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No Reason to Cry

27 Aug, 2007 By: John Latchem

Warner Home Video will release Two and a Half Men: The Complete First Season Sept. 11.

Longevity in Hollywood isn't always a good thing. Just ask Jon Cryer, star of the hit CBS sitcom “Two and a Half Men.”

The 42-year-old actor, perhaps best known for his role as Duckie in Pretty in Pink, had appeared in a number of short-lived TV shows in the 1990s.

“Writers had decided I was a showkiller, and they didn't want me on their shows,” Cryer said.

Fortunately, Chuck Lorre had Cryer in mind when he created “Two and a Half Men,” and the timing couldn't have worked out better.

“I needed a job, really badly,” Cryer said.

CBS had other ideas.

“They were looking for new faces, and I was definitely not a new face,” Cryer said. “So I had to go in and audition for it.”

The result? “Two and a Half Men” became a top 20 show in the Nielsen ratings. The show features Cryer as Alan Harper and Angus T. Jones as his son, who both move into the Malibu bachelor pad of Alan's brother Charlie, played by Charlie Sheen, when Alan's marriage breaks up. The cast also includes Holland Taylor as Alan and Charlie's mother, Conchatta Ferrell as their housekeeper, and Melanie Lynskey as their neighbor.

Warner Home Video will release Two and a Half Men: The Complete First Season Sept. 11, a four-DVD set that includes all 24 episodes from the 2003-04 season for $44.98.

Reflecting on that first year, Cryer recalled life imitating art just a bit too closely for his tastes.

“The first season was when I was going through a divorce,” Cryer said. “And not just on the show. My real marriage was ending. And doing the show certainly didn't help. It was terrible.”

The off-set troubles didn't go unnoticed by Sheen, who has experienced his own public marriage troubles in recent times.

“Charlie was very seriously concerned,” Cryer said. “And he said that if I needed a place to stay, I could stay at his place. And I said, ‘Dude, how much like this show do you want your life to be?’

The DVD includes the featurette “Two Adults. One Kid. No Grown-Ups,” exploring the origins and history of the show with new interviews with the cast and producers. Also included are “A Backstage Tour With Angus T. Jones,” a gag reel and deleted scenes.

Cryer remembers the creative atmosphere during the first season as much freer, if only because the episodes were produced before Janet Jackson's famous “wardrobe malfunction” at the 2004 Super Bowl.

“Those were fun days. They let us get away with a lot more stuff,” Cryer said. “We didn't have as much pressure from Standards & Practices. Now they're breathing down our necks, but I don't think the show is that much cleaner.”

In particular, Cryer remembers an episode, “Camel Filters and Pheromones,” that guest starred Megan Fox (Transformers) as an underage hottie.

“She plays a girl who is jailbait, for lack of a better term,” Cryer said. “But she's so gorgeous and sexy, and we all try the whole episode not to do anything inappropriate.”

Following its recently completed fourth season, “Two and a Half Men” received its second consecutive Emmy nomination for best comedy series. Also nominated are Sheen for best comedy actor, Taylor and Ferrell for best supporting actress in a comedy series, and Cryer for best supporting actor in a comedy series.

“When you get nominated once you figure it's a statistical anomaly,” Cryer said. “But to be nominated again is a sign our show really resonates with Emmy voters. It's an old-school sitcom, and when you talk about the Academy you are talking about the people who have made sitcoms for the last 50 years.”

The 2007 Emmy ceremony takes place Sept. 16, while the fifth season of “Two and a Half Men” is slated to begin Sept. 24.

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