Tom Gliatto and Cynthia Wang
February 13, 2006 12:00 PM

CBS (Mondays, 9 p.m. ET)


With Everybody Loves Raymond gone, the top-rated sitcom is a show that doesn’t seem to care what you think of it. Now in its third season, Two and a Half Men is an unambitiously slump-shouldered show that nonetheless is so well put together it can tower above a frisky little sea monkey of a sitcom like Arrested Development. Edgier shows like The Office are what get talked about, of course. But Men has the sturdiness, the makings of a standard.

The youngest member of the cast, Angus T. Jones, 12, is obviously getting older but remains blessedly uncute as a kid named Jake Harper. Apart from his maturing DNA, the show can pretty much just keep running as is. The grown-ups own their roles. Jon Cryer, as Jake’s divorced, dorky father, Alan, has the posture of a turkey lurching on tippytoes. He dares to be the new Don Knotts. And there’s Jake’s lady-killer Uncle Charlie, played by Charlie Sheen with his peculiar louche sarcasm (and many sexual double entendres). He’s like the spawn of Brat Pack—perverse but timeless.

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