Anger Management - 2x09 - “Charlie is an Expert Witness”/2x10 - “Charlie & Catholicism”
The recapper would just like to inform everyone reading this that the recap for episode 2x09 will be in the third person, for no other reason than the fact that this is a recap for the show Anger Management — no one’s paying attention to the goings on of these pieces.
"Charlie is an Expert Witness"
"Charlie is an Expert Witness" opens not with an anger management session, but at the tail end of a Charlie/Kate banging session, which are just as prolific as the anger management ones but nowhere near as wanted by the recapper. Unlike every other time Charlie has sex with a woman on this show (not counting not!Rena Sofer, the recapper supposes — and you can re-read that episode’s recap to make up for the fact that the recapper didn’t write about the Once Upon a Time episode with the actual Rena Sofer), Kate’s not impressed by his sexual prowess. *GASP* In fact, her critique of this latest trip to the bone zone is a lackluster “That was…sex.” *LAUGHTER* Then Charlie makes a baseball metaphor (that the recapper doesn’t get…at all — although she does get the part about a “gap,” because vaginas and *LAUGHTER*) about sex and oh how there is *LAUGHTER*. The recapper wants to know if there’s any way to put a stop to the Charlie Goodson, sex god (or even sex duke) characterization. Since Charlie Sheen no longer looks like this —
— and instead looks more like this —
— from certain angles/with certain lighting, it just doesn’t work. Unless you’re one of his “goddesses.” Don’t do drugs, kids.
Once all the sex with Charlie talk is out of the way, Kate informs him that she’s in the running to be an expert witness for a big trial. You see, Kate has a doctorate. In fact, this episode goes out of its way to say that — and to say that Charlie doesn’t. Way to lie to the recapper, Wikipedia. Charlie Goodson does NOT have a PhD. Always remember that. Retroactively.
While double-checking the
allpartial-knowing Wikipedia, the recapper also learned that Julie Benz was up for the role of Jen (confirmed by Deadline). On a slightly related note, the recapper hopes that Defiance is a smash hit for SyFy.
So Kate has a doctorate, and Charlie does not. In fact, she’s just much better at therapizing than Charlie is, so of course she’d be the perfect expert witness, while he’d be… the perfect guy who makes unintelligible baseball metaphors for sex on occasion. It’s basically another episode where Charlie gets up in arms about Kate being a robot without real human emotions and then tries to find a way for her to fight her robot programming to stroke his ego. You know — every episode of Anger Management. Charlie’s ears perk up when Kate tells him that the public defender she’d be working with is a woman (because, you know — ladies man), but he immediately realizes that she was his public defender when he got into a bar fight during his baseball days (*LAUGHTER*…from the recapper, because that is her reaction everytime Charlie Sheen being a baseball player outside of Major League is a thing), and he banged her, only to never call her back. *LAUGHTER* Still, Charlie meets with the public defender, throwing Kate under the bus in order to get the gig. *LAUGHTER*
Anger management session. It’s the first scene after the Anger Management title card, and Ed is describing how he tricked out (the recapper’s words, not his) his den. Patrick, being Patrick, annoyingly interjects. *LAUGHTER* Charlie, being Charlie (a man without a doctorate), refers to this as a “man cave.” Ah, that’s what life is all about. There is, however, a problem: Ed’s wife is in that damn…”man cave” more than he is. Like, she told him he needed a plant in there (which doesn’t seem very manly, because photosynthesis is for women), so now she’s always in the room, taking care of the plant and talking to it (because she’s probably senile). Actually, she’s talking to him, not the plant (*LAUGHTER*) — she’s lonely and she wants to do things with him, the dumb woman. Lacey volunteers to help Ed out if he pays her 500 bucks (for a pair of shoes *LAUGHTER*) (*LAUGHTER*), but Charlie squashes that instantly. Ruining everyone’s fun this week, that guy. And then he keeps Nolan behind after the session because he’s noticed that Nolan’s been having trouble getting his thoughts out in group. And in case you didn’t watch the episode, which is very likely, the only example of this being true was Lacey telling Nolan to shut up when he tired to respond to Ed’s “man cave” dilemma (*LAUGHTER*) — the type of thing she does to him literally every week. But Charlie still suggests that Nolan use art as an outlet and gives him homework — paint whatever frustrates or humiliates him. Nolan. You know, “like the way [he’s] been singled out for this assignment” *LAUGHTER*.
So because Charlie is the worst, Kate decided to become an expert witness for the prosecution. *LAUGHTER* This announcement is made after Kate gives Charlie and congratulatory cupcake…and then busts out an even bigger one. *LAUGHTER* Naturally, cupcakes = penises, according to the humor provided by this show (*LAUGHTER*), but the recapper can’t deny that she would love to try out a cupcake as big as the one Kate has.
Charlie Goodson is an evil man (as proven by the destruction of the big penis, er, cupcake), so he gets what’s coming to him in the end of this plot. During the trial, Kate (working the intellectual glasses and #pantsuitrealness, by the way) gets the upperhand by being competent. It’s absurd. Also absurd is the fact that the show doesn’t make Charlie (who also wears intellectual glasses as an expert witness) wear glasses all the time. It helps a lot with the whole looking like something out of the Elisha Cuthbert/Chad Michael Murray incest o’clock version of House of Wax. Charlie, however, is goaded by the prosecution into an anger episode, because the DA got the memo that the show really needs to drive home the fact that Charlie doesn’t have a doctorate this week. However, the outburst actually works with Charlie’s argument, and once Kate sees that this whole thing is backfiring on her, she goes with Plan B — announcing to the whole courtroom that she and Charlie are banging and that this must be ruled a mistrial. Of course, when the judge asks about their relationship, Kate’s reluctant to call actually it by that word, but since the judge apparently comes from a world that’s not in this show’s universe (maybe even a world where there is more than one bar), he categorizes it as such and allows the mistrial. *WOMP WOMP* *LAUGHTER ABOUNDS*
Back in anger management session stuff, Nolan creates a work of art (called “The Way I Feel Inside”) that basically looks like, well, this:
PATRICK: This is one of those things where you either love it… or you’re sane. *LAUGHTER*
Lacey’s reaction, surprisingly (unless you understand how an episode of a sitcom works), loves Nolan’s art and asks if she can have it. *LAUGHTER* He gives it to her, and in case you really don’t know how an episode of a sitcom work, she goes back and sells it to Ed for that 500 bucks to keep his wife out of the (ugh) “man cave.” *WOMP WOMP WOMP IT UP* *LAUGHTER*
Wrapping things up, the recapper was originally planning to write a paragraph just ranting about Jen bringing a basket of laundry into Charlie’s house simply to have a reason for her to be in the scene. But after a week of not thinking about it at all, she’s decided it’s for the better that this is all she says about it.
Oh, and Michael Boatman was in the episode, being Michael Boatman.
And finally, because you all wanted to be kept in the loop, there were two living room session to kitchen scenes this week and none vice versa.
"Charlie & Catholicism"
Just reading the title of this episode, I was worried. The synopsis eased my worries a bit — “Charlie gets into an argument with Martin after he finds out he had Sam baptized behind his back.” — but this is still an episode of Anger Management that we’re talking about. Plus, it’s an episode with Martin, who is unfortunately the weakest link of the Goodson clan (Jen might be a failure of an adult human being, but she doesn’t bring episodes to a screeching halt).
Here’s the thing — it sucks when mediocre shows (sitcoms, in particular) show some sort of gravitas. You’d think that would be a good thing, but actually, knowing that a show that’s often bad CAN do well when it wants to just makes it more upsetting that it often chooses to go to stick to the bottom of the barrell. It’s what happened in the first season of Whitney, where at the end of the season, it handled the coming out of a bisexual male character (and a regular on the show) surprisingly well. And not just well “for the show” — for any show, really. Of course, all of that progress went away when the second season started, where it was played for *LAUGHTER* (thanks to Maulik Pancholy leaving the show to return for 30 Rock's final season). And Whitney even tried again, to a lesser extent, this season with Natasha Leggero as Whitney's trans half-sister, but it didn't quite stick the landing that time. So seeing an episode about religion on Anger Management, of all shows, be handled relatively well is quite the surprise. Sure, the show is still nothing to write home about (unless you’re me, apparently), but for approximately 30 minutes, the show let us in on a little secret — there are capable writers on this show. I’d forgotten about it, but in the first season, Sam’s OCD got a decent featured episode, so it’s not like it was the show’s first attempt at “something more.”
I’ve got to be honest with you guys (and trust that I always will be when it comes to these recaps) — I spent a good two minutes of the first scene this episode thinking that Lacey’s sister Sateen was played by Demi Lovato. My notes, verbatim: “Is this Demi Lovato? I’m not 100% sure I know what Demi Lovato looks like, and I watched like 5 episodes of X-Factor last season.” I then just fast-forward to the end of the episode, and the credits dashed my hopes and dreams by informing me that Schuyler Helford. Then, of course, my reaction was “Is that Bruce Helford’s daughter?” (Which reminded me that Bruce Helford runs Anger Management. And from my brief Bing research, it would appear that she is, in fact, Bruce Helford’s daughter.) I know it might seem like I’m not a fan of multi-camera sitcoms, especially since there’s such a stigma to them these days, but that’s not the case — I just hate BAD multi-camera sitcoms. Last year, I watched the first 8 seasons (there were 9, and I’m still planning on watching that last one) of The Drew Carey Show, which was co-created by Bruce Helford. I don’t know how many people know this, but The Drew Carey Show was actually a good fucking show that had more of an impact on comedy (especially single-camera, surprisingly) than I had remembered or even expected. And it was, at times, very bizarre. In fact, I think it was the type of bizarre that I want Anger Management to be. If you read Bruce Helford’s IMDB page, it might seem like The Drew Carey Show might have been a fluke in quality (and that and maybe Norm should’ve been the only “show centered around an actor basically playing themself” he created), but there’s still an optimism in the fact that if he could make as good of a show as that, he should be able to work with the talented cast and crew that he has to make Anger Management not suck.
So… about the actual episode. I actually enjoyed the opening scene and not just because it was an anger management session (you know how I feel about those opening the show — if not, see every single Anger Management recap that I’ve written). Part of that was the fact that the show listened to me and switched up the seating, with Lacey’s sister Sateen sitting next to Lacey and putting Patrick in the middle of Nolan and Ed. The “-ist Jar” is back too! (But they don’t even use it when Ed asks Lacey and Sateen if their parents picked their names out of an underwear drawer. *LAUGHTER*) And then, I chuckled:
LACEY: (to Sateen) It’s about how angry you are and how I don’t want you to end up like me. Telling your problems to a bunch of losers in some horrible living room in the Valley. *LAUGHTER*
PATRICK: Excuse me. I take offense to the term “loser,” but I do agree with “horrible living room in Valley.” *LAUGHTER*
CHARLIE: Where do all you people live, like, Versailles? *LAUGHTER* *MY CHUCKLE*
The chuckle stemmed from the fact that I technically lived in the Valley (Burbank) for three years, and you know what? I loved it. I MET JENNIFER LOVE HEWITT IN A POPEYE’S. I SAW KRISTEN BELL AND DAX SHEPARD RIDING BIKES IN MY NEIGHBORHOOD ON A SUNDAY MORNING, THANK YOU VERY MUCH. It’s not like I lived in Pasadena, thank god. YOU’RE NOT BETTAH THAN ME!
Then I proceeded to smile through the rest of the scene, which was mostly just Lacey and Sateen back and forth, aka my second favorite Anger Management spin-off, after Kate’s HBO dark comedy.
In the background, Jen enters the house just as the session is winding down, no laundry basket in sight. And this time, she actually has a reason to talk to him (complete with a living room to kitchen scene transition) — Martin manipulated her into letting Charlie know that he wants to have some father-son bonding time. *LAUGHTER* Cue “Cat’s in the Cradle” (Delocated style). And it’s such a TV thing. Literally every episode of Anger Management with Martin has the man making Charlie’s life miserable — the old man should be dead to him. Of course, that doesn’t bring the *LAUGHTER*, now does it? Not for most people, I suppose. Charlie agrees to watch football with the old bastard on Sunday, and, well, enter the actual plot — Martin, who’s apparently gotten super Catholic since being a slut and a drug dealer earlier in the season, wants to join the family for church before the game. See, Charlie might have told Martin that they go to church every week, so they go to the closest Catholic church they can find — the Mexican church. *LAUGHTER* Martin is NOT amused, and it gets worse when Charlie lets it slip that Sam isn’t baptized. Seriously, Martin gets all hell fire and brimstone about this, and he even bonds with Ed about the fact that Charlie is condemning his daughter to the pits of Hell. So, of course, the old men come up with an idea — have Martin secretly take Sam to get baptized. Martin actually uses Sam’s OCD to convince her to convert to Catholicism, since all the religion really is is a bunch of rituals. Blah blah Charlie’s upset but eventually accepts that being a Catholic is what makes Sam happy blah.
Straightforward episode of Anger Management, but the thing that makes it “good” is the way that Charlie and Jen handle the whole religion thing. Their problem is never the actual concept of religion — they just don’t want to pressure her to be any specific religion. They want Sam to be exposed to different religions, then make an informed decision about what she wants. And the fact that the episode ends with Charlie accepting his daughter’s decision is great. I don’t think I’m selling this episode as well as I want to, so here, these are screencaps of Selma Blair dressed as Catholic school girl and the devil:
Also, “Sateen” is like “Satan.” (If you’re cool, you’ll read “Satan” as “Satin” like you’re watching the only Stella short I seem ever to reference.) I just got that.