Charlie Sheen is definitely mad as hell and not taking it anymore. His angry calls into radio stations have evolved into wacky but entertaining (at least, until the allegations of spousal abuse and parental issues resurfaced) television interviews. TV is his friend. He has played a charming bad boy on two successful sitcoms; now he’s living that on a multi-channel, ever-repeated reality show. Sheen is watchable and charismatic, as always.
As was Howard Beale, the memorable anti-hero from the movie Network, who went over the edge ‘on air’ after being fired from a powerful, cold TV network. That brilliant parody was written by Paddy Chayefsky in 1976, when three networks ruled our eyeballs. Now, these corporate conglomerates, among them the one that produces Charlie Sheen’s hit sitcom Two and a Half Men, share space with hundreds of other channels. Sheen’s sitcom is a rare network steady ‘winner,’ a term Sheen uses in his interviews. Well, he has been a winner: a talented, successful actor who worked as well as played hard, and performed exceptionally for his employers. Just like the Network newscaster Howard Beale, Sheen felt unsupported and unappreciated by his network employer and lashed out. Beale had been coldly fired; Sheen felt he’d been dissed.
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