Often living in the shadow of new co-star Ashton Kutcher, Angus T. Jones moved front and center in the Season 9 finale of "Two and a Half Men." Jones, who has been with the series since the beginning, literally grew up on the show, as some of the opening credit sequences have shown.
Like Greg Brady did on "The Brady Bunch" 40 years ago, Jake Harper, Jones' character, graduates high school in the season closer. There is little or no hope, though, that Jake will become a doctor like Greg Brady or a chiropractor like his fussy father Alan (Jon Cryer). After nine years, it's a miracle that Jake even gets out of bed in the morning.
Jake Harper is not an endorsement for the American education system.
Unlike his dad, Jake is happy drifting through life on a cloud of marijuana smoke. Flashbacks near the end of the episode show Jones at various ages throughout the series. It's discouraging, though, that Chuck Lorre decided to make the character a slacker instead of having him grow into a responsible young adult.
Speaking of Alan, it also is disheartening that Cryer's character still is a financial sponge after nine seasons. Instead of manning up and offering to find his boy a job, Alan relies on Walden Schmidt (Kutcher) to put him to work. Bullied by his girlfriend, Alan even gets her slacker son Eldridge a job at Walden's technology start-up.
Suffice it to say, Jake and Eldridge make a mess of things once again, screwing up the simplest of tasks. Forced to find their own jobs, the two best friends meet an U.S. Army recruiter at the mall and close out the episode by being "All that they can be."
More or less Jake in Season 10?
In many ways, the "Two and a Half Men" finale felt like Jake was saying goodbye to his extended family. According to UPI, however, Jones and Cryer will be receiving small raises to return to the show for Season 10. It's unclear, though, if Jones will be scaling down his screen time in order to focus on college or other outside projects.
As it is, the Jake Harper of Season 9 is more of a disappointment than ever. In many ways, the teenager is less mature than the little boy who first charmed audiences nine years ago. With Jake and Eldridge now in the Army, will the characters be used simply to poke fun at military life?
Angus T. Jones has grown from a cute child star to a talented teenager. Can't Chuck Lorre do the same thing for Jake Harper?