TV

9 reasons why 'Two and a Half Men' needs Charlie Sheen

May 9, 2013 at 9:19 AM ET

Image: Charlie Sheen
CBS
Charlie Sheen needs to come back to "Two and a Half Men"!

It’s no secret that Charlie Sheen is open to returning to his former hit sitcom, “Two and a Half Men.” He said as much when he appeared on “The Late Show with David Letterman” in January, telling the host he’d actually like to come back as bachelor Charlie Harper whenever the comedy takes its final bow.

Given that “Men” got the go-ahead for an eleventh season on April 26, that swan song obviously won’t be taking place anytime soon. But that affords the show’s writers plenty of time to come up with a way to bring Charlie’s return to fruition. (After all, they did kill off his character after the actor’s very public spat with show boss Chuck Lorre.)

While they consider the possibilities, we’ve got a few reasons why it wouldn’t be a bad idea to have the actor back for more than just the series finale.

Kathy Bates looks nothing like Charlie Sheen.
Not that the talented Ms. Bates didn’t do everything within her power to channel Charlie Harper when she stepped into his shoes early in season 10 to play his spirit, but, c’mon, really? Nice try, but no dice. If anyone’s going to embody the spirit of Charlie Harper, it’s got to be the man who originated the role.

The old 'Has anyone ever told you that you look just like ...?' gag is always funny.
Not that the series hasn’t been guilty of recycling before, but having already done the Charlie’s-spirit-returns story line, Sheen could come back and play a different character altogether, with shenanigans ensuing whenever someone mistakes him for Charlie Harper. Bonus: a possible tie-in with CBS’s occasional reality series, "I Get That a Lot."

Everybody loves a drunk. And a Casanova.
Not that we’re encouraging alcoholism or promiscuity, nor do we want to put Sheen in a position where he’s imitating behavior onscreen that played a role in his personal downfall in the first place, but ... well, we don’t know how to finish that sentence. Maybe it’s because of all the experience he brings to the table, but Sheen played those particular tendencies to comedic perfection, and the show hasn’t been the same without his take on them.

Less need for feeble excuses to bring in Charlie’s exes, old pharmacist, or anyone else heused to know.
Right now, bringing in someone like, say, Martin Mull, who played the pharmacist, feels like the desperate act of a show trying to rekindle brief moments from its glory days. Pretending that rumors of Charlie’s death have been greatly exaggerated would instantly allow for anyone who’s ever had a connection to him to return for a guest spot without it feeling like quite so much of a stretch.

Better use of Charlie Sheen again.
You can’t say "Anger Management" executive producer Bruce Helford hasn’t been giving it the old college try, but more often than not, Sheen's new vehicle on FX isn't giving him the chance to bring his A game.

Better story lines and character interaction all around.
One wouldn’t think the show would need a creative kick in the butt so soon after bringing in Ashton Kutcher to play Alan’s new roommate, naïve Internet billionaire Walden Schmidt, but everything feels so forced now. (OK, so it sometimes felt forced before.) As soon as Sheen stepped out of the picture, the family dynamic that drove the show began to flounder and fall apart, putting an utterly unrelatable character — yes, we’re talking about you, Mr. Internet Billionaire — at the center of too many episodes. While a Sheen return might not fix everything that’s wrong with the sitcom, it’s hard to envision a scenario where the writers wouldn’t be reinvigorated by the challenge of re-incorporating the actor.

The Sheen/Cryer chemistry was unmatched.
No matter what's gone on in the past, the onscreen interaction between Sheen and "Men" star Jon Cryer is always going to be miles better than the new Cryer/Kutcher combo. You can call the comedy lowbrow, but you can’t say the two original "Men" didn’t play off each other well.

Someone needs to take Kutcher down a peg anyway.
Seriously, what kind of world do we live in where anyone gets a reported $700,000 an episode to appear on a TV series, particularly one that’s going into its eleventh season?

Redemption!
For all of Sheen's sins — and there were plenty of them — the actor isn't going to find total salvation until he’s able to deliver a proper goodbye to the series. The man has come a long way since his public meltdown, and whether it’s for another season or just a single episode, he deserves the opportunity to bid adieu to “Two and a Half Men.”

All CBS has to do is give him one more chance.

The season finale of "Two and a Half Men" airs Thursday night at 8:30 p.m.

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