The world turns — and with it, the moods, actions, reactions and declarations of one Charlie Sheen. But there was no mistaking some Sheen words on Thursday: He wants back on "Two and a Half Men."
He made his comments during an interview with "Extra," putatively to discuss "Anger Management" — a show no one else is discussing — but in point of fact, scheduled this chat on the very day "Two and a Half Men" returned for its 12th and final season.
Here's what he told Terri Seymour: "I owe it some measure of closure. I owe it to the fans ... I just think it makes sense. [For the finale, which is when he'd likely return] I have a brilliant idea, but don’t want to give it away. It’s the type of moment I think people would talk about for a long time and it wouldn’t get in anybody's way. Think it would be a nice tip of the hat ... they know I want to do it and I know they're open to it, so, guess we're just a meeting away from making it happen."
The possible Sheen Return has been one of those in-the-tabloid-wind stories of late, with speculation — much fed by Sheen — about a finale return. He's said elsewhere that he wants back in -- but his "Extra" appearance, to the best of my knowledge, was his most explicit declaration so far.
So let's work through this idea a little bit. Sheen self-destructed on "Two and a Half Men" in 2011, leading to his firing — all precipitated by a drug- and booze-fueled rage that could have conceivably ended in his death. Warner Bros. and CBS fired him, and he compounded the disaster with his "My Violent Torpedo of Truth: Defeat Is Not an Option" tour that almost set off riots by irate fans who shelled out $60 for tickets, only to receive rambling onstage non-sequiturs mixed with abstruse meanderings about show business, booze and prostitutes. "Entertainment Weekly" accurately encapsulated the tour's opening night in Detroit with "First the U.S. automaker recession, and now this."
Sheen did not starve: FX got him aboard "Anger Management" for a long run — it just surpassed 75 or 76 episodes (how time flies when we are all having a good time!) — and now he's looking for the next move.
Will showrunner Chuck Lorre have him back? I always suspected Lorre saw the Sheen disaster for what it was — a near-tragic fall by an old friend (who had helped to build his vast empire). It was pitiful and Lorre knew it. CBS and Warner Bros. had little choice — sever the ties before Sheen not only self-destructed, but destroyed the "Two and a Half Men" money factory, too.
But knowing CBS chief Les Moonves, as most of us do, I think he'd find Sheen's return for the finale utterly irresistible: Not only that aforementioned closure, but an audience turnout that would probably surpass 20 million, maybe even 25 million viewers. It would be dramatic, and Moonves is a showman who knows the value of drama (even in a sitcom).
So that leaves two X factors: First and foremost, Ashton Kutcher. My hunch is that he'll have nothing to do with this. It would upstage him in the finale, and all anyone would be talking about would be the return of Charlie Harper. Plus, Sheen has been somewhat unkind in public comments about his successor.
I suspect Jon Cryer would be fine with a Sheen return. He already has his Emmy and knows — in some measure — that he owes some of his success to Sheen.
Second, Charlie Harper is dead. He already has returned, as a ghost (Kathy Bates, in a funny episode). What could Sheen's "brilliant" idea possibly be that would reverse mortality? A flashback episode? Maybe, but too obvious a choice. A Charlie in Heaven (or Hades) episode? Possibly and ditto.
Will this return happen? Only if Kutcher says "yes" (doubtful) and — of course — if Lorre does, too (less doubtful).
Bygones really are bygones. I for one hope Charlie comes back for that last noisy hoorah.