Review: FX's Anger Management


If you liked Charlie Sheen in Two and
a Half Men
, then the controversial star’s new FX offering,
Anger Management, is likely to be your cup of tea.

In fact, Anger
probably fit in better
on, say, CBS, than it
does on the network
home of such fare as
the brilliant, unconventional
and uncomfortable
Louie or the
over-the-top It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia.

Very loosely based on the 2003 movie starring
Jack Nicholson and Adam Sandler (the characters
even have different names), Sheen plays Charlie
Goodson, a former minor-league baseball player
turned “unconventional” therapist who runs an
anger-management group out of his home. We’re
told Charlie’s theraputic manner is unconventional, but
as a series, it’s pretty much sitcom-by-the-numbers.

Among the characters on the show are the members
of his therapy group — stock types including a
milquetoast guy, a man-hating female hottie, a gay
guy and an angry retiree. It’s The Bob Newhart Show
meets Married With Children, without the former’s
charm but with plenty of the latter’s high-school-level
raunchy humor.

The other recurring regulars are his wife, Jennifer,
and daughter, Sam (Shawnee Smith and Daniela
Bobadilla), who have to put up with the embarrassment
of Charlie’s womanizing ways; neighbor Michael
(Michael Boatman, who once appeared with Sheen on
the ’90s sitcom Spin City); and “friend with benefits”/
therapist Kate Wales (Selma Blair), who allegedly
helped Charlie get over his anger issues in his ballplayer
days. Brett Butler also plays a recurring role as
Brett, the bartender in his favorite watering hole.

If that seems like a lot to keep track of, well, it is
Anger Management is so laden with characters
that it can get a little confusing to work out who’s
who. But it most certainly is not an ensemble
show, so those tuning in to see Charlie Goodson
pick up where Two and a Half Men’s Charlie Harper
left off will probably be satisfied with what’s essentially
a slightly kinder, gentler and less selfcentered
version of that character.

Those more enamored with the likes of Louie,
Sunny, Archer and the riskier fare on which FX has
built its brand, though, will likely be unsatisfied.