It was always going to be awkward for Ashton Kutcher to replace Charlie Sheen on Two and a Half Men, but the show’s writers made sure that the transition was as smooth as possible. Mostly by cramming last night’s season 8 premiere with every guest star who’d ever appeared on the show.
As promised, we got to see Charlie’s funeral, which was well-attended… by every woman he’d ever bedded and/or given an STD. The whole first half of the show was crammed with beautiful, famous faces: Jenny McCarthy, Jeri Ryan, Melanie Lynskey, Tricia Helfer. (Martin Mull, a.k.a. Colonel Mustard from Clue, also stopped by.)
Then, when Charlie’s mom is showing the house to potential buyers, we got John Stamos and (a special treat for Chuck Lorre fans) Jenna Elfman and Thomas Gibson playing Dharma and Greg once more.
By the time Ashton appeared on-screen–in a hilarious bit where he makes poor Alan accidentally propel Charlie’s ashes everywhere–it seemed totally natural that there’d be yet another familiar face in the beach house. And honestly, I kinda like this Walden Schmidt guy.
In keeping with his entrance, Walden’s a really low-key, understated character, which is what makes him so funny. He’s an accidental billionaire, having sold some piece of software to Microsoft, yet that’s not enough to make his wife happy. He’s sort of like a little kid in how he tries to solve problems but gets sidetracked. Case in point: He tries to reason with his wife, but ends up spending the night with two hotties.
Then, of course, there’s the nakedness. I know that sounds like the opposite of “understated,” but Walden is so nonchalant about his hotness: He comes down to breakfast naked, gives naked hugs, and will probably just skip the “talking” part of picking up girls and just go to the bar naked. (Which Alan will love—the poor guy has absolutely no chance of getting laid now.)
It’s pretty funny to see Alan, who probably secretly thought he might become alpha dog after Charlie’s unfortunate demise, relegated to the bottom of the totem pole again. Walden may be oblivious, but he’s got at least as much game as Charlie had. We haven’t seen Walden interact with Jake yet, but we bet those two will get along famously.
America seems to agree with us; the episode was the highest-rated in the show’s history. So… “The king is dead, long live the king”?