Charlie Sheen has been working hard to repair his image since his epic, tiger-blood-fueled meltdown last year. But now, just as his new sitcom, Anger Management, is going into production for an initial 10-episode run on FX, Sheen is flying off the handle again, lashing out at his old show, Two and a Half Men, and its new star, Ashton Kutcher. Here's what you should know:
What exactly did Sheen say?
"I'm tired of lying," Sheen told TMZ Live last week. "I'm tired of pretending [Men] doesn't suck." Of Kutcher, the actor called in to replace him, Sheen said: "I'm tired of pretending Ashton doesn't suck... It's nothing personal ... I just feel bad for him ... He's saddled with such bad writing." That's the Charlie Sheen we all know and avoid, says Lanford Beard at Entertainment Weekly. "After demonstrating contrition at last September's Emmys and keeping relatively quiet throughout the fall, it appears Sheen couldn't hold his tongue anymore."
Did he apologize to Kutcher?
Sheen has apparently had second thoughts, posting a note on his website, saying: "Dear Ashton — My bad. I was disrespectful to a man doing his best. I got excited and threw you into a crossfire. The rest of my statement I stand behind. You, however, deserve better. Safety in your travels good sir." The letter was signed in the name of Sheen's now-deceased Men character, Charlie Harper.
What triggered the outburst?
Sheen had apparently been using old Two and a Half Men publicity photos to promote his new series, and Warner Bros. sent him a cease and desist letter. Sheen called in to TMZ Live to discuss the matter — reminiscent of his numerous wild calls to radio shows during last year's meltdown. The exchange quickly devolved in a slew of attacks on his old show.
Won't this kind of rant hurt Sheen's new show?
"There is no such thing as bad publicity, they say, and a new show needs all the attention it can get," says Nellie Andreeva at Deadline. Still, this is precisely the kind of "verbal rampage" that made Sheen toxic last year; FX and Anger Management producer Lionsgate TV can't be thrilled. Maybe, but Two and a Half Men might incur more of the damage, says Penn Collins at Screen Junkies. "When Charlie Sheen is calling you 'adrift'... it's probably high time for some serious introspection." Maybe this will blow over, says Kimberley Ripley at Gather. Sheen's apology to Kutcher means that, unlike last year, he's capable of feeling at least a "fleeting moment" of shame. "The old Charlie would have stuck to his guns."