The highest paid actor in television turns his destructive behavior against the goose that lay the golden eggs, loses goose and eggs

As long as Charlie Sheen’s notorious drug, alcohol, and sex binges did not affect, too much, his work on the hit TV comedy of which he is the star, “Two and a Half Men,” the show’s producers tolerated his misbehavior; they even twice temporarily shut down production to give him time to enter a rehabilitation center and get dried out. But when, in two interviews, Sheen turned on the show’s creator and producer, Chuck Lorre, born Charles Levine, calling him a “clown” and a “charlatan” whose “tin can” of a show Sheen said he had converted into “pure gold,” and saying, “I violently hate Chaim Levine. He’s a stupid, stupid little man,” the producers and the network had enough. As the New York Times reported yesterday:

In a terse statement, CBS and Warner Brothers, which produces the show, said, “Based on the totality of Charlie Sheen’s statements, conduct and condition, CBS and Warner Brothers Television have decided to discontinue production of ‘Two and a Half Men’ for the remainder of the season.”

Which probably means, as a follow-up article today explains, that the show will not be returning at all. Given that it has been the most successful TV comedy over the last eight years, the decision will cost the producers—along with Sheen, who receives $1.5 million per episode plus a percentage of the sales of each episode—untold millions.

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Evan H. writes:

At the end of every show that Lorre produces, a “vanity card” written by him flashes on the screen for a second. Here’s the card from Feb 7, 2011, and probably the source of the “Chaim Levine” thing. In a way it sounds like he is, or is becoming, a traditionalist, but I doubt the sentiment will ever make it into one of his shows.

LA replies:

I don’t understand, he flashes (for one instant) a several hundred word long, entirely personal message?

Evan H. replies:

I’m not sure why he does it. I watched an episode of Two and a Half Men once, to see what the highest rated TV comedy was like, and it’s really bad. Formulaic, predictable, lowest common denominator type stuff. My guess is that Lorre wants to attach some personal meaning to his work, which I suppose is the reason they’re called vanity cards. It’s left to the dedicated fan to find his website or freeze-frame the episode if he’s interested in reading the message. I found the link to his site here.

LA replies:

Does the actual text of the vanity card appear on the TV screen?

Evan H. replies:

Yes—he does it for all of his shows, after the end credits have rolled. You can see an example if you go here and skip to the 21:30 mark. You’ll have to sit through two commercials, then you’ll be in the end credits. Wait a couple more seconds and then you’ll see how regular viewers see the message.

LA replies:

I saw a paragraph of text flash on screen for half a second. I guess that was it. How bizarre. Postmodern. The message is there, but someone would have to know what it was and go searching for it to read it. And what it is, is a purely personal statement having nothing to do with the show, in this case his feelings on first traveling to Israel and finding himself in an entirely Jewish society. And he’s had one of these personal statements for each of the hundreds of shows he’s produced.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at February 26, 2011 07:04 AM | Send

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