Two and a Half Men
Two and a Half Men is an American television sitcom that originally aired on CBS for twelve seasons from September 22, 2003, to February 19, 2015. Originally starring Charlie Sheen, Jon Cryer, and Angus T. Jones, the series was about a hedonistic jingle writer, Charlie Harper, his uptight brother, Alan, and Alan's troublesome son, Jake. After Alan divorces, he and Jake move into Charlie's beachfront Malibu house and complicate Charlie's freewheeling life.
|Two and a Half Men|
|Theme music composer|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||12|
|No. of episodes||262 (list of episodes)|
|Camera setup||Film; Multi-camera|
|Running time||21 minutes|
|Distributor||Warner Bros. Domestic Television Distribution|
|Original release||September 22, 2003 –|
February 19, 2015
In 2010, CBS and Warner Bros. Television reached a multiyear broadcasting agreement for the series, renewing it through at least the 2011–12 season. In February 2011, however, CBS and Warner Bros. decided to end production for the rest of the eighth season after Sheen entered drug rehabilitation and made "disparaging comments" about the series' creator and executive producer Chuck Lorre. Sheen's contract was terminated the following month and he was confirmed not to be returning to the series. Ashton Kutcher was hired to replace him the following season as Walden Schmidt, a billionaire who buys Charlie's house after his death.
In April 2013, CBS renewed the series for an eleventh season after closing one-year deals with Kutcher and Cryer. Jones, who was attending college, was relegated to recurring status for season 11 but did not make an appearance until the series finale. He was replaced by Jenny (Amber Tamblyn), Charlie's previously unknown daughter. In March 2014, CBS renewed the series for a twelfth season, which was later announced to be the series' last. The season began airing in October 2014 and concluded in February 2015 with the 40-minute series finale "Of Course He's Dead". The success of the series led to it being the fourth-highest revenue-generating program for 2012, earning $3.24 million an episode.
The series revolved initially around the life of the Harper brothers Charlie (Charlie Sheen) and Alan (Jon Cryer), and Alan's son Jake (Angus T. Jones). Charlie is a bachelor who writes commercial jingles for a living while leading a hedonistic lifestyle. When Alan's wife Judith (Marin Hinkle) decides to divorce him, he moves into Charlie's Malibu beach house (due to Charlie's selfishly scorning Alan's female divorce-lawyer) with Jake coming to stay over the weekends. Charlie's housekeeper is Berta (Conchata Ferrell), a sharp-tongued woman who initially resists the change to the household, but grudgingly accepts it. Charlie's one-night stand Rose (Melanie Lynskey) was first introduced as his stalker in the pilot episode.
The first five seasons find Charlie in casual sexual relationships with numerous women until the sixth season, when he becomes engaged to Chelsea (Jennifer Taylor), but the relationship does not last as Chelsea breaks off their engagement. Afterwards, Charlie flies to Paris in the eighth-season finale with his stalker Rose. In the ninth-season premiere, introducing a revamped show, it is revealed that Charlie died when he fell in front of a subway train in Paris. Suggestions are made that Rose pushed him into the train's path after learning Charlie had cheated on her.
Alan's experiences are somewhat different. Throughout the series, Alan continues to deal with his son Jake's growing up, and the aftermath of his divorce, while having little success with women. His marriage to Kandi (April Bowlby) at the end of the third season was short-lived. In the fourth season, Alan is back at the beach house paying alimony to two women out of his meager earnings as a chiropractor. In the seventh season, he begins a relationship with Lyndsey McElroy (Courtney Thorne-Smith), the mother of one of Jake's friends. Their relationship is temporarily suspended when Alan cheats on her and accidentally burns down her house, but the relationship eventually resumes.
In the ninth-season premiere (after Charlie's death), the beach house is sold to Walden Schmidt (Ashton Kutcher), an Internet billionaire going through a divorce from Bridget (Judy Greer). Alan leaves to live with his mother Evelyn (Holland Taylor) when the house is sold, but Walden invites both Alan and Jake back to live in the beach house. He needs friends and the three form a tightknit surrogate family.
At the end of the ninth season, Jake joins the United States Army; he appears occasionally during season 10, briefly dating Tammy (Jaime Pressly), who is 17 years his senior and has three kids, as well as Tammy's daughter Ashley (Emily Osment). In the 10th season, Walden proposes to his English girlfriend Zoey (Sophie Winkleman), only to be turned down, and discovers she has another man. He becomes depressed. Meanwhile, Alan gets engaged to his girlfriend Lyndsey, while Judith leaves her second husband Herb Melnick (Ryan Stiles) (to whom she had been married since the fourth season) after he cheats on her with his receptionist (they later reconcile). Alan and Lyndsey's relationship of three years ends as she wants to move on. Rose returns and briefly dates Walden, later stalking him as she did to Charlie. Walden begins to date a poor but ambitious woman named Kate (Brooke D'Orsay) and changes his name to "Sam Wilson", pretending to be poor to find someone who wants him for him, not for his money. They later break up when he reveals who he really is, though Kate realizes that Walden's money helped her become a successful clothing designer. Jake announces he is being shipped to Japan for at least a year, so Alan and he go on a father-son bonding trip. Other than a cameo in the series finale, this is the last time Jake appears on the show, though verbal references are made to him.
In the 11th season, a young woman arrives at the beach house, announcing that she is Charlie Harper's biological daughter, Jenny (Amber Tamblyn). She moves in with Walden and Alan, later displaying many of Charlie's traits, including a love of women and alcohol. Lyndsey begins dating a man named Larry (D. B. Sweeney), and in an attempt to learn more about Larry, Alan takes on the pseudonym "Jeff Strongman". His double-life becomes complicated when "Jeff" begins dating Larry's sister, Gretchen (Kimberly Williams-Paisley).
In the 12th season, Walden decides to reprioritize his life after a health scare by deciding to adopt a baby. He realizes that the only way to do this is to be married, but does not know anyone who will do it, so he asks Alan to marry him and pretend that they are a gay couple, thus ensuring success at adopting. Jenny moves out of the house and moves in with Evelyn due to Walden and Alan preparing to adopt. They adopt an African American child, Louis (Edan Alexander), and subsequently divorce to pursue relationships with women. Alan proposes to Lyndsey a second time, and she accepts, while Walden begins a relationship with Louis' social worker, Ms. McMartin (Maggie Lawson). Charlie is revealed to be still alive, having been kept prisoner by Rose until escaping, but he is killed before he can reunite with Walden and Alan.
Sheen's dismissal and replacement
Following a February 2010 announcement that Sheen was entering drug rehabilitation, filming of the show was put on hiatus, but resumed the following month. On April 1, 2010, People reported that after seven seasons, Sheen announced he was considering leaving the show. According to one source, Sheen quit the show after filming the final episode of season seven, purportedly due to his rejection of CBS's offer of $1 million per episode as too low. Sheen eventually stated that he would be back for two more seasons. On May 18, 2010, the New Zealand website Stuff.co.nz reported that a press release issued by Sheen's publicist confirmed that Sheen had signed a new contract for two years at $1.78 million per episode. "To put a fitting end on the two and one-half months of whirlwind speculation, I'm looking forward to returning to my CBS home on Monday nights," Sheen was quoted as saying.
On January 28, 2011, Sheen entered a rehabilitation center voluntarily for the third time in 12 months. According to Warner Bros. Television and CBS, the show was put on hiatus for an indefinite period of time.
The following month, after Sheen's verbal denunciations against Chuck Lorre during a radio interview with Alex Jones and an online interview with TMZ.com, CBS announced that Two and a Half Men would cease production for the rest of its eighth season. This affected an estimated 200 employees, and caused Warner Bros., CBS, Lorre, Sheen and other profit participants a loss of an estimated $10 million due to expected revenue from the unmade eight remaining episodes. Afterward, Sheen was interviewed on ABC's 20/20, NBC's Today, and CNN's Piers Morgan Tonight, where he continued to criticize Lorre and CBS. On March 7, CBS and Warner Bros. Television jointly announced that they had terminated Sheen's Two and a Half Men contract, citing "moral turpitude" as a main cause of separation. No decision about the future of the show was announced at that time.
Cast members Marin Hinkle and Holland Taylor expressed sadness at Sheen's departure and personal problems. Jon Cryer did not publicly comment on the matter and in response, Sheen called him "a turncoat, a traitor, [and] a troll" in an E! Online interview, although he later issued a "half-apology" to Cryer for the remarks. Sheen sued Lorre and Warner Bros. Television for $100 million, saying that he had filed the lawsuit on behalf of himself and Two and a Half Men's cast and crew; however, only Sheen was named as a plaintiff in court documents.
In April 2011, Sheen mentioned during a radio interview after his tour's stop in Boston that CBS and he were talking about a possible return to the show. Lorre announced that same month that he had developed an idea for Two and a Half Men to be redone that would exclude Sheen and have Cryer in a key role alongside a new character. On May 13, CBS announced Ashton Kutcher would join the cast. Kutcher was quoted as saying, "I can't replace Charlie Sheen but I'm going to work my ass off to entertain the hell out of people!"
On August 2, 2011, it was reported that the season-nine premiere would begin with Sheen's character having been killed off and his ex-girlfriends attending his funeral. Afterward, Charlie's Malibu home would be put up for sale and interested buyers would include celebrities from Lorre's other sitcoms and John Stamos, as well as Kutcher's character, Walden Schmidt, "an Internet billionaire with a broken heart." Critics compared this situation to what happened in 1987 to Valerie Harper, who was fired from the sitcom, Valerie (later titled Valerie's Family: The Hogans and then The Hogan Family). Her character was killed off-screen, and she was replaced the following season.
Sheen said he would watch his "fake funeral attended by [his] fake ex-girlfriends, from [his] very, very real movie theater, with [his] very real hotties in tow." Sheen's response to the season-nine premiere was very positive. He reportedly felt Charlie Harper's funeral was "eerie but fun". Sheen also felt that the introduction of Kutcher's character in a cloud of his own character's ashes was particularly enjoyable.
The attention Two and a Half Men received due to the change in characters gave the series a boost. Average total viewers during the 2011–2012 season rose 13% to 15 million, and the 5.2 rating in the 18–49 demographic rose by 27%. Kutcher's debut as the character Walden Schmidt, in the episode entitled "Nice to Meet You, Walden Schmidt", was seen by 28.7 million people on September 19, 2011. The Nielsen ratings company reported that figure was higher than for any episode in the show's first eight seasons, when the series starred Sheen. At the 2012 Emmys, Two and a Half Men was nominated for four awards and won three of them, the most Emmys the show has won in a single year since it began. In 2012, Kutcher replaced Sheen as the highest-paid U.S. actor, receiving $700,000 per episode. For Kutcher's second season, the show moved to the 8:30 pm Thursday time slot, replacing Rules of Engagement. Two and a Half Men improved ratings for this time slot, which were up from the previous year. Jennifer Graham Kizer of IVillage thought that the series changed tone in the Kutcher era of the show, saying it felt "less evil". Lorre, Cryer, Hinkle, Taylor, Ferrell and Lynskey had nothing but praise for Kutcher, believing he had "saved the show."
Kutcher was the highest-paid actor on television for four years according to Forbes, earning an estimated $24 million between June 2012 and June 2013, $750,000 per episode. Cryer was the second-highest-paid star on American television, earning $600,000–$700,000 per episode.
However, one season after the premiere of Ashton Kutcher, a sharp decline in ratings began to appear.
Jones' departure and conversion
In a November 2012 interview with a Christian website, Angus T. Jones (Jake) said he had recently converted to Christianity and joined a Seventh-day Adventist church. He attacked the show as "filth that contradicts his moral values" and said that he was sick of being a part of it. He also begged fans to stop watching the show. Producers explained that Jones was not expected back on the set until 2013, as his character was not scheduled to appear in the final two episodes before the winter hiatus. In response to the controversy, Sheen issued a public statement claiming that "Jones' outburst isn’t an isolated incident but rather a symptom of the toxic environment surrounding the show" and blamed Chuck Lorre for the outburst. The following day, Jones issued a public apology for his remarks, and explained that he "cannot address everything that has been said or right every misstatement or misunderstanding." Jones left the series at the end of the 2012–2013 season and did not appear in season 11 despite initial reports that he would continue in a recurring, rather than a starring role. The role of youngest family member was filled by Amber Tamblyn, who plays Jenny, the long-lost illegitimate daughter of Charlie Harper, and later by Edan Alexander, who plays Louis, Walden Schmidt's adopted son. On March 18, 2014, Angus T. Jones officially announced his departure from the show, stating he had been "a paid hypocrite". Nevertheless, he appeared in a cameo in the series finale on February 19, 2015.
The premise of Two and a Half Men depicts two broken characters that suffer from mental issues such as anxiety, depression, and alcoholism. This has garnered praises from Lee Aronsohn who has stated that the premise of Two and a Half Men was created amidst many other TV series centered around mainly women, which he viewed as a serious problem in television. The exact words he used attracted criticism, with Aronsohn accused of being a misogynist. Some critics also claim that women are still in an extremely disadvantageous position and the comment is misleading.
Cast and characters
- Charlie Sheen as Charlie Harper (starring seasons 1–8), is a hedonistic bachelor, former rock musician-turned-jingle/children's songwriter, Alan's brother, Jake's uncle, and Jenny's father. Despite his arrogant and rambunctious demeanor, he does possess a kind-heart, though he very rarely shows it. He is written out of the series at the beginning of season nine, after being struck and killed offscreen by a moving train, due to Charlie Sheen being fired from the show. In the episode "Why We Gave Up Women", Charlie's ghost, portrayed by Kathy Bates, visits Alan, and is forced to spend eternity in hell as a woman with a pair of testicles. He has a daughter named Jenny, whose existence he never disclosed to his family. In season 11, she resurfaces as an adult, but has no idea he had died. The series finale abandons the idea that Charlie is deceased by revealing that Rose faked his death and held him prisoner in a pit for four years. Brainwashed into a violent psychopath, he escapes and portends his imminent arrival by sending threats to Alan, Evelyn, and Walden, as well as generous checks to Jake, Berta, Jenny, and his ex-girlfriends, but a helicopter drops a grand piano on him and kills him just before he enters the beach house.
- Jon Cryer as Alan Harper (starring seasons 1–12), is Charlie's younger brother, a struggling chiropractor, Jake's twice-divorced father, Walden's best friend, and Jenny's uncle. Alan is intelligent, a graduate of Cal. State Long Beach, but continually stricken with bad luck due to poor choices and mistakes, which are due to a lifetime of suffering from Charlie's abuse and Evelyn's neglect, as well as favoring Charlie over him. Due to a lack of income (partly the result of Charlie's sabotaging Alan's divorce-settlement by jilting Alan's lawyer), Alan is forced to sponge off people throughout his life, but he genuinely cares about others despite this. His poverty ultimately led to the demise of his business. In the 12th and final season, Alan agrees to "marry" Walden for the latter to adopt a child, and for months, the two pretend to be a gay couple. In the series' penultimate episode, Walden and Alan end the marriage as Walden had successfully adopted a six-year-old named Louis. Alan finally proposes to Lyndsey and agrees to marry her (as well as move out) in the final episodes. Cryer is the only cast member who appears in all 262 episodes of the series.
- Angus T. Jones as Jake Harper (starring seasons 1–10; guest season 12), is the slacker son of Alan and Judith, and older half-brother (or brother, if Alan's paternity claim is to be believed) of Milly, and cousin of Jenny. In season one, episode 17 ("Ate the Hamburgers, Wearing the Hats"), his real name is revealed to actually be Jacob. As he grows older, he changes from a rather bright, independent child into a dimwitted buffoon. He eventually enlists in the U.S. Army working as a chef. At the end of season 10, he announces that he is going to Japan for a year. Despite his absence, he is mentioned often in seasons 11 and 12 and makes an uncredited cameo via archive footage in season 12, as well as returning briefly in person in the series finale.
- Ashton Kutcher as Walden Schmidt (starring seasons 9–12), is Alan's best friend, roommate, and ephemeral husband. A friendly, hopelessly romantic internet tycoon, he is a billionaire despite being somewhat immature and naïve for most of his life. He purchases the Harper beach house after Charlie's death. During his time in the household, he grows into a responsible adult and forms close friendships with Jake, Herb, Berta, Judith, Evelyn, and Jenny. He also serves as a surrogate uncle figure to Jake, in place of Charlie. In season 12, he and Alan adopt a six-year-old boy named Louis.
- Conchata Ferrell as Berta (recurring season 1; starring seasons 2–12), the family's outspoken housekeeper and close family friend. She shows great hatred for Alan and Jake, while she adores Charlie (and later Walden). During the Kutcher years, her role was increased on the show, appearing in more episodes. Season 11 was the first season where she appeared in every episode. The role was originally only intended for a two-episode arc in the first season, in which she would leave as a result of Alan and his son moving in.
- Holland Taylor as Evelyn Harper (starring seasons 1–9; recurring seasons 10–12), is Charlie and Alan's vain mother and the grandmother of Jake and Jenny. A high-powered Los Angeles broker/realtor, she sleeps with both men and women.
- Marin Hinkle as Judith Harper-Melnick (starring seasons 1–9; recurring seasons 10–12), is Alan's selfish, mean-spirited ex-wife and Jake and Milly's mother.
- Melanie Lynskey as Rose (starring seasons 1–2; recurring seasons 3–12), is the Harpers' strange neighbor and Charlie's stalker and friend. Initially, Charlie hated Rose and wanted nothing to do with her, but eventually they became friends and he later fell in love with her. In the ninth-season premiere, Rose claimed that Charlie "slipped" in front of a Paris Métro train after she had caught him cheating on her. She was later seen taking Bridget Schmidt under her wing as an apprentice stalker, but this storyline was eventually aborted. After formally meeting Walden at the local tavern, Rose rushed into a relationship with him, and caused her ferrets to attack Walden and Alan when Walden broke up with her. Naturally, she continues to stalk Walden, as well as the Harpers, despite Charlie's apparent death. In the finale, she is revealed to have kept Charlie imprisoned in a pit for four years.
- Jennifer Taylor as Chelsea (recurring season 6; starring season 7; guest seasons 9 and 12), Charlie's girlfriend for most of season six, she has moved into his house by the end of the season. She then becomes Charlie's fiancée in season seven. They later end the relationship, which deeply hurt Charlie for a while. She is absent throughout season eight, but makes a brief, speaking cameo at Charlie's funeral in season nine. (While credited on-screen among the main cast during the seventh season, CBS press releases billed her as a recurring character.)
- April Bowlby as Kandi (recurring season 3; starring season 4; guest seasons 10 and 12), is Charlie's dimwitted girlfriend, then later as Alan's girlfriend and second wife, and also Judith's best friend (for one episode). In season 10, after Alan Harper rejects her sexual advances, she has a one-night stand with Alan girlfriend, Lyndsey McElroy.
- Amber Tamblyn as Jenny (starring season 11; recurring season 12), is Charlie's long-lost illegitimate daughter who shares many personality traits with her father, including indulging in alcohol and women. On October 2, 2013, after the season-11 premiere had aired, Tamblyn was promoted to a series regular. Walden and she have a very good relationship, and she playfully flirts and flaunts her female lovers in front of him to make him embarrassed. (While credited on-screen among the main cast during the 12th season, CBS press releases bill her as a recurring character.)
- Edan Alexander as Louis (starring season 12), is a six-year-old boy whom Walden adopts in the final season.
The following appeared in recurring roles or story arcs spanning multiple episodes:
- Aly Michalka as Brooke, Jenny's girlfriend (season 11)
- Brooke D'Orsay as Kate, Walden's love interest (season 10); also played Robin, Charlie's sex partner (season 4, episode 16)
- Carl Reiner as Marty Pepper, Evelyn's boyfriend and later husband (seasons 7–8, 11)
- Clark Duke as Barry Foster, Nicole's business partner who befriends Walden (seasons 11–12)
- Courtney Thorne-Smith as Lyndsey McElroy, Alan's on/off love interest from season seven on, and his fianceé in season 12. In season 10, she has a one-night stand with Kandi (Alan's ex-wife) (seasons 7–12)
- D. B. Sweeney as Larry Martin, a good friend of Alan and Walden's, who incidentally, was Lyndsey's boyfriend after Alan (seasons 11–12)
- Emmanuelle Vaugier as Mia, Charlie's ex-fiancée (seasons 3, 5–7, 9 and 12)
- Graham Patrick Martin as Eldridge McElroy, Lyndsey's son and Jake's equally dim-witted best friend (seasons 7–9)
- Jane Lynch as the sarcastic Dr. Linda Freeman, originally Jake's child psychologist, and later Charlie's regular psychiatrist who later also treats Alan and Walden (seasons 1, 3–9, 11)
- J. D. Walsh as Gordon, a pizza delivery guy who idolizes Charlie's lifestyle (seasons 1–4, 6–8)
- Jenny McCarthy as Sylvia Fishman (alias "Courtney Leopold"), alleged daughter of Nathan Krunk (alias "Teddy Leopold") (seasons 5, 8–9)
- John Stamos as himself, a prospective buyer of the beach house before Walden purchases it, who later returns in the finale where he is about to sleep with Bridget (seasons 9 and 12)
- Judy Greer as Bridget, Walden's ex-wife (seasons 9–12); also played Myra Melnick, Herb Melnick's sister and Charlie's one-night fling (season 4)
- Kelly Stables as Melissa, Alan's receptionist, who dates both Charlie and Alan (seasons 6–8)
- Kimberly Williams-Paisley as Gretchen Martin, Larry Martin's sister, who dates Alan while Larry is with Lyndsey (season 11)
- Macey Cruthird as Megan, Jake's math tutor and later girlfriend (seasons 8–9)
- Maggie Lawson as Ms. McMartin, Walden and Alan's social worker for Louis' adoption (season 12)
- Martin Mull as Russell, Charlie's self-medicating pharmacist (seasons 6–10)
- Miley Cyrus as Missi, an old family friend of Walden's, who becomes Jake's brief love interest (season 10)
- Mimi Rogers as Robin Schmidt, Walden's mother (season 9–12)
- Ming-Na Wen as the Hon. Linda Harris, superior court judge, adjunct law professor, and Charlie's girlfriend (season 5)
- Missi Pyle as Miss Dolores Pasternak, Jake's teacher (seasons 2, 7, 9 and 12; played by Alicia Witt in season 6)
- Odette Annable as Nicole, brief love interest of Walden and majority owner of a garage-based tech start-up Walden joins (season 11)
- Patton Oswalt as Billy Stanhope, Walden's former business partner who dates Bridget (seasons 9–10)
- Rebecca McFarland as Leanne, Pavlov's bartender (seasons 1–10)
- Robert Wagner as Nathan Krunk (alias "Teddy Leopold"), Evelyn's fifth husband, thought to be Courtney's father, but later revealed to be a con artist (seasons 4–5)
- Ryan Stiles as Herb Melnick, a pediatrician who becomes Judith's second ex-husband (seasons 2, 4–10, 12)
- Sophie Winkleman as Zoey Hyde-Tottingham-Pierce, Walden's love interest following his divorce from Bridget (seasons 9–10, 12)
- Talyan Wright as Ava Pierce, Zoey's seven-year-old daughter (seasons 9–10)
- Tinashe Kachingwe as Celeste Burnette, Jake's girlfriend whose father strongly disapproves of their relationship (seasons 6–7)
Guest stars have included:
- Aisha Tyler as an adoption lawyer to whom Walden goes when he wants a child (season 12, episode 1)
- Alicia Witt as Dolores Pasternak, Jake's teacher who becomes a stripper (season 6)
- Allison Janney as Beverly, Alan's online dating partner (season 4)
- Amy Hill as Mrs. Wiggins, Alan's receptionist after Melissa leaves him (season 7)
- Annie Potts as Lenore, mother of Judith and Liz (season 7)
- Arnold Schwarzenegger as Lieutenant Wagner ("Of Course He's Dead", series finale)
- Brad Paisley as Gretchen Martin's fiancé, before she broke it off to date Alan [real-life husband of Kimberly Williams-Paisley, who played Gretchen]
- Brenda Koo as Julie (season 12, episode 7)
- Brit Morgan as a girl Walden picks up at a bar (season 10, episode 1)
- Brooke Shields as Danielle, Charlie and Alan's neighbor (season 4)
- Camryn Manheim as Daisy, Berta's sister (season 2)
- Carol Kane as Shelly, Melissa's mother (season 6)
- Chris O'Donnell as Jill/Bill, Charlie's ex-girlfriend who since became a man (season 1, episode 18)
- Christian Slater as himself (series finale)
- Christina Moore as Cynthia Sullivan, Judith's best friend (season 5)
- Chuck Lorre as himself, the program's producer ("Of Course He's Dead", series finale)
- Cloris Leachman as Norma, Charlie and Alan's neighbor, Alan's "sugar momma", and Charlie's former "sugar momma" (season 3)
- Deanna Russo as Laurel (season 12, episode 7)
- Denise Richards as Lisa, Charlie's former girlfriend (season 1, episode 10; season 2, episode 9) [then-wife of Charlie Sheen]
- Diedrich Bader as Dirk, a Denver pawn-shop owner (season 11, episode 21)
- Diora Baird as Wanda, a girl who chases after Charlie when he is engaged to Chelsea (season 6, episode 16)
- Eddie Van Halen as himself (season 7, episode 1)
- Elvis Costello as himself, Charlie's support, whisky and cigar group buddy (season 2, episode 1)
- Emilio Estevez as Andy, Charlie's long-time friend who dies before him (season 6, episode 11) [real-life brother of Sheen]
- Emily Osment as Ashley, Jake's girlfriend (season 10, episode 20)
- Emily Rose as Janine (season 6, episode 12)
- Enrique Iglesias as Fernando, Charlie's carpenter/handyman (season 4, episode 23)
- Eric Allan Kramer as Bill (season 1)
- Erinn Hayes as Gretchen, a one-night stand of Alan's (season 8, episode 5)
- Fire Ice as Rapper Cool Dawgie
- Frances Fisher as Priscilla Honeycutt, Alan's patient (season 7, episode 19)
- Gail O'Grady as Mandi, mother of Kandi, ex-wife of Andy, and brief love interest of Charlie (season 3)
- Garry Marshall as Garry, one of Marty's friends (season 11, episode 13)
- Gary Busey as himself, Alan's roommate in a sanitarium (season 9)
- Georgia Engel as Jean, Lyndsey's mother (season 9, episodes 19–20)
- Harry Dean Stanton as himself, Charlie's support, whisky and cigar group buddy (season 2, episode 1)
- Heather Locklear as Laura Lang, Alan's divorce attorney (season 1, episode 21)
- Hilary Duff as Stacy, a ditzy one-night stand of Walden's (season 10, episode 23)
- Jack Plotnick as Mike (season 5)
- Jaime Pressly as Tammy, Jake's cougar girlfriend (season 10)
- James Earl Jones as himself (season 6, episode 11)
- Jason Marshall Alexander as Dr. Goodman, Alan's doctor (season 9, episode 23)
- Jeff Probst as himself, Walden and Alan's love rival (season 11)
- Jenna Elfman as Frankie (season one, episodes 15 and 16) and as Dharma (season 9, episode 1)
- Jeri Ryan as Sherri, Charlie's and later Alan's girlfriend (season 2, episodes 5 and 19; season 9, episode 1)
- Jessica Collins as Gloria, one of Charlie's one-night stands, who may be Alan and his sister (season 4, episode 11)
- Jodi Lyn O'Keefe as Isabella (season 3, episode 6)
- John Amos as Ed, boyfriend of Chelsea's father Tom (season 7)
- Jon Lovitz as Archie Baldwin, Charlie's nemesis to win the advertising jingle award (season 3, episode 17)
- Josie Davis as Sandy, a girlfriend of Alan's (season 3)
- Judd Nelson as Chris McElroy, ex-husband of Alan's love interest, Lyndsey, and Eldridge's father (season 8)
- Julia Campbell as Francine, Jake's teacher (season 3)
- Kate Miner as Nadine Hore (season 11, episode 9)
- Katherine LaNasa as Lydia, Charlie's oedipal girlfriend and Evelyn's doppelgänger (season 4, episodes 6 and 10)
- Kathy Bates as "Charlie" in the afterlife (season 9, episode 22)
- Katy Mixon as Betsy, a married woman whom Charlie purports to marry after his break-up with Chelsea (season 7, episodes 7 and 16)
- Ken Jeong as a male nurse (season 2, episode 17)
- Kevin Sorbo as Andy, father of Kandi, ex-husband of Mandi, and brief love interest of Judith (season 3)
- Kris Iyer as Dr. Prajneep (season 1, episode 17; season 4, episode 16; season 5, episode 1)
- Liz Vassey as Michelle (seasons 8–9)
- Lucy Lawless as Pamela, the ex-wife of the gay ad executive (season 2, episode 18 "It was Mame, Mom")
- Lynda Carter as herself (season 11)
- Marilu Henner as Linda, Walden's older, more mature love interest (season 10, episode 23)
- Martin Sheen as Harvey, Rose's father and Evelyn's fling (season 3) [real-life father of Charlie Sheen]
- Meagen Fay as Martha Melini, Chelsea's mother (seasons 6–7)
- Megan Fox as Prudence, Berta's granddaughter (season 1, episode 12)
- Michael Bolton as himself, a friend of Walden's who is occasionally hired to serenade Walden's love interests (seasons 10 and 12)
- Michael Clarke Duncan as Jerome Burnette, a retired football player, Charlie and Alan's neighbor, and the father of Celeste Burnette (season 6)
- Mila Kunis as Vivian, a free-spirit hiker (season 11, episode 19) (also wife of Ashton Kutcher)
- Morgan Fairchild as Donna (Charlie's ego) (season 4, episode 16)
- Nadia Bjorlin as Jill, a young woman who sleeps with Russell, and Evelyn's one-time lover (season 8)
- Orson Bean as Norman, an old man whose trophy wife had sex with Charlie (season 2, episode 23)
- Paget Brewster as Jamie Eckleberry, Charlie and Alan's high-school classmate (season 2, episode 12)
- Rena Sofer as Chrissy, the "mother" of Charlie's "son" (season 6, episode 1)
- Richard Kind as Artie, Charlie's manager (season 5, episode 8)
- Richard Lewis as Stan, Charlie's accountant (season 1, episode 14)
- Sara Erikson as Jennifer, Jake's one-time, older girlfriend (season 9, episode 17)
- Sara Rue as Naomi, Berta's daughter (season 4)
- Sean Penn as himself, Charlie's support, whisky and cigar group buddy (season 2, episode 1)
- Stacy Keach as Tom Melini, Chelsea's father (season 7)
- Stephanie Jacobsen as Penelope, Charlie's former lover who visits the house after Walden moves in (season 9, episode 2)
- Steve Lawrence as Steve, one of Marty's friends (season 11, episode 13)
- Steven Eckholdt as Brad, Alan's lawyer, and Chelsea's replacement for Charlie (season 7)
- Steven Tyler as himself, Charlie and Alan's neighbor and Berta's one-time employer (season 1, episode 4; season 4, episode 2)
- Susan Blakely as Angie, an author Charlie met at a bookstore (season 5, episodes 18 and 19)
- Taylor Cole as Melanie Laughlin (season 9)
- Teri Hatcher as Liz, Judith's sister (season 1, episode 19)
- Thomas Gibson as Greg (season 9, episode 1)
- Tim Conway as Tim, one of Marty's friends (season 11, episode 13)
- Tinashe Kachingwe as Celeste Burnette, Jake's ex-girlfriend (seasons 6–7)
- Tony Tripoli as Phillip, Evelyn's hairdresser (season 4)
- Tricia Helfer as Gail, Chelsea's friend (seasons 7 and 9)
- Wayne Wilderson as Roger, Evelyn's co-worker (season 4)
- Willie Garson as Dr. Steven Staven, Lyndsey's gynecologist who takes her out on a date (season 10, episode 14)
- ZZ Top as themselves
Charlie Sheen's real-life brother Emilio Estevez has guest-starred as an old friend of Charlie's; his father Martin Sheen has appeared as Rose's father. Sam Sheen, the real-life daughter of Denise Richards and Charlie Sheen, appeared as Lisa's daughter on November 22, 2004. Mila Kunis, Ashton Kutcher's fiancée and later wife, appeared on the show as his love interest in season 11.
|Season||Episodes||Originally aired||Rank||Rating||Tied with|
|First aired||Last aired|
|1||24||September 22, 2003||May 24, 2004||14||9.9||My Big Fat Obnoxious Fiance|
|2||24||September 20, 2004||May 23, 2005||11||10.6||N/A|
|3||24||September 19, 2005||May 22, 2006||13||9.7||The Unit|
|4||24||September 18, 2006||May 14, 2007||14||9.1||N/A|
|5||19||September 24, 2007||May 19, 2008||15||8.5||Survivor|
|6||24||September 22, 2008||May 18, 2009||12||9.1||CSI: Miami|
|7||22||September 21, 2009||May 24, 2010||12||8.9||N/A|
|8||16||September 20, 2010||February 14, 2011||16||7.7||N/A|
|9||24||September 19, 2011||May 14, 2012||11||9.1||N/A|
|10||23||September 27, 2012||May 9, 2013||10||8.7||The Voice|
|11||22||September 26, 2013||May 8, 2014||27||6.8||N/A|
|12||16||October 30, 2014||February 19, 2015||23||7.5||Modern Family|
Each episode's title is a dialogue fragment from the episode itself, usually offering no clue to the episode's actual plotline. The show's 100th episode ("City of Great Racks") aired on October 15, 2007. To celebrate this, a casino-inspired party was held at West Hollywood's Pacific Design Center. Warner Bros. Television also distributed blue Micargi Rover bicycles adorned with the Two and a Half Men logo along with the words "100 Episodes". Each bicycle came with a note saying, "You've made us very proud. Here's to a long ride together." The cast also gave the crew sterling silver key rings from Tiffany & Co. The key rings were attached to small pendants with "100" inscribed on one side and Two and a Half Men on the other.
Seasons one through four, six, and nine consist of 24 episodes. Season five was reduced to 19 episodes due to the 2007–2008 Writers Guild of America strike. Due to Sheen's personal life problems, season seven had 22 episodes. Season eight premiered on September 20, 2010, at 9:00 pm ET. CBS initially ordered 24 episodes for the season, but again due to Sheen's personal life, the show was put on hiatus after 16 episodes were produced, with production scheduled to resume on February 28. After a series of comments made by Sheen on February 24, 2011, CBS and Warner Bros. cancelled the remainder of the season.
On May 13, 2011, actor Ashton Kutcher was widely reported to be replacing Charlie Sheen as the lead on the show. The show's ninth season premiered on September 19, 2011. The first episode, "Nice to Meet You, Walden Schmidt", begins with Charlie Harper's funeral, and introduces Kutcher as billionaire Walden Schmidt, who buys Harper's house. On May 12, 2012, CBS renewed Two and a Half Men for a 10th season, moving it to Thursday nights at 8:30 pm, following The Big Bang Theory. For the 2013–14 season, the show was moved to the Thursday 9:30–10:00 pm Eastern slot. As of February 27, 2014, the series' time slot was moved to a half-hour earlier at the 9:00–9:30 slot.
Two and a Half Men entered local United States broadcast syndication in 2007, with the first four seasons available to local stations (largely CW affiliates in the major U.S. television markets through major deals with Tribune Broadcasting and the Sinclair Broadcast Group). From September 6, 2010, to November 24, 2017, FX aired the series daily nationwide. Syndicated shows are sold in multiyear cycles, with the first cycle the most expensive. Two and a Half Men's first cycle is nine years in length. If no ninth season had occurred because of Sheen's departure, due to the first cycle's premature end, Warner Bros. would not have received about $80 million in license fees. While local stations would prefer to have as many episodes as possible available to them, an early start to the second cycle would lower the cost of the show for them. The series began airing on Viacom-owned networks Nick at Nite and Paramount Network (at the time still called Spike) in December 2017 and on IFC on January 1, 2018. As of July 2, 2018, the series has moved from Nick at Nite to TV Land, switching places with Mom. As of August 6, 2019, the series has started airing on AMC
The series airs in over 50 countries. In Australia, it airs on Nine Network, 9Go!, TV Hits, Fox8 and 111 funny. In Bulgaria it airs on bTV and bTV Comedy. In Canada it airs on CTV, CTV Two, and City. It airs on ATV World in Hong Kong. In India, Singapore, the Philippines, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Malaysia, the series airs on ZCafé and on the WB Channel. In Israel, it airs on yes Comedy. In Ireland, it airs on RTÉ Two. It airs on Duke in New Zealand. In the Philippines, it also airs on Studio 23 (now aired on Jack TV), and in South Africa, it airs on SABC3 and M-net. It airs on Comedy Central, Comedy Central Extra, 5Star, and ITV2 weeknights at 8pm in the United Kingdom.
Crossovers and other appearances
CSI: Crime Scene Investigation
In 2007, Two and a Half Men creator Chuck Lorre contacted CSI: Crime Scene Investigation executive producer Carol Mendelsohn about a crossover. At first, the idea seemed unlikely to receive approval; however, it resurfaced when Mendelsohn and Lorre were at the World Television Festival in Canada and they decided to get approval and run with it. When Mendelsohn was giving a talk, she accidentally mentioned the crossover, that same day Variety was already inquiring about the crossover episodes. Mendelsohn later stated: "We're all used to being in control and in charge of our own shows and even though this was a freelance-type situation ... there was an expectation and also a desire on all of our parts to really have a true collaboration. You have to give a little. It was sort of a life lesson, I think."
"The biggest challenge for us was doing a comedy with a murder in it. Generally, our stories are a little lighter," stated Lorre in an interview. "Would our audience go with a dead body in it? There was a moment where it could have gone either way. I think the results were spectacular. It turned out to be a really funny episode." The Two and a Half Men episode "Fish in a Drawer" was the first part of the crossover to air, on May 5, 2008, written by CSI writers Sarah Goldfinger, Evan Dunsky, Carol Mendelsohn, and Naren Shankar. George Eads is the only CSI: Crime Scene Investigation cast member to make a cameo in this episode.
Three days later, the second part of the crossover aired, the CSI episode "Two and a Half Deaths". Gil Grissom (William Petersen) investigated the murder of a sitcom diva named Annabelle (Katey Sagal), who was found murdered while she was filming her show in Las Vegas. The episode was written by Two and a Half Men creators Lorre and Aronsohn; Sheen, Cryer, and Jones all make uncredited cameos in this episode as themselves, in the same clothes their characters were wearing in "Fish in a Drawer".
Two and a Half Men received mostly mixed reviews from critics throughout its run. The New York Daily News has described the sitcom as "solid, well-acted and occasionally funny." Conversely Graeme Blundell, writing for The Australian, described it as a "sometimes creepy, misogynistic comedy". Ashton Kutcher's debut was met with mixed reviews, and reviews for season nine were also mixed. However, it has been labeled as "one of America's most successful comedy shows." Ellen Gray of Daily News praised the shows' legacy just before the premiere of the finale. The show is credited as being the reason The Big Bang Theory, Mike & Molly, and Mom were all made. Men's success was what enabled these other Chuck Lorre shows to be made and be successful. Following the filming of the final episode, Stage 26 of the Warner Brothers lot was renamed the "Two and a Half Men stage". After the finale, Two and a Half Men fans launched a global petition under the name "Yes To The Harpers", to have Charlie Sheen reprise the role of Charlie Harper alongside his former co-star Jon Cryer. This came to be after Chuck Lorre's vanity card in which he mentions Charlie Sheen's idea of a spinoff show named The Harpers.
American television ratings
Seasonal rankings (based on average total viewers per episode) of Two and a Half Men on CBS:
Note: Each U.S. network television season starts in late September and ends in late May, which coincides with the completion of May sweeps.
|Season||Timeslot (ET/CT)||Season premiere||Season finale||TV season||Ranking||Viewers|
|1||Mondays 9:30 pm/8:30 pm||September 22, 2003||May 24, 2004||2003–04||15||15.31|
|2||September 20, 2004||May 23, 2005||2004–05||11||16.45|
|3||Mondays 9:00 pm/8:00 pm||September 19, 2005||May 22, 2006||2005–06||17||15.14|
|4||September 18, 2006||May 14, 2007||2006–07||21||14.43|
|5||September 24, 2007||May 19, 2008||2007–08||17||13.68|
|6||September 22, 2008||May 18, 2009||2008–09||10||15.06|
|7||September 21, 2009||May 24, 2010||2009–10||11||14.95|
|8||September 20, 2010||February 14, 2011||2010–11||17||12.73|
|9||September 19, 2011||May 14, 2012||2011–12||11||14.64|
|10||Thursdays 8:30 pm/7:30 pm||September 27, 2012||May 9, 2013||2012–13||11||13.78|
|11||Thursdays 9:30 pm/8:30 pm
Thursdays 9:00 pm/8:00 pm
|September 26, 2013||May 8, 2014||2013–14||27||10.66|
|12||Thursdays 9:00 pm/8:00 pm||October 30, 2014||February 19, 2015||2014–15||23||11.95|
Awards and nominations
The show has received multiple award nominations. It has been nominated for 46 Primetime Emmy Awards (winning six technical awards, one for Kathy Bates for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series as The Ghost of Charlie Harper, and two for Jon Cryer as Alan Harper), and has also received two Golden Globe Award nominations for Charlie Sheen for Best Actor in a Television Series – Musical or Comedy. The show won the award for Favorite TV Comedy at the 35th People's Choice Awards.
|DVD name||Ep #||Region 1||Region 2||Region 4|
|The Complete First Season||24||September 11, 2007||September 12, 2005||February 15, 2006|
|The Complete Second Season||24||January 8, 2008||August 28, 2006||September 6, 2006|
|The Complete Third Season||24||May 13, 2008||May 19, 2008||July 23, 2008|
|The Complete Fourth Season||24||September 23, 2008||October 6, 2008||October 8, 2008|
|The Complete Fifth Season||19||May 12, 2009||April 13, 2009||July 1, 2009|
|The Complete Sixth Season||24||September 1, 2009||October 19, 2009||March 3, 2010|
|The Complete Seventh Season||22||September 21, 2010||October 11, 2010||October 13, 2010|
|The Complete Eighth Season||16||September 6, 2011||August 8, 2011||August 24, 2011|
|The Complete Ninth Season||24||August 28, 2012||October 8, 2012||October 31, 2012|
|The Complete Tenth Season||23||September 24, 2013||October 7, 2013||October 23, 2013|
|The Complete Eleventh Season||22||October 14, 2014||October 20, 2014||December 3, 2014|
|The Complete Twelfth & Final Season||16||June 16, 2015||August 10, 2015||November 4, 2015|
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