Anger Management (FX)
Premiered June 28 at 9pm
This show seemed preposterous from the outset – a chance for Charlie Sheen to mock himself after putting in zero effort on his uber-popular CBS sitcom before being ousted after too many disruptive rehab stints pissed off his cast and crew. FX’s show seemed like a hastily scrambled-together excuse to get Sheen back on screen. Surprisingly, however, it’s anything but that, since it’s actually a decently entertaining comedy that takes a good premise and runs with it. Sheen plays another character named Charlie, an anger management therapist with a daughter of his own. While he’s apparently just as promiscuous as his former character, he’s very different otherwise, capable of much more maturity and boasting morals. The show’s potty humor is far more sophisticated than that of “Two and a Half Men,” and much more bearable as a result. The laugh track isn’t overly problematic, and the supporting cast is actually pretty great. Daniela Bobadilla and Selma Blair stand out as Charlie’s daughter and best friend, respectively. The show’s first episode paints an accurate picture of Charlie in the moment, and the second takes him back to a former, less likeable state where he used an unattractive woman in Wisconsin as a “slumpbuster.” Ultimately, Charlie is endearing, and that’s what makes this show work. It doesn’t seem much like an FX comedy, and might fit in better with some of TVLand’s more recent programming. Nonetheless, it’s a fun addition to the summer slate that’s far better than I, and I imagine most, could have expected.
How will it work as a series? Season one includes just ten episodes, and tempers provide a wealth of possibilities for storylines. Charlie running group therapy out of his home means that his various patients can be spotlighted on occasion, and there’s more than enough potential related to his ex-wife and his daughter as well.
How long will it last? The most-watched premiere on FX in history is a pretty good way to start off, especially considering the way this show’s renewal is slated to work. If the show continues to be a hit, which I imagine it will, it will be renewed for a total of 100 episodes. FX is going to want to hold onto Sheen, and so it looks like we’re headed for a hundred.
Pilot grade: B+