Some weeks back, Channel 29 dropped "Everybody Loves Raymond" at 7 p.m. and added the huge Charlie Sheen hit "Two and a Half Men" in that time slot.
It's been eye-opening watching some of the earlier episodes. Actually, disturbing is a better description.
From the very beginning, this half-hour sitcom has been obsessed with sex. Even against the backdrop of the interesting relationship between young Jake, his neurotic dad and his aimless Uncle Charlie, sexual encounters - or a lack of them - were the focus of most of the jokes. Still, it was bearable.
Somewhere on the way to their 100th episode, more sex, more sex talk and more dim-witted women characters made their way into the scripts. Now, when I watch a new episode at 9 Monday nights, I cringe more than I laugh.
These days, viewers hear middle-schooler Jake talking about his algebra teacher's "rack" - a perfect example of how low the dialogue has sunk.
It's no surprise, then, to also notice how badly this show depicts women. They're either crazy (Charlie's mother, Rose, the girl next door) or sex objects (just about every other female character).
Jake's mother is portrayed as shrill and evil (wow, that's a new concept: the shrill divorced woman), and Berta the housekeeper is as gross as the guys in the house.
What gives? Last I checked, it was 2007 and women are way beyond being portrayed as brainless, sex-addicted blonds.
And, yet, "Two and a Half Men" is one of CBS' hottest shows.
To that I say: shame.
-- Susan LoTempio