TV star to viewers: “Please don’t watch my show”

The “half-man” from the CBS sitcom, Two and a Half Men, released a two-part video yesterday were he recommends that viewers stop watching due to the show’s “filthy” content. The child actor, Angus T. Jones, is now 19 years old and has spent more than half of his life on the show. Jones recently became convicted by the content of the show and though he’s contractually obligated for at least one more season, he is trying to do what he can to convince viewers to change the channel when his show comes on.

Dan Gainor, vice president at Media Research Center agrees with Jones’ analysis of the show:

“It is no surprise to anyone who watches TV, that Two and a Half Men is one of the most vile and sleazy shows in history. Every episode is about sex and the network has bombarded our homes with this garbage for years. Take your pick, sex talk, sex positions, threesomes — it’s all there teaching America’s young people this is how adults are supposed to act.”

Jones claims that the show “doesn’t want anything to do with God,” yet still believes that God has him there for a reason. Twitter lit up yesterday with comments about Jones’ video, both pro and con, wondering how the star could justify staying on with the show despite the objection of his conscience. Jones admits that he is in a “strange position,” but points out that he is under contract and cannot leave the show. He reportedly makes $350,000 per episode—not bad money for a 19-year-old—but he also well understands that if demand for his show’s “filth” dries up, so will the show itself. Unlike many crusaders who believe it is their goal to shut down the source, Jones knows that the consumers have the ultimate obligation in their viewing choices. If no viewers were waiting for their weekly dose of Two and a Half Men filth, the show would quickly disappear from existence.

While it can certainly be argued that Jones should leave the show immediately, there is also something to be said for fulfilling his contractual obligation. If he did decide to up and quit, Jones would certainly spend the next few years tied up in court battles with CBS, which the network would undoubtedly win anyway. If Charlie Sheen, the first “man” from the show to go certifiably off the rails, could not get them to bend the rules for him, Jones has no chance.

What Jones has come to understand, and what many Americans still need to learn, is that “entertainment” is not morally neutral. It may be argued, and it has been repeatedly, that entertainment is nothing more than harmless leisure that has little effect on those who take part in it. Martin Scorsese has argued that the violence and gore in many of his films is “cathartic,” meaning that it is a substitute of sorts for the real thing. Scorsese, as a marginal Catholic, knows (at least in some capacity) that man is sinful and full of evil thoughts and desires. As a director and filmmaker, Scorsese believes he is harmlessly allowing his viewers to live out these desires through characters on the screen, so that they don’t need to live them out “for real.” Similar arguments have been made by many others in the entertainment industry. Jones is not buying it though. He knows that entertainment—much like advertising—does have an effect on those watching. He is simply asking his viewers to count the cost.