Nowadays, the TV entertainment industry is based off of normal, relatable characters that often have extreme lifestyles. These shows either reinforce or refute commonplace messages, ideas that are accepted to be true among society, about anything from gender and sexuality to consumerism and politics. Television shows and other forms of entertainment use this tactic in order for viewer’s to be able to relate to the show and keep the viewers interest. The television show Two and a Half Men created by Chuck Lorre and Lee Aronsohn is an example of a show that uses commonplace messages to allow viewers to relate to the characters. The commonplace messages that money buys happiness and that if a person has a college degree, a family, and a job they will be happy are refuted in Two and a Half Men; however, the commonplace message that children of divorced parents have bad grades and have trouble with relationships is reinforced throughout the show.
Two and a Half Men is a sitcom that has been on air since 2003. Charlie Harper (Charlie Sheen) is a millionaire that lives in a beach house in Malibu, California, where he tends to drink excessively and have drunken sex with many random women. He lives there with his brother Alan (Jon Cryer) who was divorced by his wife and has little to his name besides his son Jake (Angus T. Jones). Because Alan lost everything in his divorce, due to Charlie sleeping with the lawyer, Alan mooches off his brother, milking every last penny that he can. On the weekends, Jake stays with Charlie and Alan, where he tends to learn a bit more than a kid his age should know because his uncle does not hide his alcohol use and sexual encounters. He is also a troublemaker that does not do anything he is asked, including schoolwork.
Charlie works from home making millions by writing jingles for various commercials on TV. He tends to spend his millions on his lavish lifestyle by buying himself a nice house, fancy cars, and expensive alcohol. In the article “’What it Means to be a Man’: Examining Hegemonic Masculinity in Two and a Half Men,” Elizabeth Hatfield explains the dynamics of the household and by explaining the brother’s masculinity. The dynamics help explain how Charlie is an unhappy womanizer that spends all of his money on making himself a “Heffner-like bachelor” (Hatfield 531). Based on his lifestyle, Charlie clearly goes against the commonplace message that money buys people happiness.
In episode two of season four, “Who’s Vod Kanockers,” Charlie is clearly unhappy with his lifestyle after breaking up with his girlfriend. Charlie blames the breakup on Alan, claiming that Mia, Charlie’s ex girlfriend, wanted Alan to move out; Charlie broke up with Mia because Charlie could not kick his brother out of the house. But in reality, Charlie broke up with Mia because he is afraid of commitment and did not want to spend his life with one girl. Charlie talks to his crazy, obsessive neighbor Rose on the back deck about how he has been feeling lately. Charlie does not want to come to terms with the truth and instead drowns his feelings in alcohol and gambling:
Charlie: Let me tell you something about feelings. Feelings are like your mother's breasts. You know where they are, but they're best left unfelt. Rose: It's an interesting analogy, but may I point out that a mother's breasts are a source for nourishment and comfort? Charlie: Yeah, well, my mother's breasts were a source of silicone and Russian vodka. (“Who’s Vod Kanockers”)
Charlie will do anything not to feel his emotions and he learned this lifestyle from his mother who also drowns her emotions in drunken sex with random people. Alan eventually convinces Charlie to sober up and let his emotions out, but soon after, he is back to his old lifestyle and drinks his feelings away.
Because Charlie spends so much of his money on gambling, drinking, and impressing girls, he does not spend any of his fortunes on anyone else