This is as grown up as Charlie Sheen is ever going to get in this post- "Platoon" world.
It's hard to believe Sheen was once in that dark and meaty drama given the trajectory of his career since then. "Anger Management" (debuting 10:30 p.m. Thursday, FX) is his latest in his artistic fall from grace, the story of a former minor league baseball player turned therapist specializing in anger management cases.
As Charlie Goodson, Sheen plays a middle-aged man who's trying to learn from his mistakes and teach others how to do it, too. In the opening scene of tonight's pilot episode, Sheen literally takes punches at his real-life issues.
"You can't fire me," he says in breaking the fourth wall. "I quit. You think you can replace me with some other guy? Go ahead. It won't be the same.
"You might think I am losing, but I'm not. I'm ..."
We get it.
And we're tired of it.
Sheen needs to move on. At this point, far more than a year after his melt down and leaving "Two and a Half Men," Sheen is trying to hang on tight to the mega-popularity that resulted. If Sheen wanted, he could leave it in the past and use this chance as the place to reinvent himself.
Instead, Charlie Goodson is part Yoda and part Charlie Harper, the forever party boy from "Two and a Half Men." He's too old for one role and no where near believable in the other.
"Anger" is a slightly more watchable series than "Men" — and void of the bathroom humor.
Supporting cast mates Shawnee Smith (as Goodson's ex-wife) and Selma Blair (as his friend with benefits) are colorless and virtually invisible.
"Anger" is Charlie's party. It's just not a very good one.
Score: 2 stars (out of 5)
Terry Morrow may be reached at 865-342-6445 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
© 2012, Knoxville News Sentinel Co.
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