It was never one of my favorites, but you have to hand it to Two and a Half Men — like other Chuck Lorre productions (looking at you, The Big Bang Theory), the series has maintained remarkable staying power despite airdate changes, cast changes, infighting and generally lukewarm critical response. However, all things must end, and so, too will Two and a Half Men, when it ends its 12-season run with a one-hour series finale tonight at 9pm ET/PT on CBS.
Details on the Two and a Half Men series finale have been guarded, but ahead of the episode airing, here are some historical tidbits about the series.
Two and a Half Men
First Aired: Monday, Sept. 22, 2003
Last Episode: Thursday, Feb. 19, 2015 (one-hour series finale)
Emmy Nominations: 47 (Cryer won twice)
Ratings Records: Most-watched sitcom on TV (2005-2009), and as of its 11th season had maintained a place in the top 30 TV shows, with about 10.7 viewers watching (though down from its peak of 15-16 million over its first three years).
About Those Vanity Cards: Producer Chuck Lorre is famous for placing “vanity cards” at the end of the shows he produces. These are often rather lengthy items, many times waxing philosophical, and they flash across the screen so quickly that they cannot be read, or perhaps even noticed, at the time they first appear. Lorre’s first vanity card for Two and a Half Men described how he came about creating the series (a combination of a broken heart over the cancellation of his earlier show Dharma & Greg and a desire to help his friend and writing partner Lee Aronsohn maintain his Writers’ Guild health insurance). This card, and the cards for other Lorre productions, can be found and read at chucklorre.com. Pay attention for his final card.
Going Out With A Bang: We’re not sure if the show itself will go out with a bang, but a few of its cast members have departed under very memorable circumstances over the years. First, of course, original star Charlie Sheen left the series under heated circumstances during a stint of overall odd public behavior, notably being found drunk and naked at New York’s Plaza Hotel in October 2010. In a 2011 interview with TMZ, Sheen went on a vitriolic rant against Lorre, calling him a “stupid, stupid little man and a pussy punk that I never want to be like.” Sheen’s actions caused CBS to cancel the rest of Men’s 2011 season and resulted in one of TV’s most spectacular firings (despite Sheen assuring his social media fans that he was #winning). Ashton Kutcher joined the cast as a new character after Sheen’s character was killed off the next season, and recently on Ellen DeGeneres’ show, Kutcher inadvertently dropped a hint that Sheen may cameo on the series finale. For his part, Sheen has been lobbying on social media for a role in the final episode. A release from CBS about the final episode, called “Of Course He’s Dead,” teases: “Charlie Harper is alive. Or is he?” The release also hypes “surprise guest stars.” So it probably wouldn’t be a huge shocker if Sheen turned up somehow.
The “half man” of the title was originally played by Angus T. Jones until 2013. In late 2012, Jones began admitting he felt uncomfortable appearing on the sometimes-raunchy series, given his religious beliefs (he referred to himself as a “paid hypocrite,” and said the show was “filth”). Jones was downgraded to recurring status and ultimately announced he was leaving the show in spring of 2014. The show has been able to maintain its “half man” when Cryer and Kutcher’s characters adopted 6-year-old Louis (Edan Alexander) in the final season.
Can I Still Watch It Anywhere? Two and a Half Men airs in syndication on FX and some local stations.
The series finale of Two and a Half Men airs Feb. 19 at 9pm ET/PT on CBS.
Ashton Kutcher, Jon Cryer and Conchata Ferrell on set of the final episode of “Two and a Half Men” — Michael Yarish/CBS ©2015 CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights Reserved