I had not watched Two and a Half Men on CBS for quite a long time. Probably not since last season. I've always found it very funny. And now its the top rated comedy on TV.
I know the show often gets in trouble with the CBS standards and practices people. Rightfully so. Two and a Half Men has always pushed the envelope. I like seeing the envelope pushed. But last night's envelope got pushed too far. In my opinion.
Last night's show was a re-run. I've no idea when it aired originally. Or what its title was.
At times, just the title's of a Two and a Half Men episode can seem to push the envelope. Like one title "Rough Night in Hump Junction." That episode starts with horndog Charlie Harper asking his brother, Alan, to keep the girl he has upstairs, occupied, at 8 in the morning, because Charlie wants to go have sex with a married woman while her husband plays a nine holes of golf.
Charlie tells Alan, "Her husband is out playing nine holes, so I thought, as long as he's out, I'd try and play a couple myself." Despite getting beat up by the husband, Charlie persists, climbing the stairs to have sex with the man's wife who is eagerly waiting for him.
The next morning Charlie limps home with 2 black eyes. He tells Alan, "I just had a little accident. I tried to pick my lady friend up and put her on the bureau and now I can't find one of my testicles."
To which Charlie's housekeeper, Bertha, pipes up with, "That is something you do not want to find in the vacuum bag." For the rest of the episode Charlie sits on a cushion and complains about his painful "balls."
Later, Alan tries to talk to Charlie about his bad behavior and says this line, "You're kidding, right? You have two black eyes and you're perched on a scrotum cozy."
Next Charlie is arrested for trying to hire a hooker who turns out to be a cop. Which leads Charlie to think that Alan may be right.
Later Charlie tells Alan about his thoughts about settling down, with this line, "Yep, settle down. Have a couple kids. Ship the penis off to Cooperstown."
I only saw the last half of last night's episode. The word "penis" was uttered by Rose, the neighbor who stalks Charlie. She'd rung the doorbell right when Alan was expecting a hooker to arrive. Apparently, twice divorced dorky Alan was desperate for some female attention. He told Rose he was expecting someone else, a lady of the evening. Rose was disapproving, suggestion Alan try other means of meeting his penis needs, saying she'd heard some found some satisfaction in this thing called masturbation. Alan said he's tired of the same old thing. Rose suggested he use his other hand.
I sat there in disbelief that this sort of juvenile snicker stuff is now par for the course on the Tiffany Network's top rated sitcom.
So, the hooker arrives. She wants her money up front. $500. Alan pays her. The hooker goes to work. She compliments Alan. He stops her, says he knows that's a lie, if this is gonna work you're going to need to be truthful. She kisses him again, says his lips are dry.
On and on it goes, with Alan objecting to the nice things the hooker is saying. We cut to Charlie and Alan's kid, Jake, out to dinner in another unseemly situation, then back to Alan, following the hooker, who is obviously annoyed, with Alan whining, "saying it's the biggest you've ever seen was just ridiculous, I mean, I've not seen all that many and it's the smallest of any I've seen."
The hooker then throws the $500 back at Alan and tells him to never call her again. She leaves and Alan looks all self-satisfied, saying, "I got to 2nd base and it didn't cost me a dime."
Now. I don't think I'm a prude. I actually thought it was funny. But. First off the hooker. I know hiring a hooker is a crime in California. Big deal you think. Well, here is what disturbed me. I just finished a book called Bully. The true story of a group of kids who brutally murdered a bully in their group, back in the 1990s. This was in Broward County, Florida. True story. You may remember it.
Well, part of the Bully story is some of the girls had previously been involved, when as young as 14, in a huge prostitution ring. The community was in shock that these nice girls from nice middle class homes could be doing such a thing and think it is no big deal.
So, now it is 2008 and at 8 in the evening, when impressionable young minds might be watching TV, unsupervised, you've got what used to be the classiest TV network spewing what amounts to being sort of verbal porn, passing off all sorts of bad behaviors, as being perfectly okay. And funny.
We had a big brouhaha over a millisecond of Janet Jackson's partially exposed nipple during a Super Bowl Halftime Show with the outcry as if a crime had been committed against humanity. I did not see the nipple because I must have blinked at the wrong time. I think the worst that could happen if a kid saw Ms. Jackson's nipple for a millisecond is, well nothing.
What's the worst that might happen if a kid watches a show that makes being a prostitute look like an honorable profession and hiring one a perfectly natural, okay, upstanding thing to do? It doesn't take a lot of imagination to think of the worst that can happen.
Other than contributing to the deprivation of our culture Two and a Half Men is funny. Very funny. For adults to watch. Adults only. I do find Bertha the housekeeper disturbing. She reminds me way too much of a slimmed down, less ugly version of a former friend of mine. It gives me chills.
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