Let us now consider Charlie Sheen.
The fascination accorded him is immense. Out of proportion to his achievements, certainly. But due entirely to his history of trouble. The cliché that a lot of ladies have a thing for a bad boy is proved true. And then there are all those men who live vicariously through Sheen's apparently undying devotion to liquor, drugs, ladies and good times. And, of course, he gets to tell people where to get off when he's scolded.
For a portion of this year Charlie Sheen's meltdown and ugly departure from Two and a Half Men was up there with the Arab Spring as the most covered story in the world. Then things went all quiet on the Charlie Sheen front.
He's back. And causing a minor dust-up in Canada. Seriously. Is this what we need, now? More on that in a minute.
Recent Sheen news has seen a return of the uh-oh element in Sheen-land. His most recent public appearance, as far as I can tell, was an onstage gig at Spike TV's 2011 Video Game Awards at the Sony Studios in L.A. Hey, It's a gig. It's not the No. 1 comedy on TV, but it's a gig.
Sometime around then, Sheen also got into a muddle with his cellphone, smartphone or whatever instrument of communication he's wielding these days. The actor was trying to send a direct message to Justin Bieber on Twitter. A "Hey dude, call me" kind of thing. He supplied his phone number. But, instead of messaging the Bieber-dude (what would they talk about?), he tweeted out his number to the world, specifically his 5.5 million followers. Then calls started to come his way, and not from Bieber. Jiminy. Presumably his gig at Spike TV's 2011 Video Game Awards helped pay for a new phone with a new number.
By the way, as a soccer guy I can tell you what Bieber was doing while Sheen was trying to reach him. The wee pop star was spending the day at Stamford Bridge in London, home to Chelsea Football Club. Apparently he showed off his "ball skills" (the term used in The Daily Mail) to over-the-hill Spanish international Fernando Torres and sometime Chelsea midfielder Frank Lampard. Seriously. Bieber's "ball skills."
Meanwhile, Sheen turned up on Canadian TV. During a commercial break on Monday's Two and a Half Men on CTV. Sheen surfaced and addressed the nation: "Hey Canada, you seem like the nicest people in the world but I know the truth. You're holding in a lot of anger. Why else would you drink so much beer, put on shoes with sharp blades and smack each other around with wooden sticks?"
The point was to promote the fact that CTV will air Sheen's upcoming comedy series Anger Management in 2012. The series is derived from the 2003 movie of the same title, starring Jack Nicholson and Adam Sandler. Sheen will play an anger-management therapist with his own anger issues. High jinks ensue, one supposes.
However, there is a subtext of weirdness, as there always is with a Sheen-related matter. In the U.S., Anger Management is an FX show – the Fox-owned cable channel, home to American Horror Story and Sons of Anarchy. In October, with much fanfare, Rogers Television launched FX Canada, giving Canadians direct access to FX shows.
Thing is, and a squall of knowledge might be hitting you about now, CTV is a Bell Media channel. Sheen's show went to the competition, not FX Canada. CTV snuck in and scooped the show from production company Lionsgate.
Does bitterness abound? Possibly there are raised voices and curses in certain boardrooms. Last week, Bell and Rogers joined forces to acquire Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment. This week, Bell seems to have stolen a show from Rogers. All this for a Charlie Sheen vehicle. This column is surprised that there hasn't been a Charlie Sheen Christmas special on CTV. After all, CTV has a Russell Peters and a Michael Bublé Christmas special.
Bell has decided Canada needs more Charlie Sheen. Perhaps Rogers decided that the last thing Canada needs is more Charlie Sheen. Until I see Anger Management, I'm with Rogers.
Pregnant in Heels (Slice, 8 p.m.) If you missed this when it aired on the more obscure TVTropolis Channel in the spring, watch it now. It's a baroque reality show about Rosie Pope, described as "a maternity concierge." Rosie talks like a mall rat, but also like someone with a large rubber soother in her mouth. We are thrown into the world of well-off pregnant women in Manhattan. Their needs and foibles. It emerges that Rosie's empire is built on catering to them. And dear heavens, they are obnoxious. They make the women on The Real Housewives of New Jersey look good-natured and genteel. "Take a rich, bitchy woman and then put a baby inside them. And then you've got my clients," Pope says.
Check local listings.