Child Actor

Every now and again, I watch Two and a Half Men. In general, I don't care for the show. Charlie Sheen is not one of my favorite actors, although the show is well-acted, and Jon Cryer is an excellent straight man. (I first saw him on a Becker episode where he was fantastic.) But the show crosses the line for me from funny-if-occasionally-dirty to dirty-in-order-to-try-to-be-funny. Only the British know how to pull that off. (Actually, British comedy is unique in this regard; British sitcoms will combine scatalogical humor, puns, sarcasm, high comedy and dirty jokes without flinching. Americans try too hard. If you want a tiny, tiny taste of it, American style, watch Still Standing with the British actor Mark Addy. For the real thing, check out Black Adder, Thin Blue Line, Vicar of Dibley.)

So, I only watch Two and a Half Men once and awhile. I watch it, quite honestly, for the kid. It's one of the few shows I've ever watched due to the child talent. What I like about the kid, Angus T. Jones, is that first of all, he is ordinary: a rather pudgy boy with no pretensions to unbearable cuteness (not like those horrible children on Seventh Heaven). He is precocious but in a very real, obnoxious, brat kind of way. He is also quite a good actor. Last night, he was bothering his father and uncle about the death penalty and cannibalism and asking things like, "So, if you and your girlfriend crashed in the Andes and she died, would you eat her?" which is so precisely and exactly what a 13 year old boy would say (and his father and uncle were so precisely and exactly irritated by the questions), I practically fell off the couch laughing.

Like I say, usually I don't watch a show for the kids. Randy, Jonathan Taylor Thomas, on Home Improvement was noticeably the best of the child actors (although the actor who played his older brother, Zachery Ty Bryan, keeps showing up on forensics shows as the jerk co-ed--poor guy, talk about type casting. Tangent! Tangent! far too precious but nice guy Wil Wheaton showed up on CSI: Las Vegas as a vagrant. Talk about strange. Everybody shows up on CSI: Las Vegas, even Maury Chaykin!) but Randy couldn't have carried the show alone. Few child stars can. (Without being so saccharine, you want to vomit.) Angus T. Jones comes the closest I've ever seen.


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