Anger Management “Charlie Goes Back to Therapy” and “Charlie and the Slumpbuster” Review

I know many people are turned off by the gentleman’s antics, but I am more than happy to have Charlie Sheen back on my television screen. No matter what you can say about his goddess wrangling and his #winning habits, the man is a talented comedic actor. If you have talent, people will keep giving you stuff to do. Therefore, I was fairly excited to watch Charlie Sheen make his return to television.

Then I sat down and watched it.

First off, I don’t understand the need to purchase the Anger Management title. I imagine there are several people that enjoyed the movie version featuring Adam Sandler and Jack Nicholson. However, Sheen is a major draw on his own, so what was the point? The show bares no resemblance to the movie of the same title despite the fact that it is about anger management therapy. I thought the show did a nice job of addressing several of the things about Sheen that make people cringe. The series begins with Sheen ranting into the camera while punching a therapy doll. The rant even features a nice little joke about winning. Once we addressed that issue, it was time to deal with Sheen’s issues with women. On this show, he has wrangled several goddesses who double as his closest confidants. His ex-wife, daughter, best friend/sex buddy, and a bartender all serve as important female relationships for Charlie’s character. It’s clear that the pilot made a strong effort to convince the world that this Charlie was different.

What’s interesting about this particular series is that we are seeing FX’s first run at a traditional, multi-cam comedy that what fit in beautifully into any of CBS’s comedy blocks. It’s a pretty standard sitcom setup with a laugh track. There are several professional actors giving credible performances. Occasionally, they get to deliver a decent line or two. The real problem: It’s not funny. The first episode is completely harmless. It won’t make you laugh, but it won’t hurt you to watch it. That being said, I am sure that FX is expecting the show to be better than harmless.

While the first episode is harmless, the second episode is really problematic. In “Charlie and the Slumpbuster,” Charlie spends his time with an unattractive woman and it remains the running joke of the entire episode. Sure, he remains concerned about what his ex-wife and daughter think of him hanging out with the unattractive woman, but it’s not exactly the most forgiving piece of television ever produced. It was an interesting departure from the first episode given how hard the pilot worked to tell us that this guy was different.

Overall, this show is getting Sheen back in his comfort zone. He’s in front of a camera, doing his damnedest to sell those deadpan jokes, and his several professional comedic actors to bounce lines around with. Fans of Charlie Sheen will enjoy it, but he’s not going to generate a ton of new fans here. Still, you could do a lot worse. Given that it’s on a channel with a Russell Brand show is evidence enough.