Alan Harper and the makings of the worst character in TV history.
Chuck Lorre’s ‘Two and a Half Men’, one of the most celebrated shows when it premiered in 2003, came to an unceremonious end in 2015, and rightly so. For a show that was blatantly misogynistic, sexist, racist, and depended on rape-jokes for humour had to go down that path someday. It’s rather surprising that it went on for 12 years and was loved even through its most problematic narratives.
But if there was a choice between what was worse: the show or the character of Charlie Harper, I’d say none. The worst thing to ever come out of ‘Two and a Half Men’, and television history, to be honest, was the character of Alan Harper (Jon Cryer).
Imagine being part of a super problematic show, alongside one of the shittiest characters (Charlie Harper) beside you, and still being the most hated. Alan Harper’s character is so bad that it makes you look for the good in Charlie Harper, and that’s saying something! There are ample justifications for this response towards Alan Harper’s characters and they have been listed in this article!
So, let’s start from the beginning. Alan is thrown out of his house by his wife Judith Harper (Marin Hinkle). After being kicked out, Alan shows up outside his brother Charlie Harper’s house. The house is a beachfront Malibu property where Charlie lives like a bachelor with utmost comfort, combined with outrageous consumption of drugs and sexual adventures and misadventures.
Charlie is a womanizer who is disrespectful towards everyone except himself and maybe his house help Berta (Conchata Ferrell). He is also absolutely against the idea of his brother moving into his house. But irrespective, Alan forces himself in and begins to stay there, slowly mooching off his brother’s money, while also having his young son Jake (Angus T. Jones) over on weekends.
That’s the premise. In the beginning, you probably sympathize with Alan. Kicked out by his wife, and paying a ridiculous amount as alimony, he is not left with many options but to live with his brother. But, later on, he just continues to stay, even when he is capable of living independently. Alan is a chiropractor who makes good enough money to live a more than comfortable life himself. But no, he doesn’t want to settle for anything less than a Malibu beach house, which he cannot afford. So, he cries about his life and disregards Charlie by calling him lucky. Charlie, who makes money by writing jingles and through royalty, is lucky for being able to afford that house. Alright then, bitter Alan!
For some reason, Alan feels like he is entitled to this life in Charlie’s house, and while being a mooch and a leech, he also has a moral high ground. Alan likes to throw a fit when Berta doesn’t buy his special milk and instead buys the milk that Charlie prefers. He likes to call Charlie out for the wild lifestyle he leads and for being a womanizer. While the truth is that Alan has cheated multiple times on different partners, and probably doesn’t deserve love from anyone let alone love from a woman. He even blames Charlie for being a bad influence on his son Jake. Granted that Jake is, in fact, lazy and an entitled asshole, but those are characteristics of his father rather than his uncle. Considering Alan’s behaviour, it is not surprising to see Jake feel entitled as well.
While Charlie is a shitty person, there is no denying that he, for once in life, becomes the bigger person in the show. When Charlie is about to marry the love of his life Mia (Emmanuelle Vaugier), he breaks the wedding on D-day because she wants Alan gone from their house. Charlie, for some bizarre reason, decides to show compassion and lets the love of his life go for his brother. So out of character for Charlie, but whatever! Now, what does Alan do to return the favour? Well, he manages to stay in character and shows no concern for his brother who is reeling from heartbreak.
Instead, Alan asks for the ring that Charlie was going to give to Mia, and uses it to marry Kandi, the woman Charlie once had a one-night stand with. Alan even manages to win half a million dollars post his wedding at a casino and still doesn’t leave his brother’s house. There has to be a limit to being a free-loader and a shitty, entitled person. Alan crosses every limit by a mile and continues to feel like he is a victim.
It gets worse after Charlie’s character dies or rather is “killed-off”. Soon, Alan starts mooching and living-off another rich person, Walden (Ashton Kutcher). This guy is not even family. Walden owes absolutely nothing to Alan, and still, Alan continues to living the same life, feeling entitled, while putting himself on a pedestal of moral high ground.
And that is why Alan is the worst! And he’ll always be! Because in the history of television there will never be a show (hopefully) that is as problematic as ‘Two and a Half Men’, or a character as pathetic as Charlie Harper. And if we are never going to witness that low again, how can we ever get to the lowest of the low life character that is Alan Harper.
Do you agree with the assessment? Or is Charlie Harper still the worst? Share your views in the comments section below!