TWO AND A HALF MEN: THE COMPLETE FIFTH SEASON (DVD)
Fans of Two and a Half Men
--and there are many, since it's one of the most successful TV sitcoms ever--know that the show's winning formula is based on great writing and a winning chemistry among the show's three stars. Season 5 delivers all that and more--with some delicious extras thrown in for good measure. Charlie (Charlie Sheen) has found fame as a children's singer named ""Charlie Waffles."" He enjoys the fame, but the genre proves to be a challenge: the ""hot moms"" appreciate him only for his kiddie art, not for his adult swoon factor. Meanwhile, the boys' mom (scene-stealing Holland Taylor) weds for a fifth time (to Robert Wagner), Alan (Jon Cryer) falls in love with the wrong woman, and Jake (Angus T. Jones) starts junior high. The season also features a memorable turn by Jenny McCarthy, who displays terrific comic chops as a predatory car salesman who sets her romantic sights on Charlie. As always, Charlie and Alan's pitiful love lives are at the crux of the show, but the writers manage to keep the premises fresh.
One delightful aspect of the extras is the inclusion of an episode of CSI that was written by the Two and a Half Men writers, as well as an episode of Two and a Half Men that was written by the CSI writers. These ""swapped"" episodes are entertaining, but it’s even more fascinating to watch the behind-the-scenes interviews with the writers and producers about how each set of writers approached the unfamiliar genre and the ways they tweaked the formats. --A.T. Hurley