During the TCA tours, there’s an understandable tendency for the networks to pimp their newest programming, but once in awhile, they do manage to offer us a panel that shines the spotlight on an established show. In this case, it was actually two shows: “The Big Bang Theory” and “Two and a Half Men.” On the panel were Chuck Lorre (co-creator of both series, executive producer on both shows), Bill Prady (co-creator of and executive producer on “The Big Bang Theory”), and Lee Aronsohn (co-creator of “Two and a Half Men,” executive producer on both shows). I’m not going to tell you that I wouldn’t rather have had actual cast members on the panel, but given the comedic credits of this trio, it was unsurprising to find that we got quite a few laughs during the course of the conversation.
First, though, let’s go ahead and acknowledge the elephant in the room right away, shall we? You know that someone had to ask about Charlie Sheen, and while they did, one must applaud the restraint of the collected TV critics that the question didn’t come up until several minutes into the panel. Predictably, the guys went for the joke before offering up a proper answer.
“I’m sorry, what happened with Charlie?” asked Lorre, innocently.
“I don’t know,” said Aronsohn, poker-faced. “Something happened?”
Lorre then slipped into serious mode. “We put on a show last night, and it went extremely well,” he said. “We had a great week, and the audience was wonderful last night, so we’re just going about our business. Charlie is a consummate pro. He shows up and he delivers, and last night was one of our strongest episodes. It was just terrific.”
Okay, let’s get into the meat of the panel a bit more, which was – thankfully – far more about the shows themselves rather than the sordid personal lives of one of their stars.