Stars: Charlie Sheen, Selma Blair, Shawnee Smith, Daniela Bobadilla, Noureen DeWulf, Michael Arden, Derek Richardson
Teleplay and Television Story:  Bruce Helford
Director:  Andy Cadiff
Network: FX, Thursday nights
Airdate: June 28, 2012

All eyes have been on former TWO AND A HALF MEN star Charlie Sheen ever since last year’s meltdown and his subsequent rehabilitation tour which culminates with the debut of his new comedy on FX called ANGER MANAGEMENT.

After getting fired from MEN in one of the most deranged downward spirals in history, Sheen has somehow found a way to rise from the ashes and work through his demons with the one thing that truly seems to center him – work.

And ANGER MANAGEMENT has been tailor made to deal with what we know of Sheen himself, and also find a way to broaden his appeal in the process.

Rehabilitation? Success!

That’s not to say the series (loosely based on the 2003 Adam Sandler film of the same name) doesn’t try to strive for something far more transcendent and smart (it doesn’t). In actuality, ANGER MANAGEMENT hits all the same TWO AND A HALF MEN beats, except the difference here is Charlie Goodson is strangely a combo of both lead MEN characters Charlie Harper and Alan Harper (Jon Cryer).

The set-up is simple – Goodson is a therapist who helps people with anger management because he threw away his baseball career because of his own anger issues. He has an ex-wife Jennifer (Shawnee Smith) and a smart daughter named Sam (Daniela Bobadilla). Then there’s his friends with benefit lady friend Kate (Selma Blair) who also happens to be a therapist. When Goodson realizes he’s having anger issues again, he realizes he must go back into therapy and wants the other therapist he trusts – which happens to be Kate. Yes, it’s contrived, but let’s hope is all adds up to something more in late episodes.

Thirty minutes later and ANGER MANAGEMENT provides sporadic laughs, some good performances, a reinvigorated Sheen and something that resembles a better-than-average network sitcom. It’s comfort food and if you liked Sheen on TWO AND A HALF MEN, you’re going to love him here.

He’s surrounded by a solid cast and the premise holds some promise. Unfortunately, I was never much of a MEN fan, and this kind of traditional sitcom formula is not my cup of tear either. These kinds of things are an acquired taste, but you have to hand it every one involved – they took a powder keg of an actor, tamed him again and managed to pick up where he left off with MEN.

Why FX was the only network that would take a chance on something like this is a mystery, because it’s the type of mainstream show NBC, ABC and yes, CBS, would kill for. Only time will tell if passing this up is something they’ll kick themselves for, but from the first two episodes (and the strong opening numbers), the kicking has already begun behind some closed door circles.

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Related: TV Review – ANGER MANAGEMENT – Season 1 – “Charlie Tries Sleep Deprivation”

Related: TV Review – LOUIE – Season 3 – “Something is Wrong” – Season Premiere

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Article: TV Review – ANGER MANAGEMENT – Season 1 – “Charlie Goes Back To Therapy” _ Series Premiere

 

 

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