Two and a Half Men: The Complete Tenth Season

Two and a Half Men: The Complete Tenth Season
5
Throughout the ninth season of exceedingly mediocre and aggravatingly broad sitcom Two and a Half Men, the biggest obstacle was adapting an established, almost lethargic formula to the new situational dynamic following the death of Charlie Harper (Charlie Sheen). Alan (Jon Cryer), having established a protracted, presumably lifelong, parasitic relationship with his brother, living in his opulent beach house, rent-free, with teenage son Jake (Angus T. Jones), was left to devise devious ways to weasel his way into the life of Walden Schmidt (Ashton Kutcher), the dippy young millionaire who purchased Charlie's home. Though the comedy still revolved around sexual degradation and all things scatological, often focusing on Alan's lack of charisma and social viability, the primary distinction was the lack of incisive bon mots. Needing Walden to like Alan's character enough to allow him into his abode, the series stepped away from the endless array of externalized, barbed insults to have more of an insular, self-deprecating sensibility, stemming from Alan's obvious physical differences from Walden (being older and less athletic and affluent). In the tenth season, this dynamic is established, leaving the interaction between these two men living an ersatz homosexual lifestyle one of mutual need. Obviously, Alan needs Walden for transparent reasons — his home and money — but the mutual benefit of their relationship is clarified through the perpetual ego validation and reassurance that Alan offers this new, overly sensitive, self-conscious and socially ignorant friend. With Jake off in the army for most of the season, popping up only intermittently on Skype, when not spending his time flirting with Miley Cyrus or a much older tattooed girlfriend, the friendship between Walden and Alan sustains most of the narrative backbone of this season. Despite this minor modification in tone, featuring characters that generally seem to like and respect each other, rather than those that openly insult one another, the point of conflict for both men is heterosexual relationships. Alan keeps hinting at taking the next step with long-time girlfriend Lyndsey (Courtney Thorne-Smith), even though the two have very little in common and scant sexual chemistry, as evidenced by the threesome episode where she convinces Alan to invite Walden into the boudoir. Similarly, Walden's mid-season efforts to play poor in order to establish an organic relationship with a department store check-out girl, free from the unspoken possibility of her chasing him for money, presents itself only in a superficial manner, playing off a generic, Freaky Friday-light reversal of roles. The comedy is still stale, working best when it goes abstract ("Is it okay to eat expired pudding?"), but it's also consistent with the last several seasons, missing more often than it hits while dwelling on the profane and astoundingly superficial. The supplements don't address any of this, but they do discuss the big musical number about being a douche, as choreographed by Kaley Cuoco's (The Big Bang Theory) sister. There's also a gag reel where Jon Cryer has a hard time keeping a straight face while sitting in bed, shirtless, next to Ashton Kutcher. The comedy there is self-explanatory. (Warner)