By Meg Curtis
To those who wonder about the REAL Charlie Sheen, take this answer to the bank: This man's talent dwarfs his competitors' imitations. Viewers of the original Two and a Half Men--not the derivative, a dirty word in any case--appreciate his capacity to play either half of famous comic duos at will: Laurel and Hardy, Lewis and Martin, or George and Gracie.
In fact, if one comedian still standing demonstrates the timing of Johnnie Carson, Charlie Sheen can leer, hesitate, and spoof himself with the best of them. Half--and maybe two and a half--of his dialogues with his erstwhile dramatic brother consist of long pauses while Sheen stares--and the audience laughs. Nobody needs to be drunk to bring off this dialogue successfully. George Burns did it with his cigar.
Dean Martin also continually played upon the fools that people make of themselves when they confuse liquor with lemonade. Yet, just like Sheen, Martin could hop right into a musical number without losing a beat. And, just like Jack Benny, Carson's idol, Sheen uses his shoulders, eyes, and the drift of a hand to finish a thought--or let the audience finish it for him.
Laurel and Hardy may seem like the unlikeliest comparison, but consider the repetition which peppers every conversation between son and mother, brother and brother, as well as father and son in Two and a Half Men. Anyone who enjoys the iconic comedy of "Who's on First" recognizes the turning meaning which characterizes both poetry and devilish misunderstandings.
So, the next time that anybody wonders about the possibility that Charlie really needs rehab or a long visit to a mental asylum, let that person ask himself this question: Who can replace Charlie Sheen? If anyone could have replaced him, the writers of Two and a Half Men would not have needed to kill him off for the show to continue. Bottom line: You may send in the clowns if you wanna, but there ain't no clown like Charlie!