This and other phrases that define 2011.

Lane Cummingsby Lane Cummings

I’ve never met Charlie Sheen and despite that his ABC interview made me feel as though I had, I’d like to share a tidbit about someone I know who did work with him. Someone I worked with had a small reoccurring role on the first season of Two and a Half Men. He had just gotten married at this point and everyone on set would periodically congratulate him. During these instances Sheen would just stare at him from afar, glazed. One day, he said, Sheen took him aside and said something to the effect of, “Hey, do you want to know what my dad says about marriage? He says, ‘Do you want to know why divorce is so expensive? Because it’s worth every penny.’”

Speaking of jewels of wisdom, Sheen gave out numerous gems during his erratic ABC interview of February 2011 was so erratic, he seemed like a deranged, coked up Willy Wonka. Holed up in his mansion, catered to by a range of porn star-prostitute-hanger-on-Oompa Loompas, and zinging out catch-phrase after catch-phrase, you kind of had to scratch your head and wonder if maybe he should’ve done some of the writing for CBS.

I truly don’t even know where to start.

So how about this: I can’t remember the last time I saw someone smoke on television during an interview. I seem to recall a clip of an aged yet grand Bette Davis dragging on a cigarette beside a jovial Johnny Carson. It’s like he secretly thinks himself as an elderly Eminem and he’s going to drive slowly down Sunset yelling that he don’t give a f@#$ with windows down and the system up. Charlie’s not just letting it all hang out and coming to work in sweat pants. He’s an inch a way from picking his nose on camera.

Truly my favorite part of the interview was every time he bent down from his chair to pick up his water bottle or glass of orange crush (?) that was on the floor beside his feet.  Why wasn’t there a small table for him to have his beverages on? For some reason I don’t see this as an oversight of the production team. I can picture a nervous PA trying to place a petite, yet tasteful table beside Sheen, to have the unruly sitcom guy kick him out of the way, proclaiming that those with tiger blood do not need accent tables.

Tiger Blood. Another phrase that will never be the same. I remember the innocent times when this just meant someone was sturdy. Given my very cursory understanding of what happened to Charlie Sheen, he did a lot of drugs during a 24+ hour bender. He got his stomach pumped or something comparable and got lucky. Now, it appears that in the rainbow meadows of his mind, this equates him to being stronger than us mortals. It’s as preposterous as an icicle falling off a building, narrowly missing your head, and you screaming, “Yeah, I’m not dead or unconscious because I got tiger blood!”

Sean Penn and Mel Gibson were some of the names he rattled off, as stars who’ve reached out to him and a testament to him “winning.” This is pretty remarkable, as we can now conclude that it takes a bale of cocaine, a liver full of horse tranquilizers and one foot down the tunnel with the white light at the end, to get A-list celebrities to phone the star of Two and a Half Men. He’s like a delusional woman who gets texted by an ex at 3am to “come over” and who thinks “yeah, he’s not just after an easy hook-up, he’s still in love with me!” Please. These were pity calls on behalf of Penn and Gibson (or perhaps Gibson was just gleefully delighted that the heat was taken off of him for a minute) and someone needs to tell Sheen they won’t be asking him to play a memorable supporting role in their next feature films. 

Or perhaps I’m wrong. I’m willing to believe that Sheen isn’t really interested in his “artistic career” as shown by the fact that he sold his soul for a sitcom filled with witty comebacks. It’s quite likely he has no interest in well-respected films, awards or furthering his career in any way that garners respect. I think most of all he enjoys being the master of ceremonies of the carnie show he’s trudging through town and he is the most bemused spectator of them all. One has to wonder how many times he’s watched his interviews on the internet or his “web show” where he wears a fedora, snorts coke, and looks like a skeleton with a lot of pancake make-up on.  

The why and the how and the history and the reasons this has all happened really aren’t important. Any American is acquainted with how growing up in Hollywood can set the path for a life called damaged, not to mention growing up with a famous father, buckets of cash, and being constantly catered to despite your increasingly erratic one-liners. We all remember Brittney Spears’ very public meltdown when she shaved her head. The difference is that Britney Spears does not continue to shave her head every day before a horrified, yet enthralled public.  And our Charlie boy will indeed keeping punching himself in the face, because every time he does, he springs up like Kramer with some nutty line that’s way better than anything the overworked writers at CBS could’ve come up with.

Sometimes when I see a celebrity interview, and I notice how self-absorbed or moronic the celeb is, I feel like I’ve dated them. I didn’t get this feeling with Sheen. He came off as that weird guy at the back of the Greyhound bus who talks really loudly to his friend about random crap. And some of it’s funny and some it’s crazy, but there’s no way to ignore any of it.

My point: I’m sold. I truly don’t think our fair Earth will be losing Mr. Sheen anytime soon. I give him 36 months.