Charlie Sheen has been granting a lot of interviews lately. Some of his comments have a lot of people speculating on Sheen’s state of mind. Rightly so, when you consider remarks like this one on The Today Show: “I’m tired of pretending I’m not special. I’m tired of pretending like I’m not bitching a total freaking rock star from Mars. People can’t figure me out. They can’t process me. I don’t expect them to. You can’t process me with a normal brain.”
That line about being a rock star is fairly incoherent. But perhaps I’m failing to process Sheen, limited by my normal human brain. And he ought to be applauded for stating the obvious: “I’m tired of pretending I’m not special.”
Why should Sheen think otherwise? Sheen, like Lohan, Spears, Jackson and Elvis before him, has simply become the embodiment of the exploitation that over the years has filled the coffers of many a person in the entertainment industry (including Sheen).
Since its debut, “Two and a Half Men” has been one of CBS’s top-ranked shows. Over 15 million viewers tuned in before the show was abruptly cancelled due to Sheen’s outrageous recent antics, which include domestic violence, assaulting an escort, substance abuse and maniacal rantings aimed at the show’s creator Chuck Lorre. CBS put the brakes on the show after Sheen referred to Lorre in a radio interview as “Haim Levine.” Sheen can deny it all he wants, but there is anti-Semitism behind that fighting slur.
People have long been willing to overlook Sheen’s bad-boy behavior, aware that Charlie Sheen is your brain on drugs. Or at the very least, he is a man who ain’t in his right mind.
Threaten the little lady with a knife? We can pretend that was just a bad end to a holiday weekend. Get a little rough with the girlfriend-for-hire? You might need to cut back on the booze, buddy. Trash a hotel room? Uh-oh. Somebody pay off the front desk. But where Sheen went really wrong, it appears, was in attacking Lorre.
The whole thing has a Frankenstein karma to it: A creator in a bloody war with his creation. The magnetism of “Two and a Half Men” was the outrageous devil-may-care attitude of Sheen’s sex-obsessed, sideways drunk, hedonistic jingle writer. That the character is named Charlie is no mistake. It’s only further exploitation by all involved.
The problem with such exploitation, as it appears Lorre and others are learning, is that while one Charlie is a fictional piece of performance art, the other is a real person with a real soul — even if it appears that Sheen’s soul is in absentia right now (perhaps it went to rehab).
Sheen says he’s cured himself. It’s clear he’s delusional. But he’s not the only one sidestepping the truth.
There are certain tribal groups who won’t allow photos to be taken because they believe the camera has the ability to steal their souls from them. Lorre and CBS were willing to steal Sheen’s soul for their own personal gain. There was an intentional blurring of the lines between the on-set and the real-life versions of Charlie. Too many were apparently willing to let Charlie be Charlie, as long as he could play Charlie. Following a woozy man-ho in the comfort of the home has its amusements, but being married to such a man, or the brother or business partner of an addict, is unbelievably heartbreaking.
Over 15 million viewers have had untold laughs at the expense of Charlie Sheen. That doesn’t excuse Sheen from his wrongdoing, but it does make those of us laughing at him complicit in his downfall. Charlie Sheen is Martin Sheen’s son. He is the father of five precious children. He doesn’t need our ridicule. He needs our prayers.
CBS and Chuck Lorre need to own up to their part in producing not only the Charlie we see on camera, but the Charlie Sheen we see off of it. Every monster has a creator.