Two and a Half Men was a unique sitcom in the sense that it had two versions: one featuring Charlie Sheen and the other with Ashton Kutcher in the lead. Of course, as we all know, Sheen was unceremoniously dumped after his much-publicized bad behavior. Even so, the series lasted another four seasons and wrapped up on its own terms.
"It is so unusual to have been able to build such great chemistry with two different performers. Charlie and I had it from the very first audition. It was just that easy. When Ashton came in, it was about building something new," Jon Cryer, who played Alan Harper, told The Fresno Bee. "I cannot help but be filled with gratitude for having been able to explore the same guy for 12 years. For actors, that never happens."
Looking back at it, the show's achievements are nothing to sniff at. How many sitcoms last for even half the time that Two and a Half Men did? Over 12 seasons, we got to really dive in and explore these characters, allowing for more fleshed-out and developed storylines. Still, there are a lot of misconceptions about the series.
With that said, let's explore the 20 Things Everyone Gets Wrong About Two And A Half Men.
There was a running gag on Two and a Half Men that Jake was as thick as a doorknob, with the intellect of a ham sandwich. While the latter seasons certainly played up his dimwittedness, he was shown to be rather shrewd when we first meet him as a young child.
For example, in the first season's premiere episode, "Most Chicks Won't Eat Veal", Charlie taught Jake how to play poker. The youngest Harper took to the card game like a pro and even started to clean out the other players around him, much to Charlie's amusement. As the series progressed, though, it found more humor in establishing Jake as a dunce and cracking jokes about his career limitations.
After Charlie Sheen's unceremonious firing from the show, no one expected him to return. Many barbs and insults were thrown around in the press, and there certainly was no love lost between Charlie and the rest of the crew – especially Chuck Lorre.
As it turns out, Charlie was invited back for the finale. "There was so much demand, so much excitement about seeing Charlie come back for the finale that it was the right thing to do to try to come up with something we could have fun with," Lorre told Variety. "It was presented to him. He didn't like it. And we weren't excited about what he wanted to do. So, it didn't go forward."
Alan was a mooch. He didn't like to spend his own money, and would've been more than happy to live off someone else's bank account. Considering the fact that dodgy lawyers lost him a lot of money in alimony, it was understandable why he'd be a bit of a penny pincher.
That said, he wasn't unsuccessful in his career. He ran his own chiropractor clinic and employed several people in that time. Sure, in comparison to his brother's royalties from his jingle business and Walden's billion-dollar empire, he made far less money – but he wasn't unsuccessful by any stretch of the imagination. The issue was Alan's need to compare himself to others and losing money to poor lifestyle choices.
From the first episode of Two and a Half Men, we're led to believe that Charlie was a narcissistic womanizer who was incapable of holding down a meaningful and adult relationship. Everyone spoke of him as if he was the ultimate hedonist and he'd never be able to settle down or love anyone as much as he loved himself.
Well, he showed on at least two occasions that he was anything but. His relationships with Mia and Chelsea showed us a man who was willing to trade in the single life for love. When he and Mia broke up, for example, Charlie was left devastated and a complete mess. We saw a side of him that no one thought existed.
The "ex-wife hates the ex-husband" trope is an old, tired plot device that's been played out hundreds of times in sitcoms over the decades. Of course, we also saw it appear in Two and a Half Men as Alan complained about Judith and her disdain for him.
While it's true that she displayed a strong dislike for him initially and did have fun pushing him close to financial ruin, there were several changes in her demeanor over the seasons. On more than one occasion, the two of them tried to work things out and even got together. It never lasted, obviously, but it was a far cry from Judith detesting Alan's guts and never wanting to see him again.
Portrayed as the total hedonist who didn't get up before noon, Charlie wasn't exactly the picture of hard work and ambition. The truth is, though, that he didn't have to be. Thanks to the success of his jingle business, he had the luxury of working when he chose to.
When times were tough and Charlie's money began to run out, you'd see him getting back behind his piano to write jingles or even his children's album. He might've not had the work ethic of someone who does the regular nine-to-five grind, but he didn't need to. Due to his success, he was able to set his own working hours. In other words, he was living the dream.
As soon as Alan appeared on Two and a Half Men, we're introduced to the concept that he was the ugly duckling of the Harper family and Charlie was the hit among the ladies. There's even the belief that Alan married Judith because she was the first woman to show any interest in him.
As the series developed, though, Alan dated a lot of women. From Kandi to Lyndsey, some of his relationships became a little more serious. That said, there's hardly a season where he's ever alone. No matter how much the showrunners tried to perpetuate how much of a loser he was, Alan proved that he was more than capable of finding love.
As soon as Holland Taylor's Evelyn strutted on screen, it was evident that she was interested in how people viewed her and her status among the community. Even Charlie made offhand comments about his mother being a gold-digger and offing her previous husbands to cash in on the wills.
While it's true that Evelyn certainly had a dark side, she also displayed that she was capable of making her own fortune. She was a successful real estate agent, even receiving a nomination for the best of the year in her area. Additionally, we saw her complete many sales while on the show, as she proved she was more than merely a gold-digger but a shrewd businesswoman as well.
Oh, Charlie certainly didn't hold his tongue around Alan, Jake, or anyone else for that matter. He had quite the mouth on him and some of his words cut deep. It didn't help that these callous turns were usually followed by that recognizable devilish smirk.
Yet, deep down, Charlie was actually kind and giving to others. For one, he let his brother and nephew live in his house, rent-free, and off his money for as long as he did. Two, he opened up his home to Berta, too, and treated her like family. Finally, when the chips were down, he'd pull through in the end. He certainly had his flaws, but he wasn't a horrible human being.
Whereas Charlie was portrayed as the commitment-phobic womanizer with loose morals, Alan was played up as the nice guy -- the one who'd never break your heart and would always treat you with respect for the rest of your days. Well, it turns out that he was more like his brother than we ever imagined.
Sure, he wasn't as bad as Charlie when it came to commitment, but he also betrayed several partners' trust by having affairs. Alan proved that he was as selfish as his brother and would do what was right for him at the time. While he liked to view himself as the paragon of virtue, he was just as unfaithful as all of the other people on the show.
Walden was introduced as a remedy to Charlie. He wasn't meant to be as risqué. Instead, he was supposed to be something different and better. As the series progressed, though, we noticed a lot more of Charlie's traits coming out in Walden as he displayed some questionable behaviors.
For example, the honest and earnest Walden lied to his girlfriend Kate about who he was, so she could fall in love with him without knowing about his money. While he claimed it was done out of a desire to find true love, it was deceitful to the other person. After all, she fell for an avatar and not a real person. Even Charlie wasn't as slippery as that.
After Charlie Sheen departed Two and a Half Men, the writers had a lot of fun writing him off the series. The plot was that he'd proposed to Rose in Paris, but after she caught him showering with another woman, he was hit by a train a few days afterwards.
Of course, this led everyone to believe that Rose was responsible for his mysterious demise. As it was revealed in the series finale, though, Charlie was very much alive. It was true that she caught him having an affair, so she'd brainwashed and kept him locked in a pit under her house. Charlie escaped, only for a piano to be dropped on him in the final scene of the show.
Not many fans were happy to hear of Charlie Sheen's departure from Two and a Half Men. After all, he was the indisputable lead and star of the show. While it can be argued that the quality of the storylines dipped in the years after Sheen's departure, the same cannot be said about the ratings.
In fact, season 9's Nielsen ratings rocketed to a 9.1 – the highest since season 6. The following season fared decently as well, as it scored 8.7. Unfortunately, season 11 is where it started to fall apart and the ratings fell to an all-time low of 6.8. Things picked up for the final season, but the writing was already on the wall.
Rose was portrayed as the "ha-ha" stalker of the series, serving as a punchline of many jokes. Her obsession with Charlie was played up as true love and no one seemed too worried about how she continuously broke into the house. Heck, at times, they were even happy to let her babysit Jake while the Harper brothers went out on the town.
Well, Rose showed her true colors in the end, as it was revealed that she held Charlie hostage for years. The fact that someone was capable of sitting around with others and letting them believe their relative was gone is scary. When it came to Rose, you could trust her as far as you saw her.
Considering it ran for 12 seasons, you'd expect Two and a Half Men to be highly rated among critics. The truth is, though, that it never was. In fact, many critics labeled it chauvinistic and misogynist in the way that it treated its female characters and criticized its sophomoric sense of humor.
Even if you look at its final season, it has a 33% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Fortunately, critical ratings mean absolutely diddlysquat and it’s the audience's opinion that matters the most. The fans loved Two and a Half Men and kept the show on the air for over a decade. To this day, its reruns are still some of the most-watched programming on television.
Charlie Sheen was at the height of his popularity during Two and a Half Men. He was so popular that he was made one of television's highest-paid actors in this period. For all the lavish praise and love from the fans, he never received the coveted Emmy for his performance on the show.
In truth, it was his co-star Jon Cryer who cleaned up at the awards ceremonies, as he received two Primetime Emmys for his role as Alan in 2009 and 2012. Additionally, Kathy Bates was recognized for her performance as Charlie's ghost and received an Emmy too. Perhaps if Sheen had stayed on for a few more seasons, he could've received the award that he duly deserved.
It's testament to her popularity that Berta was one of the characters that appeared in all 12 seasons of Two and a Half Men. Even as other characters came and went, Berta the housekeeper was the one constant. In fact, we simply cannot imagine the series without her wit and creative insults.
While she provoked her employers on the show, she wasn't a bad housekeeper by any means. When Berta quit because of Lydia, Charlie's mean girlfriend at the time, he ran back to Berta since he knew there was no one else capable of doing what she did. Berta made sure the Malibu residence was kept standing and clean as a whistle, as well as added her own charm to the proceedings.
After years of appearing as Jake, Angus T. Jones released an infamous YouTube video in 2012 in which he blasted his role and the show. "Jake from Two and a Half Men means nothing. He is a non-existent character. If you watch Two and a Half Men, please stop watching [the series]. I'm on Two and a Half Men and I don't want to be on it. Please stop watching it and filling your head with filth," he said.
While he didn't immediately leave the series, he did depart eventually. That wasn't the end of Jake, though, as Jones returned to the role that made him famous. We guess the video was a bit of an overreaction at the time.
At times, Two and a Half Men played up the fact that Jake was a chip off the old block. It tried to convince us that he was a lot like Alan and didn't have the confidence to talk to women. It couldn't have been further from the truth.
Right from the beginning, he sought out his uncle's advice when it came to the girls he was interested in. He also had a heartfelt relationship with Celeste. When that romance came to an end, we saw that Jake was left hurt by it. He got back in the game, though, and dated several other women – both the same age and older than him – throughout the series.
When Kandi and Alan got together, everyone could see it wasn't going to last. In fact, it was rather funny to see all the other characters warning him about how their relationship was doomed. It didn't take very long to play out, as she took his winnings from the casino, the condo, and dog after they got married.
After their divorce, we thought that was the end of it, but Kandi returned in season 10. She reappeared and wanted Alan back, claiming he was the best. He turned down her advances, however, due to his loyalty to Lyndsey. For some unknown reason, Kandi and Lyndsey then got together, but made a pact that Alan should never know about it.
Tell us, what else does everyone get wrong about Two and a Half Men? Let us know in the comments!