The end is here for those “men, men, men, men, manly men.”
The success of “Two and a Half Men” speaks for itself, given the CBS sitcom’s 12 seasons and its sustained popularity after a major retooling in 2011, when Ashton Kutcher’s Walden replaced founding cast member Charlie Sheen’s Charlie. And along the way, Jon Cryer earned two Emmys for the show as Alan … so a lot of television history will be bound up in the hour-long series wrap-up Thursday (Feb. 19), also featuring Conchata Ferrell’s last stand as sassy housekeeper Berta.
“I think we’re going to have a finale that you’ll be very, very pleased with,” says executive producer and co-creator Chuck Lorre, who’s been doing his best to keep the details of it under wraps, though the plot does pose the thought that the fictional Charlie might still be alive. Lorre adds “it would be inappropriate here to not acknowledge the extraordinary success we had with Charlie and how grateful I am — and we all are — to his contribution, and there’s nothing but good feelings for the eight-and-a-half years we worked together.
“But how to wrap the show up, it’s tricky,” Lorre tells Zap2it, “it’s a sticky wicket. In a way, the show morphed into something else entirely for the last four years, and it’s something we love, and we want to honor both. So, how to honor both has been the challenge of this finale. And the other challenge is how to get people watching it without telling them what it is.”
Cryer maintains he has no clue to “Two and a Half Men’s” staying power. “I actually have spent some time with the writers this year,” he reports, “and it’s been really fun. I will try to figure out how Chuck is going to react to whatever they’re presenting, and I’m almost never right, so I don’t know exactly what it is. Early on, they discovered it was funny for me to be naked, and that has carried us all quite a ways, apparently.”
Kutcher reasons, however, that Lorre’s shows work because they involve “families that are just like yours. And I think that Chuck works with people that understand that that works, and that’s extraordinarily relatable. Even if it’s two straight guys acting like gay guys so they can adopt a kid (the final-season premise of ‘Two and a Half Men’), that’s a family. It’s all built around really broken, messed-up families … and if you have one, you know what one’s like, and you can really relate to it and it’s fun to laugh at. Because, ultimately, you sit at home and you laugh at yourself.”
Destined to continue being seen in widely syndicated repeats, “Two and a Half Men” began a CBS comedy empire for Chuck Lorre Productions that now also encompasses “The Big Bang Theory,” “Mike & Molly” and “Mom.” Lorre acknowledges that “it all started with ‘Two and a Half Men,’ and I just wanted to state for the record that this doesn’t happen — none of this happens — had that show not been such a phenomenal success.”