Monday night's season premiere of CBS' "Two and a Half Men" opened with a funeral filled with familiar faces as the sitcom sought to exorcise the lingering ghost of troubled Charlie Sheen.
Those faces were female, women who the TV version of Charlie had done wrong in some way (mostly the same way), including Jenny McCarthy. The writers offered a laundry list of Charlie's perversions and the sexually-transmitted diseases that he shared.
The lead female in the group was Charlie's long-time stalker and, apparently, the love of his life, Rose (played creepily, as always, by Melanie Lynskey) who describes his "accidental" death in the Paris subway.
Accidental? Sure it was.
Charlie Harper was just the first segment of the show, as the writers formally move on to introduce the show's newest addition, Ashton Kutcher, as a troubled billionaire who tries to drown himself.
Through a sitcom-y series of events, Kutcher's Walden Schmidt, who is comedically comfortable with public nudity, buys the beach house that will remain the focus of the show.
Did it work? If you like Kutcher, it did. But whatever the overnight ratings show, it'll be a few weeks before we see if the show will maintain its healthy ratings.
I'm guessing it will. Kutcher is likable, and played well with Jon Cryer's still-hapless Alan Harper. The transition from Charlie to Walden should be pretty easy.
As for the Sheen roast on Comedy Central that aired after "Two and a Half Men," it was mean and lewd and exactly what you'd expect.
Among the best lines, from Jon Lovitz: "How much blow can Charlie Sheen do? Enough to kill two and a half men."
As funny as that was, Sheen didn't kill his old show. He may have been the impetus for a successful new life without him.
Here's a clip of Charlie's brother saying goodbye to his TV sibling from Monday's show:
You can watch the entire episode at CBS' website.
Tonight's new stuff: Day two of the fall season rolls out on ABC with the first results show of the new run of "Dancing with the Stars" at 8, followed by the return of "Body of Proof" at 9, on Channel 12.
- CBS: "NCIS" is back with a new season at 7, followed at 8 by "NCIS: Los Angeles," and the new "Unforgettable," with Poppy Montgomery, at 9, on Channel 58.
- Fox: "Glee" returns at 7, followed by Zooey Deschannel's "New Girl" at 8. "Raising Hope" starts its new season at 8:30, on Channel 6.
- NBC: A new run of "The Biggest Loser" begins at 7, and "Parenthood" – which started its new season last week – airs at 9, on Channel 4.
- CW: The number five broadcast network began its season last week. "90210" airs at 7," followed by Sarah Michelle Gellar's new "Ringer" at 8, on Channel 18.
One of the better Emmy bits: Sunday's Emmy Awards had more failed bits than successful ones, but one that worked was one that played off NBC's "The Office."
Here it is:
Tim Cuprisin is the media columnist for OnMilwaukee.com. He's been a journalist for 30 years, starting in 1979 as a police reporter at the old City News Bureau of Chicago, a legendary wire service that's the reputed source of the journalistic maxim "if your mother says she loves you, check it out." He spent a couple years in the mean streets of his native Chicago, and then moved on to the Green Bay Press-Gazette and USA Today, before coming to the Milwaukee Journal in 1986.
A general assignment reporter, Cuprisin traveled Eastern Europe on several projects, starting with a look at Poland after five years of martial law, and a tour of six countries in the region after the Berlin Wall opened and Communism fell. He spent six weeks traversing the lands of the former Yugoslavia in 1994, linking Milwaukee Serbs, Croats and Bosnians with their war-torn homeland.
In the fall of 1994, a lifetime of serious television viewing earned him a daily column in the Milwaukee Journal (and, later the Journal Sentinel) focusing on TV and radio. For 15 years, he has chronicled the changes rocking broadcasting, both nationally and in Milwaukee, an effort he continues at OnMilwaukee.com.
When he's not watching TV, Cuprisin enjoys tending to his vegetable garden in the backyard of his home in Whitefish Bay, cooking and traveling.