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Two and a Half Men—The Complete Second Season

Warner Home Video; $44.98

By Richard von Busack

A laugh-track sitcom and proud of it. Here, with outtakes and blooper reel, is year two (2003) of creator Chuck Lorre's cruel CBS series Two and a Half Men, a celebration of booze, sarcasm and orgasm as Earth's only reliable pleasures. Charlie (Charlie Sheen) is a Malibu TV commercial-jingle writer who enjoys a steady stream of residual checks and brainless women coming in his door. The appalled witness to his decadence is his luckless brother, Alan (John Hughes vet Jon Cryer), a doormat of a chiropractor forced by finances to room with his brother. The "half" man is Jake, played by Angus T. Jones, a chubby-kid comedian; Jones' expertly blasť reactions make you think more of Bob Elliot of Bob and Ray than the precocious hellions elsewhere on TV. The show emphasizes the downward spiral and life that avoids the boring, decent things. In crisply starched Tommy Bahamas shirts—this dapperness is the signifier that links his character to the tuxedoed playboy wastrels of 1930s comedies—Sheen gives the Big Lebowski himself a run for his money as laziest man in L.A. (Richard von Busack)

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