Charlie Sheen's "Anger Management" debuts
(CBS News) Charlie Sheen returns to television tonight, with the series premiere of "Anger Management."
In the FX series, loosely based on the film of the same name, Sheen plays Charlie Goodson, a former ballplayer who becomes an anger management therapist.
In case anyone has forgotten how Sheen came to star on "Anger Management," the show addresses it straightaway.
The first words Sheen, as Goodson, says on the show are: "You can't fire me, I quit. You want to replace me with some other guy, go ahead! It won't be the same! You think I'm losing! I'm not! I'm-anyway, you get the idea..." (Of course, the character is not actually talking about Sheen's ousting from "Two and a Half Men" - he's speaking to an inflatable punching bag that he uses with his anger management patients.)
"Anger Management" also stars Shawnee Smith as Goodson's ex-wife, Danielle Bobadilla as his daughter, Michael Boatman as a neighbor and Selma Blair as his therapist and friend-with-benefits.
So, to quote the actor, will this be a "winning" show? Some critics have praised Sheen, but others have called the show predictable.
"The dialogue has just enough profanity and risque punch lines to pass muster on cable, but 'Anger Management' is at heart a simple, old-fashioned sitcom, with raucous recorded laughter and predictable one-liners," said Alessandra Stanley of the New York Times.
"Notwithstanding a few basic-cable advantages as regards material and language -- the show is rated TV-14 -- it is an old-fashioned, multi-camera sitcom, from makers of old-fashioned, multi-camera sitcoms, and sticks to the rules. It is distressingly average," said Robert Lloyd of the Los Angeles Times. "It is not a train wreck; it's just a train -- chugging along from A to B, carrying the people, delivering the freight."
James Poniewozik of Time praised Sheen's performance, writing, "There will be plenty of argument about why Sheen is in another TV show, but at least 'Anger Management' reminds us of one reason: that he's a gifted sitcom actor with sharp timing and delivery. Whatever effect his personal life has had on him ... he can still give an effortless reaction shot and put sarcastic backspin on a line."
"The first episode in tonight's double run is flat, but not offensive," USA Today's Robert Bianco wrote. "That dubious achievement is reached by the stupid, misogynistic second outing, which revolves around an ugly woman Charlie slept with back in his baseball days to stop a slump, a joke that is far uglier than the woman could ever be."
"Anger Management" debuts with two half-hour episodes beginning tonight at 9 p.m. EDT.
Tell us: Will you tune in for "Anger Management"?
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