Charlie Sheen Set to Star in New FX Series
If you thought being fired in disgrace from a hit TV show and being portrayed as seriously unstable by the media would keep Charlie Sheen from starring in his own show ever again and making light of his past—well, you were wrong.
Sheen is back, after a bit of a hiatus from acting when he was fired from his show Two and a Half Men, with a new show that makes fun of the gravity of his past—and his abusive history.
The new show, called Anger Management, will be a spin-off of sorts of the film Anger Management, originally starring Adam Sandler and Jack Nicholson, about the unusual relationship between a man sentenced to anger management therapy and his therapist. The series has three leads aside from Sheen—all women. They are his therapist (who will become his love interest—as if that’s ethical), his ex-wife, and his daughter.
Fox President John Landgraf said he anticipates potential fallout from the series, but said that Sheen deserves another chance with his own TV show. “I believe in redemption,” Landgraf said.
Sheen has a reputation for being, well, angry. He was famously fired from his hit show Two and a Half Men in 2011 after making anti-Semitic comments about the show’s creator Chuck Lorre. But what few talked about is how he also has a reputation for allegedly abusing women. Sheen has domestic abuse charges against him going back more than twenty years to 1990 when he shot his girlfriend, which he says was an accident.
Sheen went on a well-publicized tirade of strange behavior after his firing, including bizarre interviews and tweets where he famously coined his catchphrase “winning.” After this public meltdown, Piers Morgan interviewed Sheen in a “special live edition” of his news program. It was 43 minutes into the interview before Morgan asked Sheen if he had ever hit a woman. Sheen responds: “I have not. No. Women are not to be hit; they are to be hugged and caressed.”
When Morgan pressed him, Sheen conceded: “I’m sorry, there was an incident years ago, and everybody thought I hit her. I was trying to contain her. I had her arms, and we both went to the ground ... her initials are B.A.”
Attorney Gloria Allred responded in a statement that B.A. is her client Brittany Ashland. Allred called Sheen’s comments “revolting and despicable” because “[Sheen] failed to state that he was charged with one count of battery with serious injury of my client, Brittany Ashland. … He entered a plea of no contest to that charge. No contest has the same effect as a guilty plea for his crime.”
Sheen summarized the altercation on CNN by stating: “I felt terrible … she was attacking me …” In his interview with Morgan, Sheen also denied that anything happened during an incident in 2009 when he was arrested on “charges of felony second-degree assault, felony menacing and a misdemeanor charge of criminal mischief after allegedly strangling, holding a knife to the throat of, and threatening to kill then-wife Brooke Mueller” in Aspen, Colo.
Sheen said on CNN: “The scoreboard doesn’t lie. The Aspen thing was thrown out. The judge was like, get this guy out of my county, he brings too much press with him.”
In fact, Sheen pleaded guilty to third-degree domestic violence in a plea deal, and ended up serving thirty days at a rehab center—although, he still got to work on Two and a Half Men while serving that time.
Viewers of Fox’s new sitcom are supposed to see a man with “anger management” problems surrounded by attractive women. The audience—who can see that this man is clearly Charlie Sheen—is supposed to laugh at him being unable to control his anger, something he’s allegedly struggled with seriously in the past and has reportedly caused serious problems.
As further proof that the audience is supposed to associate Sheen with the actual character he is playing, Fox hasn’t even bothered to change his name—Sheen’s character is named Charlie—and isn’t it funny that Charlie gets a little mad sometimes? In his usual style, Sheen promised that his new show will be “an absolute f----n' rocket ship to the moon."
Making light of Sheen’s abusive past and irrational behavior by pinning the title Anger Management on it and turning it into a sitcom is irresponsible and demonstrative of the callous lack of gravity some place on the abuse of women.
“We’re a network that likes to take risks,” FX president John Landgraf said recently. Risks like giving a man convicted of domestic abuse on several occasions a comedy show about how being uncontrollably angry is actually funny?
Dahlia Grossman-Heinze is a reporter-blogger for Campus Progress. Follow her on Twitter @salvadordahlia.