Why We Should Take ‘Two And A Half Men’ Star Angus T. Jones Seriously

There’s been a lot of furor in Hollywood over a Christian witness video made by Angus T. Jones, who for ten seasons has played the half man on Two and a Half Men, in which he calls out the show that’s been his paycheck, asking viewers:

Please stop filling your head with filth. Please. People say it’s just entertainment. The fact that it’s entertainment. Do some research on the effects of television and your brain and I promise you you’ll have a decision to make when it comes to the television…It’s bad news. I don’t know if it means any more coming from me. But you might have heard it otherwise. But watch out…A lot of people don’t like to think how deceptive the enemy is. He’s been doing this a lot longer than any of us have been around…You cannot be a true, God-fearing person and be on a show like that.

The video itself is a rambling splice of several conversations, in which Jones discusses how he came to Seventh Day Adventism, what the series of study videos he’s endorsing in this clip means to him, and, in fairly generic terms, what he’s learned about the impact of entertainment on viewers:

I understand why this is an entertainment industry story—Jones is effectively pulling an inverse Charlie Sheen, whose meltdown-fueled insults to the show’s producers got him fired, and explaining why he’s too rectitudinous to continue working on Two and a Half Men, which maybe says something about a past expiration date for a show that was once one of CBS’s biggest hits. And certainly it’s fair for critics to ask whether Jones intends to stop cashing a paycheck and live up to his standards for being “a true, God-fearing person.”

But I’d actually like to hear in more detail what Jones thinks about the show where he effectively grew up. How did Two and a Half Men affect Jones’ views of women? What did the show’s perspective teach him about what it means to be a good man, and a successful man, if the two ideas are different? When he interacts with fans of the show, do they seem to be taking away different messages than the ones he thought he grew up conveying? How does he feel about Jake, the character he’s playing, specifically? I’d imagine Jones’ critique of the show might skew more towards the show’s deviations from Biblically-ordained gender roles, where mine might focus on the show’s dismissive attitudes about women. And I’m more likely to blame the work of Man rather than the Adversary for creating those images and disseminating those attitudes. But I don’t think Jones is wrong to take culture, or his role in producing it, seriously.