Well, that's just lucky, isn't it?
Now that the tiger blood has been spilled and the goddesses pared down and we know for certain that Charlie Sheen is not returning to "Two and a Half Men," the question is how the show will explain a world without Charlie. It turns out that show creator Chuck Lorre has already written the perfect exit and didn't even know it at the time.
In the final episode of "Men" (which aired in February), we last see Charlie Harper's character Charlie Sheen (strike that, reverse it) leaving to catch a plane to France with Melanie Lynskey's Rose. That simple act opens up a world of possibilities - all of which Lorre can use to magically take the Sheen off his hit sitcom. But how will he play it? Funny you (we) should ask. Here are some humble suggestions.
The most obvious call would be for that Air France plane to never reach its destination. You just know that Lorre would love nothing more than to hurl Sheen into the abyss in a firey fury, but air tragedy usually doesn't result in laugh-track-friendly quips ("Lost" notwithstanding). Of course, if Sheen is the only passenger to die - maybe he accidentally elbows the cabin door open while making out with a stewardess - that could help soften the blow.
Of course, there's always the endless desire for U.S. programming overseas, which could mean Lorre could spin tragedy into tin cans (and then into gold) by selling the French on a spin-off. Suddenly, Charlie decides he likes it in France, and his antics become the center of a droll, moody comedy of errors called "La Chemise de Bowling Elle N'a Aucun Ami" (which roughly tranlates into "The Bowling Shirt, She Has No Friends"). Just wait for sweeps week - we're hear they can get the comedy stylings of Jean-Marie Bigard!
Lorre's clearly one for planning ahead, so maybe he'll hedge his bets a little. Charlie actually never makes it to the plane - instead, thanks to a hilarious mishap involving his keys, a renegade limo driver, and two kilos of a kept-vague-for-the-sake-of-family-friendly-TV substance, Charlie becomes trapped in the carport with no visible means of escape. He is then heard in occassional voice over (perhaps taken from Sheen's many radio interviews) reminding John Cyer that he needs to get a smog check, or simply to add, "Duh!" to every other punchline. Keep that door partially open, right, Chuck?
Or, you know, they can always just have an stand-in in a baby-blue dress shirt lurk outside the front door knocking for the rest of the sitcom's run.
Hell, go supernatural with it. Leave random Charlie clothes around the house. Have Cryer and Angus Jones constantly noticing misplaced furniture and low moaning at night. "Isn't Charlie dead?" "Yes, of course--Wait! Those calls were coming from INSIDE THE HOUSE!"
Charlie steps out the door and two words: Sand Worms.
Or perhaps Lorre will survey the "Men" landscape and decide - even given its enormous success - that the show is missing that one thing that television audiences seems to devour more blindly than Jell-O shots at the Jersey Shore: Medical drama! So Sheen steps out the door, has an off-screen run-in with a crazed doctor who refuses to play by the rules, and impulsively agrees to undergo an experimental anti-aging lobotomy ("Ten years off your life, thirty points off your IQ" - get "Nip/Tuck's" Julian McMahon to deliver that VO and it's sold). He returns as....Ashton Kutcher! Continuity!