Many people thought it couldn’t be done, but here we are at the end of a successful ninth season of Two and a Half Men. Ratings are better than ever and Ashton Kutcher has officially signed on for a tenth season. Being Canadian, I thought it was interesting that viewership has particularly gone up in my home country.
After nine seasons, Jake is finally graduating high school. At the beginning of the episode, Alan is harassing him about sleeping in until 2pm on a Sunday–he completely missed Saturday–because he’ll never be successful if that’s how he lives. That advice fails miserably when Walden walks in the kitchen, completely absent of clothes, and says good morning. Jake says, “I’m sorry, I was distracted by the naked billionaire that just woke up.”
In their caps and gowns, sprawled out in Jake’s room while eating pizza, Jake and Eldridge talk about how awful their valedictorian was and it’s not a big deal that he’s going to Harvard, which Jake thinks is the capital of Connecticut. The new grads discuss what to do with their future. It’s settled: they will get frozen yogurt in their graduation robes to attract smart girls.
Alan and Judith discuss Jake’s future, and Judith wants Alan to ask Walden if he can give Jake a job at his new company. Of course, once Lyndsey hears this, she wants him to ask for Eldridge too. Alan thinks this is way more of an imposition on Walden than it is to live with him, but he agrees to do it.
Walden and his partner, Billy Stanhope, officially have an office for their new company, Electric Suitcase, Inc. The business partners are still personal rivals, so Walden decided to pay an extra $480 to remove the adjustable height feature from Billy’s office chair. Alan shows up at the new office, green plant in hand, and accepts $100 from Walden to give to Jake for his graduation before asking if he has a position for Jake at the company. Walden outright declines, but Billy thinks they can do it. It’s clear that Walden loves Alan and Jake, but there are reasons why he’s a billionaire and one is not making stupid hiring decisions. Alan tries to say that Jake is a sponge for knowledge, but Walden barely even agrees with the sponge aspect, “Yeah, if you lay him on a wet spot he might absorb liquid.” Billy agrees to hire Jake, and on the way out the door, Alan mentions that Eldridge needs a job too–all he tells Billy about him is that he’s blond and doesn’t give him a chance to object.
What do you do with two high school graduates with no ambition? Put them in charge of the server room, of course! Jake and Eldridge show up for their first day and spend a lot of time talking about opportunities–they thank Walden and Billy for the opportunity to have such a great opportunity. They ask if there’s a cafeteria and whether or not it has donuts. They ask to clarify the rules about smoking pot: not in the building, not outside the building, not before they come to work–Walden makes it clear: no pot, period. Another reason why he’s a billionaire.
The kids are finally left alone to their work: if a red light appears on a drive, take it out and replace it with a fresh one. Of course, within the first few hours they have already used some of the equipment to download enough porn for the foreseeable future. They eat pizza and talk about how rich they’re going to get, and then the red lights start going off. Not just one red light. Not just two red lights, but every server in the room, because they accidentally replaced one of the drives with a porn-and-computer-virus-filled drive. They immediately call Billy, and thank him again for the opportunity. When Walden and Billy show up, Walden continues to be the rational one and stops Billy from hurting the kids, who are now asking when they will get paid.
Back at the beach house, Jake and Eldridge are home from their night shift way too early. Alan asks, “Everything go okay? I was kind of worried you might burn the whole place down or something.” Eldridge response, “Well, it wasn’t ‘or something.’”
Unemployed again, Jake and Eldridge are at the mall, discussing a potential business opportunity to make more types of food on sticks. Pizza sticks. Pie sticks. Fish… fishsicles. An army recruiter overhears them talking, and it’s clear where this is headed.
Walden comes home, a little upset but not terribly so. Alan and Lyndsey are there, wanting to make sure everything is okay. Alan blames Jake’s personality on Eldridge, and Lyndsey does the opposite. The kids show up, and announce that they’re going to “be all they can be.” Everyone realizes what this means, and Walden reiterates to Alan and Lyndsey, “You need to listen to me. They are not normal.” My favorite aspect of Walden is how he makes these very blunt, loud statements in a way only Ashton Kutcher could pull off. There is no meanness about it–he’s just trying to get his point across.
Alan goes to the mall to speak to the army recruiter, and is immediately offered a job. When he explains that he’s 40 years old, the recruiter says, “Today’s army is all-inclusive. You can be as old and as gay as you want.” Topical! Jake wants to be a drone pilot, and Alan explains that Jake thinks it’s like a video game–the recruiter agrees that it is, except they get to blow up real people. Alan says he loves his son, but more importantly, he loves his country, and for that reason he doesn’t want Jake to have access to bombs. Not being able to talk sense into the recruiter, Alan yells, “Oh look, Al-Qaeda!” and steals Jake’s application form, but it was only a copy.
It’s happening: Jake is joining the army. Judith, Herb, Evelyn, Berta, Walden and Alan are all gathered at the house to see him off. There was a montage of Jake scenes from throughout the years, from back when he was so little, innocent and cute. I think everyone misses that part of the show, since the half man is not really half a man anymore. Jake is confident in his future, despite the fact that he thinks army fatigues are pajamas, “Don’t worry about me. Worry about our nation’s enemies.” After he leaves, Walden again uses his blunt, forceful voice: “I am worried.”
A final scene shows Jake and Eldridge at basic training, crawling under wires on the ground in the dark. They don’t know when they get to start flying the robot planes. It’s not after lunch, because there’s a five-mile run after lunch–Jake thinks he’ll skip that to take a nap.
Despite the fact that Jake is no longer a child, I don’t see any way that he will remain in the army throughout next season. It’s possible that the ending was designed to be able to be a series finale, although it wouldn’t have quite felt right under those circumstances either. I’m sure after barely seeing Jake throughout this season, he will still be hanging around the beach house for season 10. Maybe Walden will give him a second chance at his company doing something outside of electronics and without Eldridge.
In comparison to previous seasons of Two and a Half Men, I have to say that I enjoyed this one more. A younger Jake would make it even better, but Angus T. Jones can’t stop himself from growing up. Early on, Walden stuck with a single relationship and was as opposite of Charlie as he could possibly be. Trying to replace Charlie with someone like Charlie could never have worked. Season 9 was a bit lighter, not quite so vulgar, and for the type of show it is, I liked that.
That’s a wrap on season 9 of Two and a Half Men. Did you stick with the show during the Ashton Kutcher reboot? Are you planning on watching season 10?