Stars: Charlie Sheen, Selma Blair, Shawnee Smith, Daniela Bobadilla, Noureen DeWulf, Michael Arden, Derek Richardson,
Writer:  Dave Caplan
Director:  Bob Koherr
Network: FX, Thursday nights
Airdate: July 7, 2012

It’s no surprise why the Sheen (pun intended) is off in the second week of the new FX series ANGER MANAGEMENT. Everyone wanted to see what happened after Charlie Sheen was fired from TWO AND A HALF MEN and what jumping into a brand new sitcom would bring.

The results were so-so in its first week – nothing earth-shattering funny, some potentially interesting characters yet it was a sitcom still in search of a formula.

Week 2 (technically it’s the third episode since premiere week ran two episodes back-to-back) and “Charlie Tries Sleep Deprivation” attempts to desperately shake things up by revealing way too many things about Charlie’s anger management patients and Charlie himself (it’s a little too soon, if you ask me).

It all starts when Charlie feels that sleep deprivation is like a truth serum and gets people to reveal what’s really wrong with them (after his ex-wife started telling too many truths off of very little sleep). His intent was to observe his patients, but he becomes one too when he doesn’t get a chance to sleep before the test sessions.

It’s all rather silly nonsense, with no direction. Surprisingly though, the characters Lacey (Noureen DeWulf) and Nolan (Derek Richardson)  are starting to really shine through. Even though they tramp up Lacey a little too much, DeWulf is actually really funny and brings way much more depth to a rather thinly written role. And Richardson’s Nolan is very amusing as a guy in love with angry women. His pursuit of Lacey is actually quite endearing and he does get some of the funnier lines.

The strange relationship between Charlie and his therapist Kate (Selma Blair) is still a bit awkward, especially when she shows up at his house for no apparent reason. And his wife Jennifer (Shawnee Smith) feels a bit underwritten too, even though they have the great Smith in that role. Give her more to do dammit!

What the show needs is more camaraderie between the characters – more of a connection. It’s an ensemble piece, not a starring vehicle for Sheen (which it probably should have been more of,  but not with this premise). In a weird way, he’s the one who is reacting off of the crazy people around him, instead of people reacting off of his crazy antics. He’s Charlie Harper neutered.

All comedies take time to find their pacing and rhythm and even if ANGER MANAGEMENT still struggles to find its voice in this first lot of ten episodes, if it gets picked up for a back 90, the series will likely find its stride and whether or nor it will continue to be a directionless, an average sitcom, or if it will develop and grow its characters (Charlie included) into something that can sustain itself and warrant people to stick around for 80 more episodes. Certainly less has been done with more, but with someone as good as Sheen working his a** to prove to the world that he’s got his act together, it’s going to take better writing that this.

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Related:TV Review – ANGER MANAGEMENT – Season 1 – “Charlie Dates Kate’s Patient”

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

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