If there was ever a show that pushed the boundaries of what was acceptable on non-cable TV, it was Two and a Half Men. Provocative, open, and even hard to watch at times, the show wasn’t one you could see with your parents or people you weren’t close to.
Now, as the world has gotten double or even triple the times as easily offended as it did when the series was on, there are several jokes that will not sit well with these people. Here are 10 such shows that have aged poorly, and would not slip by easily by the sensitive community these days.
Since this episode aired, ageism has become such a big issue that equal opportunity employers now have it in their disclaimers that age is not something that hinders a job application anymore. Due to such sensitivity regarding matters of age, the people behind these issues will have a problem with this one.
Here, Charlie made several cracks at Alan for leading on an older woman. Charlie’s number of jokes at the lady’s age comprised of claiming she was at the very first Christmas, her first car was a chariot, and that she was there at the event of the big bang.
What makes a man “a man” has changed over the last decade. Now, if a joke took shots at a male character not being a stereotypical man, certain groups would be outraged.
A decade ago, though, Two and a Half Men would regularly make such jokes at Alan’s expense, who was clearly a wimp. In this scene, Charlie was intimidated by Jake’s girlfriend’s father, who was a giant of a man but otherwise soft. When the man requested an Appletini to drink, Charlie initially laughed at the thought, only to acquiesce out of fear. The joke was set around how such a huge man would drink a generally “girly” drink, something expected out of Alan.
Other than networks like HBO, you’ll never see children on TV talking so freely about sexual things. Two and a Half Men even came under a little bit of controversy back then for showing Jake as being very familiar with stuff like this, and today’s standards are far less forgiving.
As it happened, Jake kept quoting stuff he heard on TV to Alan and Charlie when Alan inquired over Charlie’s new girlfriend. It had nothing to do with the scene other than to cut the tension, but Jake also showed interest in the intimate relations Charlie was having, hence the stuff about the sack.
If you were to go now on online forums or on social media and see people talking ill of Iron Man’s death in Avengers: Endgame, you’ll see fanatics incensed over these people being disrespectful...to a fictional character.
Death has become a big subject even on TV, with people arguing that making light of this would encourage children to be disrespectful of the deceased. Jake displayed these qualities in this joke, where he wanted to snag the watch of Alan’s ex-stepfather because the old man was too dead to care about it. It was insensitive and crude, although people nowadays would surely make it an even bigger issue.
Even the smallest of references are now taken in a racially offensive light, such as Katy Perry calling Ross Noble “mildly racist” for just mentioning Chinese people (seriously, look it up on YouTube). This joke would probably cause a mass outrage today.
Jake, being an idiot, goes through baby names as he ponders having a kid with his love interest. He eventually settles on either, Walden, Alan...or Zhang Xiao. When Alan asks what is up with the last name, Jake replies that the kid might be Chinese since 1 out 3 babies born today are Chinese - this, despite the fact that Jake and his love interest are Caucasian.
To be fair, even the first time this joke aired it enraged viewers. The final episode of Two and a Half Men was nothing more than an act of elaborate revenge by Chuck Lorre toward Charlie Sheen, and the last scene had Charlie Harper be crushed under a piano.
Pulling back a few steps, we saw Chuck himself within the show and admiring the character’s death, then turning back and using Sheen’s catchphrase of "winning." People hated this spiteful conclusion. Four years later, this scene is now even more disliked because of how out of place it feels.
Neglecting children is serious business. In this episode, Alan was preoccupied with his own problems, resulting in him forgetting to pick up his own son from school.
Jake would be shown in the torrential downpour of a storm, with the shot of him soaked and alone extended for comedic effect. You can be certain if this joke aired today, people would instantly take to Twitter to complain about the show treating an abandoned kid as a joke. Expedited by how Alan figured that if he couldn’t remember what he was forgetting, it wasn’t important.
Charlie was always a hound, and he looked to pass on these values over to Jake as the boy got older. Eventually, he encouraged his nephew to cheat on his girlfriend with another girl he met that day, arguing that it was fine since as a man he was entitled to act that way.
When Alan was outraged and claimed relationships were based on mutual respect, Charlie shot it down by claiming relationships weren’t serious at all and were based on diamond earrings and medication that made men excited. So, not only did his side of the argument demean women, but it also encouraged being unfaithful on a general basis. Now, in all fairness, the sitcom does not exactly depict Charlie as being in the right.
Do you remember how it was when even a little sliver of criticism toward Caitlyn Jenner’s transition would end careers left and right? Well, back in the day it was commonplace to make fun of transgender people, with Two and a Half Men dedicating an episode to this.
Here, Charlie was shocked to find a former girlfriend called Jill having turned into a man called Bill. Even crazier, Bill then began a physical relationship with Charlie’s mother! When Alan came upon this realization, Charlie claimed they had left the real world and entered the Matrix. There is a 0% chance a storyline or any jokes based on this would be okay in this day and age.
Charlie always had problems with his mother and the way she treated him as a child, so he went to a therapist to talk about this. In this scene, though, he was concerned over his relationship with Chelsea and would make a sarcastic comment (the quote you just read) when the therapist wasn’t getting his point.
The therapist then implied Charlie had some creepy attraction toward his mother for thinking up such a vivid fake dream, making Charlie uncomfortable. The obvious implication shouldn’t be lost on you here, and such a joke would cause a lot of people to complain about such content being shown on TV.