Jerry O'Connell, to his credit, looked almost embarrassed as George Lopez played his parody video in which he “auditions” for Charlie Sheen's role on “Two and a Half Men.”
"It was a joke," O’Connell said on "Lopez Tonight" Wednesday.
"We did it last week when all that stuff was funny. But I think this week, it's not so funny anymore."
O'Connell's timing in the amusing Internet video and in his remarks to Lopez are spot on: There aren't many more laughs to milked from this drawn-out mess, which has morphed from sad to pathetic.
With Sheen's inevitable firing from "Two and a Half Men" this week, much of the focus of the depressing saga has turned from his antics to possible replacements for his sitcom spot. It's a moribund exercise of sorts, another major signal that the actor disintegrating in front of us, in multiple media, has been written off.
Even Sheen is showing hints of tiring of his "winning" streak. He told Life & Style this week: “I’m really starting to lose my mind.” He offered apologies of sorts for insulting his TV co-star Jon Cryer and John Stamos, who has been mentioned as a possible new man for CBS’ “Two and a Half Men.”
Stamos has been basically silent since tweeting two weeks ago that he wasn't replacing Sheen on the show, but quipped, “Martin Sheen has asked me to be his son." Perhaps Stamos realizes there's nothing to be gained in bantering with the unhinged. Rob Lowe, another possible replacement – one with Sheen's blessing – hasn't responded to the talk, though his current bosses at NBC's "Parks and Recreation" say he's staying put, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
After Sheen was fired, Vulture notes, sitcom veteran Jason Alexander tweeted that he'd be glad to take over, if just for the chance to live a life of excess, which he described in some tawdry detail.
"I do this, not for my own joy, but for the benefit of the millions of people who ...STILL DON'T SEEM TO HAVE HAD ENOUGH OF F-----G CHARLIE SHEEN!" the former “Seinfeld” co-star wrote.
That's one way to make a point. O'Connell, whose video portrayed Sheen proving his sobriety in a manner too disgusting to recount here, chose a gentler way. "Last week... [Sheen’s] like that funny uncle you have that's like crazy at a party,” he told Lopez. “Now he's like, hey man, that's that weird uncle we have."
Here’s hoping next week will bring a break from Sheen's self-destruction reality show, and from all the talk about who might fill the void left by the departure of his former sitcom’s partying Uncle Charlie character. The only casting change worth anticipating is Sheen seeking the help he needs, putting him on the road to replacing this deeply disturbed parody of himself with a humbled man on the mend.
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Hester is founding director of the award-winning, multi-media NYCity News Service at the City University of New York Graduate School of Journalism. He is the former City Editor of the New York Daily News, where he started as a reporter in 1992. Follow him on Twitter.