Last season Two and a Half Men was a solid, reliable show. A funny, if unambitious, middlebrow four-camera traditional sitcom.
This season, something's wrong. It's sleazy. Granted, Charlie Sheen's character was always a sleazebag womanizer, but he was supposed to be a lovable sleazebag womanizer. Maybe it's the increasingly raunchy sexual references that pervade the show, even in regard to Jon Cryer's sex life. Maybe it's the constant ante-upping of Charlie's skeeziness. He's not just a serial womanizer, but also into orgies and porn stars and prostitute masseuses and any sexual extreme you care to mention. It's no longer a lovable quirk, but a disturbing pathology. Well, okay, it was always a disturbing pathology, but we used to be able to overlook it.
It's gotten to the point that when Charlie hits on a woman, I want her to shoot him down. A week ago, when Charlie met a ballet teacher who wanted nothing to do with him and he made it his mission to conquer her, I became emotionally invested in her honor. Don't weaken, I willed her through the TV screen. He just wants to use you and discard you. Don't be fooled! He's slime!
By episode's end, when her heart has been melted by Charlie's persistence in bringing the kid to her ballet class and she's ready to sleep with him, I was disgusted. I felt ashamed for her. What happened to all the dignity she'd had when she turned him down in early scenes? I did not want to see Charlie succeed. I hated him too much.
I think this is the same thing that made me hate Joey even when he was on Friends. Sleazy sitcom guys who effortlessly sleep with tons of women are loathsome. Who can sympathize with that? Charlie at this point is basically a sexual predator. When women turn him down, he just comes on stronger until he breaks their will. To be funny, sleazy guys need to be pathetic and unsuccessful, like Bud Bundy. Then they're at least redeemed by being the underdog.