So now that the news is officially official, and Ashton Kutcher is the new Charlie Sheen on Two and a Half Men , it is time to look at this old a problem a different way. Chuck Lorre has said that there is a storyline to introduce Ashton Kutcher in a funny way, according to the Hollywood Reporter’s website. Concern one is taken care of.
The next biggest debate seems to be if Kutcher can replace Charlie Sheen and carry Two and a Half Men . A shton Kutcher has been a television star before, and has proven himself since then, so that is not the biggest worry. What CBS, Chuck Lorre, and the writers of Two and a Half Men need to be concerned with is the television viewing public’s love ‘” hate relationship with replacing their favorite characters. Yes, Ashton Kutcher has the talent to replace Charlie Sheen on Two and a Half Men ‘” but do we want him to?
Throughout the years our favorite television characters have changed like they are on Two and a Half Men for numerous reasons. With those changes to our favorite television shows, so has our love with those shows. When I say it is a love ‘” hate relationship, I am referring to the fact that it is almost split down the middle on whether we love or hate the cast changes or not. Sometimes a clever script change does not help the fact that people just loved the old actor.
The original CSI: Crime Scene Investigation is a show based on very strong, well written scripts, with each case being more important than the characters themselves… Or so we thought. When William Petersen decided it was time for him to leave the CSI character Gil Grissom, he was replaced with Laurence Fishburn. Fishburn was brought in as a new character with a new storyline. The writers wrote this into the script, it all made sense, the stories stayed strong, and Laurence Fishburn is an amazing talent. This all sounds just like the new Ashton Kutcher switch, which is perfect, right? Not exactly. Just after William Petersen left the show, the ratings started to dwindle. They still do well, but not to the level they were when Petersen was still a regular on the show. It should be noted that ratings do go up whenever he returns to the show, which should also tell Ashton Kutcher and Two and a Half Men a little something.
The most famous swap in television history, before this Charlie Sheen ‘” Ashton Kutcher ‘” Two and a Half Men fiasco, was ‘The Case of the Two Darrins’ on Bewitched. In 1969, the television show replaced Dick York with Dick Sargent as Samantha’s husband, with no mention to this at all. This was one of many cast changes Bewitched had gone through, which is almost always a bad sign for a television show. Bewitched managed to make it through them all unscathed, including replacing a major character with no explanation. This was due to their strong, solid scripts every single week. Two and a Half Men, with or without Charlie Sheen, have decent scripts, so this does bode well for Ashton Kutcher’s new role.
The television show Roseanne ruled the airwaves in the nineties, much as Two and a Half Men does today. Even though they went through some cast changes as well, their writing stayed strong throughout, and so did their ratings. The most memorable cast change on Roseanne was the switching of her daughter, Becky. One season there was Lecy Goranson; and then the next season there was Sarah Chalke, who went one to Scrubs fame. Again, no mention to this switch until the very end of Sarah Chalke’s run. A conversation between Roseanne and her sister, Jackie, on the show about ‘The Case of the Two Darrins’ was a nod to the audience about the change, but the true punchline came when ‘old Becky’ came back onto the show.
Lecy Goranson walks in to the kitchen as Becky in her first scene back. Her aunt looks at her and asks, “Where have you been?” Becky looks at her crazy, and then simply replies, “In my room.”
Other articles from Joshua Cook on the Yahoo! Contributor Network:
Scrubs: NBC’s Cult Hit
Scrubs Guest Stars: Season Six
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