You’ll Do a Spit-take at Charlie Sheen’s Return to TV Comedy in ‘Bookie’

John Johnson / Max

A little reunion unfolds late in the premiere episode of Bookie, the new Max comedy created by Chuck Lorre. Beleaguered bookie Danny (Sebastian Maniscalco) and his muscle/assistant, Ray (Omar J. Dorsey), pay a visit to Freedom From Bondage House, a ritzy Malibu rehab facility and current home to a deadbeat who owes Danny money. As it turns out, the deadbeat is one Charlie Sheen, star of Lorre’s long-running hit CBS sitcom Two and a Half Men. “I’ve gotten sober here many times,” a deadpan Sheen explains, before forking over his luxury watch in lieu of cash and returning to his card game. Also at the table: Angus T. Jones, who was all of 10 when he was cast in Men.

The scene is good for a laugh, one of many sprinkled throughout the episode (the only one provided to critics). In the course of 27 minutes, Danny receives a pummeling from a trans woman who doesn’t have his money (“You should see the other girl,” quips Ray); collects from a client who, judging by the smell, seems to have literally wiped his ass with the cash; and helps deliver a new TV to Ray’s grandmother, who is irate that she won’t get free HBO: “How am I supposed to see all that dragon shit?”

There’s a shaggy looseness to the episode, and a lot of the boys-will-be-boys humor that has been Lorre’s stock in trade. The leap to premium streaming means Lorre’s characters get to swear, and the lack of a laugh track means they can act more recognizably human. There’s a comical bleakness to this L.A. milieu, a scuzzy quality that breaks through the ample punchlines. Written by Lorre and Nick Bakay, Bookie occasionally tries too hard; it’s usually not a great idea to have characters laugh at each other’s jokes. But it’s generally quite comfortable in its own skin.

Read more at The Daily Beast.

Source: The Daily Beast

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