Anger Management: Season 1 (2012)
Review by Jude Felton
It’s fairly safe to say that the wide eyed days of innocence that Charlie Sheen portrayed in movies such as Platoon and Wall Street are long gone. Much has been made of his off screen shenanigans, of which I have paid little attention, which has resulted in Sheen playing up to the stereotype in car commercials etc. I pretty much grew up watching his movies, with the aforementioned Oliver Stone flicks being favorites, as well as the underrated The Wraith, which was made in the same year as Platoon. However, when Sheen made the move to TV with Two and a Half Men I did not pay much attention. I still have not seen an entire episode, and I doubt that will change.
His second headlining gig in the world of the sitcom is the far more interesting sounding Anger Management, in which he plays a former baseball player turned therapist that specializes in the treatment of the titular ailment. I didn’t catch it on TV, but to be fair there is very little television I do watch on a regular basis. So, I had the task of watching the entire first season in a couple of sittings. Honestly, the episodes fly by, seeing as though they are only just over twenty minutes in length.
Set mainly in Charlie’s (Sheen) living room, where he conducts his group therapy sessions, the show rarely ventures outside this one location. When it does, it is usually Charlie’s bedroom, kitchen or the local bar, which is run by Brett (Grace under Fire) Butler. The only other real location being his ex-wife Jennifer’s house, which Jennifer being played by Shawnee Smith of Saw fame.
Charlie’s therapy sessions revolve around the same four clients; each with their own unique, if not totally original, problems. You get Ed, played by Barry Corbin, who’s basically a bigot, Patrick, who being gay gets a fair amount of abuse from Ed, Nolan (Derek Richardson of Hostel) who’s the wimp of the group and Lacey, who shall we say is just a little hostile. That pretty much covers all bases there, and to add a little spice we also have Charlie’s purely sexual/professional relationship with fellow therapist Kate (Selma Blair).
Anger Management follows sitcom standards and to be honest the first episode did not do too much for me. However, the more I watch the show the more I liked it. Once it got past it growing pains it actually turned into a really funny show. Sure, it’s not going to break any boundaries in terms of comedy, but the great cast do a wonderful job of keeping the jokes coming; Sheen’s comic timing is actually spot on.
Guest stars pop up here and there, such as Denise Richards, to add a little spice, and each supporting character has their own fair share of screen time. It’s definitely a show that I plan on revisiting when the second season hits, and it has been renewed for 90 new episodes apparently. So, I am guessing I am not alone in enjoying the show.
Overall, Anger Management was far more enjoyable than I expected it to be. It doesn’t try to be anything it is not; it focuses on the therapy, Charlie’s sex life and personal life, and that’s about it. But, it is very funny and that’s exactly what you want from a sitcom.
Included on the Blu-ray released from Lionsgate is Anger Mismanagement, which is the obligatory gag-reel, Charlie’s Baby (a new interview with Sheen) and Behind the Couch in which we get to meet the cast on set. All in all this was damned good fun and had me laughing along with it. It took a while to get going, but soon found its rhythm. Good times.
Anger Management Season 1 is released on Blu-ray and DVD by Lionsgate on January 8th.