Saturday, February 26, 2011

Charlie Sheen's downward spiral

I usually have pretty firm opinions about stuff, good, bad or indifferent. In the case of Charlie Sheen, though, I just can’t make up my mind.

His drug and booze-fuelled lifestyle over the past few years has been legendary. He hangs out with hookers, beats them up, and has a revolving door attitude to rehab and jail.

Until yesterday, he didn’t cross my mind from one month to another. I’ve never been a fan of his. I’ve seen a couple of movies he’s been in, but he’s never been an actor of any great consequence, in my opinion, anyway. But I have been aware of his off-screen goings-on for years, starting with his $50,000 cheques paid to Heidi Fleiss, the Hollywood Madam from whom he solicited high-priced prostitutes.

His most recent antics have now resulted in the cancellation of “Two and a Half Men”. CBS decided to pull the plug on the last episodes of the season, following his foul-mouthed, racist rant against the show’s creator, Chuck Lorre. Those in the know are saying that it probably means the end of the series, not just the season.

I’ve never seen the show, so I won’t miss it, and from what I understand, I haven’t been missing much, anyway. Charlie Sheen was reportedly earning in the neighborhood of $1.2 million per episode. Not so for the crews who produce his TV show, who now suddenly find themselves out of work because of this guy.

Like the rest of us, he probably lives paycheque to paycheque. I buy a new HDTV… he rents $50,000 prostitutes and does enough drugs to keep Afghan and Colombian drug lords in business.

So, here you have someone who’s been an ongoing train-wreck for years, with more money than God, on a self-destruct mission of an intensity rarely seen, even in the Hollywood press.

Even someone like me, light years away from knowing the inner workings of Hollywood, can imagine that a guy with that kind of fame – or notoriety, call it what you will – is surrounded by legions of yes-men, people who are more interested in being in his orbit, than they are in keeping him alive.

They must be some very talented yes-men. I believe no one can arrive at that state of human decay without being helped along the way. No one wants to say no to this guy. Well, his father Martin Sheen tried a few years back, having him arrested and got him into rehab. Didn’t do much good, though, sadly, which is why I flip-flop between pity and blame for this guy. On one hand, he has a family who have been trying to deal with this the best they can for years, and on the other hand, he’s a guy who, because of his fame and fortune, probably hasn’t had a genuine friend or heard an honest opinion in his whole life, or hasn’t heard the word ‘no’ in years, either. 

Yesterday, he called in to a radio talk show in Los Angeles, and railed against the creators of the show, Alcoholics Anonymous, and spoke of himself in the most arrogant terms imaginable. The recording of this radio show was played over and over Friday on Fox News Channel. At first, I thought he was just another the-world-revolves-around-me celebrity. The more often I heard his barrage of insults, arrogance and nonsense, the more it occurred to me that this is a man in serious trouble, psychologically. That should have been evident back when he aligned himself with the faction that believes 9/11 was an 'inside job', but who takes those crackpots seriously? 

Just because he is a supposedly talented actor doesn’t mean he has any strength of character, which you have to have when the rest of the world, who doesn’t know you at all, is telling you how wonderful you are. It’s a wonder that any celebrity comes out of that racket alive, when you think about it.

Ya gotta wonder when was the last time he was truly sober? He said during his rants yesterday that he's "100% cured". Listening to his meltdown, that's a scary thought, if true. I can't ever remember seeing a photo of him, or seeing him on TV or in a movie, where he didn't have this kind of crazed look in his eyes. He always looks like he is about to come unglued. Well, I think it's finally happened.

I guess, then, he’s about to learn that there are consequences to his actions, but how much impact will these consequences have to someone with his kind of wealth and fame?  

I don’t know.

All I know is that in my humble opinion, he is equally as much to be pitied as blamed. It seems pretty certain that he will die a very ugly, public death unless someone makes some kind of impression on him. Soon.


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