Since its premiere last year, Anger Management has not improved. Existing largely as a excuse to showcase Charlie Sheen after his meltdown and firing from CBS’ Two and a Half Men, the current program – like Sheen’s previous endeavor – alternates between sleazy, sexist exploitation and lowbrow idiocy. Thus, the Thursday, February 28th episode of FX’s Anger Management (9:30 p.m. ET) deserves the title of Worst Cable TV Show of the Week.
The episode opens with “anger management” therapist Charlie meeting with his therapy group. Obnoxious “hottie” Lacey announces that she has decided to become a “lingerie model” – but not, she hastens to assure the group, because she’s “bitchy and shallow. I’m doing this to get back at my mom.” A laugh track apparently recorded from a pack of dying hyenas shrieks wildly after this lame “joke” – as it does after EVERY lame “joke” in the entire episode. (To spare their eardrums, viewers might wish to consider using a pair of earplugs while watching. Doing so would also have the salutary effect of screening out all the show’s inferior dialogue. In fact, the Anger Management viewing experience might be improved most of all by turning off the TV set entirely.)
When Lacey announces that she needs a photo portfolio, loser Nolan volunteers to serve as her photographer:
Nolan: “I already have hundreds of photos of you.”
Charlie: “That’s nice Nolan, but she probably can’t use blurry photos of herself shot through bushes.” [thus implying Nolan is a creepy stalker]
Nolan looks over his photos of Lacey on his phone: “Blurry through the bushes, blurry through the bushes, blurry through the bushes…”
To deal with this pathetic plot in its entirety, Lacey allows Nolan to work as her photographer.
Lacey states the “rules” for photographers, all of them implying various sexual fetishes:
Lacey: “Number one: you’re not allowed to touch the model.”
Nolan: “Is your hair part of the model?”
Lacey: “Yes, and so are my feet. Number two, you’re not allowed to do anything weird, like sniffing my couch.”
Nolan: “Damn it! They thought of everything!”
Lacey disrobes, standing revealed in a bra, panties, garter belt and stockings
Naturally, this provides Anger Management with an excuse for showing her parading around in a tiny bra, panties, garter belt, and stockings, while making lewd poses for a drooling Nolan (and, no doubt, equally drooling members of this program’s 18-34 male demographic).
The camera immediately cuts to Charlie throwing his lover Kate onto a bed, mounting her, and ripping open her blouse, exposing her lingerie-clad body. Be proud, Anger Management: barely 10 minutes into the episode, and you’ve managed to sexualize and degrade two of your female stars! (Oddly, we never see Charlie or any of the male cast in their underwear. Admittedly, that is a blessing; but it does demonstrate the utterly sexist nature of this trash.)
Naturally, a scene of two people about to have sex would not be complete without raunchy banter. After Charlie rips her top open, Kate pouts:
Kate: “That blouse cost $400.”
Charlie: “I’m so sorry,”
Kate: “No, that’s what made it so hot. Kiss me.”
A panting, eager Kate then begs Charlie to rip off her skirt, but he refuses: “I’m already into you for $400.” Happily for the viewer, this smutty tryst is interrupted by a phone call from singer Cee-Lo Green (don’t ask).
In the Lacey plot, Nolan learns from a grouchy woman bartender that “women who base their self-esteem on their looks are pretty insecure, so when you point out a flaw it freaks them out, and they would do anything to get you to like them,” which leads Nolan to manipulate Lacey by insulting her. (Gosh, more sexist degradation of women. Who would’ve imagined it from a show starring alleged wife-beater Charlie Sheen?)
Ultimately, Nolan confesses his manipulation to Lacey, telling the bartender, “Pointing out their flaws works, but I just couldn’t do it. I had to be honest about my feelings.” The bartender smirks in reply, ““You’re a virgin, aren’t you?”
Meanwhile, the audience gets to watch Charlie rip open Kate’s blouse on yet another occasion (is there a theme here?), again with Kate adoring his brutish approach. But when their sex is again interrupted, Kate sulks, “I’m going home, I’m going to sit on the washing machine with a glass of wine.” (Because, see, she’s referring to masturbation. This is apparently hilarious. At least, the laugh track thought so.)
Interspersed around all this tawdry female exploitation is a subplot about Charlie helping his recently-fired gay patient Patrick find a job. Given the show’s anti-woman chauvinism, it is unsurprising that it also indulges in homophobia:
Patrick wants to talk to the group about his career issues.
Ed: “This guy always has ka-weer issues.”
(See, because “ka-weer” sounds like like both “career” and “queer.” What sterling wit!”
Charlie suggests Patrick attend design school. When Charlie asks if he could cut back on his expenditures, Patrick remarks, “I live pretty close to the bone.” “I thought I heard Ed say something,” Charlie sneers.
Mostly-undressed women, sexist exploitation, the message that women are constantly ready to service men with sex (and love having their clothes ripped apart and posing in their underwear for men they barely know), along with anti-gay remarks comprise the totality of Anger Management, yet another thoroughly revolting cocktail of sleaze from the FX network – and another of that network’s shows deserving the appellation of Worst Cable TV Show of the Week.
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