Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Charlie Sheen = Fukushima

What do you do when the meltdown is on the verge?

Dump a lot of water on it, try to plug the leaks, run like hell and don't look back.

Charlie Sheen is slightly less stable than the Fukushima Daiichi reactor.  At least we know what's wrong with the reactor: an earthquake rattled the bejeebers out of it, cracked it in a couple of places, and ruined the controls.  Now it's halfway out of control and emergency crews are dumping water on it as fast as they can, trying to cool it down to prevent a runaway Chernobyl repeat.

There isn't enough water in the world to shut down Charlie Sheen.  He's irrationally convinced of his awesomeness, unresponsive to those trying to rein him in, and every once in a while he flares up and burns someone anew.  Mostly by now he's burning only himself.  But that's bad enough, I wouldn't wish ill on him.

His opening night was a disaster.  Then somehow he dragged himself into some semblance of lucidity and delivered pretty well for a night or two.  Now he's done New York and by all accounts the stopper was out and the water level dropping before he was halfway through.  What's going wrong?

First of all, too much of the material he's delivering is old.  You can't ask a crowd to pay money for a live act, then show them YouTube videos.  Do that, and the hecklers are already primed and ready for action.

Second and worst, he's inconsistent.  Up one day and down the next, and the ticket you bought is to a crapshoot.  If you get Down Charlie, you're stuck with a lousy night and lost money.  Well: consider it tuition on a lesson learned.

Charlie's biggest mistake is to try to make himself out to be a rebel.  You can't pick that mantle up and put it on - it's either something you are, or it's something you aspire to be.  You can't just choose to suddenly be one.  And for the record, being a reckless, abusive, destructive customer/boyfriend/husband doesn't make you a rebel.  No, that just makes you an asshole.

Sorry for the coarseness.  There really aren't any better terms for it.

So Charlie's image is a falsehood, an ersatz rebel who manages to get away with general churlishness by having deep pockets to pay off the offended.  As bad as that is, and it's pretty bad, I can't see why anyone would want to give money up to see that offender live and in person.  I mean - if you want abuse, why not visit the jail?  Those people are just as bad, and probably a lot funnier.

My greatest despair is to see the unrepentant spirit Charlie brings to his current status.  He's cheerfully irrational - "friggin' rock star from Mars," indeed.  He speaks ill of everyone he thinks may have crossed him, no matter how small the offense.  His appreciation for the people around him is thin and superficial.  He believes he's actually as good as he says he is, and can't understand when things go wrong.  Whose fault must that be?  Certainly not his.  No, no - it could never be that.

Excellent things have come out of this clown factory - oh, and what a clown it is - Two and a Half Men may be off the air for good.  That's good news for TV.  I have plenty of things to write about, that's good news for me.  And just maybe, this is the meltdown Charlie needs, the last descent that brings him to the point where he discovers that he isn't fabulous, he isn't winning, and he really needs some help.

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