Anger Management Needs Therapy

Charlie Sheen as Charlie Goodson

Charlie Sheen got his shot to return to television and it’s already not working out. Anger Management opened with two episodes on Thursday night and there wasn’t really much chance it would be a huge success. An FX comedy is probably not enough to fix a disgraced career and the type of actor Sheen is just seems unappealing. After two episodes, it’s certain this is going to be a failure. The fact is the show could not have been any worse. There was not one moment worthy of laughter for the entire hour.

Sheen stars as Charlie Goodson, an anger management therapist who has anger issues himself. This should actually be treated as a serious conflict and the fact that it is portrayed comically just makes it seem wrong. Of course, comedy seeming wrong would be okay if it was funny and innovative. This was neither. This was just boring. The laugh track only made it worse.

The episode starts off with Goodson in a session explaining to his clients how he got to be a therapist. Goodson was a long-time minor league baseball player and had an outburst on his first day in the majors. This resulted in a broken knee and the end of his career. He wanted to make sure that no one else has to go through what he went through and decided to go into anger management psychology. Just from the backstory, it’s easy to tell that this is not going to be funny.

After getting into an argument with his ex-wife’s boyfriend about the necessity of college for his daughter Sam, Goodson almost loses his temper and realizes he has to get back into therapy to control anger issues of his own. The acting in this scene was especially poorly executed and forced. It was meant to be one of the most important scenes in the episode, it just didn’t work. The reason why it is meant to be funny is still unclear, but the laugh track pointed out moments meant to be humorous. Sometimes laugh tracks serve as a reminder that a show is really unfunny. This is a prime example.

Realizing he needs to control his anger, Goodson enlists the help of Kate, who is a therapist too. They are also friends with benefits. While this is a complicated dynamic for both of them, they still fail to make any of the punchlines effective. They end up seducing each other despite the ethical dilemma.

The next episode was just as dark and could be construed as offensive. It was not in any way humorous. When a woman named Mel from Charlie’s past shows up at his group therapy session, she confronts him and says that he only slept with her in order to get out of a hitting slump. This was based on a superstition that a player should find the ugliest girl he can in order to start hitting again.

In order to prove to Mel that she wasn’t his “slump buster” (even though she was), Charlie asks to have dinner with her and tells his family they are dating. When Mel tries to seduce him, Charlie tells her inevitably that a relationship cannot happen. The character of Charlie comes off as shallow and dishonest for the entire episode.

It wasn’t supposed to be a hit, but it wasn’t supposed to be terrible either. Sheen is a prolific actor. Unfortunately for him,  this just didn’t work.  After all the controversy, Sheen needed a hit to resume his television career. This show was not it. Anger Management was a train wreck.

Posted on June 29, 2012, in Cable, Comedy, FX, Primetime and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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