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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » Two and a Half Men - The Complete First Season
Two and a Half Men - The Complete First Season
Warner Bros. // Unrated // September 11, 2007
List Price: $44.98 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by Jeffrey Robinson | posted September 18, 2007 | E-mail the Author
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The First Season

Two and a Half Men is a television situational comedy (sitcom) about a carefree, womanizing bachelor whose life is turned upside down when his neurotic bother and son move in. The series first aired in 2003 and was widely received by audiences, as well as critics -- winning the People's Choice award for Favorite New Comedy Series. The show's success is an excellent rounded cast, witty dialogue, and all-around goofy storylines. What it boils down to is that Two and a Half Men is a fun-filled sitcom that is nonstop with laughter.

In the series' pilot episode introduces one of the three main characters, Charlie Harper (Charlie Sheen). He is an easygoing bachelor with a fabulous house on the beaches of Malibu. For work, he is a successful composer and writes jingles. Life is perfect for Charlie, with little responsibility, lots of money, and oodles of women. While spending an exotic evening with a female friend, Charlie's life is disrupted when his brother Alan (Jon Cryer) shows up. Alan was married to Judith (Marin Hinkle) for twelve years. They have a son together named Jake (Angus T. Jones). Alan comes to Charlie in a time of need, after Judith kicked him out.

Charlie is reluctantly to let his brother stay with him, but agrees on a temporary basis. Unfortunately for Charlie's wild social life, Alan and his son Jake turn a short stay into a permanent one. Joining the two and a half men are Evelyn (Holland Taylor), the Harper boys' domineering and loving mother, Rose (Melanie Lynskey), the crazy next-door neighbor who had a one night stand with Charlie and has been stalking him since, and Berta (Conchata Ferrell), the tough house keeper who is more than willing to put Charlie in his place.

After the season one pilot episode, the series continues with Charlie, Alan, Jake, and company getting used to their new lives together. The show's comedy follows two primary avenues. First, Charlie and Alan have opposite personalities. While Charlie is carefree and easygoing, Alan is neurotic and compulsive. They have different expectations of life and their personality clashes make for some fun moments. Second, the formulation of the Charlie-Alan-Jake relationship is constantly at the fore. Charlie's hip lifestyle isn't exactly the best influence for a 10-year-old boy, but Jake, on more than one occasion, takes after his uncle. And it drives Alan crazy to no end.

In general, the comedy comes off rich. The three primary characters (Charlie, Alan, Jake) have a great chemistry together. Sheen's character Charlie resembles his role of Charlie Crawford from Spin City. He has a quick and dry wit that plays well against Cryer and Jones. Cryer is especially good with his neurotic character and delivers a convincing performance. Jones brings a youthful innocence that compliments Sheen's womanizing personality and Cryer's neurotic behavior. The supporting characters offer decent additions to the cast, but are as strong as the three lead characters.

For fun season one episodes, some of the best deal with Charlie's lifestyle shaping Jake. "If They Do Go Either Way, They're Usually Fake" is a classic episode and a perfect example of the wonderful chemistry between the three lead actors. While having breakfast, Jake witnesses the undressed half of one of Charlie's female friends. The incident peaks his interest in the female form (to Alan and Judith's dismay). The result is several fun moments with a sexually-charged boy, a supporting Charlie, and two unhappy parents. "Big Flappy Bastards" is another fun one, where Jake rebels against Charlie's authority and he learns what it means to be a parent.

Other fun episodes include "The Last Thing You Want Is to Wind Up With a Hump", a solid episode with sex at the fore and a few desperate soccer moms, "Camel Filters And Pheromones", Berta's attractive granddaughter sets a (metaphorical) fire in the house, "An Old Flame With A New Wick", Charlie's ex-girlfriend resurfaces as a man and it is an awkward situation for the two and a half men, and "Can You Feel My finger?", Charlie has a pregnancy scare and considers having a vasectomy; awww, sitcoms and the old snip-snip never get old.

Overall, Two and a Half Men is a fun sitcom with a strong leading cast and solid writing. The season one episodes are a great collection of episodes that will leave you laughing at every turn. I had a lot of fun with the first season and look forward to season two, which comes out on DVD later this year.

Episode Guide

1. Pilot: Deal him in. Charlie's poker night with the boys includes a genuine boy - 10-year-old Jake.
2. Big Flappy Bastards: Talk about gull-ible! Seagulls invade the house when Jake won't stop feeding the feathered freeloaders.
3. Go East On Sunset Until You Reach The Gates Of Hell: Tequila shots and a philosophical cabbie lead Charlie and Alan to a confrontation with their mother.
4. If I Can't Write My Chocolate Song, I'm Going To Take A Nap: The most important woman in Charlie's life - his cleaning lady - walks out.
5. Last Thing You Want Is To Wind Up With A Hump: Charlie and Alan discover a great place to score: Jake's soccer games, home of single soccer moms.
6. Did You Check With The Captain Of The Flying Monkeys?: A new dad for Charlie and Alan? Evelyn flips for a beau...until he drops her like a bag of cement.
7. If They Do Go Either Way, They're Usually Fake: Jake spies a tattoo on a pretty girl's half-bare bottom, then draws the naked truth for a school assignment.
8. Twenty-Five Little Pre-Pubers Without A Snootful: Fourth grade - the musical. Charlie "volunteers" to write a salute to the Industrial Revolution for Jake's clas.
9. Phase One, Complete: What's wrong with Miss Right? Everyone thinks Charlie's girlfriend is The One - everyone except Charlie.
10. Merry Thanksgiving: Charlie tries to showcase his domestic talents when he hosts a lavish Thanksgiving dinner.
11. Alan Harper, Frontier Chiropractor: Makeover magic. Charlie's the man with the plan when Alan decides to jump-start his life with a new book.
12. Camel Filters And Pheromones: A minor problem. Berta's Lolita-like teenage granddaughter creates chaos in the Harper household.

13. Sarah Like Puny Alan: On their last double date, Charlie got the incredible cheerleader and Alan got the Incredible Hulk. Does Alan dare try again?
14. I Can't Afford Hyenas: When Charlie hits a financial pothole, he has to (gasp! shudder!) cut back on expenses.
15. Round One To The Hot Crazy Chick: Batter up! The guys bring home Frankie, a gorgeous woman with a baseball bat...and anger issues.
16. That Was Saliva, Alan: Two and a half men - plus one and a half women. Frankie brings her eight-year-old daughter to stay.
17. Ate The Hamburgers, Wearing The Hats: In his will, Alan names a guardian for Jake...and it isn't Charlie.
18. An Old Flame With A New Wick: My, how you've changed. Charlie's old girlfriend wants to be friends. And now she's a he.
19. I Remember The Coat Room, I Just Don't Remember You: Twisted sister. Judith's seductive sister once had a fling with Charlie but now she's cuddling up to Alan.
20. He, I Can Pee Outside In The Dark: Jake gets a guitar and an attitude. He just can't seem to lose the blues.
21. No Sniffing, No Wowing: Alan's divorce attorney is a major hottie but Charlie discovers she's too hot to handle.
22. My Doctor Has A Cow Puppet: Well, at least it's experience. Alan resumes his childhood sleepwalking habit.
23. Just Like Buffalo: Shhhhhhh! Jake repeats Charlie's sexist comment in front of Judith's man-averse support group.
24. Can You Feel My Finger?: After a girlfriend has a pregnancy scare, Charlie decides a little snip-snip will prevent any future worries.

The DVD

Video:
The video is given in 1.85:1 ratio widescreen format. The presentation is in a matted format, which is indicated to preserve the original aspect ratio of widescreen television exhibition. The picture quality for this transfer is pretty good. There are some evident compression artifacts, but nothing really bad.

Audio:
The audio is presented in English and Portuguese 2.0 Dolby digital stereo sound. It sounds good with dialogue easy to hear and no noticeable audio distortions. There are subtitles in English, French, Korean, Portuguese, and Spanish.

Extras:
Two and a Half Men: The Complete First Season DVD set comes with two featurettes and a bloopers reel. Here is a breakdown of the extras:

  • Two Adults, One Kid, No Grown Ups (27:52): is a featurette about the show with Lee Aronsohn, Chuck Lorre, Charlie Sheen, Jon Cryer, and Angus T. Jones. It is comprised of interview footage and clips from the season one episodes. The topic of discussion includes the show's origin, casting/characters, storylines, etc.
  • Gag Reel/Outtakes (5:56): is a pretty average bloopers reel with the cast messing up their lines and acting silly.
  • Backstage Tour with Angus T. Jones (8:27): is an up and close behind-the-scenes tour of Two and a Half Men. Jones gives a detailed tour of the Charlie's house and other important sets to the show, as well as backstage stuff like makeup, props, food tray, etc.

Final Thoughts:
Two and a Half Men is a fun-filled sitcom about a bachelor, and his recently separated brother and son under one roof. The three of them adapt to their new lifestyles, which produces a lot of comical and goofy situations. The season one collection is made up of twenty-four hilarious episodes with a topnotch cast and excellent writing. It is the kind of show you do not want to miss out on. It comes highly recommended.

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