June 27, 2012 at 8:02 AM ET
Just over a year ago, Charlie Sheen contemplated the future of "Two and a Half Men" without himself. In brief, he decided the hit sitcom had no future. "No Charlie Sheen, no show," he boasted at the time. Of course, another season of "Men" has come and gone since then, and while its appeal sans Sheen is debatable among fans, it was successful enough to merit yet another renewal.
So, it appears that without Sheen, there's still a show. Now the question is: Is there one with him? That's what viewers are about to decide as the actor makes his small-screen return in FX's new Sheen-centric offering, "Anger Management."
Will "Men" fans still missing that show's former leading man tune in to his new effort? And more importantly, will they stick around long enough to ensure that it's a success?
That all depends on what they're looking for.
Viewers eager to see Sheen break new sitcom ground and show audiences just what he can do outside of the "Men" mold will no doubt be disappointed. "Management" is, after all, another exercise in Charlie being Charlie -- literally.
Charlie Harper is long gone, and in his primetime place Sheen brings Charlie Goodson to life. Where Harper was a baseball fan, Goodson is a former player. Harper joked around with nephew Jake; Goodson shares his laughs with daughter Sam. Harper was known for enjoying the commitment-free company of women -- with the exception of a couple of engagements. Goodson, too, goes for women with no strings attached -- at least since separating from his ex-wife.
Yes, overall, the show that Sheen's already referring to as his "swan song" sounds like a tune fans have heard before.
Innuendo packed jokes? Check. Outrageous stories from back-in-the-day? Check. A wink and a nod to Sheen's real-life bad boy persona? Check and check.
Add to all of that a standard sitcom formula of setup-zinger-laugh track and you get the idea.
But while that been-there-done-that vibe might turn off those looking for something different -- and those hoping for a higher humor aim from sitcoms in general -- "Management" is bound to appeal to viewers who actually want more of the same. And don't count them out!
Often, known quantities are precisely what makes for TV magic -- at least ratings-wise. What better way to give audiences what they want than to give them what they wanted before -- with a twist?
"Anger Management's" twist -- which sees Sheen actually in charge of group-therapy sessions rather than sitting in on them as one might expect -- has the potential to offer plenty of comic fodder, even if it doesn't seem to reach that potential within the first couple of episodes. (And yes, we've seen them.) It's up to audiences to decide if that's enough.
"Anger Management" premieres June 28 at 9 p.m. on FX.
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