DVD Review
by Kevin Carr

    MOVIE: **** (out of 5 stars)
    DVD EXPERIENCE: **** (out of 5 stars)

    Charlie Sheen as CHARLIE HARPER
    Jon Cryer as ALAN HARPER
    Angus T. Jones as JAKE HARPER
    Conchata Ferrell as BERTA
    Holland Taylor as EVELYN HARPER

    Not Rated
    Available on DVD May 12
    Studio: Warner Bros.

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Years ago, after being kicked out by his wife, Alan Harper (Jon Cryer) came to live with his brother Charlie (Charlie Sheen) with his son Jake (Angus T. Jones) in tow. And he never moved out. Going into their fifth year, Alan and Charlie have to deal with Jake turning into a teenage while Charlie continues his own adolescent behavior and promiscuous flings. Alan is still struggling to return to the dating world, and occasionally gets some action. However, it’s Charlie’s sexcapades that often turn into trouble, including a return of his former next door neighbor Rose (Melanie Lynskey) as his personal stalker.

I remember when this show first hit the air, and while it was funny enough to manage on prime time, it didn’t quite get its footing until later years. Like many successful sit coms, it has really blossomed into its own beast for the fifth season. Possibly one of the dirtiest shows on television with some smart writing that gets it past the censors, “Two and a Half Men” has really grown to be a funny, funny show.

One thing that is great about this series is that it refuses all urges to become significant and meaningful. Throughout the entire fifth season, there is no “very special episode,” which would have been its fate were it a hit twenty years ago. Instead, the show revels in its own almost-family-friendly decadence. Both Alan and Charlie are womanizers in their own ways, and neither is really doing anything to improve this... and that makes good television.

One of the best parts of season five is that the show was comfortable enough to take some risks and try new things. The most innovative part of the show was the decision to switch writing teams with “CSI: Las Vegas.” The result is one of the most bizarre episodes of “Two and a Half Men” you’ll ever see, which includes a murder and other shenanigans.

The show continues to stay fresh with some great guest stars, namely Jenny McCarthy and Robert Wagner in the story arc about Alan and Charlie’s mom getting married... again. This season featured the 100th episode of the show, and with how fresh and snappy the writing is, I wouldn’t be surprised if it sticks around for 100 more.

Any sit com will suffer from stagnation after being around for five years. And sure, there are points in the “Two and a Half Men” history that will show the series gets into a rut. However, the real stumbling blocks have been left to earlier seasons. In fact, the biggest danger the show faces in this season and future ones is that it is quickly becoming “Three Men” as Angus T. Jones grows to be an adult. At some point, they’re going to have to bring him in more for the stories, or he’ll become a fifth wheel very fast.

The DVD comes with a featurette “Two and a Half Men at 100,” which spotlights the 100th episode of the series (which, for the uninitiated, is the magic number in television to firmly ensconce it in the syndication schedule... and reap mad cash benefits for all involved). There’s also a featuertte about Chuck Lorre’s vanity cards, which are always fun to read at the end of each episode.

Two bonus features are devoted to the “CSI” crossover. One is “Two and a Half Men – Dying Is Easy, Comedy Is Hard,” which follows the story of how the crossover was conceived and the challenges each writing team had to face.

And this leads to the best bonus feature on the three-disc set: “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation – Two and a Half Deaths,” which is the episode of “CSI” with the “Two and a Half Men” writers.

Two and a half fans... and CSI fans for at least one episode.

Watch this clip from "Two and a Half Men: The Complete Fifth Season"

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