Managing Sheen’s ‘Management’

Charlie Sheen’s first new sitcom since he imploded his career at “Two and a Half Men” isn’t terrible. But it plays out as if he’s doing penance before a live studio audience.

“Anger Management” (FX, 9 p.m.) is the series names that seems to pertain to one of Sheen’s top personal issues (and have nothing to do with the 2003 Jack Nicholson/Adam Sandler movie of the same name).

In fact, Sheen’s character is not being treated for anger, he’s the doctor treating others in group sessions – though he got into the new field after healing his own anger issues, born in an earlier baseball career (so the series is based at least as much on “Minor League” as it is on “Men”).

That a sitcom stars sits among a therapy circle of lovable weirdos is something of a recurring thing – it’s the plot of Matthew Perry’s  fall show for NBC, “Go On.” Unfortunately, both will make you think of the series where the whole scene was done better, “The Bob Newhart Show.”

Still, “Anger Management” isn’t quite as bad as some critics make out (I always thought “Two and a Half Men” was terrible though).  Still, the live audience laughs, the rhythms of old sitcoms and the sheer predictability of the whole thing makes it look downright old fashioned against the more cutting edge comedy brand FX has been trying to build.

In this, the main cutting edge thing came in the initial casting.

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