A Brief History of Charlie Sheen Hating on Chuck Lorre — And Vice Versa
Sorry, what just happened? Chuck Lorre has conned Max into greenlighting another comedy series, one that will costar … Charlie Sheen? Is this the same Sheen and Lorre who publicly threw verbal haymakers at each other back in 2011? We’ll spare you the boring details on Lorre’s new bookmaking comedy so we can jump in the time machine to revisit one of the most profane, vicious beefs in sitcom history. Gloves off, it's go time.
Two and a Half Men was CBS’s top-rated comedy in 2011 when producer Lorre pushed the pause button on production so star Sheen could check into rehab and get his house in order. Instead, America got Tiger Blood, a show with wackier plotlines and more outrageous characters. What happened? A Lorre vanity card at the end of a February Two And A Half Men episode didn’t start the party, but it didn’t help:
“I exercise regularly. I eat moderate amounts of healthy food. I make sure to get plenty of rest. I see my doctor once a year and my dentist twice a year. I floss every night. I’ve had chest x-rays, cardio stress tests, EKG’s and colonoscopies. I see a psychologist and have a variety of hobbies to reduce stress. I don’t drink. I don’t smoke. I don’t do drugs. I don’t have crazy, reckless sex with strangers. If Charlie Sheen outlives me, I’m gonna be really pissed.”
Shots fired. Now it was Sheen’s turn, calling into the radio show of even-handed rationalist Alex Jones: “It’s nothing this side of deplorable that Chaim Levine – yeah that’s his real name – mistook this rock star for his exit strategy. I embarrassed him in front of his children by healing at a pace that his brain can’t process. Last time I checked, Chaim, I’ve spent the last decade turning your tin cans into gold. And this charlatan chose not to do his job, which is to write. Clearly, someone who believes he’s above the law. You’ve been warned, dude, bring it.”
More random talk-show call-ins followed, with Sheen calling his hit show a “pukefest” while labeling Lorre — checks the list — a clown, a loser, an AA Nazi, a blatant hypocrite, and a turd. Oh, and Sheen also challenged his boss to a cage match.
Most human resources departments will tell you that’s enough to get a guy fired. And sure enough, CBS quickly axed Sheen, telling his lawyers that the star was “engaged in dangerously self-destructive conduct and appears to be very ill.”
Sheen took his firing well, releasing a statement that proclaimed, “It is a big day of gladness at the Sober Valley Lodge because now I can take all of the bazillions, never have to look at whatshiscock again and I never have to put on those silly shirts for as long as this warlock exists in the terrestrial dimension.”
Whatshiscock — make that, Lorre — got the last laugh on Two and a Half Men by killing Sheen’s character Charlie Harper in the television dimension. Twice. The first time, Harper dies offscreen in a freak accident so Ashton Kutcher can replace Sheen. Then in the series’ final episode, Lorre reveals that Harper was alive all along, held captive in stalker Rose’s basement. He escapes long enough for a Sheen body double to get flattened by a falling piano. The camera pans to Lorre in a director’s chair, who turns to us to deliver a smug final line: “Winning.” We’re guessing if the series would have lasted another season, Lorre would have murdered Sheen a third time.
Years after the fact, a more sober Sheen regretted the way he navigated the whole debacle. “There was 55 different ways for me to handle that situation,” he said, “and I chose number 56.”