The June, 2011 issue of Vanity Fair wrote up a juicy, detailed piece on Charlie Sheen’s media meltdown. All the drugging and prostituting and money wasting is now chic-yuck. ”Two and a Half Men” is over for Charlie, but Charlie himself is not over yet. Are we jealous pf Charlie, as he thinks, are we disgusted, or just voyeuristic? When Charlie went public with his special brand of insanity, he sucked up a million followers on Twitter. Crazy money, high-priced prostitutes and extreme drug use tweets well in America.
It interesting. Universal’s 2010 animated film Despicable Me has grossed something like $540 million worldwide. In Despicable, love and loyalty win. Gru, a lonely single-guy, lets his love for three little orphan girls win over his super-villianous selfishness. Charlie Sheen and Gru are both despicable, but Charlie is not the kind of despicable in this movie. Audiences paid to see Gru’s transformation into a loving father and wiped a tear. Do we hark toward Gru or Charlie?
Last night I saw Tracy Letts’ ”August: Osage County” at the Globe. It played 18 previews and 648 regular performances on Broadway. It’s the comic-tragic American family come unglued. At the core, the patriarch, Beverly cheats on his wife Violet with her sister and alcoholism, drug-addiction and pain ensue for the next two generations. The play ends with T.S. Eliot’s “This is the way the world ends…” but this screwed-up family doesn’t end with a “bang” or a “whimper,” but with silence — empty, dark, alone silence.
American’s are increasingly bipolar in our entertainment preferences.
We alternate, between extremes. We go for Charlie then Gru, back to Osage County, then on to Sesame Street. We love Lady Gaga. We love Taylor Swift.
We seem to want safe, loving, kind, sane and loyal.
We are fascinated by cruel, hateful, mean and cheated.
Why? We are both. We contain both, all of us. We lust, we loyalify. We hate, we repent.
What wins? Both seem to.
Strong, opposing forces take turns in us, winning, losing, fighting to win again. Become a Charlie Sheen and you self-destruct. Pretend to be a saint and you are a liar. Make good choices or make bad choice, both end up as family entertainment, and grief.
Charlie, Beverly or Gru?
It’s all so very interesting, but Gru strikes me as just a bit more fun over the long run.