The matter of the train wreck the life of Charlie Sheen has become is one of those topics that has been exhausted its already minimal interest. Really, what more is there to say?
This much more:: There is no “Charlie Sheen.” That guy doesn’t exist. There’s only Carlos Irwin Estevez playing “Charlie Sheen” and passing for a White celebrity with all the trappings that follow with it.
If Charlie or his fellow drug addict, Lindsay Lohan were Black, both of their sorry asses would have been locked away and quickly forgotten about. But Sheen is a cash cow for CBS and that meant as long as he delivers the goods they’ll overlook his nasty habits. They forgave him the drugs, the porn stars and prostitutes, the trashed hotel rooms Whatever Sheen’s ethnicity, he’s a drug-addled mess. Turn him into Dave Chapelle and they would have drop kicked to the curb him by now.
If he wasn’t “Charlie Sheen” he would be. Ditching Carlos for Charlie opened doors that might have remained closed with a Spanish surname. Martin Sheen, who has appeared on Charlie’s show and played his father in Wall Street explained why the name change.
“Whenever I would call for an appointment, whether it was a job or an apartment, and I would give my name, there was always that hesitation and when I’d get there, it was always gone,” Martin told interviewer James Lipton on Inside the Actors Studio. “So I thought, I got enough problems trying to get an acting job, so I invented Martin Sheen. It’s still Estevez officially. I never changed it officially. I never will. It’s on my driver’s license and passport and everything. I started using Sheen, I thought I’d give it a try, and before I knew it, I started making a living with it and then it was too late. In fact, one of my great regrets is that I didn’t keep my name as it was given to me. I knew it bothered my dad.”
Martin was able to leverage his Americanized name to become President of the United States on The West Wing. Charlie followed suit and success in both film and television followed. Along with the head-patting indulgence lavishes on its stars as long as the drugging, drinking, infidelity, fetishes, escapades and other misadventures (and crimes) don’t get in the way of the box office or ratings. Charlie boasts how he always hits his marks and as long as he does he pretty much has license to (almost) kill in La La Land.
These are some of the perks that come with passing for White. With great access comes little to no responsibility.
I don’t watch Two and a Half Men but if CBS wants to give a Charlie nearly $1.2 million an episode, it’s not coming out of my wallet. They seem confident they’re getting a good return on their devil’s deal even if it hinges on the erratic mood swings of an addictive personality.
If you’re White (or passing for White) in Hollywood you’re rarely a pariah for abusing drugs, banging porn starlets and being a raging egotist. You’re just colorful. If you’re Black they’ll lock your monkey ass up, but before they do that, first they’ll make sure you never work in this town again.
It is interesting how CBS put up with Sheen’s naked and ranting, porn queen banging, hotel room trashing rampage in New York last October where he was found in the nude, with cocaine on his face punching the wall screaming, “NIGGER, NIGGER, NIGGER.” That was forgiven and forgotten. So was Charlie holding a knife to his estranged third wife’s throat. It took what was characterized as an “anti-Semitic” rant on a radio show when he called Chuck Lorre, Two and A Half Men creator by his Jewish name before CBS shut down production and bounced Charlie out on his butt.
Proving once again some forms of bigotry are more easily forgiven in La-La Land than others. There’s also a possibility Charlie and CBS are together hustling the public and press. This all could be CBS not letting a perfectly good crisis go to waste. According to Entertainment Weekly, the eight year old sitcom still draws an impressive 14.6 viewers each week and will earn $600 million in revenues over the next few years for Warner Bros. Now there’s an even bigger buzz for Two and A Half Men thanks to its leading man melting down wherever a microphone is nearby. Can CBS and Warner Bros. walk away from that kind of money?
Don’t believe the hype. This will all get worked out. CBS majority owner and Viacom chairman Summer Redstone severed the media conglomerate ties with Tom Cruise when his couch-jumping antics and Scientology proselytizing became too obnoxious to ignore, but he has nothing to say about Charlie Sheen’s even more offensive behavior. Redstone’s silence now speaks volumes.
Sheen is playing the role of his life. He’s “Good Time Charlie Crackhead” and he’s playing everyone else for the fools he sneers at in his Today interview. When, not if he returns to the show (and the show must go on because nobody’s walking away from $600 million bucks) all the hatchets will be buried and everyone will kiss, kiss and make up. When Charlie swaggers or staggers on to the set flashing a victory sign and cracks another limp dick joke, the sudden ratings surge will blow the roof off the sucker.
Charlie asked in a rare moment of lucidity with all the other stuff going on in the world, why is his cocaine fueled benders and candid admission he likes getting stoned and screwing porn stars such a source of interest? Maybe Charlie has a point. He isn’t the first star to have more resources than imagination, but there’s far more time devoted to in-depth analysis and immediate updates on the fast-evolving Sheen story than the Wisconsin budget impasse or the situation in Libya.
Maybe it’s us who are the addicts craving yet another hit of toxic “celebrity” and the dealers of the media and entertainment are all too happy to feed our habit. Charlie Sheen isn’t hooked on a drug called Charlie Sheen. The rest of us are and we need to detox.