It was one of the strongest debuts of a television series to date. The new and updated Two and a Half Men drew a record 28 million viewers for its premiere episode last night.
Going into season 9, Two and a Half Men would have only dreamed of scoring a premiere such as the one that debuted last night. Twenty-eight million viewers? Yes, it did happen and yes, Two and a Half Men has been rejuvenated and there’s one person to thank for it, Ashton Kutcher.
Making his return to the genre that made him a star (he found his celebrity legs as the star of That ’70s Show), Kutcher portrayed hapless internet billionaire, Walden Schmidt. Kutcher’s character appeared just as Jon Cryer’s Alan was heading to the beach to scatter his deceased brother Charlie’s ashes, startling him so much that Charlie’s remains were scattered throughout the room.
Men respectfully killed off the character of Charlie (Charlie Sheen), by having him meet his demise via an oncoming subway train. His funeral was sentimental, and the character was brought full circle with the addition of his Nat Nast camp shirt and the bevy of ex-girlfriends who attended and spoke of the venereal diseases he had given them. Viewers later learned after the ceremony that the beloved beach house Charlie, Alan and his son Jake had lived in all these years, was up for sale.
Prior to Kutcher’s first scene, there was a nod to show creator Chuck Lorre by bringing in several interested buyers to look at the property. Jenna Elfman and Thomas Gibson stopped by (Lorre created their sitcom Dharma and Greg in the ’90s), as did John Stamos. But it was when Kutcher’s character first appeared, stating he tried to drown himself in the Pacific Ocean because his wife left him, that the show finally found its footing. Alan (Cryer) allowed him to spend the night and viewers get the first nod to a quirk about Kutcher’s character, he likes to walk around nude.
The banter was easy and relaxed between the actors, which, notwithstanding curiosity seekers, will keep fans tuning in for more Men as the season progresses. The show pulled in a 10.3 rating in the 18-49 demographic. It was a big jump from last season’s show ending, which drew 14.6 million viewers.
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