‘Anger Management’ review: Charlie Sheen and the battle of the doctors

Anger ManagementThere’s something rather odd when it comes to “Anger Management”: every week, we decide that we are going to stop watching in order to move on to something else; and then, we somehow find ourselves boomeranging right back to it despite the obvious issues with the story being paint-by-numbers and the comedy predictable.

The truth is, “Anger Management” may be a disposable show, but it is still a funny show. There are some decent jokes throughout, and really Charlie Sheen lifts the whole package up to another level. He’s the reason why “Two and a Half Men” was so successful to begin with: he possesses such a unique energy that is magnetic, and with him being in the vast majority of the scenes, you feel an air of familiarity and excitement when Charlie Goodson is one the screen. We much prefer this Charlie to the one we saw in the press for much of 2011.

The premise of this episode alone was of course exaggerated, but it is something that we could theoretically see happening: a competition between numerous physicians and psychiatrists over when they can start dating a patient after they left therapy. We still don’t know just what the character’s motivation was for suddenly meeting up with her old doctors over four years after the fact, and why all of these respected people would even want someone who clearly has issues and works as a stripper. Nonetheless, going through this situation did remind Charlie that he is hungering for a real relationship now rather than something emotionless … which remains his problem with Kate, and she is not willing to budge.

The biggest problem with “Anger Management” this week (and in general) is the same as its premiere: too many characters. If you look at “Two and a Half Men” or “The Big Bang Theory,” these are shows that operated for years with just five series regulars (even if the latter now alternates between seven or eight). Meanwhile, we are at season 2 here and we have Charlie, his ex-wife, his daughter, his father, Kate, his neighbor, his bartender, one therapy group, and another therapy group. Not all of these folks are regulars, but the show introduced many of them too quickly before we had an opportunity to get to know some of the people that it already had. Sometimes, it’s better to go with a slow burn, that was the new characters come into an already-successful world. (“The Big Bang Theory” did this wonderfully with Amy and Bernadette.)

Why do you continue to watch “Anger Management” week after week? If you want to go back and read our review of the premiere, you can do so here.

Photo: FX

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