Two and a Half Men had its hour-long sendoff tonight; in other words, it answered the question of whether Charlie Sheen’s character (Charlie Harper) would be dead or alive and whether Sheen would show. The answers to those questions are complicated, but creator Chuck Lorre tried to explain. [Spoilers ahead.]
Sheen last took part in a Two and a Half Men episode in 2011, the fate of his character — and his relationship with the show — more or less sealed shortly thereafter. However, in a finale with nostalgic guest stars, meta jokes, and a mystery involving Harper, royalties, his stalker-cum-wife, and a Silence of the Lambs–style hostage scenario, a body double dressed as Sheen’s character rang the doorbell of his old house — and was then promptly crushed by a piano. Lorre, after smiling and saying, “Winning,” was also crushed by a piano. Symmetry!
Earlier in the day, Sheen (indirectly) addressed the drama and whether he’d be taking part in the madness:
And here’s Lorre’s explanation of the ending (and lack of total Sheen):
I know a lot of you might be disappointed that you didn’t get to see Charlie Sheen in tonight’s finale. For the record, he was offered a role. Our idea was to have him walk up to the front door in the last scene, ring the doorbell, then turn, look directly into the camera and go off on a maniacal rant about the dangers of drug abuse. He would then explain that these dangers only applied to average people. That he was far from average. He was a ninja warrior from Mars. He was invincible.
And then we would drop a piano on him.
We thought it was funny.
Instead, he wanted us to write a heart-warming scene that would set up his return to primetime TV in a new sitcom called The Harpers starring him and Jon Cryer.
We thought that was funny too.