On Thursday night, Charlie Sheen finally returned to TV after a layoff of more than a year, and fans of “Two and a Half Men” had absolutely nothing to be worried about — “Anger Management” is a pretty solid sitcom. Does it do anything to reinvent the wheel? No, but neither does “Two and a Half Men.” What this show ultimately succeeds at is being a comfortable vehicle within Charlie’s comfort zone, and there are some nice laughs scattered throughout.
Here is really the basis of the story here: Sheen plays yet another character named Charlie, and he is a former baseball player who has settled down into a career as a therapist in retirement. Basically, he’s a new version of Charlie Harper. As for the supporting cast, it consists of such folks as Shawnee Smith (as his ex) and Selma Blair (as his new fling) — everyone on the show is game for some silly humor, which is good considering the content that is here. It’s over-the-top, goofy, but also at times endearing. Sheen has a knack at making the most of his material, even when it’s not always the best.
As we have said for weeks, though, the biggest flaw with “Anger Management” may simply be that it feels too tame for a network like FX — especially when you consider the edgy marketing campaign that it had. On CBS, we think this would have been a hit overnight — but this is the same network that produces such content as “Louie” and “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia,” which both appeal to an even younger audience that the king of “winning” does. It also doesn’t help that the premiere episode felt a bit more like a paint-by-numbers book than a real story, since it checked all of the necessary sitcom boxes while not doing anything else. Even though we laughed a few times, there was almost too much anger talk within it — and Charlie’s own outburst at one point didn’t feel believable.
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