If FX was mildly nervous that Charlie Sheen’s public persona may affect his chances for a comeback, this information should come as a huge relief: EW has learned that test audiences who saw the pilot of his new comedy Anger Management recently were both pleased with his new half-hour comedy and eager to see the 46-year-old actor succeed in a new series.
The majority of men and women who attended a screening of the half-hour comedy in California’s San Fernando Valley last week rated the multi-camera pilot favorably, while over 80 percent gave Sheen an enthusiastic thumbs-up for his performance as an unorthodox therapist, according to one well-placed source. The pilot that also features the comeback of Brett Butler as a bartender played even better among women in the 18-34 and 18-49 demographic.
Overall, testing groups indicated that while they were well aware of Sheen’s fall from grace at CBS, they were still excited about his comeback and actually rooting for him to succeed, the source said. Some respondents even went so far as to say they were happy to see the actor in good health.
I’m open to, though skeptical of, the idea that I’ll like Anger Management. But I’m genuinely curious: does anyone have a theory about why people feel so charitably towards Charlie Sheen in particular? I know people like redemption narratives in general, but we also sure seem to relish kicking certain people when they’re down. I’d love a Sheen-specific explanation, especially since there’s no performance that makes me desperately long for him to return to former glory.