That Happened This Year? Charlie Sheen’s Meltdown

Welcome to “That Happened THIS Year,” MTV News’ look back at the huge entertainment stories that were absolutely everywhere for a hot minute in 2011 but feel like they happened forever ago or faded so quickly from our collective memories that when we were brainstorming the year that was, we literally couldn’t believe they happened this year!

Is it just us or has the celebrity scandal-to-forgiveness cycle gone into overdrive? Once upon a time, when a superstar did something sketchy and got busted, he or she usually issued an apology then went into hiding for a bit before returning to the public eye to see if they’d been forgiven. A perfect example of the old-school way of handing things is Mel Gibson, who in July of 2006 was arrested for drunk driving and went on an anti-Semitic tirade then pretty much disappeared from the public eye for over three years, making his first post-scandal film appearance in 2010’s “Edge of Darkness.” (We won’t get into his most recent domestic violence/scary voicemails shenanigan and how that’s working out.)

Then there’s Charlie Sheen, who in record time went from being at the center of an enormous, completely insane scandal to appearing at the Emmys as a dignified pop cultural war survivor. All of which happened this year! Can you believe it?

In January, Sheen’s top-rated comedy “Two and a Half Men” was put on hiatus while he received treatment at his home for substance abuse. The remainder of the season was cancelled, however, the following month after Sheen made some extremely disparaging remarks about series creator Chuck Lorre, and CBS and Warner Bros. officially fired the actor from the series in early March. That was when things really went off the rails. Those interviews! The goddesses! His custody issues with troubled ex-wife Brooke Mueller. Tiger blood! “Winning.” The drugs. The warlock nonsense. His disastrous “My Violent Torpedo of Truth/Defeat is Not An Option” tour.

It was just a non-stop run of self-inflicted indignities that boggles the mind. (And at the time I worked at a celebrity gossip website … I’d written about my fair share of terrible, degrading, demoralizing things. None of them holds a candle to the Sheen Saga of 2011 in terms of jaw-dropping, can’t-believe-this-is-actually-happening madness.)

But when it was over, it was OVER. Sheen was replaced on “Two and a Half Men” by Ashton Kutcher (is there something about that role?) and the world kept on spinning.

By September, the man seemed to have gotten whatever was in his system out (we mean this in as many ways, figurative and literal, as you can imagine). On Sept. 18, he appeared at the Emmy Awards to introduce the Best Actor in a Comedy (his old category) nominees and took a moment to address his ordeal with CBS and “Two and a Half Men,” saying, “From the bottom of my heart, I wish you nothing but the best for this upcoming season. We spent eight wonderful years together and I know you will continue to make great television.” Whoa! The following night, Sheen proved he could laugh at himself when Comedy Central aired its roast of the star, attracting 6.4 million viewers, the most of any roast to date.

And now it’s time to get back to work. Less than a year after the most public meltdown in recent memory, FX ordered 10 episodes of “Anger Management,” based loosely on the Adam Sandler-Jack Nicholson film. A press release for the show describes it as being about “an anger management therapist [Sheen], who may need more counseling than his patients, wreaks havoc on the lives of his patients through his unconventional methods.” Sounds about right!

Can you believe the Charlie Sheen saga went down THIS year? Sound off in the comments.

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