After the biggest dissolution between a TV series and its star captivated the pop-culture landscape for weeks in early 2011, Charlie Sheen makes his anticipated return to sitcoms with FX.s Anger Management, which debuts two episodes on June 28th starting at 9:00pm ET/PT
Sheen once again plays a guy named “Charlie” with characteristics similar to his own. The character is an anger-management therapist who lost his brief major-league-baseball career due to his own anger issues. He runs a group session out of his home that is currently attended by characters, who in the first two episodes made available for review, are little more than stereotypes that crack wise. The most recognizable face is Barry Corbin as Ed, the cantankerous old guy. Charlie is also a divorced father of Sam (Daniela Bobadilla), his 15-year-old daughter with OCD; gets along reasonably well with his ex-wife Jennifer (Shawnee Smith), and has a “friends with benefits” relationship with fellow therapist Kate (Selma Blair). It was a pleasant surprise to find Brett Butler playing the bartender at Charlie’s favorite bar.
In “Charlie Goes Back to Therapy,” the episode opens with a funny bit of meta humor about Sheen and his dismissal from “Two and a Half Men.” Then, most of the episode sets up the characters and their relation to Charlie. In “Charlie and the Slumpbuster, Charlie gets a new patient to his home group that turns out to be a woman he used as a slumpbuster years ago during his minor-league days. He feels bad about how hard she has taken it and tries to make it up to her, but gets himself in deeper trouble the longer things go.
The series is supposed to be based on the 2003 film Anger Management with Sheen in the Jack Nicholson role, but “inspired by” seems a more accurate term. It’s rather a straightforward sitcom for FX, which does edgier humor in series like It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, Archer, and Louie. It would be right at home on the major broadcast networks with its broad humor and overuse of canned laughs.
Fans of Sheen’s previous sitcom work should be very happy with Anger Management, as it presents Sheen back in his comfort zone of playing a sexy, funny, leading man. If they find it, he’ll be winning once again.
After its premiere, Anger Management will air Thursdays at 9:30pm ET/PT