His hair is wild, untamed by comb. His eyes are glassy and frantic. He swigs something from a bottle, off to the side he rants, spouts and sputters, while sucking on a cigarette through his nostril. His words are in English, but strung together, they form shards of meaningless thoughts and fulminations -- about trolls, and "winning," and something called "Apocalypse Me: The Jaws of Life."
Charlie Sheen stopped being an object of our national amusement sometime during the past 72 hours, while the jokes about "tiger's blood" or "winning (DUH)" got tired real fast.
"Sheen's Korner," launched Saturday, is the reason. Fired from "Two and a Half Men" on Monday, TV's highest-paid actor has now taken to the Web and a live UStream show to air his grievances.
You don't need to be a highly trained psychologist to know that the spectacle has been deeply disturbing. Sheen's descent had been bad enough -- battery charges in Colorado, a trashed room at the Plaza -- but this is something entirely new and harrowing.
We expect spoiled, overpaid actors to act out occasionally. We don't expect to see them go insane.
There are two ways of looking at this strange twist in the Sheen saga. It's either an elaborate "Borat"-style put-on that will somehow be spun into a touring act. Or it's a descent into madness. (A third option may even exist -- it's both.)
Nevertheless, viewers and fans are on uncertain ground as well. Sheen has drifted off-script, into a dark seedy place -- or a poorly lit virtual street corner where he barks and scowls at passersby. Earlier Tuesday, Sheen promised in a tweet that last night's edition was to be the final "Sheen's Korner." But he also promised to settle scores, telling E! Tuesday that longtime castmate Jon Cryer is a "turncoat, a traitor, a troll." His crime? Cryer failed to reach out to him.
Sheen may survive, and may one day even thrive -- another gifted actor who pulled back from the edge in time.
But right now, he deserves fans' pity and probably their prayers, too.
Rob Lowe to take over?
Is Rob Lowe in line for "Two and a Half Men?" Several online reports cited "sources" that said show creator Chuck Lorre had reached out to Lowe's representatives to discuss a possible role on the show if it goes forward -- although it was left unsaid by these reports exactly what this role would be. Both CBS and Warner Bros. Television have declined to comment on reports about Sheen's replacement, saying the fate of the show remains undecided. Lowe currently plays the incredibly nice and always-optimistic Chris Traeger on NBC's "Parks and Recreation."