Morality, Money and “Two and a Half Men”

First of all, when does the kid on “Two and a Half Men” stop being counted as half of a person? I mean, the kid is nineteen years old and he appears to be as tall as I am. Who knows? Maybe John Cryer is actually the half now.


The interwebs are all abuzz with the release of a video by child-star-turned-born-again-Christian Angus T. Jones for trashing “Two and a Half Men,” the very show on which he stars. “I’m on Two and a Half Men, and I don’t want to be on it,” he says, after warning people to stop watching the show. “Please stop watching it,” he continues. “Please stop filling your head with filth.”

He continues in a longer version of the video to explain how he has come to a new way of thinking, following his experiences in “black Gospel” church.

Apparently, one of the pastors of the Seventh Day Adventist Church visited Jones in his home to engage him in a personal Bible study, during which the pastor taught him about the Biblical case for hell. To which Jones responded: “Wow, this is awesome!”

Not the word I might choose, but okay…

All of this is well and good. He’s certainly entitled to his opinion about his show. and as far as his assessment of “Two and a Half Men” being filth, I’d argue he’s not far off. Yes, the jokes tend to be very low-brow, lascivious and cater to the so-called lowest common denominator, but just because it’s crap doesn’t necessarily qualify it as filth in my mind. There’s a distinct difference, though I prefer not to watch either crap or filth, thanks.

I do also have some compassion for Jones who was thrust onto an international stage through this insanely popular sitcom at the depressingly young age of ten; hardly old enough to know any better than to get a handle on the content of the show he’d be starring in. For that, his parents should be held accountable.

But here’s the problem I have with the whole story. Only one day after the video surfaced online – promptly picked up by numerous bloggers and news outlets – he recanted the entire thing, saying, “Without qualification, I am grateful to and have the highest regard and respect for all of the wonderful people on Two and Half Men with whom I have worked and over the past ten years who have become an extension of my family.”

Absent from his statement was the fact that he is presently under contract through the end of the current season, for which he gets paid $300,000 per episode. We’ve seen this kind of thing before. “Growing Pains” Kirk Cameron walked away from Hollywood because of his Christian beliefs, giving up what otherwise might have been a lucrative career on the large and small screens for a fruitful – if not exactly lucrative – career as a media mouthpiece for his apocalyptic religious ilk.

Yes, I think Cameron may be two steps left of sane, but at least he sticks with his beliefs, crazy as they may be. For Jones, now a legal adult, to throw his show under the bus, and then to come out 24 hours later and take it all back, does far more harm than good for the faith he claims to embrace.

Looking for examples of hypocrisy to support your bias that Christians are disingenuous opportunists? Look no further; you’ve found your new poster boy.

It’s more than a little stunning to me that such a poorly written show has even survived following the meltdown and departure of its main star, Charlie Sheen. I like to think I tend to be culturally in tune, but in this case, I just don’t get it. But quality aside, Angus Jones has to come to terms with the fact that he has a powerful public platform at his disposal. If he decides to trash the show he’s been on for a decade and walk away, fine. If she opts to stay and complete the terms of his $13 million contract, great. But don’t try to claim moral high ground while cashing six-figure checks every week from the same network you claim to be purveying filth.

Hollywood can absorb such scandal and volatility as if it were fueled by it. Christianity, on the other hand, is supposed to be about something a little bit more authentic. Next, time, do what you believe is right, one way or the other, but for God’s sake and ours, keep your opinions about it to yourself until you’ve taken a firm stand.

About Christian Piatt

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  2. Joanna Schroeder says:

    I don’t think any of this has to do with hypocrisy — I think it has to do with a multi-, multi-million dollar lawsuit that was most likely about to be leveled against Jones. Of course there’s no way to know this for sure, but Jones clearly WANTS to be off his show, and Chuck Lorre is clearly not going to be bullied into ANYTHING (ie Charlie Sheen). There is no chance he was going to just let the kid leave the show when he’s under contract. And that’s the amazing thing. I’d guess his contract has contingency that prevents him from speaking negatively about the show.

    Certainly, his faith didn’t change overnight, and I feel he’s probably better off with the Jehovah’s Witnesses than with Two and a Half Men (and I’m agnostic). Like so many young people, he will probably find an extreme version of religion to start with, and then become more moderate.

    I think we can all agree to hope that we don’t have another Kirk Cameron on our hands.

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