Both film versions are presumably fiction, but you can certainly draw some interesting comparisons between the character of Arthur Bach and the life of actor Charlie Sheen. And, in the last three days, radio talk show host Dan Patrick has made a pretty good case for the idea that he could play the role of Hobson, Arthur's friend/confidante and butler.
Twice this week, Sheen has appeared on Patrick's show, which is simulcast on DirectTV and a number of FOX Sports Net affiliates. During the first appearance, arranged by Patrick to discuss Sheen's impromptu pep talk last week to the UCLA baseball team, Sheen came across as cavalierly endorsing casual drug and alcohol use.
On Wednesday, however, Sheen called in, presumably to reduce some of the heat he's been taking, both from Monday and in general from conduct that led CBS and Warner Bros., the network and studio that air "Two and a Half Men," the sitcom Sheen stars in, to shut the show down so as to let Sheen get his act together.
In an often rambling nine-minute conversation, an unrepentant Sheen sought to diffuse speculation that he and Chuck Lorre, the creator and executive producer of the show, were on the outs over his behavior. He said that the "real message" of his talk at UCLA, in which he advised the team to stay away from the crack and drink chocolate milk, was to "enjoy every moment."
But Sheen's message was partially obscured by a nearly total failure to examine the consequences of his conduct. When Patrick asked him if there was anything he said Monday that he wanted to clarify, Sheen said "That would require having a memory of it," before adding, "Sorry, that was kind of rude."
"I don't have (an) answer, man," Sheen said. "I can't tell people what to do. I don't come at people from a place of judgment or opinion. If I've got some facts, that's what I stand on. You take away people's judgment and opinion of you (and) suddenly, that's something that sounds a lot like crickets, because rarely do they show up with the facts."
Sheen dared Patrick to get troubled actress Lindsay Lohan to appear on his show so that he could offer her the advice to work on her impulse control, to "just try to think things through a little bit before you do them."
In perhaps the most troubling portion of his appearance Wednesday, Sheen allowed, for instance, that while he had never come to work drunken or high, he had also been so tired that the show's director needed to move his mark to either a piece of furniture or table so that he wouldn't fall over.
"That's an expert move by a seasoned professional," Sheen said. "An amateur stays on his mark and then falls over during the run-through."
Said Patrick, with a trace of irony: "You're a pro's pro."
Said Sheen: "Thank you."
The whole situation has left Patrick, who did not respond to an e-mail request for an interview, in a bit of a quandary. Clearly, he has access to Sheen, whose conduct has made him one of the hotter topics in the tabloid world. Indeed, Sheen's appearance Monday became fodder for all the entertainment news shows and late night talk shows.
It's a gold mine of virtually free publicity for Patrick and his show, but, in accepting the buzz, does he run the risk of acting as an enabler to Sheen? In the lyrics to the Oscar-winning theme, Arthur is said to be "showing himself a pretty good time," which is certainly his right. But, to what degree should a nationally syndicated talk show host help him?