What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Anger Management is a comeback vehicle for actor Charlie Sheen -- whose inability to deal with his own anger issues made headlines -- and features decidedly adult humor, including strong (and sometimes crude) sexual references, drinking (hard liquor, beer, wine, etc.), and lighthearted discussions about violent acts, including murder. Stereotypes about inmates, homosexuals, and other people are frequent. It's not intended to be taken seriously, but it does offer a message about the importance of keeping one's anger in check, and the potential consequences not doing so can have. The Trojan brand is prominently visible.
What's the story?
The comedy series ANGER MANAGEMENT stars controversial actor Charlie Sheen as Charlie Goodson, a successful anger management therapist who works with patients to get their tempers under control. After derailing his baseball career thanks to his inability to control his anger, he now runs a private practice helping a colorful group of patients including Ed (Barry Corbin), Nolan (Derek Richardson), and Patrick (Michael Arden). He also does pro-bono work at the local prison, where he works with inmates like Cleo (James Black) and Donovan (Darius McCrary). It's sometimes hard to keep his own emotions at bay, especially when he is also raising his sensitive 15-year old daughter Sam (played by Daniela Bobadilla) with his ex-wife Jennifer (Shawnee Smith). Luckily for him, best friend and therapist Kate Wales (Selma Blair) is there to support him.
Is it any good?
The series offers a chance for viewers to watch Charlie Sheen try to make a comeback after his notorious end run in Two and a Half Men by featuring him as a flawed-but-sympathetic character who is trying to help people struggling with their own emotional problems. But the connection between Sheen's past acts and his character's goals are just too obvious, which makes the entire premise feel both predictable and forced.
Thanks to sitcom veterans like Grace Under Fire's Brett Butler and Spin City's Michael Boatman, as well as Sheen's own comic style, the show does invite a few chuckles here and there. But its reliance on gay stereotypes, crude sex jokes, and lots of inappropriate behaviors to make it funny lead to a lot of stale punch lines. No doubt that the curious will tune in, but chances are that after a while, they will probably tune out.
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about using humor as a way of addressing serious issues. Much has been made of Charlie Sheen's anger problems and inappropriate behavior in the media. Do you think this show is touching on some of the mistakes he has made? Or is it just a chance for the actor to make a comeback by poking fun at what he did?
Is there a connection between watching violence in the media and one's ability to manage his/her anger? Can the media be used to help people cope better with their emotions?
Why are stereotypes frequently used to elicit laughs among TV audiences? Is it appropriate to use them? How can you make something funny without relying on a generalization to do so?