Wasted in Malibu

And now for something completely different …

Do you ever wish you could write for TV? I have imagined it. It seems like it could be fun. I attended a presentation by one of the writers for Everybody Loves Raymond once, and read her book about writing for TV. It’s really a lot of hard work under pressure. But sometimes there’s just no excuse for professional stupidity and bad decisions. Did you watch the season finale of Two And A Half Men on Monday night? I’d like to know your reaction to it.

It made me sad. I laughed some in the first half, but by the end I felt like crying. Jake was a cute kid when the show started in 2003; bright, usually cheerful, and fun. The writers have simply wasted that character. Making him an indolent, wasted, mindless loadie was one of the stupidest decisions I’ve ever seen in entertainment. Packing him off to the Army was the coup de gras.

Jake Harper Angus T Jones

The show was already fumbling along in the dark, out of context.  It became One And A Half Men and a New Guy. And it’s been obvious since well before Charlie Sheen’s implosion that the writers and producers were tired of everything about the vehicle except the revenue. The scripts seethe with resentment. They don’t care for the characters and they damn sure don’t like the audience.

The people Charlie Sheen left behind there have such obvious resentment and animosity toward him is almost hysterical, and not in a funny way. They went far out of their way to give Charlie Harper an ignoble death. They defiled his remains and consigned his soul to hell in the shell of Kathy Bates. Bizarre. All of this without a passing thought for the fact that there might be viewers who’ve built some passing attachment to Uncle Charlie.

Jake should have been the smartest, clearest, and most successful character on the show. Then they would have had something. Turning him into a loser like Charlie Harper was – or they seem to think Charlie Sheen is – was simply asinine.

I’m aware that Angus T. Jones (Jake) might tell me I’m full of s–t if he read this, and that would be great. I wish I was wrong, but I doubt it.

I understand writing for emotional effect. I’m a poet. I’ve written poems meant to give myself and the reader catharsis. When your dog dies, you write a poem, or more than one. Then I’ve stood up at a mic and made people in the audience cry. (And not because the writing sucked; if it sucks I don’t read it in public, usually.) This wasn’t that. This was more like what Douglas Adams said was the secret to flying: aim for the ground and miss.

So when they rolled that memorial montage of Jake as a kid, they killed off another character that we’ve come to relate to for the past nine years. It was much more like a Series Finale than a Season Finale. And that would be for the best. Let us hope that CBS has the good sense for once to let something die with its last shred of dignity, instead of flinging it back and forth over the shark tank until we’re all sick of the pitiful sight of it.

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One thought on “Wasted in Malibu

  1. Thinking about leaving a comment like, “if you don’t like it, don’t watch it?” OK, be my guest. But I realize that watching stuff you don’t like is really doing it wrong. I’m watching something I do like, or I want to like, but they’re doing it wrong. A distinction without a difference? Sure. 😀

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