In the wake of Charlie Sheen’s nervous breakdown and being fired from his popular sitcom Two and a Half Men, FX decided to capitalize on this different type of fame by putting Sheen back on the air as an anger management counselor having a casual affair with fellow counselor Kate (Selma Blair; Cruel Intentions) and getting into standard sitcom shenanigans.
I have to say that I’m a huge fan of most of the FX original programming. It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia has been consistently funny for 9 years now, The League is a lot of fun, and Louie is maybe the best comedy series ever. Anger Management feels out of place on FX partly because it doesn’t the more cutting edge, original, occasionally vulgar aesthetic. But mostly this series feels out of place because it is not any good. The series slavishly adheres to dozens of different sitcom clichés. Almost every episode is something you’ve seen a hundred times before in other terrible sitcoms. On top of that, it’s the only show on FX that I’m aware of that uses a laugh track and corny sitcom transition music.
This volume of the series contains 24 episodes that see Charlie after confessing he’s in love with Kate and wants a more serious relationship. She shoots him down and Charlie tries to fill the void by having meaningless sex with a different woman in every episode. The structure is painfully familiar, and even when episodes try to do something a little different (or just add in a subplot beneath that week’s guest skank), it’s clear that the writers don’t know what they’re doing. For example, in one episode, a beautiful young I.T. consultant helps network Charlie’s house together so that he can operate his appliances with his computer. While such things are probably possible, most of the things Charlie can do with his appliances from his computer are useless. There’s no need to shoot ice out of your refrigerator or turn on your blender remotely. Scenarios like this just popping up to facilitate jokes drives me crazy, and makes it very difficult to watch any given episode of this series.
Another odd thing about Anger Management is that they’ve been putting out new episodes regularly for over a year now. Most FX originals have a 12 week run with new episodes and then they go off the air until they get another season. It’s impressive on some level to be constantly putting out that much new content, but no one should be surprised that the quality of this series will never match up to 90% of the scripted television on the air right now.
Available on Blu-ray and DVD from Lionsgate on April 15.