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Nice Guys Still Finish Last: In Support of Jon Cryer

Things have always been just Duckie when it comes down to two men.

I’ve always been a Duckie Dale kind of girl.

Oh, sure, Blane had the intense, romantic-hero stare down, but when it came to the guy who’d always have a girl’s back, it was Duckie all the way.

For those who haven’t a clue who Duckie or Blane are, I’m referencing the John Hughes ’80s classic movie “Pretty in Pink.” The reason I’m digging up these decades-old characters comes down to the actor who played the ever-loving Duckie: Jon Cryer.

In a weird twist, Cryer’s series, “Two and a Half Men,” is a matter of life imitating art, or maybe art imitating life imitating art.

When “Two and a Half Men” first aired, I liked it enough to watch it every week. In the beginning, Cryer’s clueless Alan seemed sweet, particularly when measured against Charlie Sheen’s smarmy character.

As the series progressed – or regressed – Alan’s cluelessness was chalked off to selfishness rather than simple naiveté. Meanwhile, his drunken, sexually hyperactive brother, Charlie, actually seemed likeable next to his dopey sibling.

And as with “Pretty in Pink,” the handsome, intense guy got more play than Cryer.

In real life, Sheen fast became the center of all things “Two and a Half.” Eventually it seemed as though the show revolved around Sheen, who enthralled the public with his antics.

Sheen’s world was one of fantasy, inhabited by goddesses, trolls and tiger’s blood. Cryer, on the other hand, played it cool, refusing to get caught up in the insanity that was – and still is – Charlie.

Fat lotta good it did Cryer. After Sheen imploded, the show conducted what looked and sounded like a worldwide manhunt for the golden sitcom actor.

Forget Cryer and the kid playing his son – what had become “The Charlie Sheen Show” suddenly required another handsome, intense guy to take Sheen’s place.

Good ol’ Duckie, standing by bravely while Andie moves on to Blane 2.0.  Sorry, Charlie, you’ve been replaced by Ashton.

Now, I’m not sure who thought Ashton Kutcher would make for a great Sheen replacement, but whoever posited it convinced the casting director and executive producer to drink that same Kool-Aid.

I myself was more than a little surprised. When I think of Kutcher, I think of his himbo character, Michael Kelso, on “That ’70s Show,” his real-life himbo hijinks on the MTV gem “Punk’d,” and his shining role alongside a perpetually grinning Seann William Scott in “Dude, Where’s My Car?”

Still, curiosity got the better of me, so I watched the season premiere of “Two and a Half Men,” a show I had long given up. I was eager to see whether Kutcher would pull off the switch and whether Cryer would finally get a chance to anchor the show.

No such luck. Once again, the handsome, sort-of-intense guy was the focus of the show's universe. Kutcher goofily charmed the ladies while Cryer played second fiddle.

Oddly enough, Kutcher, like his predecessor, Sheen, seemed to take the jerk role to heart. But where Sheen’s actions were almost entertaining – if you can get past the fact that much of the craziness was likely the result of substance abuse – Kutcher’s just a common run-of-the-mill philanderer.

Caught cheating on his wife, Demi Moore, on their sixth anniversary (and in San Diego, no less), Kutcher pulled off the unimaginable: He’s almost as sleazy as Sheen.

Then, a couple of days ago, Sheen decided to revive his feud with “Two and a Half Men” Executive Producer Chuck Lorre by expressing how “disappointed” he is with the direction of the show.

Holy irony, Batman, just when you think it couldn’t get worse.

Perhaps more ironic is I have to agree with Sheen.

Sheen’s departure should have motivated the writers to develop Cryer’s character.

Let poor Alan get his own place, for crying out loud. Let him date. And let him finally become at least one whole man of the Two and a Half.

Trust me – there’s a whole contingent of us girls who grew up, wishing Andie had chosen Duckie instead. It’d be like chicken soup for the sappy ’80s movies fan’s soul to see that nice guy finish first for once.

Elizabeth October 24, 2011 at 02:56 AM
Gen, in the book, Andie goes to the dance with Duckie.
Genevieve Suzuki October 24, 2011 at 03:36 AM
Ah, another instance in which the book gets it right.

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