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‘Anger Management’ Review: “Charlie and Deception Therapy”

Anger Management Review Charlie and Deception Therapy
FX

Anger Management’ continues on its 90-episode, two-year run with its 16th overall episode “Charlie and Deception Therapy,” as Charlie attempts to change Ed (Barry Corbin)’s negative attitude by giving him placebo pills to curb his anger, while Jen (Shawnee Smith) tries to better befriend Kate (Selma Blair).

Previous episode “Charlie & Jen Together Again” saw Charlie forced to take in his ex-wife Jen following a mold outbreak at her home, which caused jealousy from Kate, so what will the latest episode bring?  Are there more laughs to be had in the sixteenth half-hour of ‘Anger Management,’ or do we wind up feeling duped?

Read on for your in-depth recap of everything you need to know about ‘Anger Management’ episode 16, “Charlie and Deception Therapy”

Surprised by his father’s apparent generosity, Charlie signs a deal with his father to give the man’s car to Sam, but soon realizes Martin will expect to be able to drive it, while Charlie likely shoulders the maintenance costs. Yelling after Martin when he leaves, Charlie returns to the living room and apologizes to the group for having an outburst. Acting particularly disruptive, Ed calls Charlie out on it, before Patrick notices that Ed has been drinking the whole time. Equally frustrated with his lack of progress, Charlie has Nolan take Ed home.

After his latest romp with a tied-up Kate, Charlie asks for advice on how to help someone as stubborn as Ed, realizing from his use of placebo virility tea that deception therapy might prove effective on the man. Kate argues that deception makes for a bad form of therapy, but Charlie resolves to give it a shot. The next day, Charlie and Jen fill out permission forms for Sam’s upcoming field trip, while an unhelpful Martin questions their parenting choice to hide Sam’s OCD, before walking out.

Left alone, Jen asks Charlie if Kate has any particular hatred of her, given Charlie’s “friend” hasn’t returned any of her texts to hang out. Charlie remains wary about the prospect of the two hanging out, unless he could potentially spin it into a threesome, but the chances seem too remote. Been there, brother.

Charlie calls the group in early, save for Ed, hoping to enlist their cooperation in setting up Ed to take placebo pills that will supposedly cure his anger. Minutes later when Ed enters, the others all testify to the success of the drug Charlie has had them on for a week, and Ed eagerly agrees to give it a try. Later, Kate asks Charlie not to force her to hang out with Jen, but Charlie sees no real way out of it. Not only that, but if Jen learns of Charlie and Kate sleeping together, there very likely won’t be any convincing her the pair hadn’t been together during Charlie and Jen’s marriage as well.

In their next session, Ed professes to being deliriously happy, keeping his cool at things that would normally make him angry. Ed invites the group to a 40th anniversary party for he and his wife, noting that he’d also invited his brother-in-law, who’d previously been his biggest rage trigger. As he leaves, the group realize the likelihood the fake pills could cause Ed to explode on his brother-in-law, a sadistically exciting prospect.

Jen and Kate hang out at the bar, and over drinks Kate at least manages to convince Jen she no longer has any interest in women. The slow reveal backfires however, as Jen hopes the two can look for men together, as cougars! Elsewhere at Ed’s party, Charlie is introduced to Ed’s brother-in-law Ray (Stacy Keach), who seems every bit as irritating as described, possibly more. Ed gobbles down the pills hoping to control his rage against his brother-in-law, until Charlie informs him of their placebo nature. Ed takes little solace in the fact that he controlled his rage all by himself, and feeling a fool, Ed resigns from the group and asks Charlie to leave.

Charlie vents about his failure with Ed to Kate, who points out that Charlie’s own frustration with changing his father led him to transfer his feelings to Ed, and Charlie resolves to get at least Ed back. Arriving at his home to apologize, Charlie coaxes Ed back with the promise of a 10% discount, before realizing that Ed had actually since been court-ordered to return anyway. Having gotten even with Charlie’s earlier deception, Ed jokes about how he took his brother-in-law hunting, and forced him to run through the woods at gunpoint wearing deer antlers.

Overall, we appreciate that ‘Anger Management’ has put some effort in the last few episodes into better defining the peripheral characters, Barry Corbin being one of the stronger performers of the series. For a simplistic sitcom, ‘Anger Management’ does manage to make some very consistent episodes without coming across as overly trite. All in all, a straight-forward if amusing half-hour for this week’s Ed-centric outing.

Did you enjoy the latest from ‘Anger Management’s ongoing run, or did it make you burn with rage? Join us next week for another all-new ‘Anger Management’ episode recap of “Charlie Dates a Teacher” on FX!

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