Why Alan Harper is TVs least likeable character ever
By Kyle Sutherland, Egwyl Editor (& resident grump)
When Two and a Half Men premiered in September of 2003 it quickly became one of the hottest shows in years; it had it all. Cute kid, funny storylines, Charlie Sheen continuing his fine tradition started when he played that drug addict in Ferris Bueler’s day off of playing versions of himself and… Alan… OK I refuse to believe it’s possible I’m alone in this right here but I hate Alan Harper.
He is literally one of the most un-sympathetic, cringe worthy, hateful characters it has ever been my misfortune to have defile the dark, empty, emotionless face spheres I call my eyes.
But it wasn’t always like this, oh no, when Alan’s first introduced he’s a totally sympathetic character. Hard working, stressed yet honest, out on his arse because his wife up and decided she didn’t love him anymore and forced to move in with his Caligula-esque brother Charlie.
My biggest problem with Alan is a very simple one, he’s a shameless sponge.
He lives entirely off of his brother for years (only to then, following said brother’s death move onto a new… host body I suppose), contributes nothing of meaning, intentionally sabotages others relationships to protect his own nice, soapy, next to the sink sponge position and feels no guilt or shame about it.
Now I’ve got no issue with people asking for help from their families, that’s what family does, but Alan takes advantage of his brother for like a decade, that’s just ridiculous.
Alan often goes on and on about how he could never afford to rent his own home and that as a result he needs to stay with Charlie but I’m calling porky pies on that right here.
The issue isn’t that Alan can’t afford his own place, it’s that he can’t afford a place as nice as Charlie’s, and that right there is where he crosses over to being a scumbag. It’s not an inevitability that he has to live with his brother, it’s simply that he would rather live for free in a Malibu beach house than stand on his own two feet and live within his means.
Now maybe I could ignore or even justify all of that if it wasn’t for the pretty crappy way he comments on Charlie’s lifestyle. It’s true that Charlie doesn’t have what we would call a conventional lifestyle, egwyl’s a non-profit so it’s hardly round the clock cocaine and hooker parties down here.
Charlie lives a life of minimal work, alcoholism, gambling and a sexual lifestyle which can only accurately be described as wenching. But it’s his life and he pays for it (or pays the debts which support it… whatever) Charlie may be an incredibly lucky dude, but that’s hardly his fault. And the incredibly condescending and insulting attitude his brother has towards it is really not a stance to be adopted by a human leech.
So what about Alan’s love life, pretty unlucky dude right?
Well in some cases yes as I would say that his first wife Judith is an equally hateful creature, but at the same time the main causes of his failures are that he’s really just such a douche. We see women get put off by his cheapness, his sponge status and the fact that in several instances he’s an unfaithful partner (which btw isn’t he constantly shaming his brother for?).
Alan is often also shown to be deeply dismayed at the sheer uselessness of his offspring Jake and rightly so. Jake’s lazy, stupid and largely immoral, and often times Alan blames Charlie as a bad influence, but he never considers that maybe it’s his fault. I would put forward that Jakes’ laziness and apparent lack of concern for his future throughout much of the series isn’t down to the influence of Charlie but rather the example being set by his father, a man who Jake grows up seeing living quite comfortably on someone elses dime.
It’s similar to the argument many people use about the benefits system here in the UK, that if a child grows up in a house where no one works then they have no motivation to work themselves later in life. Now I don’t know how true that is but I’m going to say for certain that if a child grows up watching their primary male role model living off of the charity of others whilst doing nothing to improve his own station or make any attempt to stand on his own then that’s likely to have an influence on their own outlook and motivations to provide for themselves.
Alan started off as a pretty relatable and likeable guy but as time went on he simply became this unbearably pathetic and utterly detestable excuse for a human being and in my opinion was one of the driving factors behind the quickening decline of the show culminating in it’s end.