'Anger Management' Review: "Charlie and the Slumpbuster"

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Hello again, Charlie Sheen! ‘Anger Management’ season 1 tries to put a happy face on its second episode, as Charlie Goodson finds himself confronted by an unattractive woman he'd slept with years ago as a "slumpbuster," only to keep the charade of a relationship going to impress his ex-wife and daughter.

The first part of the series premiere "Charlie Goes Back to Therapy" saw the therapist conflicted between an angry outburst at his ex-wife’s new boyfriend, and his “friends with benefits” style relationship with fellow therapist Katie (Selma Blair), so what will the second outing bring?  Are there more laughs to be had in the second half-hour, or is it the sign of another slump?

Read on for your in-depth recap of everything you need to know about ‘Anger Management’ series premiere part 2, “Charlie and the Slumpbuster!”

Out on a date with the latest bimbo only interested in colorful fruity drinks, Charlie runs into none other than his ex-wife Jennifer and daughter Sam!  Desperate not to be caught with such a vapid ignoramus, Charlie tries to deny his date until she walks right up and introduces herself.  Sam insists that Charlie needn’t make excuses for the hot, ignorant women he dates, as they’re simply his type, but Charlie doesn’t want to be seen that way by his daughter.

At anger management the next day, the group share their usual squabbles when a new member arrives to join the group, a homely woman from Wisconsin named Mel (Kerri Kenney).  Mel’s anger stems from an incident years earlier in Wisconsin when a visiting minor league ballplayer slept with her, at a time when she was much more overweight and ugly, but her new-found confidence diminished when the town realized that the ballplayer had used her as a “Slumpbuster.”  Say, didn’t Charlie once need his slump busted to reach the pros?  In Beloit, Wisconsin?  In a diner?  In precisely the same…I think you see where we’re going with this.

Later, Charlie does his best to insist that he didn’t use Mel as his slumpbuster, and wouldn’t have called any women back then, though Mel remains unconvinced.  Even after becoming the laughingstock of the town, her many plastic surgeries didn’t bring her happiness, and she reasoned that the only way was to find Charlie, and have him tell her once and for all that she wasn’t a slumpbuster.  He assures her, but to no avail.  Rather than damage her feelings, Charlie offers to take her on a real date.  In his home.  For spaghetti.

The next day, Charlie prepares for the date, while Katie mocks him for feeding into the woman’s delusions, though Charlie claims this is the best way to spare her feelings.  When Mel finally arrives for dinner, she seems to have nothing to talk about other than her many surgeries, when once more, Jennifer and Sam show up!  Charlie tries to hide Mel, though when Sam sees and believes that her father has finally made a non-superficial choice in women, he runs with it.  In fact, why not come make jewelery with Jennifer and Sam the next day, as long as Charlie and Mel are “dating?”

During the next anger management session, Charlie apologizes for the group and attempts to clear up what happened and what he’s doing with Mel, though her Facebook updates about the relationship have Charlie eating his words in front of the group.  The bottom line?  Never use a slumpbuster, kids.  Don’t do it.

Later, over jewelry with Jennifer and Kate, Charlie tries to downplay for the inquisitive Sam the story of how he and Mel met (especially considering he was married to Jennifer at the time), though Jennifer only prods the situation along for her own amusement, forcing Charlie and Mel to kiss once Sam has left the room.  Once alone, Charlie confesses to Jennifer that Mel was in fact a slumpbuster, but asks for her help in keeping the ruse going just one more day.

Thanks to an allergic reaction, Charlie has to rush Mel back to his home, but when she places herself in the kitchen and asks for an Epi-Pen, Charlie enters to find her buck-naked!  As well made up as her plastic surgery-sculpted body might be, Charlie doesn’t give in, and finally admits to the woman that he did use her as a slumpbuster, and they aren’t dating currently.  As for why he couldn’t just tell her that, he wanted her to be able to keep the confidence and special qualities that he believed she should feel all the time, regardless of who she’s slept with.  Finally placated, the pair hug.  Awws ensue.

The next day, Jennifer and Sam arrive to go to softball, and when Charlie attempts to explain to Sam what happened with Mel, she cuts him off.  Jennifer already explained to her that Mel was the superficial one, and Charlie was actually looking for a meaningful relationship for once.  Ever grateful to his ex-wife, Charlie then confesses that he can’t take Sam for the weekend, as he promised Mel he’d go to Wisconsin with her and parade their love up and down the streets of Beloit.  Still, Jennifer reminds him he should be grateful she didn’t raise a fuss about being cheated on years ago, especially for the ones that weren’t slumpbusters.

In short, if you enjoyed the first half hour of tonight's season premiere, you'll have enjoyed "Charlie and the Slumpbuster."  We'll confess to cracking a few more smiles than last time given there was more focus on a smaller group of characters, but there are still plenty of flat jokes and groan-worthy moments.  With only 10 episodes in this first season, and and a deal in place that would require FX to order 90 more, we'll be very curious (and likely heartbroken) to see how the ratings turn out.

Did you like the premiere of ‘Anger Management,’ or did it make you seethe with rage?  What did you think about the episode?  Join us  next week for another all-new 'Anger Management' episode recap of "Charlie Tries Sleep Deprivation" on FX!

Categories: TV News, TV Reviews
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