Two and a Half Men made its grand return tonight, kicking off with the formal departure of Charlie Sheen’s character Charlie Harper, and introducing us to Walden Schmidt, played by Ashton Kutcher. As a non-fan of the series, I have to admit, the premiere definitely had its moments.

Putting aside the fact that Charlie Harper’s death was treated as though he were some unseen, uncared about character on the show, as bitter girlfriends kicked around his memory by spouting off the venereal diseases he shared with them, there were some genuinely funny moments, as well as some special guest appearances. Among those who wandered into Charlie Harper’s house were Thomas Gibson and Jenna Elfman, arriving in character as Dharma and Greg (of the show by the same names, co-created by Chuck Lorre). John Stamos, who was once rumored to be the replacement for Sheen in the series, also stopped by. In the end, it was suicidal Walden Schmidt (Kutcher) who came to stay. He even christened Charlie Harper’s bedroom with a threesome.

Kutcher's no stranger to a sitcom set, and he seemed to fit in well in his role as Schmidt, though it's a little hard to tell exactly what kind of character he's supposed to be. He's exceptionally good-looking, and presumably smart, given how he made his fortune. He's also recently dumped, but recovered well after his failed suicide attempt, brushing off his depression with a drink and a couple of beautiful women. I doubt we're supposed to read that much into his motivations.

The high point for me wasn’t when Alan spilled Charlie’s ashes all over the place. Rescue Me’s Lou-splosion wins out in the ashtastrophe department for 2011 for me. And it wasn’t Kutcher wandering around the set naked. It was the random joke about Walden Schmidt earning his fortune by selling a program for Microsoft, which was bundled with their “iPod killer” the Zune. I don’t know why that tickled me, but it did.

Enough of my opinions though. I’d love to hear thoughts from people who have been devoted to the show for eight seasons. What did you think of of the Season 9 premiere of Two and a Half Men? Did you think Charlie Harper got a good farewell? Or do you wish they would have taken the funeral and grieving period a bit more seriously? And what do you think of Ashton Kutcher? Can the show live on with him as the lead?

What did you think of the Two and a Half Men Premiere?
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