Charlie Harper, may he rest in peace.
Two and a Half Men returned last night marking the start of a Charlie Sheen-free era. After a summer filled with speculation as to how the show would address Sheen’s departure, Two and a Half Men went a rather permanent route, killing off the character after eight seasons and making it quite clear that Sheen was no longer welcome back (after the way things went between Sheen and creator Chuck Lorre I’d say that was a smart move).
During a funeral that brought together many of Harper’s former girlfriends and hookups, Liz Vassey returned as Michelle, one of Charlie’s brief romantic partners from season eight (she also appeared earlier on in the series as a completely separate character). No longer needing to keep her cameo a mystery, Vassey answered a few questions with yours truly about her appearance that was kept under lock and key.
Shane Saunders: The plot for the premiere was shrouded in secrecy, almost as much as a highly classified government secret. How hard was it to keep your appearance close to the chest?
Liz Vassey: Not so hard, really, because we all had to sign some serious sounding nondisclosure agreements. If we talked about it, I believe we had to give up our homes, three fingers (of our choice, which was nice…), and a first born child. Or there was a fee. Something like that.
Saunders: When did you find out you’d be returning?
Vassey: A couple of months ago, I was contacted about the possibility of doing a cameo on Ashton’s first episode. I told my agent, “I don’t care where I am, or what I’m doing, I will fly back to be a part of this.”
Saunders: You didn’t work with new star Ashton Kutcher, but was he present on set with you guys?
Vassey: We shot the funeral scene without an audience, but I went to the taping the next night and met him. He was very kind, very calm, and very funny. I was so impressed with his sense of humor and his professionalism. The trailer wasn’t bad either. He has everyone over after the show. Surreal, but nice.
Saunders: Charlie literally had a harem of girlfriends. What was it like working with that incredibly crowded room of talent?
Vassey: That was a hell of a harem! I was flattered to be a part of that group. I’d been fortunate enough to have met several of those women over the years, and it was great getting to see them again. For what it’s worth: everyone was ridiculously nice.
Saunders: So was the premiere just a one episode deal or will you be back for more?
Vassey: I would go back in a second. I’ve now done four episodes and played two different characters. I suppose if enough time passes, I could put on a blond wig and be someone else. Then again, the most recent character (Michelle) was a dermatologist, maybe Walden will be on the lookout for the perfect non-pore-clogging moisturizer.
Saunders: This marks week number three of Liz Vassey guest appearances, as you appeared on Necessary Roughness for the past two. What’s next for you?
Vassey: I wrote on the staff of a sitcom over the last few months, and we’re waiting to hear if a network is picking it up. I also wrote a pilot that I will start pitching in the very near future. I shot a movie earlier this year, called Shattered Silence, and that will be coming out soon, as well. What’s directly next is a small vacation with the husband.
Saunders: Any word from the CSI: Crime Scene Investigation folks on Wendy’s future on the show? Is there a chance you could come back to help usher off Catherine Willows (Marg Helgenberger)?
Vassey: I love Marg. I would do anything for her or for Catherine, but no one has mentioned a return for me. I do appreciate the fans that ask about that, though. It feels good that over a year later, there are people who still care about Wendy.