Chuck Lorre’s Latest Weapon in the War Against Charlie Sheen Is Kathy Bates

The Tiger Blood runs once more! CBS announced yesterday that, on an upcoming episode of Two and a Half Men, the ghost of Charlie Sheen’s character will be present — in the form of Kathy Bates. The setup is that Jon Cryer’s character suffers a minor heart attack, and Bates-as-Sheen appears to chat him up. Presumably, this is Men creator Chuck Lorre continuing his cold war with his former star: First he kills off Sheen’s character to replace him with the effervescent Ashton Kutcher, then he has Sheen’s ghost played by a 63-year-old woman who once naked-chased Jack Nicholson out of a hot tub. Hilarious, right?

And this follows the latest legal spat, in which CBS sent FX a cease-and-desist to prevent them from using Sheen images from Two and a Half Men to promote his new show, Anger Management. Charlie responded, in charming fashion: “I’m thrilled. It insulates me from having to redundantly see myself in the idiotic bowling shirt. Perhaps if Warner Bros. spent as much time and energy focusing on THEIR show, it wouldn’t be such a steaming pile of ass.” Well, then!

You’d think these two would be done squabbling by now. After all, following the most entertainingly harmless Hollywood meltdown of our time, everything did work out. Two and a Half Men is still alive and pulling in ratings. (The critics aren’t enamored — according to The New Yorker, “If you want to watch a purely idiotic sitcom, Chuck Lorre’s Two and a Half Men is still running on CBS, experiencing werewolf-intensity growing pains in the wake of Charlie Sheen’s departure” — but they never really were.) Meanwhile, Sheen’s regained his sanity and has Anger Management to show for it. But the bitterness lingers.

The thing with this Kathy Bates news is that now the door is wide open for more ghost stunt-casting. If Kathy Bates can play Charlie Sheen’s ghost, then, by the rules of the show, anything can. So the next time Sheen pisses off Lorre — maybe by calling Men a “hot pile of balls” or something — Chuck can just stay up all night guzzling kombucha and writing in more vaguely demeaning phantom cameos. Who will it be next time? Octomom? A monkey wearing a sundress? Emilio Estevez? Only time will tell.

Filed Under: Charlie Sheen, Two and a Half Men

Amos Barshad has written for New York Magazine, Spin, GQ, XXL, and the Arkansas Times. He is a staff writer for Grantland.

Archive @ AmosBarshad

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