Recently it was leaked that the producers of The X-Factor are going to dump Britney Spears because they wanted crazy Britney and all they got was one word answer Britney. I could not help but thinking of this while watching the first season of Anger Management because I had to wonder if the producers of the show were disappointed they got bored and disinterested Charlie Sheen instead crazy warlock from Mars Charlie. But unlike Spears who could not even bring in more eyeballs than Jeff Probst on his Silver Anniversary of Survivor and looks to be one season and done, Sheen still managed to pull in cable breaking rating executing a clause that means we will get ninety more episodes of the show.
As for the ten episodes that have already aired and are being released on DVD and Blu-Ray this week, the most disappointing part of the show is not only is Sheen not crazy, he is actually supposed to play a crazy person. Supposable he is playing the Jack Nicholson character from the Adam Sandler movie of the same name that goes to extremes while hosting an anger management therapy. But Charlie’s character is not so much crazy as he is just a bad therapist. Really the only bizarre treatment he has in the first season is using sleep deprivation as a truth serum. It could be construed of hosting anger management classes at his house, but I take that more as him being lazy.
The catch is that not only is Charlie an anger management therapist, he also needs anger management. Are at least that is what the script tells us, again, we are getting boring Charlie, not crazy Charlie. The problem is the best therapist he knows, Selma Blair (Cruel Intentions), he is also sleeping with which could get into some therapist / patient moral quandaries. His personal life is made even more complicated by an ex-wife Shawnee Smith (The Blob) who seems as disinterested as Sheen on screen and teenage daughter Daniela Bobadilla (Awake) who may be the most adjusted person with OCD ever or the writers quickly forgot she has it (I also found it weird at how childish she acted but after a little research apparently the nineteen year old actress is supposed to be playing a thirteen. Usually this is where I wonder they did not get someone closer to that age, but I guess it is probably a good idea not to have a young teenager around Charlie Sheen).
Also expect many references to Charlie’s real life, the series even inadvertently starts with Sheen telling off his former bosses in a tongue and check scene. The show even brought in his real life ex-wife as a love interest and his dad Martin actually shows up as his father Martin. (Brett Butler also shows up as a bartender named Brett and Michael Boatman is Charlie's neighbor named Michael. I sense a theme.) And since he ends up moving to the same city near the end of the season, I would expect Martin to show up frequently in the future. Although it is odd with how much the writers like to reference Sheen’s past, even though the character was a professional baseball player (for a day) they manage to resist any Major League references.
But the thing about Anger Management is there is an entertaining show in there somewhere. Had they just stuck with the therapy session, the show would have been much more entertaining. In Sheen’s group, there is the entitled mean girl all grown up (the always hot Noreen DeWulf), the crappy old man (Barry Corbin, No Country For Old Men), the passive aggressive gay homosexual, and the guy who cannot get angry but always dates angry chicks (it took me about half the first season to figure this out and I am still not entirely sure why here is in the group). Sheen also does pro-bono work at a prison. The show is actually at its funniest whenever they get Sheen out his comfort zone like when Blair slaps him repeatedly or when he is forced to date a “slumpbuster” (a baseball slang for very unattractive lady). Of course they have nineties more episodes to get it right, starting with new episodes next Thursday on FX. Until then the DVD and Blu-Ray is out now.
Full Disclosure Notice: This Blu-Ray set was given to me by Lionsgate for review.