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Commentary: Kutcher not an especially surprising choice for ‘Men’

Photo courtesy of MCT

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The news that Ashton Kutcher has signed on to replace Charlie Sheen on the hit TV show “Two and a Half Men” was instantly met with apparent laughter and #smh (shaking my head) hashtags from Twitter users who thought they were being “Punk’d.”

However, once you accept that one of TV’s most controversial stars is now being replaced with an actor whose most prominent role in the last three years has been in Nikon camera commercials, the idea seems less crazy than it first appeared.

For better or worse, no one is going to replace Sheen on a show that hinges on Sheen acting like Sheen. Seeing an actor like Rob Lowe, who, like Sheen, has built a career on playing alcoholic playboys, sitting around in Sheen’s bowling shirts and all-weather moccasins while being called “Charlie” would not only have been awkward, but would have quickly rendered the show irrelevant.

With Kutcher, however, the show now has an actor different enough from Sheen to give it a fresh take but who still has enough in common with the show’s former star to keep the “winning” formula going.

That formula looks something like this: comedic actor plus nagging brother and nephew equals funny (or at least ratings).

Kutcher, like Sheen (and many other comedic actors) excels at one thing: playing himself. Although Kutcher’s style as the bumbling idiot who gets by on his good looks is different than Sheen’s sexually impulsive narcissism, putting Kutcher in situations to interact with depressed divorcee Alan (played by Jon Cryer) and his idiot son Jake (played by Angus Jones) could prove to be just as entertaining.

The age difference between Sheen and Kutcher also bodes well and provides a natural storyline for the future of “Two and a Half Men.”

Imagine the ninth season of “Two and a Half Men” opening up at a funeral for Charlie, who has just died of, oh I don’t know, an overdose. Instead of Charlie’s sizable inheritance going to Alan or Jake, it turns out that his millions earned from the advertising jingle industry will belong to his illegitimate son, Ashton.

From there, both Alan and Jake are forced to live with a different type of immature and incompetent millionaire than the one they were previously used to. Factor in that Ashton’s inherent daddy issues will cause the same type of comedy that Charlie’s daddy issues did, and it’s practically a match made in casting heaven.

And who isn’t excited for the inevitable episode in which Ashton steals a guest-starring Demi Moore? Or the one where college buddy Sean William Scott stays at their house and they can’t find their car? Or even the one in which Bruce Willis shows up as the angry husband of a wife that Ashton just slept with? Or the one in which Ashton gets high in a basement with Topher Grace, Wilmer Valderrama, Danny Masterson and Mila Kunis? The possibilities are practically endless.

And even if it doesn’t work out, so what? “Two and a Half Men” wasn’t exactly “Seinfeld” or even “The Office” with Sheen anyway.

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