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Who Wants To Be Charlie Sheen?

A Commentary By Debra J. Saunders

This week, Charlie Sheen owns network news. No wonder Americans hate the media.

In a rush for ratings, TV news shows have been clamoring for sit-downs. The goal, of course, is to get Sheen to say something nutty that makes news. But no one wants to look like a vulture, so from their high horse, interviewers try to prod the bad boy to admit that he needs help.

Frauds. They're not bottom-feeders; they dress up the package with a redeeming angle. Like: Is Charlie Sheen bipolar?

Then, after the latest Sheen outrage, other celebrity addicts go on talk shows to proffer advice to their wayward pal.

So it's not degrading to watch.

Last night, I braved a rerun of Sheen's sitcom, "Two and a Half Men," which I learn is television's most-watched comedy.

Sheen plays an insensitive skirt-chasing man-boy who, perennial drink in hand, sleeps with lots of women and then brags about it.

CBS and Warner Bros. announced last week that they were canceling the rest of the show's season "based on the totality of Charlie Sheen's statements, conduct and condition." It is impossible to imagine what Sheen could say that might further degrade the image of the smarmy sitcom.

After all, last year, the Hollywood star pleaded guilty to misdemeanor third-degree assault of his third wife. He pleaded "no contest" to battery with serious injury in a 1997 incident. Sheen's admitted use of illegal drugs has led to stints in rehab that held up production.

In January, following a wild night at New York's Plaza Hotel that led to his arrest and hospitalization, CBS Nina Tassler explained why the show would go on: "This show is a hit. That's all we have to say."

So how did Sheen reach the "totality" that crossed the line?

Apparently, he bruised the egos of an industry biggie. On the "Alex Jones Radio Show," Sheen called Executive Producer Chuck Lorre, who was born Charles Michael Levine, "Haim Levine" -- a probably anti-Semitic reference. Then Sheen said of his higher-ups: "They lay down with their ugly wives in front of their ugly children and look at their loser lives" and they're envious of Sheen's antics.

In this world, they don't care what you do -- assault included. It is only what you say. And clearly, Hollywood doesn't care because it took Sheen calling Lorre a clown with a homely spouse to prompt the pooh-bahs to discover standards.

Or is it an act?

If Sheen doesn't kill himself, you know the script: the arrest, the rehab, the contrite I'm-an-addict comeback interview, another drop-dead gorgeous wife, a new baby, a new series starring a character who is Charlie Sheen without the child support and cocaine. Big box office.

The Romans made gladiators kill each other in the circus for their entertainment. For their viewing pleasure, Americans pump up celebrities, who then misbehave in public, so that we can feel superior to them. The Romans demanded blood. Americans go for shame.


See Other Political Commentary

See Other Commentary by Debra J. Saunders

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