Ashton Kutcher (Araya Diaz/Getty Images)WARNING: Major spoilers ahead! If you haven't yet watched the "Two and a Half Men" season premiere and want to be surprised, go watch it and come back here right after.
After a year of behind-the-scenes drama that will probably be unequaled by any sitcom for years (Sheen's bad boy behavior, his very public rants and his subsequent firing), the season nine premiere of "Two and a Half Men" gave us our first taste of 33-year-old Ashton Kutcher as 46-year-old Charlie Sheen's replacement.
And if there's one thing viewers are going to take away from Ashton's "Two and a Half Men" debut -- apart from the details of Charlie's death (more on that later) -- it's the image of the bearded, long-haired actor lumbering around the Harper house completely naked after spending the night with two women. Although Kutcher's private parts were blurred, Jon Cryer's character, Alan, made sure to offer the audience more information about them than was probably necessary.
As for Charlie Harper, yes, the writers did actually kill him off. The funeral was peppered with jokes that could easily pass for crude digs at Charlie Sheen -- mostly women telling tales of their one-night-stands and the aftermath of those encounters. As for how Charlie Harper met his demise: Despite surviving years of boozing and risky behavior, Charlie Harper's new wife (and former stalker) implies he was killed by a subway car after she pushed him onto the tracks.
Sheen's replacement is introduced after the funeral, when Jon Cryer/Alan Harper shares a somber moment with Charlie's cremated remains -- right before the sight of a soaking wet Ashton Kutcher startles him into flinging the ashes everywhere.
Kutcher's character, Walden Schmidt, only resembles Charlie Harper when it comes to his easy success with women. But instead of a being a constantly inebriated, skirt-chasing jingle writer, Ashton is a depressed, teetotaler Internet billionaire considering suicide because his wife dumped him. The "Two and a Half Men" writers didn't lose much sleep explaining why Walden is sticking around: Apparently a couple Appletinis and a one-night-ménage-a-trois convinced him to buy the Harper house.
The premiere packed in some surprise guest stars: John Stamos (who was once rumored to be Sheen's replacement) and more randomly, Jenna Elfman and Thomas Gibson making in-character cameos as Dharma and Greg. Charlie's ashes were even delivered by Bill Murray's younger brother Joel (who had made "Two and a Half Men" cameos in the past).
As for Sheen himself, the now-contrite actor wished his former cast and crewmates the best during a surprisingly polite Emmy appearance on Sunday. He also told TMZ about his real-life plans for his character's demise: "I will be watching my fake funeral… with my very real hotties in tow."
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