Charlie Sheen: Winning No More
To the surprise of absolutely nobody, Charlie Sheen was officially fired from Two and a Half Men yesterday. It made sense, really: after all the porn stars, briefcases of coke, and spousal abuse allegations, there was really no way a network as big as CBS was going to continue to do business with a man who had, after nearly thirty years of dangerous living, finally gone off the deep end.
They say any press is good press, but evidently Sheen, who descended into madness in spectacular fashion, has become too much of a commodity despite the fact that he still dominates headlines and reruns of Two and a Half Men are topping the ratings charts even as its star continues his very public downward spiral.
To top it off, Sheen’s star is fading fast. He showed his hand too quickly, recast himself as a gonzo revolutionary too suddenly, and now people have had enough of it. And now that Sheen-O-Mania seems to have jumped the shark, let’s offer a quick retrospective and ask ourselves the question: how on Earth did nobody see this coming?
The thing that amazes, looking back on this mess, is that everyone seems to have been completely and utterly blown away by Sheengate 2010-2011, starting from his Tazmanian-Devil-like rampage through an NYC hotel and his dalliance with a high-end porn star named Capri Anderson last fall. Call me nuts, but didn’t this guy have a reputation since Day One for acting crazy?
Even better: didn’t he get paid to be that guy?
Let me put it this way: I know very little about Two and a Half Men, but I’ve certainly heard enough about the show and its premise in the past month or so, and my understanding of it is that Charlie Sheen is basically playing a PG-13 rated version of himself. Never mind that the PG-13 rated version of Charlie Sheen’s life would make HBO execs lightheaded; this is for a family show on a primetime network. Sheen’s excesses, his hedonism, and the general insanity of his life were well-known when Two and a Half Men started back in 2003, and yet CBS had no problem referencing (glorifying?) it in primetime and, more recently, paying Sheen millions of dollars for the privilege.
Let me put it in a simpler way: the network pays the guy a bajillion dollars per episode to be just enough of himself (read: a maniac) that they can put it on TV, and then scoffs and turns tail when Sheen pulls a Dennis Green and reminds us that he is who we thought he was and goes the Full Monty when the cameras are off.
Well of course he does; I mean, Jesus. This is like Mike Tyson, who was glorified as The Baddest Man on the Planet, praised for his horrific fighting style and mythologized thanks to his gritty upbringing, and yet everyone reacted in terror when he talked about eating children and took a Big Mac-sized bite out of Evander Holyfield’s ear.
In the same vein: Charlie Sheen’s been Charlie Sheen for a very, very long time. We knew who he is; we knew what he was about: that thing he refers to these days as “winning,” but everyone else refers to as “getting hopped up within an inch of your life and having orgies with porn stars.”
Sheen was “winning” in the ‘80s, he did it in the ‘90s, and he did it now. He had just been a bit more diplomatic about the whole business than he has been in the last eight months or so. Was anyone really surprised when he torpedoed that hotel room? Isn’t this the same guy who allegedly threatened his ex-wife with a knife on Christmas Day 2009? Come on, now.
News outlets were later shocked – shocked, I say – when Sheen took to the radio to trash Men creator Chuck Lorre, aka “Chaim Levine,” for….well, something, it was kind of hard to tell other than that it was vaguely offensive and potentially anti-Semitic to boot. How could he, they wondered. Simple answer: he’s a goddamn drug addict! And an angry drug addict to boot! How is no one getting this? My only experience with drug addicts is with Charlie on Lost, and just from that I know people do stupid shit when they’re as high as Sheen used to get, and mad as hell to boot.
(side note: I agree with Piers Morgan’s infamous Twitter post [since removed, but here's a link to his account] that Charlie Sheen can and should do whatever the hell he wants on his own time, and the last thing I want to do is sound preachy. But really, how many supposedly smart people can act like complete morons all at once? And, for the record, Sheen is not among them. None of this is his fault. He’s never apologized for who he is; it’s his handlers who continually ignored the signs).
Then came the sound bites: the news that Sheen cured himself “with his brain,” that he was blessed with “tiger blood” and “Adonis DNA,” that his doubters were losers while he was simply “winning” every day of his life. Then came the live-in “goddess” girlfriends, Sheen’s own version of “Big Love.” For the record, he said he was gonna do it before it actually happened.
I mean, it’s surprising that Sheen kept it going for as long as he did, or that CBS put up with it for as long as they did. Maybe it was his professionalism (which, by most accounts, was significant) that kept it going. Maybe the suits thought, as we all do at first, that any press is good press. But, to use an old cliché, the brightest stars burn out the fastest, and after two weeks of Sheen saturation, his publicity is finally starting to die down.
We get it now. He wins. Only he doesn’t. He’s lost three wives now. He had his kids taken from him. Then he got them back; it probably won’t last. He put on a Webcam special — “Sheen’s Korner” — that everyone hated. Mark Cuban wants to give him a TV show, but that guy’s a sideshow unto himself. Unlike Sheen, though, Cuban’s a business-savvy sideshow, and he won’t put up with the BS as much as CBS did.
Sheen has become a guy who’s great in small doses, only we’ve gotten enough of him for a lifetime and now…well, now it’s just sad, and it’s getting boring to boot. Maybe CBS felt Sheen’s usefulness, both as an actor and a sideshow, had finally worn out and fired his ass as a result. Maybe they realized what I’m saying now: that Charlie Sheen is just plain crazy. Tigers don’t change their stripes. Sheen is who he says he is, and his actions say it all. Nothing he can do surprises us anymore. The shark is jumped.
Think I’m kidding? The news came soon after that, in “celebration” of his firing, Sheen took to the top of a Los Angeles building and started waving a machete like a Guatemalan guerilla, while chugging a drink he calls “Tiger Blood” from a bottle, and nobody batted an eye. Ho hum. What’s next.
Makes sense really: A celebrity melts down in epic fashion, and continues to burrow long after he’s crashed and burned, taking his career and family with him. It’s a good old-fashioned trainwreck. The media gets a story, the people get Internet memes and sound bites, and Charlie Sheen gets, one last time, to bask in the light of his own party.
Follow us on twitter@thefastertimes
- 1 Brooklyn Man Now Living Entirely Off Own Beard Garden
- 2 “Cra Cra” Now Official Diagnosis in New DSM (DSM-5)
- 3 OfficeMax Marketing Director Struggling to Make Staplers ‘Sexy’ and ‘Conversational’
- 4 Area Man Tailors Life To Be More Relevant To His Hulu Advertisements
- 5 Fan Banging Furiously on Glass Could Be the Difference in Hockey Playoffs
- 6 First Openly Straight Figure Skater Comes Forward
- 7 Survey: 88% of Eagles Fans Too Drunk To Spell Nnamdi Asomugha Last Season
- 8 Attorney Actually Starting to Believe Own Bullshit
- 9 Homeless Guy Woos Silicon Valley VCs with Low-Tech Crowdfunding Strartup
- 10 Local Mom Won’t Stop Being First Person to Like Every Goddamn Thing Son Posts to Facebook