SOCS 185 Culture and Society
Dr. Jennifer Johnson
19 October 2012
Two and a Half Men: A Sociological Analysis
This sitcom takes place mostly in a southern California Malibu beach house of Charlie Harper. Almost the entire story line takes place around the life of Charlie. Charlie is a somewhat successful bachelor, who at the beginning of the series was writing jingles for commercials. Some of the other main characters are Alan (Charlie’s brother), Jake (Alan’s son), Evelyn (Charlie and Alan’s mother), Judith (Alan’s ex-wife), Berta (housekeeper), Rose (the stalker), Chelsea (Charlie’s fiancé), Walden (the Billionaire), and Bridget (Walden’s ex-wife).
When the story begins in 2003 when Charlie is living the playboy lifestyle, he has numerous sexual relationships, one that lead to him having a stalker Rose. This is when Charlie’s brother Alan and his wife separate, and Alan needs a place to live. Charlie allows his brother to move in and bring his Jake periodically to stay.
During the first season Charlie hires Berta to take care of the house, and she is an important part of the dynamic. Berta is a woman from the wrong side of the tracks, and has at least one daughter who appears in a few episodes through the series. She is sharp witted, and normally speaks her mind.
Charlie was engaged once to a to Mia and it didn’t work out, but she is a reoccurring character. Charlie was also engaged to Chelsea, until Charlie did what Charlie does and screwed up the relationship.
Charlie’s and Alan’s mother is Evelyn, this is a very funny relationship. She is the lady who doesn’t want to admit she is getting older. Several times in the series she has medical procedures to make her look younger. She is also a cutthroat real estate agent. Charlie and Alan try to avoid her, but always fail.
Finally there is Walden and Bridget, after the sudden death of Charlie. Walden buys the beach house as Alan is reintroducing him into the dating world, after his divorce.
Agent for Socialization
Two and a Half Men is an interesting way to look at look at socialization, the show take stereotypes to the extreme. The book Sociology (Schaefer) refers to six different agents of socialization; Family, School, Peer Group, Mass Media and Technology, Workplace, and Religion and the State. So lets see how they apply to this sitcom.
Family: the first eight seasons the entire story is based on the family dynamics of a pair of brothers and the rest of their family. It really focuses on the stereotypical sibling relationship and finds the humor in it. It also focuses on the dual home aspect that children go through when their parents get a divorce.
Workplace: Alan is a chiropractor and runs a practice in the city, he at one points dates his office manager. Charlie for the most part is a social deviant (Schaefer, p. 165), but there are a few episodes that he does work.
School: Jake is the one in school in the show and there isn’t really a lot about school in the show. The only way they work school into the show is when they refer how bad Jake is doing in school.
Peer Group: the only peer groups in the show are friends of Charlie and Jake’s friend Eldridge. Charlie has a group of friends that includes rock stars, actors, and bookies. Jake and Eldridge are the stereotypical pot-smoking teenagers.
Mass Media and Technology: there is very little mass media and technology in this show, except the couple of episodes when Charlie stars as an entertainer for kids (Charlie Waffles).
There really isn’t any way that Two and a Half Men can be applied to Religion and the State.
Two and a Half Men is a great way to view conflict theory since the entire show is and a sibling relationship. Charlie has the master status (Schaefer, p. 109) controls all the resources at the house since he has the money. This is while Alan is barely making it day…