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Two and a Half Men - The Complete Second Season - dramatic television series DVD review
Not rated by the Motion Picture Association of America rating: 3 1/2 stars
Actors: Charlie Sheen, Jon Cryer, Angus Jones, Holland Taylor, Conchata Ferrell
  Studio: Warner Home Video
DVD release: 08 January 2008   Runtime: 511 minutes
(4 discs)
Format: Box set, Closed-captioned, Color, DVD-Video, Subtitled, Widescreen, NTSC
Features: Audio tracks (English), 24 episodes, A Day in the Life of Two and a Half Men, The Serious Business of Writing Comedy, Gag reel

In a time when it seems like everyone has been divorced or is a child of a blended family, Two and a Half Men answers a societal need with laughter. Jon Cryer and Charlie Sheen star in this sitcom about a modern-day fractured family unit, dealing with the messiness of daily life with humor. Two and a Half Men debuted in 2003 and continues to be wildly popular. The second season's twenty-four episodes offer more of the same amusement.

There is slew of innuendo, some veiled, but most of it is fairly obvious. The rampant sexuality and open promiscuity is one of the central running storylines through the entire show. For that reason, it is a show to watch as a family instead of turning the kids loose - it sparks a lot of questions and conversations. One of the greatest things about Two and a Half Men is that the laughter is fairly constant, for the adult and the "half" viewers.

Two adult brothers, as different from one another as possible, are making a go as roommates. Charlie is the older brother and uncle to Alan's young son, Jake. Charlie is a wealthy once-in-a-while jingle and song writer with a lovely home on the beach and a feisty maid. Alan is a chiropractor and, at 35, is putting his life together again.

This season ushers the brothers through dozens of outlandish situation and zany adventures. A lot of it focuses on Charlie's conquests: Charlie sleeping with Jake's teacher; Charlie trying to sleep with a girl from back in high school; Charlie scoping out the gals over here and over there - and usually bringing them home for a night; Charlie dodging his peculiar but winsome stalker and alternately having heart-to-hearts with her. Meanwhile, Alan is a year out from his divorce with Judith, wading through the rocky waters of being a completely neurotic and socially awkward single dad. From alimony checks to the girl he met in the produce at the supermarket, his life is a study in contrasts of whining and slightly moronic, girlish giggling. The mid-life crisis car, and resulting incident, fulfills expectations. Jake is now eleven and mouthy as ever. Truly, he is the perfect picture of an eleven-year-old about to go - duhn duhn duhn - Teenager: lazy, soaking up anything remotely inappropriate, and eating everything in sight. Angus T. Jones, who plays Jake, might just upstage Cryer and Sheen.

Their terrifying drama queen of a mother is perfectly played by Holland Taylor, who has been a powerful presence on television for decades. Conchata Ferrell is the ever-patient (hah!) housekeeper to the three boys and adds an element of "good humor" to the mix. Rose is Charlie's neighborly oddball, who always seems to know much too much about all three of the Harper boys. And as Rose, Melanie Lynskey is perfect. Sean Penn, Jeri Ryan, Camryn Manheim, Elvis Costello and Lucy Lawless all make appearances in the show during season two.

The gag reel is a must - it is here that we get to see what a great laugh Angus Jones has, and the couple of featurettes make for a nice little diversion as well. Be sure to have your remote on hand for rewinding when you watch the "Squab" episode; hands down, the best of the series, if we're rating by LPM. (laughs. per minute) Clear runners-up are Charlie's website, their blast from the past from high school, and the hernia exam that proves that there is, indeed, justice in the world of bad dating.

Two and a Half Men is entertaining, if a little canned for the general viewing audience. One small piece of advice: Don't watch it before bed, lest the all-too-catchy theme song crooned by three goofy, grinning boys play through your dreams.

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reviewed by Carolynn Evans
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