has not been shy about sharing with the whole world lately the less than stellar relationship he/his father have, I could not help but wonder whether sonny boy's new tat was more of a slap at than a salute to the old man. I also could not help but think that he blew the opportunity to ink himself with something from the film far more personal than "Death from above". Perhaps he has room on his back.

I have not read or seen anything anywhere from any of the other actors on Sheen's show regarding the at least temporary implosion of their top-rated series and its impact upon them. I would think that privately at least they have to be less than thrilled by what has happened. Happiness is a steady paycheck. Considering that none of them has been indicted (to date anyway) by Sheen in his rants against the world, I hope that whatever fate ultimately awaits him does not take his castmates and their careers along for the ride.

Dying is easy; comedy is hard. And it is apparently a contact sport as well. Winner-take-all.



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