Anger Management premiere: 'Charlie goes back to therapy' and sets records for FX

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Charlie Sheen's new show, Anger Management, debuted on FX last night, and it set ratings records doing so.

The FX show is (very) loosely based on the film of the same name. In it, Sheen plays Charlie Goodson, a former ballplayer who becomes an anger management therapist. It seemed like the perfect role for Sheen, based on his firing from "Two and a Half Men." Sheen, as Goodson, even used it as part of the show.

The first words Sheen, as Goodson, said on his premiere episode were: "You can't fire me, I quit. You want to replace me with some other guy, go ahead! It won't be the same! You think I'm losing! I'm not! I'm - anyway, you get the idea..." If you think it sounds like the rants he made last year, you'd be right.

The first two episodes (the network combined two episodes into one to make an hours worth of programming) was the most-watched series premiere in FX history, and the most-watched scripted comedy primetime series premiere in cable history (if you omit children's programming). With that, it seems like Anger Management MAY be on for a long time, despite critical panning. FX said if the initial 10 episode run was good, they would order another 90 episodes.

But why was Sheen saying all that (as Goodson)? We see why when the camera pulls back to show Sheen talking to a punching bag dummy named Bobo. He is doing this as an exercise for a group of people who we learn he's helping as their anger management therapist (although we already knew that was to be Sheen's role).

The audience is eventually introduced to his group, after the new member, In a sense, it's reminiscent of the old Bob Newhart show where Bob was a psychologist and had groups, sometimes. Among the group is Patrick, a rather obvious homosexual, who has to grate on Ed, the aged homophobe, who has to put $1 into the "queer" jar every time he uses the term. Nolan is the nice bland looking guy. He is completely enamored of the new patient, Lacey, who is there by court order after shooting her boyfriend for cheating on her.

She is pissed (what else) because she didn't get a female therapist. Patrick, on the other hand, is annoyed when Charlie says that Lacey has one of the best *sses in the group, until he reminds Patrick he said 'one of."

Charlie shows the group a video of his baseball-playing days. He was an angry, out-of-control ballplayer who after years in the minor goes off when a fan pulls a Steve Bartman and snatched a foul ball out of his glove from the stands. Charlie grabbed a bat to try and break it over his knee, but instead broke a bone in his knee. End of career, and with his baseball career over, he explained to the group that he ended up wanting to help people resolve their anger issues so they didn't ruin their lives.

Next wee meet his daughter Sam (Danielle Bobadilla), who seems to have anger management - or perhaps OCD - issues of her own. They discuss college, and Charlie's ex-wife (Sam's mom, Jen, Shawnee Smith) whose new boyfriend, Shawn (guest star Brian Austin Green), is rich without going to college.

Next we meet Charlie's best friend Kate (Selma Blair), who he's sleeping with in a no-strings attached way. They are out of condoms, so she suggests saran wrap. Kate is also a therapist.

When he gets to Jen's, Shawn is there and they awkwardly meet. They clash over how Shawn is talking to Sam over college ("Not your kid, not your call."), which leads to (guess) what, a near-incident with Charlie almost bashing Shawn with a lamp. Sam comes downstairs which ends the new brawl.

Then we see (tada) Brett Butler. Yes, that Brett Butler (not the baseball player, the comedienne who was once a superstar with her own show) who is a bartender (while Butler herself is trying for a comeback). Jen meets Charlie at the bar, and she asks him to speak to Shawn.

Cut to a new scene where Charlie is having a therapy session with prisoners - for free. It's not something we'd expect Charlie Sheen to do. He actually is counseled by the prisoners after he describes the event with Shawn. They are disappointed with Charlie.

Charlie realizes he needs to return to therapy. When he speaks to his male friend Mike (Lacey also ran over Mike's lawn with her car) about it, he realizes that the best therapist he knows is FWB Kate, but he can't have her as therapist and lover.

When he goes to see Kate, they start kissing. After he says he needs therapy, she tells him that it means they will be friends, no benefits.

Charlie goes and sees Jen and Shawn again. There he apologizes to Shawn, only to find that Shawn has been dumped by Jen. Jen let him apologize to Shawn because, as she says, she knew it would be hard for Charlie, and she enjoyed watching it.

She dumped Shawn, she says, because he's too opinionated and because his manscape is really weird. The "Abe Lincoln" she says.

Back at another therapy session with Kate, Charlie decides that the best way to get back into a relationship with Kate is to become her therapist. He starts analyzing her, and viola. They are FWB again.

Did you readers watch the show? What did you think of it. In our opinion, it's not an amazingly different show, it's a run-of-the-mill comedy, but it was halfway decent.

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