Ask Matt: Two and a Half Men, The Killing, Nashville, Mentalist, Boardwalk, More
Angus T. Jones | Photo Credits: Robert Voets/CBS
Question: I accidentally caught the opening scene of an episode of Two and a Half Men after The Big Bang Theory. There was poor Angus T. Jones telling Jon Cryer that he "had the clap" and was happy about it. I haven't watched the show in many years; I just got tired of it. But in light of the young actor's video declaring the show to be filth, I really had to agree with him. Am I the only one that doesn't want to see a child I've watched grown up in movies and TV talking about VD for a joke? Then I started thinking about the effect nine years of being immersed in nothing but sex jokes might have on your childhood and I started to feel really sad. It's not like I'm a prude, I thoroughly enjoyed an episode of BBT featuring bikini waxing and nude revenge.
But both Men and 2 Broke Girls leave me with the same feeling. I admire the casts of both shows and like the premise of 2 Broke Girls, but both of those shows me feeling like I've been in a nasty roadside restroom. No one as talented as Kat Dennings should have to be tossing off recycled Lisa Lampanelli vagina jokes. — Cynthia
Matt Roush: You had me with "accidentally." Let's not be shedding too many crocodile tears for young Angus as he bites the hand that feeds him so generously (especially generous, considering he's almost been written off the show this season). Fart and penis jokes have been very, very good to these people, if not to the culture at large. There has always been a healthy, or possibly unhealthy, appetite for low comedy on TV, but you're right that the lowbrow smut humor of Two and a Half Men, often exceeded in vulgarity and volume on 2 Broke Girls, is hardly a laughing matter.
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Question: It's hard to believe that they could dumb-down the humor on Two and a Half Men even further after Charlie Sheen left, but the show, while still funny from time to time, is almost a caricature of its old self. Alan has become pathetic, Walden is growing tiresome and Jake is rarely even around. Now even Angus T. Jones says the show is trash. Do you think that CBS will pull the plug after this season? Granted, the show never had much dignity, but it loses what little it has left with each new episode. — Carl
Matt Roush: If Men does end after this season, it will have nothing to do with the show having somehow lowered its standards, if that's even possible. It may be running on fumes creatively, but by virtue of airing after Big Bang and still pulling big numbers in syndication, there's still a sizable audience tuning in to this bawdy sideshow and more money to be made. The factors that will decide whether Men gets an 11th season will be almost purely (or impurely) financial. All of the contracts are up after this season, and CBS and the studio will have to figure out if the huge paydays involved in extending the show's life will be worth it in the short term (ratings, ad revenue) and syndication long-term. I'm afraid my math skills aren't that advanced for me to predict how this will go. From a critical point of view, it's definitely time to pull the curtain, but considering how much trouble CBS has had in finding a suitable Thursday companion for Big Bang, they may not have much of a choice.