Well, it didn't take long for Charlie Sheen to address the whole "Two and a Half Men" fiasco on his new FX show, "Anger Management." In the opening moments of tonight’s premiere (which you can watch above), Sheen's character, therapist Charlie Goodson, threw punches and angrily yelled at an unseen adversary: "You can't fire me, I quit! You think you can replace me with some other guy? Go ahead, it won't be the same! You may think I'm losing, but I'm not! I'm…”
But he stopped himself before delivering his go-to catchphrase. And no, he wasn’t directing more venom at "Men" boss Chuck Lorre; Goodson was just demonstrating to his anger-management patients how to properly express their rage. (He was actually unloading on a pear-shaped punching bag he calls "Bobo.") The opening served as a clever wink to Sheen's well-publicized exit from his last TV show -- and a nice entry point for “Two and a Half Men” fans curious to see what their old pal is up to now.
[Related: 5 Things to Know About 'Anger Management']
Indeed, the rest of the premiere felt like a long-overdue visit from an old friend: Despite airing on cutting-edge cable network FX, “Anger Management” much more closely resembles “Men” and other CBS sitcoms than FX’s boundary-pushing comedies like “Louie” and “Archer.” It shares “Men’s” affection for bawdy bedroom humor, and Goodson is a slightly evolved version of “Men’s” Charlie Harper: a bit more mature, but still very much the familiar wisecracking-bachelor type that we're used to seeing Sheen play.
“Anger’s” at its best when Sheen is trading jabs with Selma Blair, who co-stars as Kate, Charlie’s best friend/therapist/sex buddy; as you might imagine, their relationship redefines the term “it’s complicated.” But the two of them share a crackling chemistry together, and it’s fun watching them try to sort out their very twisted affair. Charlie eventually turns to Kate for therapy when he hits a low point, and they both decide they can handle being friends, sex partners, and doctor and patient. (Yeah, we’ll see how long that lasts.)
And it’s actually refreshing to see Sheen act a little more grown-up here. Charlie handles touchy matters with his ex-wife Jennifer (Shawnee Smith) and his teen daughter Sam (Daniela Bobadilla) with surprising patience, he generously donates his time to counsel prison inmates -- and he even apologizes (!) after losing his temper with Jennifer’s new boyfriend (Brian Austin Green). A kinder, gentler Charlie Sheen? That might be the biggest TV surprise of the summer.
What did you think of the "Anger Management" premiere? Let us know in the comments.