The last time we reported on the walking PR disaster that Charlie Sheen's career has become, the plan was for Two and a Half Men to resume production starting February 28, a month after going on hiatus in order to let Sheen attend rehab. This was after the actor started making public, somewhat crazy statements that rehab was for quitters and he was ready to go back to work whenever they were.
Now, over the course of about 24 hours, everything has gone to hell again. First Sheen made another radio show appearance that was even loonier than the last one, calling out targets ranging from Two and a Half Men creator Chuck Lorre to Thomas Jefferson and claiming to have cured his alcoholism with his mind. TMZ has the audio and a transcript of certain choice quotes, including Sheen's fixation on Lorre's real name being "Chaim Levine"; given that Sheen's real name is in fact Carlos Irwin Estevez, it's hard to credit this to a distaste for Hollywood fakery, but a distaste for, well, Jews. Plus, according to his Wikipedia page, Lorre's name is Charles Michael Levine, not Chaim. Did Charles just not sound ethnic enough for Sheen to make his point?
Following that very public tirade, CBS finally made the rational decision they should have made months ago, shutting down production for the rest of the season. Sheen, never one to keep his mouth shut, responded with an open letter written to TMZ, in which he once again called Lorre by his birth name and made threats about his fire-breathing fists. Really, you should read the entire letter:
What does this say about Haim Levine [Chuck Lorre] after he tried to use his words to judge and attempt to degrade me. I gracefully ignored this folly for 177 shows ... I fire back once and this contaminated little maggot can't handle my power and can't handle the truth. I wish him nothing but pain in his silly travels especially if they wind up in my octagon. Clearly I have defeated this earthworm with my words -- imagine what I would have done with my fire breathing fists. I urge all my beautiful and loyal fans who embraced this show for almost a decade to walk with me side-by-side as we march up the steps of justice to right this unconscionable wrong.
The truly amazing thing is that, officially, Charlie Sheen still has a job. Two and a Half Men is going dark for the rest of the season but has not been cancelled, and it's entirely likely that there are focus group teams out there right now trying to determine just how many Americans would still watch a cuddly family show with Sheen in the lead. But Sheen has also burned bridges with every single person who works on his show, both by publicly insulting them and taking money out of their pockets for months with his antics. Even if the show's fans are willing to see Sheen come back, will the people who make the show even allow him on the set?
Right now it's impossible to imagine Two and a Half Men ever being on the air again, but never underestimate Sheen's bizarre ability to come back from the grave. He's been publicly losing a battle against substance abuse for over a decade now, and continues to be a very, very rich man. The depressing thing here isn't that Sheen has hit a new kind of rock bottom, but that, even if Two and a Half Men does go away, he'll likely continue to be propped up by the Hollywood system for the rest of his life.