Two adults. One kid. No grown-ups. The tagline for Two and a Half Men pretty much sums it up: this is situation comedy at its most basic, situation-y level. As such it won't set the world alight or revolutionise anything a la The Office or Curb Your Enthusiasm but, for what it it is, it's pretty good. The concept, assuming you've never caught it while channel-hopping, is The Odd Couple plus a little extra. Charlie Harper (Sheen) is a wealthy, womanising jingle-writer with a great beachfront house, the expensive car, the boy toys ... and his life is turned upside down — for comedic effect — when his uptight divorced brother Alan (Cryer) and nephew (Jones) move in.
That's pretty much it and, on the surface, it's hard to see how it made it past a pilot episode let alone to five series and counting. However, a little dip into this box set — where the series is really getting into its stride — and its success becomes obvious. It's funny. It's not sharp or topical or original, but it is funny. The three leads spark well off each other, the dialogue is snappy, they could teach Finbar Saunders a few things about double entendres (fnar fnar) and the support play — particularly Taylor as Charlie and Alan's mother and Ferrell as the housekeeper — is more than decent. There's nothing earth-shattering to it, and it's formula stuff however you cut it, but it's hard to grumble when it's an alright formula and everything combines into such a satisfactory whole. On average, I reckon I laughed out loud two or three times an episode, and that's two or three more than the average British sitcom has managed for years.
EXTRAS None. Which is a shame. After all, how tricky is it to get a couple of episode commentaries done?