Fall TV Preview

Fall TV Preview: Two and a Half Men Has Jake's First Love (It's Miley!), Alan/Walden's Evolution

Miley Cyrus Two and a Half MenTo hear executive producer Jim Patterson tell it, the highly publicized incident that might’ve done in Two and a Half Men last year actually might’ve been a blessing wrapped in a bowling shirt.

“The 10th year of a show, you’re looking at 225 episodes,” he says. “Obviously, the more episodes you do, the more of a struggle it is to go, ‘All right, what’s a new idea? What’s something fresh we can do with a character?’”

You can’t get much fresher than getting rid of one role and bringing on another, and that’s what happened in 2011 when Ashton Kutcher’s Walden filled the spot left by departing original cast member Charlie Sheen.

“Last year, we were scared to death because it was like, oh my god, Charlie was gone. What are we going to do?” he recalls, adding that the CBS sitcom eventually found a new rhythm that set it up for Season 10, which bows Thursday, Sept. 27 at 8:30/7:30c. In retrospect, he’s glad for the shake-up. “Now, looking forward, it’s like this is a whole new show again,” he says. “This is great.”

Below, Patterson gives TVLine all the details about the season ahead, including his thoughts on Men‘s new night, Jake’s romance with Miley Missi and the prospect of non-Sheen returnees.

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TVLINE | Tell us a little bit about how Michael Bolton wound up in the premiere.
Walden and Zoey are still a couple, and it’s her birthday. So Walden wants to go all out and plan the perfect romantic date for her. He’s got a bunch of surprises. He takes her to an oceanside Malibu restaurant and he hires Michael Bolton to sing for her at that restaurant as a surprise… Obviously, Michael’s well known for his romantic ballads and things like that. He turned out to be great. He doesn’t just sing in the episode, he kind of becomes a friend of Walden’s in a way. He appears in a couple other scenes throughout the episode. And he’s just really funny.

TVLINE | What does he sing?
He sings “When a Man Loves a Woman.”

TVLINE | I assume, because this is a comedy, things don’t go exactly according to Walden’s plan?
That’s exactly right. What fun would that be, right? [Laughs] It’s a really fun, strong first episode. We’re really excited to be back on the air, moving to a new night on Thursday after The Big Bang Theory. We think it’s a really good opportunity for the show — even though it’s the 10th year, it’s only the second year with Ashton and in a lot of ways, it’s a new show for us still. We’re figuring things out. We think [the move] could bring a new audience to the show, as well.

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TVLINE | It certainly doesn’t hurt that Miley Cyrus is showing up this season. She tends to pull a certain demo.
Exactly. We were so excited to get Miley. If it works out, it’s going to be great. She’s on for two episodes right now and if things turn out well and she has fun, we’d love to have her back… We think it’s going to be a great dynamic. She’ll play a romantic interest for Jake [played by Angus T. Jones] and he’s never really had that. This is going to be his first real relationship kind of thing. He’s no longer the half man on the show. He’s… in the Army, gonna have a girlfriend, experience love and heartbreak and all that kind of stuff.

TVLINE | Jake will be home when he meets her. Is he home for good? On leave? 
He’s home on leave when he meets her. We didn’t want to cheat the audience and the show and go, “He joined the Army at the end of last year, and now he’s out immediately.” That’s the typical sitcom thing to do. In the first few episodes, he’ll be seen via Skype, he’ll still be part of the show. And then he’ll come home on weekend passes and holidays and things of that nature. We’re keeping it real. We won’t just have him drop out of the Army — although there’s always a chance that he may wash out at some point in the future. But for right now, he’ll be still in the Army and he’ll meet Miley when he comes home on a weekend pass.

TVLINE | Will she sing during her episodes?
No, no plans for it right now. We didn’t want to do like, “Oh! It’s Hannah Montana!” We’re excited – and I think Miley’s excited, too – because it’s a completely different character for her… It’s an adult role for her, and it’s her first TV show since Hannah Montana. And as you said, she’s got a huge following. So we’re really excited at the possibilities of storylines that will happen with her.

TVLINE | Did the show approach her, or did she come to you?
We approached her. Ashton and she are friendly, and actually Angus appeared on her show two years ago, I think it was. I think Jon Cryer actually appeared on her show, as well. And her character on Hannah Montana was obsessed with Ashton… She kind of knew everyone a little bit.

Miley Cyrus Two and a Half MenTVLINE | You mentioned that Jake isn’t going to wash out of basic training right away, if at all. Do he and Eldridge have parallel experiences in the military?
They sign up together but it’s not like college, where you get to choose where you’re going to be and who you’re going to be living with and all that kind of stuff. We love the character of Eldridge and what it brings to Jake, the two best friends, and Graham [Patrick Martin, who is now on TNT’s Major Crimes] is a great actor… His availability to us is a little bit less than it was in the past, but we definitely have plans to bring him back. He and Jake are still best friends.

TVLINE | Regarding Alan’s medical issues at the end of last season: Is he completely recovered now? Is this something we have to worry about? Should I light some candles?
[Laughs] Say a little prayer. He’s healthy, but as with Alan, I’m sure he’ll fall into some bad luck and probably hurt himself one way or the other at various times… But we’re not going to play [that] we have to worry about him having a heart attack or anything like that on the show.

TVLINE | You mentioned Zoey is around at the beginning of the season, and we know Ava’s there, too. How much will we see them?
Zoey and Walden are still in a relationship. They’ll have bumps in the road because what fun is a relationship if everything goes right? They’re still going to be dating, but they’re going to experience the ups and downs that come along with any relationship that anyone goes through — whether you’re married or dating or engaged. There’s highs and lows… But she’s definitely still around. And Ava plays a big part, as well, in a couple of episodes. They’re not living with Walden because they didn’t officially move in, but they’re still dating and we’re just going to kind of play it out and see what happens between the two of them.

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TVLINE | Are there any new characters coming on?
The first few episodes are definitely going to deal with our core people: Walden and Alan and of course Berta’s going to be around and Holland Taylor as Evelyn, Alan’s mom, is going to be there and Mimi Rogers is coming back [as Walden’s mother, Robin]. We have such a great group, and a large group of characters that we can pull and choose from, that expanding the roles isn’t first priority because we want to take care of our family first. But definitely, if it makes sense, we’re going to for sure bring on some new characters. And we’re going to try to bring back some characters from the past, as well, that are a little bit of a surprise.

TVLINE | Let’s talk upcoming storylines.
We’re really beginning to discover the Ashton/Walden character. Last year, a lot of the show was built around, “All right, we’ve got to move beyond Charlie, we’ve got to reinvent the show.” We’re finding this year that Walden and Alan have a great rapport, as well. It’s different that what Charlie and Alan had, but it’s just as good in a different way. We’re fine-tuning what the Walden character is and experiencing his life more. His life was a little too good last year. His life’s going to get a little more roughed up this year. Down the line, he may end up dating some new people, as well. He and Zoey may break up for a little while, possibly, and experience life outside a relationship.

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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  1. Hmmmm says:

    I can’t believe enough people enjoyed the zoey character to keep her with walden. Walden and zoey are the most boring aspect of the show.

  2. I'mWithHmmmm says:

    Took Men off my DVR after the season finale. Waldon is boring, Zoey is cold and mean. In the past the most eye-rolling episodes were when Alan got hurt. Sorry to see there’s no reason to return to the show.

  3. CJ says:

    I hate Zoey! She’s not likable at al and is kind of a turn-off for the show. Since Jake is now 18 and in the army, and Judith is remarried, Alan should no longer be paying child support or alimony and it would be nice for TPTB to realize this and and use it to help grow the Alan character. The leach thing is funny to a point, but one would have to wonder what Alan is doing with his money he makes as a chiropractor of he has no monetary obligations?

    • Stormy says:

      Right there with you. Love Walden, but Zoey is like a disagreeable cougar. She seems way too old for him and it’s like he’s banging his teacher.

    • carol says:

      Yes,why can’t he ever get on his feet?I would like to see them play up the paternity of Judith,and Herb’s baby girl.Maybe this can be where Alan has to start paying child support again.

      • CJ says:

        It has always surprised me how far they are willing to go to debase Alan–he’s a shameless leech, will do anything to scam women but is usually a pathetic failure with them, has an apparently successful chiropractic practice, but never has money. Jon Cryer is great at playing a loser, even though they don’t fully portray why he’s such a loser. I don’t think they ever established whether he still pays alimony to his other wife.

  4. Farazz says:

    Yes zoey is gross and boring. I wont watch the show as long as zoey is there, their relationship is disgusting and weird.

  5. dan says:

    This show needs to die. But hey, let’s keep a boring and nasty character like Zoey around because this show doesn’t suck enough!

  6. Mel says:

    I will not be returning. It’s funny how this article put such as positive spin on the change. Not that I like CS at all, but he was this show. I agree with most posters, Zoey is an annoying, mean, unlikeable character and it’s hard for me to see what Walden sees in her. The move to Thursday is the clincher for me. I have too much much to watch that night, so it’s kind of a welcome relief to say goodby.

  7. Dena says:

    Agreed. Can’t stand Zoe & her snotty attitude. I would like to see Walden experience bad luck in his life for a change. Show getting too predictable

    • J. Norman says:

      What exactly is her “snotty attitude”? and what is it based upon? Would that be objecting to having an (unrelated )and unsufferable mooch like Alan around?

      Would you tolerate a character like Alan in your life?

  8. Charmala says:

    I think it is a mistake to move Men to Thursdays after BIG BANG, It will show just how unfunny it is and how few real laughs there are beyond the laugh reel. Big Bang is so well written and acted, it is a hard act to follow. I see that they want the lead in but the comparison will be painful.

  9. I SO hope that, with Jake in the Army, he’s now written as a more intelligent character. I’m not saying he’s got to be overly articulate or anything like that, but the fact that the writers have been purposely impeding his intelligence. At first it was understandable because he was young and didn’t know any better, but later they’ve had him turn to marijuana (which somewhat explained his lack of intelligence at that point in the season because he was always high).

    I really hope that, when Jake returns on leave, that he’s smarter and, in my opinion, a better character than he once was.

  10. wordsmith says:

    Is that a Soup reference in the headline?

  11. scarlett says:

    Zoey and child do nothing for me. I want to see more of Evelyn and Berta. Herb is really likeable. No more Walden ex- wife. Patton Oswalt is good. Jake not as stoned and stupid as he has been. Thank God for Jon, he’s the best.

  12. Aidan Williams says:

    I cant wait to se the premiere of Season 10 and hope there will be a Season 11.

  13. TV Gord says:

    The only thing I find boring about this show is how “fashionable” it is for commenters to bash the show. Stop whining, stop watching and leave it to the rest of us with a sense of humor. :-)

  14. robinepowell says:

    I want Lindsay’s mom back on the show. The scenes between her and Evelyn were hilarious. :p

  15. Jack smith says:

    People say this show has gone downhill since charlie left but can you imagine how poor it would be if it was alan who had left. People would realise that charlie wasnt the reason this show became so big.

    • Lucifer says:

      I just used to watch for the hot chicks until I grew up and realized what a worthless piece of garbage TAHM was. Neither Charlie, nor Alan are good actors. Saw Alan one time in the Oscars, by God he’s tripping! He doesn’t ‘act’. That’s just him!

  16. the only question about alan is concerning his health, no mention of his girlfriend and his evolution as character?

  17. A bad show gets worse says:

    The show’s over. It was done the minute Charlie had his meltdown. Ain’t nothing gonna fix that. The fact they have to resort to all sorts of ridiculous crap-speckle to appease the remaining audience is a testament to that.

    I mean, Miley? Really? Ashton and his Three Stooges haircut to go along with his lack of acting ability? Cryer still playing the pathetic idiot? Kathy Bates? No, no… this show ended two seasons ago. How many guest stars does it take to float a boat that won’t float?

    • Potrzibe says:

      I agree with most of you.. Without charlie the show is pretty much over. Charlie had a good gig.. all he had to do was to play himself. Wear shorts and Nat Nast shirt.. live on the beach in Malibu and date and bang hot chicks !
      Walden is not the same as Charlie..as we all know… I am not crazy about Alan as the star.. he is ok as a minor role but not the main character.. Get rid of Sophie… she is a pompous English Bitch.. adds nothing to the show except drain the life out of it..
      Show more of Courtney Thorne Smith.. she is sexy…!!!
      I have a question.. Judy Greer was used several times as different characters.. Aunt Myra.. Walden’s ex wife.. and another minor character in an early episode.. How come she got so much play and exposure?

      • Bob says:

        Jennifer Bini Taylor (Chelsea) did the same thing, she was a minor character in seasons 1, 2, and 5 as a women named Tina, Nina, and another girl. Then in seasons 6-7 she was Chelsea, and she reprised her role as Chelsea in season nine premiere

  18. Bob says:

    Someone, if you want the show to be good again, write out Jake, have some women show up at the beach house with Charlie’s love child and leave Walden and Alan to raise it. The kid could be eight. Also, spice things up and bring back Kandi, she gets her show cancelled and wants to reconcile with Alan. Show more of Evelyn and Lyndeys mom lesbean relationship, explore Berta’s past. Have Herb leave Judith when he finds out he is not the child of Milli and the show concludes with Alan and Judith reconciling after being divorced a decade.

    • Great ideas! Why we all have better plots than the writers? I hate to see this show to sink….i use to love it and i thought even than Ashton will never be as good as Charlie, at least they will think in ways to keep the show funny. I was thinking on Alan’s baby girl, she might be the half? i mean if she is his daughter…

      • Potzbe says:

        You are so right.. the story lines have really sucked the last couple of weeks.. Here is a great set up for a threesome… Alan Walden and my favorite Lindsay are in bed ready to do it and Walden gets all whiny about Zoey.. even though he has banged other ladies in between… Grow a pair.. I would be with Lindasy in a second… Rose’s character has wained… yes would like to see more hot chicks.. Drop Zoey she brings the ratings down with her English pompous attitude.. she is not sexy at all.. maybe chuck Lorre should have a cattle call at one of the studios and have an open forum… and listen to us fans !!!!

    • Cam says:

      That’s an awesome plot!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! And i don’t give credit lightly. Right now, i stopped watching two and a half man half way through the season with walden because walden isn’t nearly as funny as Charlie, i hate Zoey, i find Allan is a a huge leech now and i would love to see him grow back to the more responsible person he used to be in the first few seasons and we don’t get to see many of the characters and aspects we used to find attractive about the show. Your ideas bring back everything we want in a show: comic relief not just plain boring trying-too hard to be funny tv shows.

      • Potzbe says:

        I kinda of liked the plot a few episodes ago where Kandi and Lindsay ended up in bed together !!! I also like the new girlfriend that Walden have been seeing… think she will be a nice addition to the show… Jake has overrun his time on the show… time to go… glad Zoey is gone… she was a Royal pain in the ass… let’s see more hot chicks more threesomes and mindless dribble !

  19. I use to love the show, now i watch it waiting for a good twist that never comes…. I was totally dissapointed with this 10th season episode. Writers should use more of the others characters, i want Rose back! Why is Jake so stupid? Why Zoey still on the show? I like Ashton but i would rather see another kind of man, i mean, he still looks so young, and even if he is gorgeous, he is not that handsome to drive all women crazy as soon as they see him. I imagine a 40 year old MAN, kind of naive but street smart, charming and kind of peace-karma-happy-love everybody guy but rich and womenizer.

  20. mash says:

    I like it. I like wolden very much. Bt i also agree that zoey is mean and cold. i want her out. The show is hellarious though. I love ashton on the show. He is soooooo hot

  21. Remco says:

    More Berta please, she is so funny! They should also bring back Kandi more often -like they did in 10×09- and make her seduce Berta or something. An episode in which Berta and Kandi hook up would be hilarious.