The Reality of Reality or Does the Train Ever Meet the Twain?
I am a big fan of Two and a Half Men partly because the show makes me laugh so hard and partly because I wrote an episode of it for a Writers Guild Diversity project. And when you are writing a show, you start living the characters, and let me tell you, a part of me did live a little as Charlie Harper (which I don’t think Charlie Sheen can blame for his problems).
Of course, another part of me lived as his brother, Alan Harper, as did another part of me lived as Berta which I guess I could blame for all the chocolate I buy! But back to ole Charlie Sheen who is out there breaking my heart. My brother taught me to feed the good dog inside people and starve the bad dog. We really need to do this! This is real life. Not fantasy!
Charlie’s life is real – not stuff created to entertain us! This is not a battle of wits on a radio show “bringing it on” with Chuck Lorre, the show’s creator, who I’m sure is the most sensitive to this of everyone! This show is his baby! He has his lively vanity cards which air after each show. Maybe he could do one about helping friends or relatives who are at risk.
Charlie’s meglomaniacal rants remind me of George Carlin on the modern man when he labeled himself every term out there! Just what hasn’t Charlie been called? And which ones apply? Surely Sheen is as complex as they come. I personally think he deserves some compassion but ultimately television, sadly, is a numbers game and his number is up.
So keep in mind all the Charlie Sheen stuff. I don’t need to review it in all its Technicolor aspects. So we cut to, as they say in Hollywood…a ringing telephone…mine. I answer. I am asked to be in a reality show. Really? I have been asked to act. ACT? In a reality show? But isn’t everything in a “reality show” REAL?
Apparently not! My part? A glamorous socialite who can reduce people to tears with a look because they so want her approval! My writer’s curiosity was watering at the mouth! So I glammed out, made faces in the mirror which I read actors do from the time they are children, and found I didn’t have an intimidating face in the bunch! But I could smile 97 ways courtesy of a modeling career that just seems to keep on giving!
The reality show is called CHELSEA SETTLES for MTV (the channel famous for music that doesn’t broadcast any) and they called to say that they had changed locations and I assured them I would find them. I parked my car in the heart of Beverly Hills and emerged from the underground lot where I used to park to see Jose Eber for my hair. I was now on the corner of Rodeo Drive and Dayton Way where tourists milled and hopeful press awaited a “star.”
In my glam animal print hat and coat with brown boots and orange hose, I tried to exude glamour, professionalism, and elegance, yet the tights still said fun. Still and all, the furthest thing from my mind was to reduce people to tears! But I would try. I would do it comically ala Charlie Chaplin. A few cars drove by and I realized that they were either snapping my photo or videotaping me! I wanted to shout something i.e. “I am a writer!” but I simply said, “Cheese!” just in case it was someone from TMZ or someone who knew me from my days as a co-ed at UCLA.
The reality crew appeared and everyone was adorable and charming. It was freaky cold and talk of snow was the big subject as snow in Los Angeles is not something that happens every decade. Two days later, it snowed behind the famous Hollywood sign.
I was given my assignments in terms of what to do and I tried to practice my faces of distain. “Chelsea” was to stop on the street to rub her feet or would pass me on the street where she would stop and "long to be me." I never knew I had arrived in life but I guess I had!
The reality was that I stopped and did the Charlie Chaplin, “Poor Chelsea with her tired tootsies” thing. I had my eyes on all the tourists and noticed how slovenly they were dressed! Disdain came like the rain in Spain! I could feel my head swelling and knew that I had to quit my show biz career immediately! And did! Phew! After all, I am a serious writer!
Back to Charlie Sheen. He is the reality in the fantasy show in Two and a Half Men – a show about a millionaire living on the beach in Malibu who doesn’t have a care in the world and makes a good living writing children’s songs and is big-hearted enough to take in and support his brother and nephew while he drinks and cavorts with women to his heart’s content without consequence. There’s always a consequence. And it’s called reality.
Maybe in the end there is no reality without fantasy and no fantasy without reality – and the twain do meet. We saw this reality/fantasy really hit home with The Bachelor ending, too, with a proposal and a break-up. Charlie needs a make-up! Maybe someone can share this reality/fantasy theory with Charlie Sheen and everyone can air kiss and do lunch and maybe Chelsea can somehow be involved…twains meeting. Like the discovery of infinity, this could be big!
I’m Patricia Rust.
Patricia Rust is an award-winning screenwriter who has written for Emmy Award-Winning shows, is a contributor to the Los Angeles Times, and has a children’s literacy organization seen at: www.powerforkids.com. You can reach her at email@example.com or via www.patriciarust.com
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