When Fact Meets Fiction: The Case of Charlie Sheen

Trey Ellison – NEWSslinger Contributor

Here’s why the television show “Two and Half Men” is so popular: Charlie Sheen’s character, Charlie Harper, lives his life in a manner all of us (especially other men) revere: he resides in a large, lavish house near the beach, drives a cool sports car, and he jumps in and out of bed with good-looking babes with no strings attached. All of this splendor and sumptuousness is funded with a cushy advertising gig, which, other than some comical routines at his grand piano while writing catchy jingles, he never seems to have to go to work. Charlie gets into some trouble from his drinking and carousing, mostly for the sake of spoof, slapstick and satire; by the end of the half-hour all is well again. Until next week, of course, when his jubilant festivities will yet again envelop him into some kind of humorous calamity.       

The rest of us in the real world understand that creator Chuck Lorre’s show is merely a narrative; that nobody’s life is really like that. Charlie Harper is the classic anti-hero, engaging in acts and displaying behaviors we all at some time or another would like to partake, but we viewers know better. Indeed, we members of the audience are fully aware of the fact that while we may relish the idea of shooting up the burger joint with an Uzi because we came in a measly two minutes past the time limit for the serving of breakfast, a la the Michael Douglas character in 1993’s “Falling Down,” no one of us would actually attempt such an endeavor. We all realize that although it is entertaining, it is merely a work of fiction.

All of us, that is, except Charlie Sheen. Perhaps that’s because of his real life’s similarity to that of his character in the sitcom: he lives in a large, lavish house, drives cool cars, and jumps in and out of bed with good-looking women. However, in real life, there are definitely strings attached. Charlie has been thrice married, with five children, four from his last two wives, model/actress Denise Richards, and “B movie” actress Brooke Mueller, both of whom divorced him on grounds of drug abuse and domestic violence. So intense was the latter relationship, Sheen can never legally possess any kind of firearm for the rest of his natural life. But who needs a gun when you’ve got “tiger blood,” eh?

Throughout most of his existence, Sheen has been arrested, incarcerated, and hospitalized for his excessive carousing and philandering, without anything along the lines of genuine punishment being dished out toward him, much like his television show character. In one particular episode, Charlie Harper got out of all the trouble he was in that week by simply sleeping with the conveniently attractive female judge assigned to his case. However, this is not what is happening to Charlie Sheen.

After all these years of hard partying, Sheen’s life is heading in a downward spiral rather rapidly. As of this writing, Warner Brothers officially fired Sheen from the popular sitcom, the latest buzz mentioning John Stamos from “Fullhouse” fame as a possible replacement. Perhaps Charlie will come to realize that he’s not so “special” after all, when the multi-billion dollar media conglomerate hires Stamos or some other actor to belt out Sheen’s lines with the same (if not better) fervor next fall. Maybe then he’ll come to understand who is both literally and figuratively “running the show.”

To add further insult to injury in this debacle, the police recently showed up at Sheen’s doorstep and took custody of his children. Considering the environment he provided for them (The Goddesses?), in addition to his recent radio and television rants, which included a reckless sideswipe at Alcoholic Anonymous (“the only thing I’m addicted to is winning”), it is surprising it did not happen sooner. However, it is highly unlikely the judge assigned to this case will rule in his favor.

Perhaps, if he wasn’t so detached from reality, he would have the ability to see what all of us in the audience are seeing all too clearly: the party’s long been over; the laughter has subsided; the viewer’s amusement has since been replaced with genuine concern. The underlying truth between fact and fiction is this: Charlie Harper is a fictional comedic character; Charlie Sheen is real human being battling the disease of addiction, who needs help and support.

Trey Ellison – NEWSslinger Contributor