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Charlie Harper Is The Epitome Of A 21st Century Man – Op-Ed Piece


 

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Introduction

Hey readers,

Here is an op-ed piece about a popular sitcom character. Also, we included a profile for a coffee shop that you may enjoy. We know that writers run on coffee and will start to feature the spots when we can.

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Writer's Birthday





Marcia Brown was born on July 13, 1918. She was an American writer and illustrator of more than 30 children's books.







 
 

Writer's Favorite Drink

Here is a profile for a coffee shop that we think you may enjoy.


Culture Espresso

Independently owned and operated since 2009, Culture’s popularity helped launch additional locations around the city. But it’s their original home on 38th that is still the best for a day of writing. A relatively small space, it’s worth getting up early for their fresh brew, baked goods, and to snag a corner table. Personally, I like small spaces when I write, cause who needs people when I go to a place? (It turns out the businesses do, actually)

This place was voted the best chocolate chip in NYC. If that isn't enough for you to go, then I don't think anything will. https://www.cultureespresso.com/

 
 

Short Poem


“Dreams” by Langston Hughes

Hold fast to dreams

For if dreams die

Life is a broken-winged bird

That cannot fly.

Hold fast to dreams

For when dreams go

Life is a barren field

Frozen with snow.




 
 

Charlie Harper Is The Epitome Of A 21st Century Man – Op-Ed Piece


Whenever I watch a series or a movie, I always view it as if I wrote it. “How would I create that character? How would I begin this story? And to most of my friend’s dismay, What twist would I make?” I can tell you that I have watched movies and shows, and as we are watching the program, I point out the twist long before it ever happened. I wasn’t trying to ruin the show, I just had my writer’s eye on while watching it, and I noticed a part where I would have obviously made it.


Here is an example of me doing that, but it’s one that I actually got wrong. It is the reveal of Blast in One Punch Man. Now for those of you who don’t know, One Punch Man is an anime around a superhero who is too strong and can, get this, kill the enemies with one punch. It’s quirky, and I like it. There is a league of superheroes in the show, and we follow Saitama, One Punch Man, as he deals with foes and friends alike. There are many different types of heroes in this league, and there is one that is never seen during the beginning seasons of the show, Blast. He was so anonymous that many thought he wasn’t real. I took this approach to the character and had Blast be a person who was mistaken for Saitama. So the show’s main hero is not only the strongest by himself, he is so strong that the hero that everyone thinks is the other strongest character is actually the same guy. I thought it would be a cool twist. Alas, I am wrong, and Blast is a separate character altogether. Why am I telling you this? I guess to prove that even when I am wrong, I am still writing a story or character in my head. What can I say? The writer’s mind never rests.

This is one of those character studies that I like to do of a show I am currently binge-watching; The show is Two and A Half Men. (I already spoke of this show when I asked about rebooting shows)

Now in the show, Charlie Harper is seen as the bachelor. The man that guys want to be like. He has a big house. He is loaded and sleeps with a different beautiful woman every night. Often the show is promoted that his brother Allan Harper is the more relatable one since Allan is the one who struggles with his job, and with women, and life in general. Although on the outside, it appears that Allan is the more relatable, I don’t think that is the case. The show promotes Charlie as if he is the “cool” brother and not the one with the problem. But I think it is Charlie’s very problems that make his appeal as a character.

He is everything that most men don’t want to admit that they are.

  • He is perverted. – I don’t think I need to explain this one very much. He is either making a dirty joke or doing something dirty on the show. He talks of inappropriate sexual matters without a care in the world. Most guys know more pornstars than they would ever like to admit and think thoughts that they would like to take back. In fact, I bet most perverted men can probably name more adult film stars than politicians (and yet we all wonder why we hate politicians). Ask a man to name his top five living senators, and then ask him to name his top five pornstars. He will barely name five of the politicians after thinking about it for ten minutes and give you ten pornstars in half the time.

  • He is not sophisticated. – Charlie is always reading on the show, but it is mostly just magazines. He rarely mentions anything that would deem him of the intellectual crowd. Most guys don’t care about history or the classics and are more than happy not to be considered sophisticated.

  • He doesn’t care about politics or major events in our world. – I don’t really recall many times that Charlie actually discusses major political issues cause he feels if they don’t affect him, they don’t matter. And most men feel the same way. Most guys are not interested in what is going on with Congress or the latest headliner. He just wants to get through his shift at his job and go home.

  • He is religious, but only when it suits him. – In the show, Charlie prays for things. He has open conversations about his faith, but he is only using that faith for his own benefit. Most guys do this also. Are we praying for salvation? No, we are praying that we can sit next to a hot chick when we go to the beach and muster up the courage to talk to her.

Yes, most men don’t sleep with every woman that they see as Charlie Harper does in the show. There are obvious exaggerations with the character that the show takes.

I propose that Charlie’s lack of control is exactly why men like him.

He is the epitome of a man in the 21st century because he can’t control himself when it comes to women, booze, or gambling. And the thing is, no one knows how to help him. His maid accepts him for the awful person he is. His mom always loves him despite her disappointment in his life. His brother accepts him, like the maid, but does try to help him when he can. Unfortunately, there is a larger issue that Charlie is facing within himself, and try as they can, none of the characters can help the poor bastard.

Most of the characters on the show are confronted with this situation,

“How do I help this man who clearly needs help with women, alcohol, and gambling?” They all have answers to this question. The maid doesn’t interfere with him. His mother disapproves openly, often harshly, of his choices. His brother tries to be a shoulder he can lean on when he needs his help. Yet none of them seem to work.

After watching another episode of the show, I began to think that Charlie Harper struggling with these vices is not that unique. That is the key here. I started to view him as the victim of vices, not at the manly bachelor that the show promotes him as. He is the victim to his own temptations that he can’t control, not some free spirit we should idolize. What man doesn’t know vices? Unfortunately, we all do. If you ask a man about which Deadly Sin gets him the most, I guarantee that he will say it is the sin of lust that gets him.

Whether it is the lust of a bimbo we see in a bar, the temptation of draining our fear in beer, or the appeal of throwing away most of our money on a sporting event, the unfortunate truth of this world is that a man can very well bury himself in women, beer, and debt from his losses, and the world won’t know how to help him. There are organizations set up (that Charlie attended in the show). There are groups. (that Charlie also attended in the show) They are even therapists for this stuff. (that yes, Charlie attended in the show too) But at the end of the day, our society just doesn’t know how to help a man handle these vices. The man has to do it himself, and most men aren’t capable. The women always win. The bottle is the victor. The bookie always gets his vig.

This gets me back to the main character in the show, Charlie Harper. He is like most men in that fashion of succumbing. He is tempted, and he fails most of the time to reject whatever comes his way. He is always quick to ring up a call girl or go get some more wine or see what the line is. He is trying to help himself since we see him at meetings for this stuff, and he even goes to therapy. Like most men, Charlie is trying to say no to these vices, but yet somehow, he keeps getting beaten by them.

The show likes to bring up religious motifs of God and the Devil more than I remember when I saw it originally. There is definitely a writer on the show that made it a point to include that on the show. It is there too much for me to believe that those religious themes are there by accident. Good job on whatever writer presented religious motifs on a popular sitcom, enough to be there, but not enough to have it overtake the story. That takes more skill than most expect. The characters openly talk about believing in God and that their own mother is the Devil, and you get why Charlie would think such things. He can’t win. Those temptations are getting the best of him, and he is losing the good fight. He can’t turn down a call girl. He can’t put down a bottle. He can’t say no to a bet. Even when he gets help, he is losing.

It’s a vicious cycle. He drinks and gets women and gambles. So he feels bad about it and tries to stop them. But then he sees that the help doesn’t work, which only makes him go back to drinking, getting women, and gambling.

Charlie Harper is the hero of the series not because he gets with so many women, which is often how it is viewed, but because after a while he regrets his open bachelor lifestyle. He is not proud of the man, the misogynist that he has become. He wants to change, yet he can’t. It would be very different if he was proud of the man he was. He wasn’t.


Men in our society have massive issues related to sex, alcohol, and gambling. There are two problems here. First off, it is the actual problem. (which may change in minor details as time goes by) Second is the blatant disregard our society has for it.

  • Sex - This one is pretty obvious. Most men can look up any dirty or perverted thing they want on their phones. Whenever a man is horny he can find a site that fits that need. Like the other two vices, the porn sites are more than happy to keep men busy, never once acknowledging that they aren't actually helping the guy.

  • Alcohol – It is too easy for a man to buy alcohol. As long as the man has the money, the bartender or store will always give him his beer. This is very easy to abuse for most men since their jobs are too stressful and need a release.

  • Gambling – Men are being told at every sporting event to put some money down on the game and never feel bad about it. The agency is only thereafter the guy loses all his money and has become an addict.

That is really just the surface of those issues too. The key is that each is available for a man to get and keep getting until these vices control his life. They all promise the man fleeting happiness that many men are more than happy to chase.

Yet, we are never told of these issues that men face daily. Other issues are pushed to the forefront of the news. Other headlines take our attention and time. Does that sound familiar? Yeah, because the world views men as if they are Charlie Harper. “Come on, you pig, stop being tempted by the young girl!” As if it is that easy. “Come on, you drunk, stop with the alcohol!” As if it is that easy. “Come on, you addict, stop putting money on the games!” As if it is that easy.


The series had a character whose very creation posed a major question to our society, “How do you help someone who can’t be helped?”

It is why so many men like the character. We see ourselves in him. The disturbing part is how everyone else sees it too.

 
 

Did You Know?

The seven deadly sins are pride, greed, wrath, envy, lust, gluttony, and sloth. Each has a virtue that corresponds with it and is supposed to represent the good act that a person should do.

  • Pride - humility

  • Greed – charity

  • Wrath – patience

  • Envy – kindness

  • Lust – chastity

  • Gluttony – temperance

  • Sloth – diligence

 
 

Five Facts About Charlie Harper

  1. Charlie Sheen portrayed him, inspired mainly by the actor’s real life.

  2. His profession is a jingle writer, and he composed the Maple Loops theme song in the show. For a short while, he has a successful career as a children’s songwriter, going under the alias “Charlie Waffles.”

  3. In the show’s ninth season, the main character was killed off the show, not to be played by Sheen again.

  4. He lives in a Malibu beach house, and his next-door neighbor is Steven Tyler, of Aerosmith fame.

  5. Once the character died, most show viewers considered the show to be over, even though it technically went on for a few seasons after his death.

 
 

Ending

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About The Blogger

Greg Luti is an editor and blogger on pensandwords.com. His favorite writers are Robert Frost and Charles Bukowski. He enjoys reading up on history, watching comedies, and playing video games, when he is not writing down a few notes for his next piece. He started this blog out of his love for literature and hopes that the reader shares that same passion.

 

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