All of a sudden, I was in the middle of an Anger Management episode and didn’t know how I got there. The latest effort from this freshman comedy had homophobic jokes, racist comments, chauvinistic ones and even a teenaged girl reenacting a sexy novel a la 50 Shades of Grey. Yet, while other shows—particularly ones on FX—contain these jokes in an over-the-top, self-aware way, Sheen’s show makes them because they think they will work.
But they don’t.
In “Charlie and Kate Battle Over a Patient” we find Charlie leading a group session that focuses on the clichéd bitter old man Ed discussing DVR and discussing a commercial about selling a little Chinese boy. This angers Patrick, the fabulous personal shopper who seems to be the only character that I don’t want to kick in the throat. His passive-aggressive nature that he uses to mask his anger turns ugly when he quits group and jumps ship to have therapy with Kate.
While the title alludes to a bitter fight between Charlie and Kate, it comes with five minutes left. What happens before that? Nothing really. The other half of the episode focuses on Charlie and Jennifer’s daughter Sam pretending she’s had sex to fit in with her friends.
She uses passages from her mother’s spank novel (titled Sabrina’s Satin Surrender) to impress her teeny bopper friends. But nothing really happens with that either. In the end she apologizes to her parents, and then Charlie uses Jennifer’s advice to win back Patrick.
The thing is, Anger Management isn’t a bad show. It’s not a good show, but it’s not terrible either. It just simply exists. Sheen does a good job of rehashing what he did on Two and a Half Men, but this show isn’t bringing in the ratings that will keep another mediocre show on the air for nearly a decade.
Watching this FX comedy is like watching the adverts before the trailers of a film. You don’t really pay attention, but when you do you know exactly what’s going to happen because it’s on loop and you’ve been to the theater before. All of the jokes are the same, and all of the scenery is similar. FX missed the mark with Anger Management. Sheen and company would be a better fit on TBS with Men at Work and the abundance of Tyler Perry shows.