Monday, March 14, 2011

Hot Topic: Meltdown

A defense of Charlie Sheen is getting easier by the minute.  Who doesn’t wish that the calendar could roll back to those Happy Days—not starring Ron Howard and Henry Winkler—when a meltdown meant a star going viral?  When a star going viral begat no explosions besides a shaking head and a middle-part hair style that made viewers forget Farah Fawcett’s 70s and 80s masterpiece?   

Viewers hadn’t seen a middle-part masterpiece since Vidal Sasson carved hair into wings and turned American girls into British birds.  Ah, the past!  Once upon a time, men didn’t go bald for fun, either.  Charlie never did that, did he?  Go, Charlie!  Now, even astronauts go bald; even teenagers go bald, and not one of them looks like Yul Brynner or could hold his own with Deborah Kerr in The King and I.

Now, it would even be fashionable to say, “The King and Me.”  But does anyone hear Charlie murdering grammar that way?  What an old-fashioned guy!  He even talks about Adonis.  What star but Charlie Sheen has done a plug for the Greek classics recently?  Wherever he got his inspiration, he got Adonis right!  That guy went around with two goddesses, too!

The best part of Charlie Sheen’s star act, though, comes down to Hamlet.  What other actor has done his own father-son royalty drama as improv?  To be Hamlet meant to be King Hamlet, of course.  To be a Sheen, likewise, Sonny Sheen’s gotta outdo Daddy Sheen, whose TV sheen still awes the lower stratospheres of Hollywood’s faithful. 

Just like Hamlet, too, Charlie Sheen as Charlie Harper got in his digs at society’s cougars, without once mentioning You-Know-Whom.  Ah, what taste!  What savoir-faire!  And that gentleman fought with his best friend, and he drove the women mad, thinking he was crazy.  And, if he hadn’t gone crazy, would we even remember some Danish prince named Hammy? 

So, what was America watching in those wonderful days of yore—a great long try-out for another off-Broadway classic?  Or does Charlie Sheen yet expect to bring Hammy TO Broadway?  He’s got the hair.  He’s got the athletic grace.  And he’s got the mad scene down by memory, calling the lords names and picking fights with people behind curtains. 

In fact, he’s so good at convincing people he’s nuts that he’s made us forget all about Brando, who wouldn’t even pick up an Oscar, because he was conducting his own little demonstration.  And he’s wiped Tiger right off the front page of every media sensation.  Charlie hasn’t had an auto run-in yet, has he?  Cheers for saving everyone on auto insurance, too!

Now, he’s chosen his own format, and his own one-man show, just like a rock-star.  He’s giving concerts which sell out faster than Americans can learn to pronounce locations going crazy because they don’t have Sheen on hand to keep human focus where it belongs:  on one man with enough talent so no show can hold him to a straight-jacket contract—because, just like Elvis, wherever he goes, Charlie’s a star.    

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Charlie Sheen: A Victim of Women?

Charlie Sheen can wrap his fictional Mom, played perfectly by Holland Taylor, around his finger and get off with a zinger.  Does that neat plot mean the rest of the female population doesn't know how to short his sheets, and throw him out the door?  Why isn’t he residing in a doghouse, without a bone to keep him warm? 

Why haven’t the writers of Two and a Half Men deposited the Charlie Harper character in a dump with no air conditioning—and no heat in the winter, either?  Why doesn’t he ever run in to the Queen of the Human Species?  It shouldn’t take Lydia Kamakaʻeha Kaola Maliʻi Liliʻuokalani, the last Queen of Hawaii, to take him down a peg—or 1.8 million.  

No, instead, the fictional Charlie Harper gets an overweight maid to do his bidding, plus underdressed chicks running all over his neighborhood.  Where does this man live—Los Angeles, or a new location for that famous collection by Ernest Hemingway, Men Without [Real] Women?  Even Disney never laid it on this thick—and Prince Charming was in the shoe business! 

If Charlie Sheen has startled his audience with his recent erratic behavior, what must it have been like playing Charlie Harper for the last eight years?  He never gets to grow up, never gets to portray sorrow, never gets to be more than Peter Pan—and he doesn’t even get to wing over the stage with Tinkerbell fast behind, lighting the way for the rest of the Lost Boys! 
Do Americans need to practice Fung Sui just to send women running away from Charlie Harper’s residence, wherever the writers pretend it is?  Charlie Sheen may contend that he is Adonis, but Charlie Harper looks like a front for the real estate business.  All that panoramic footage of beachfront properties does not include their current value, does it? 

In place of beachfront advertising, here is a fantasy interview for Charlie's replacement, set on a foreclosed farm, about to be sold to Two Men for Half Its Worth: 

1.  Do you believe that women were born to make you happy, no matter what you do? 

2.  Did your mother make you stand in a corner until you could make sense? 

3.  Did your father threaten to beat you because he said men could take pain--and inflict it? 

4.  Did your parents require you to raise a calf or goat successfully to adulthood? 

5.  Did your parents require you to raise a plant successfully to edible fruit or grain? 

6.  Have you had vaccinations against the following:  Yes or No?

A.  Temper tantrums

B.  Narcissism

C.  Bowling Obsession

D.  Football Concussions

E.  Motorcycle Madness

F.  Addictions, especially to My Mother the Car

7.  Name your current employer:

8.  Name your current extracurricular activities:  (Beer Pong doesn't count.)

9.  Name your favorite TV shows:  (Brothers and Sisters would be good.)

10.  Do you know who Qaddafi is?  (Yes, spelling counts.)

11  Are you planning a vacation in Mexico?   (If Yes, don't explain.)

12.  How do you spend the bulk of your day?  (Don't say, Fantasizing.) 

Thanks.  Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac welcome your input.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Missing Johnny Carson:  Defending Charlie Sheen
By Meg Sonata
Johnny Carson's ghost haunted the airwaves last week.  Like Charlie Sheen, Carson had his go-rounds with network executives.  Famous talk show hosts including Letterman, Leno, Conan, and Rivers could have spoken up and admitted:  This business pays talking heads to act crazy.  What do you expect from Charlie Sheen?
Carson's comments were reliably funny, however.  No children were dragged from his house.  No psychiatrists testified that he was crazy for talking past bedtime.  Nevertheless, Johnny regularly indulged in fantasies involving his appearance in multiple bedrooms every night.  He ogled every female guest who appeared on his set.  Double entendre was his stock-in-trade.  On his show, "taste" meant his tongue stayed in his cheek--not in his guest's ear. 
By contrast, Sheen's highly successful comedy, Two and a Half Men, invites comments regarding sanity from the get-go.  Charlie and Alan’s mother clearly needs a shrink for taking out her hostility toward the grown men who run in and out of her life on her children.  In another context, her behavior would be labeled "abuse,"  Nary a word on this subject escapes media critics usually . 
Meanwhile, sibling rivalry characterizes the relationship between the grown sons who compete with one another to put Mom in her place--so long as six feet under remains unavailable.  The Half Man in the sit-com clearly joins his father(s) in gradual initiation into Sons Without Respectable Mothers, Inc.  The title of this show should really be Three Sons, No Mother, No Father, Either.
Most remarkably, the cast of Two and a Half Men even includes a female trained in psychiatry, who never appears in a rocking chair because, without a doubt, she is off hers.  The infamous Rose climbs up his balcony to find her Romeo, her personal obsession, only to dive down over his home's balcony when each conspiracy to glue him to her fails--when he's lucky.  In short, if an audience seeks "normal" characters, they don't go there.
Instead, however, if they seek a satire on modern life, they will find themselves right at home at Sheen's fictional address.  There, juvenile men rule.  There, females hand out favors of every kind with no thought to their real power.  The Child in the House must compete with his elders, every single time, for bed-space, nutritious meals, and sex education lessons.  Even obesity receives ridicule, as the hired housekeeper accurately lampoons her skinny bosses.
In this context, Sheen's recent public comments achieve bizarre propriety.  They serve as heat-seeking missiles which always reach their targets.  His fictional domicile left planet Earth many episodes ago.  Hyperbole demonstrates radical rhetoric at its best.  Personal attacks come with the territory, and his lease on life always hangs in question.  America, don't look now, but every attack you make on Charlie Sheen only circles back to bite you You-Know-Where.