By the time season seven rolled around, Two And A Half Men was dangerously close to becoming yesterday’s news. When the program debuted in 2003, the premise was a fresh one. Successful, devil-may-care jingle writer Charlie Harper (Charlie Sheen) generously opened his Malibu beach house to his newly divorced brother Alan (Jon Cryer) and young son Jake (Angus T. Jones), when they had nowhere else to go.
Unfortunately, Charlie had not factored in how much their presence in his home would impact his (formerly) hedonistic lifestyle. The situation led to a lot of laughs over the years to be sure. But the kid was getting older, and the situations between the two brothers were becoming far too predictable.
Change arrived in a big way for all of the characters as the seventh season got underway. Commitment-phobic Charlie’s life transformed overnight when he got engaged. Perennially lovelorn Alan’s circumstances suddenly turned also, when he met the single mother of one of Jake’s friends. As for young Jake, he is still full of wiseass comments. But the teenager seems to be taking after uncle Charlie when it comes to relations with the opposite sex. He also learns what the consequences can be when his girlfriend shows up for a date, just as the girl he had spent the day with was leaving. Neither wanted anything to do with him after that.
When you are the number one sitcom on TV, there are some things that never change, or should never change at least. In the case of Two And A Half Men, there are two characters who have been fan favorites from the start. No matter what the situation might be, housekeeper/den mother Berta (Conchata Ferrel) will offer her deliciously jaundiced point of view. Then there is mother Evelyn Harper (Holland Taylor) who is completely over the top. Married six times, this high maintenance real estate agent is narcissism incarnate, and never has a kind word for her sons, or grandson for that matter. Still she’s Mom, even if she does steal every scene she is in.
Another tried and true hallmark of the show is the ridiculous situations the guys find themselves in. In this season’s first episode Charlie found Alan hunched over, spraying some “hair in a can” onto his bald spot. Later in the season, Charlie’s fiancee Chelsea makes vacation plans for them to meet her parents. To get out of it, Charlie schedules a colonoscopy for that week. Chelsea then invites her parents come to California for a two-week stay, and Charlie still has to go through the uncomfortable procedure.
A disastrous blind date leads to the generally timid Alan punching out the guy who was trying to make time with her. The fact that she is totally into the dude, and even drives him to the hospital is just par for the course in Alan’s life. He gets arrested, and has to spend the night in jail for assault. Naturally everyone is very concerned about what will happen with the case, so Charlie and Chelsea accompany him to meet with a lawyer. Chelsea’s attraction to the man is an unexpected turn of events for Charlie. For the first time he finds himself on the outside looking in as the two grow closer. Things become even more alarming when she begins volunteering to help with the attorney’s various pet charities.
One of the perks of being in a highly rated sitcom is the quality of guests you are able to attract. In season seven we were treated to cameos from talents such as Eddie Van Halen, Carl Reiner, Stacy Keach, and John Amos. Keach appeared as Chelsea’s no-nonsense father, a recent retiree from the Navy. In one of TVs more unusual set-ups, John Amos played his live-in boyfriend. It seems that the two manly men have just discovered their mutual attraction, and have embarked on a torrid affair.
Alan’s saint-like patience in ever finding a good woman is finally rewarded when he meets Lyndsey, mother of Jake’s friend Eldridge. Once again, the clout that comes with being a top rated show helps, as the single mom is played by former Melrose Place beauty Courtney Thorne-Smith.
Two And A Half Men: The Complete Seventh Season is a three DVD set containing all 22 episodes. The extras include a humorous featurette titled “A Charlie Harper Ex Reunion” where a bevy of his former conquests critique him. There is also a “Gag Reel,” otherwise known as bloopers.
For fans of Two And A Half Men, the changes that came in season seven were a breath of fresh air, and made it one of the popular sitcom’s best ever.