He is played by Charlie Sheen.
When Charlie's mother Evelyn was pregnant with him (for 7 and a half months), his parents thought that he was going to be a girl, since the ultrasound showed no signs of a penis. According to Evelyn, Charlie was always "a little drama queen" when he grew up. After his father died of food poisoning, Charlie and his brother Alan had three stepdads. The first, Harry Luther Gorsky, left Charlie's and Alan's mother for a young woman (Charlie refers to Harry as "a little tyrant"), and Evelyn was also present at his funeral, the second was a twitchy gay man from Texas who called him and Alan "buckaroos", and the third was "the Carpet King", a fat guy whom Charlie liked the most because he had "a grateful daughter". Well into his 40s, Charlie believed "the Carpet King" owned a carpeting business until his mother explained that the man's name was actually sexual slang rather than his profession.
When Charlie was young, he was ashamed of his younger brother Alan, and when Alan had his first school day, Charlie told everyone at school that Alan was his shaved monkey (he later explained he did this because he always wanted a shaved monkey). He also gave his brother full-time wedgies and annoyed him whenever he could. Charlie drank a lot when he was a teenager, was a chain smoker, and constantly ran away, nevertheless his mother did not mind because he always came back, and generally didn't care about her sons. He once even, when he was 16, drove to Tijuana, Mexico with a school nurse. When he was 17, he almost married a woman whom he thought to be his love, but relented, and as Charlie says, if he didn't, he would today be married to a "65-year old retired belly dancer". Charlie constantly bemoans Alan's and Jake's presence in his house but generally seems happy that they are around, because they are the only people who have known him for a long time and remain in his daily life. When Alan was surprised to find Charlie did not have their mom's cell phone number in his contacts list, Charlie told him "If I can't eat it, bang it or bet on it, it's not in my phone." On a later episode, it is shown Charlie does get his mother's number. In fact, he has it on the speed dial address that he finds appropriate for her, "666".
Charlie and Alan have a strained relationship with their mother and often try to avoid her at all costs, and Charlie refers to her as "a Satan". Not much is known about their biological father, Francis Harper, except that when Charlie looks back he says he was a horrible son to him. Interesting enough, Evelyn, even after multiple marriages, still keeps her first husband's name (Harper) rather than her maiden name (which is never mentioned). Charlie also once had a vision of his father Francis telling him to take care of his mother, which shocked him, but when he saw an old gangster film, he realized that he "misunderstood" him, and to actually kill her when he is able to.
Charlie is often selfish towards Alan. In one episode he made Alan go on a date in spite of being sick with the flu, merely in order to afford him (Charlie) the opportunity to have "revenge sex". In another episode when Alan got upset in a bookstore and wanted to miss a movie that they were going to see Charlie replied, "So I'm supposed to miss the movie just because you had a nervous breakdown. Don't you think that is a little selfish, Alan?" Furthermore, after Alan's second divorce Alan tells Charlie that he needs him in front of a crowd of people to which Charlie retorts, "Anyone know a Charlie?" He additionally derives enjoyment from rubbing his own success in Alan's face and further complicating Alan's situations just for the fun of it. He is particularly nasty about Alan's situation with Judith, especially since he told Alan not to marry and tried to bribe him with a $1000 prostitute.
While Charlie loves his nephew Jake and, at the beginning of the show, used him to get dates, he often makes jokes revolving around Jake's apparent lack of smarts, and often states that he is destined to be a doorstop or a fry cook, and states that he is not a kid, but a "gassy dwarf". Nevertheless, it is often shown that ultimately Charlie loves Jake, and sometimes acts like a father to him, giving him some wise advice about him and Alan.
Despite his selfish attitude, Charlie can be caring at times. Though Charlie often chastises Alan for being a "sponge", Charlie has continued to provide two out of his three bedrooms to Alan, without rent, and seemingly provides all of his meals, even when the two dine out together. In many occasions, he has stood up to Jake for Alan when Jake started badmouthing his father. He also cares a lot for Jake, even though he has trouble admitting it. In the episode "Ate the Hamburgers, Wearing the Hats" Jake gets an injury and Charlie goes out of his way to make sure that he's all right. In the episode "w:c:twohalfmen:The Mooch at the Boo" Jake and his neighbor, a pretty girl named Celeste, disappear together and Celeste's ex-football player dad came looking. When they were found kissing Charlie later said to the father (Jerome, played by Michael Clarke Duncan) that he would take the beating intended for Jake instead. While Charlie knows that Jake's new sister Milly could be his niece, he tells Alan not to get involved in his possible daughter's life furthermore or to reveal the possibility of being his daughter, because it will most likely cause further hate and disdain between Alan and Judith, as well as Herb (who is unaware that Alan and Judith had an affair while he was strained from her), and ruin Milly's life.
Charlie watches a lot of sports on TV, mostly football, basketball, and baseball. He has little interest in athletics per se. Rather, Charlie is a frequent gambler. He watches sports to keep tabs on his investments, and bets on horse races, football matches, etc. Two of his favorite sitcoms are Dharma and Greg and Becker, but he revealed in "Fart Jokes", "Pie", and "Celeste" that he does not like Sex and the City and in "Celeste" he told Alan that he [Alan] was gay for watching it.
Despite his affluent and worldly-wise persona, Charlie can be remarkably naïve about everyday matters. In "Last Chance to See Those Tattoos", Alan observes that Charlie does not really understand how web pages and the Internet work. In "I Can't Afford Hyenas," Charlie is shown to have no understanding of how to care for his own living expenses because he entrusts an accountant with managing his cash flow and paying the bills, but the accountant is actually swindling him. When his accountant is busted by the authorities, Charlie is not even aware of a problem until he receives notices from the bank that his accounts are delinquent, his credit cards are maxed out and his car is in danger of being repossessed. He is twice shown to have no (or to have subconsciously blocked all) awareness of Oedipus: first when Rose has to explain him to look under "Oed..." when he fetches a dictionary to understand her diagnosis of his Oedipus complex; and again a year later when Rose presents Charlie a copy of Sophocles' Oedipus Rex during his relationship with Evelyn's doppelgänger Lydia, and he displays utter ignorance of the plot. How to operate his own washing machine to clean his clothes is a mystery to him, and he genuinely believes the machine will telephone him when the cycle is complete (as mocked by Alan). In the final few months of his life after Chelsea left him, he reverted to his old ways, drinking excessively, gambling, taking marijuana to help him sleep and partying hard for hours. This began to affect him psychologically and physically; he aged considerably, gave himself a haircut which was mocked by Alan, broke several toes and received a black eye from one of his adventures in Las Vegas, he became depressed after Chelsea left and eventually Rose when she supposedly got married.
Charlie Harper was reported by Rose to have died in Paris after being struck by a train. The season 9 premiere featured his funeral with one of Charlie's trademark bowling shirts and a pair of cargo shorts hanging by his closed casket. Rose explained that he had proposed to her in Paris and the next few days had been happy but when she returned from shopping one day, she found him showering with another woman. The next day he fell off a Paris Métro platform and was struck by a train, his body exploding "like a balloon full of meat". (It is implied by Rose and suggested by Berta that Rose was responsible for Charlie's death with the statement "Never cross a crazy woman".)
Following his death, Charlie has been frequently mentioned by his surviving (though very few) loved ones. It tends to be in a disrespectful manner and secrets and previously unknown details about his life emerge, including revelations that he was a bisexual, and a zoophile.
After his funeral his ashes are delivered and Alan decides to spread them on the beach but spills them after being scared at seeing Walden Schmidt at the window, soaking wet. In "Those Fancy Japanese Toilets", Charlie is shown to have kept a private journal. He kept it in a safe deposit box at the bank, and after he died, the bank contacted his mother about it. She gives the journal to Alan, who becomes fascinated with it, as the entries give an insight to a whole new side of Charlie that he never saw before. It is revealed that Charlie had postulated about the various causes of his death, including liver failure and being pushed in front of a bus, and that he questioned his condescending behavior towards women. It's revealed that when Charlie first met his nephew Jake, he believed that he was to have a bright future ahead of him, but secretly thought he was not Alan's biological son (implied by him to Alan years prior). It is also hinted that, despite all the criticism and abuse, he actually idolized his brother and missed him when he moved in with Lyndsey, however he knew at the same time that he would be back "before long".
In "Thank You for the Intercourse", Walden redecorates the house and therefore donates Charlie's piano to an orphanage. Alan suffers a mental breakdown, after realizing how much he misses Charlie and starts to act like him because of it, even picking up women with much success. Jake and Walden are worried about Alan's strange behavior and Walden then brings Alan to a mental institution after tricking him into believing that they were going for a trip to Las Vegas and that he stayed at the Bellagio penthouse suite. Charlie is re-introduced into the series in the episode "Why We Gave Up Women", portrayed by Kathy Bates. While Alan is hospitalized for a mild heart attack, he awakens to find a strange woman sitting at the foot of his bed, dressed like Charlie and smoking a cigar. She also introduces herself as Charlie. Still not convinced, Alan asks her questions that only the real Charlie could answer, and she does so correctly. Charlie proceeds to explain that he ended up in Hell, and, as part of his punishment, must live eternity in the body of a large, older woman, albeit with a pair of testicles (he does not consider his new form all bad, as he is able to grope his own breasts). Charlie advises Alan to turn his life around and become self-dependent for once. After the meeting, Alan decides to rent an apartment, which is very low-grade. The following night, Charlie reappears to Alan, and admits that he did not care if Alan changed, but was happy that even though he is dead, he was finally able to get him out of his house. Later, after Alan fakes a second heart attack, in the hospital, Charlie appears to Jake, trying to hint who he is after addressing him by his old pet name "Tater Head", but Jake fails to understand. Annoyed, Charlie goes back to Hell, escorted by two sexy women, where he wistfully complains about not having a penis any more.
According to Chuck Lorre, the show's producers were so impressed with Bates performance, that they were considering bringing her back in the recurring role of "Alan's demonic spirit guide". Bates did not return to the show after this appearance.
Charlie is mentioned briefly in the season 10 episode "A Big Bag of Dog", when Walden has an emotional breakdown upstairs in the master bedroom over a breakup, Berta says that Charlie used to have emotional meltdowns over breakups in that bedroom, too. He is mentioned in the season 10 episode "That's Not What They Call It in Amsterdam" when Rose returns, Alan asks Walden if she told him that she was stalking his brother, and again when Rose is unsure whether to date Walden as he lives in Charlie's house, but Walden insists that has nothing to do with Alan or himself. He is referenced to by Walden in "Something My Gynecologist Said" when he is talking about this fake book he is writing, about a man called Alan who lives with his brother in a beach house, but the brother dies by being pushed in front of a train, and a billionaire comes and buys the house. Berta mentions him in "I Scream When I Pee", when saying that she didn't think she could work for anyone besides Charlie, but says that Walden is the greatest boss she ever had, after he comes to cheer her up on her birthday and buys her a car. Alan briefly mentions him in "Advantage: Fat, Flying Baby". He is mentioned again in the season 10 finale, "Cows, Prepare to Be Tipped", when Alan reveals that Charlie left Jake two of his last cigars for when Jake graduates college. Alan and Jake smoke them and laugh heartily. In "Big Episode. Someone Stole a Spoon", after a wild party at the beach house leaves an intense mess with wreckage, Walden come out into the living room and says, "It looks like Charlie Sheen's house!", referencing not the character, but the actor himself.
In season 11, a woman knocks on Walden and Alan's door, and introduces herself as Jenny, Charlie's daughter, which surprises Alan to the point of shock, as he never knew that he had a daughter, but amuses Walden. According to Jenny, the last time she saw him alive was at her fourth birthday. Hurtful because Charlie didn't want to marry her, Jenny's mother banned him from ever seeing Jenny again. Wanting to somehow provide for Jenny, Charlie would send a lucrative check to the family every month up until his passing. Alan reveals to Jenny that he kept his brother's ashes and put them in the liquor cabinet. He spills his ashes twice in the same day but is happy when he finds 2 quarters in them. It is also the first time Walden mentions Charlie by name, after previously only referring to him as "your brother" or "Alan's brother", he wishes there was something else other than Alan that Charlie would have left behind. Berta begins to tell Jenny stories of Charlie's life but Walden stops her and asks if she has any stories for Jenny that don't include drugs, alcohol or hookers, Berta is unable to recall any more stories than ones that include those things. Later at Pavlov's, Jenny, Walden, Alan and Evelyn toast to Charlie as a father, brother, son and guy who got hit by a train so he could buy his beach house.
In the second episode Evelyn says to her boyfriend that she wasn't the greatest mother to Charlie and Alan, and that she wants to make up for it with Jenny. She asks Jenny if she wants to see pictures of her father at the police station as they will have more pictures of him than she ever took. Walden talks to Charlie's ashes for the first time in season 11, asking him for a sign of advice on what to do about his love life and thanks him for the house, stating, "you'd have to be on crack to give all this up". Jenny claims that in her entire life, Charlie only wrote to her once asking "Are your friends 18 yet?"
Return and True Death
In the series finale, "Of Course He's Dead", it is revealed that Charlie is not dead but survived an attempt on his life by an angry Rose after she found him having sex with a hooker and a goat on their honeymoon. Rose binds and gags him and returns Charlie to the United States where she confines him to a pit under her house in Sherman Oaks. He escapes after four years, collects $2.5 million in royalty money, and sends messages to Alan, Evelyn, and Walden, warning of his imminent return and threatening revenge against them for failing to save him and because, no one was able to feel relief that Charlie was alive. He also sends Jenny, his former girlfriends, Berta, and Jake generous checks. At the end, a suspect is caught, and everyone is relieved by the assumption that Charlie was captured, though they do discuss making amends once he served his time. But as it turns out, the police had captured the wrong guy. Charlie makes his way to the house, either to kill his family/former friends or to apologize. But after he rings the doorbell, a helicopter transporting Charlie's grand piano to the house looses it's grip and the piano falls, crushing him to death.
Charlie's love life is a recurring theme in his character. He is an alcoholic womanizer who has engaged in decades of frequent one-night stands, prostitutes, casual sex, and "relationships" of short duration, in stark contrast to his brother Alan's inability to garner much female attention. Even though Charlie usually never calls any of his partners again after he had sex with them, there are a few relationships on the show that lasted longer than one night, notably his neighbor Rose, who continues to stalk him after they spent one night together, and Jake's ballet teacher Mia, whom Charlie was actually in love with, and almost married in Las Vegas. He usually dated much younger women, but starting in season 5, he pursued relationships that were a change of pace for him. He started a relationship with a respected judge played by Ming-Na Wen and later with a substantially older single mother/author (Susan Blakely), but he later blew it with both women. In season 6, Charlie proposes to his girlfriend Chelsea (Jennifer Bini Taylor, who has also played three other roles in earlier seasons) just to get her to return his love for her. At the end of season 8 he goes off with Rose to a romantic getaway in Paris, which ultimately resulted in his 'death'.
Though the for the better part of it Charlie retains his player status throughout the series he will dedicate himself to one woman at times, the longest being Chelsea, obviously whom he committed to more than anyone else. Also he fell head-over-heals for Mia, whom he prepared to marry in Vegas but quickly got cold feet and called it off. His longest tactile friendship is with his one-night stand, turned stalker, Rose who cared about Charlie, but was vengeful and obviously crazy, to the point where she continuously broke into his home and once glued his testicles to his thigh. He confessed to loving her near the end of the eight season, becoming engaged to her in Paris but once cheated on her with a French maid and a goat, prompting her to throw him underneath a train. And he is also known as callous, hypocritical, abusive, relentless, loathsome, ingenious, egotistical, haughty, ambitious, rowdy, pugnacious, envious, resentful, clever, hot-headed, annoying, reckless, ingenious, emotional, hateful, abrasive, rambunctious, pessimistic, eccentric and rude. Charlie is confident, persuasive and manipulatively charming, traits all underlined in "Just Like Buffalo". To woo a woman he surrounds his home with Jake's toys as to soften himself in her eyes and near the climax he is able to woo over Judith's female support group because of them being angry over Jake repeating his sexist views on marriage in comparison to being single. He also treats the process of sleeping with many women simultaneously as a contest, normally trying to best himself after each encounter. Examples include "Hi, Mr. Horned One" in which after meeting his satanic girlfriend, Isabel's coven he has sex with all thirteen of them which he deems "a personal best" and with five at the same time in "Working for Caligula". Also in "Squab, Squab, Squab, Squab, Squab", when the bar filled with attractive volleyball players and Alan asked which one he wanted, Charlie responded with the main goal of the night being nine.
One of Charlie's striking traits is that although he lives a life of selfish womanising and whore-mongering, he receives no "karmic justice" for his actions and instead it's either the woman he sleeps with or his own family who suffer, which is due to . He has a purely physical relationship with Alan's high-priced lawyer in "No Sniffing, No Wowing" but ends up dumping her in favour for her assistant which causes her to vindictively take it out on Alan, leaving him with virtually nothing in the divorce (ironically the cause of many episode plots throughout the series). A shining example is with Jake's teacher, Miss Pasternak whom he had sex with, giving Jake perfect scores on all his tests until he (literally) ran out on her, prompting Pasternak to have a breakdown, give massive amounts of work to Jake and actually bit the PE teacher, losing her job, estranging the relationship with her parents and became a stripper after which Charlie became extremely remorseful over "ruining her life" and tries to make amends by have her tutor Jake, causing her to "see the light" and become a Christian after which she planned to live with Charlie for eternity prompting him to run out on her once again, causing Pasternak another breakdown.
Though he excels at using trickery to get women into bed with him, there are occasions when Charlie's been dominated and manipulated by one of his girlfriends. The prime example is with Berta, his housekeeper who he is actually terrified by, claiming "what Berta lacks in cleaning skills she makes up for in upper body strength" which is the main reason of him allowing her to do as little work as possible. Whenever Charlie runs into any personal problems it is normally because of Rose. She constantly manipulates him and controls his life, such as gluing his testicles to his thigh, handcuffing him to a refrigerator, consistently entering his house without Charlie's consent, messing with his mind by repeatedly flying from London and wearing different wigs, scaring off his fiancé Mia by wearing a wedding dress to her home and hoping that the two of them don't get "mixed up along the aisle, "That Pistol-Packin' Hermaphrodite", purposefully getting Charlie sick by sending a girl with the flu to sleep with him, deceiving him into allowing her to take care of him for two weeks by continuously drugging him, staging a fake wedding with a mannequin to get him jealous ,"The Crazy Bitch Gazette" and imprisoning him in a pit for four years ,"Of Course He's Dead".
Charlie's Malibu beach house is the driven plot point for many episodes. He is totally uncompromising for the least significant change, acting berserk when Alan bought a ceramic dish and used it for a key bowl, "The Leather Gear Is in the Guest Room", actually destroying it in his fireplace. He also states that everything in his living room decor is there for a reason which Alan compared to looking like TGI Friday's. Charlie has had multiple sexual relationships with women in his bedroom something that is emphasised in the episode "Fish in a Drawer" where after Teddy Leopald died and police searched for semen in Charlie's room with a blacklight, it actually covered all the walls (and the ceiling fan which he calls a "funny story"). He sleeps using Egyptian cotton and has a self-heating toilet seat. It's also revealed he has two TV's in his room, one over-looking his bed that records him and channels to his living room television (presumably to review his sexual encounters), "The Immortal Mr. Billy Joel" and overlooking his bathroom, "Pinocchio's Mouth".
Episode plots dictate Charlie constantly trying to get Alan out of his house. He came close after having an argument with him over a ceramic dish, prompting him and Jake to move out into Evelyn and Teddy's but chose to apologise to his brother in favour of his mother moving in with him. He kicked him out once in "Pie Hole, Herb" after Alan kept badgering him for the 38 dollars he lent his brother, causing him to move into Judith and Herb but was once again kicked out and practically had to beg his way in. The final time in the series was after Lindsey offered to move in together, in "A Bottle of Wine and a Jackhammer" and he went to incredible lengths to kick him out such as have him look after his girlfriends cockatoo which ends up biting his penis or share a shower with him and succeeds for a short period of time but are forced to move back with Lindsey and Eldridge when Alan burns down their home in "Hookers, Hookers, Hookers.
- Despite speculation that Charlie Sheen would make a cameo appearance, he does not appear in the program. Instead, his character is depicted via animation as a re-enactment of events when Rose is explaining what happened in Paris and by a stand-in in the last scene which only shows Charlie from behind.
- According to showrunner Chuck Lorre, writing in the vanity card that appeared at the end of the episode, Sheen was offered a role in the finale where he would have "walk[ed] to the front door in the last scene, ring the doorbell, then turn, look directly into the camera and go off on a maniacal rant about the dangers of drug abuse. He would then explain that these dangers only applied to average people. That he was far from average. He was a ninja warrior from Mars. He was invincible. And then we would drop a piano on him. We thought it was funny. He didn’t. Instead, he wanted us to write a heart warming scene that would set up his return to primetime TV in a new sitcom called The Harpers starring him and Jon Cryer. We thought that was funny too."
- ↑ Episode 9.1 "Phase One, Complete"
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 Episode 23.1 "Squab, Squab, Squab, Squab, Squab"
- ↑ Episode 21.1 "A Sympathetic Crotch to Cry On"
- ↑ Episode 3.5 "We Called it Mr. Pinky"
- ↑ Episode 4.6 "Apologies for the Frivolity"
- ↑ Episode 4.10 "Kissing Abraham Lincoln"
- ↑ Episode 1.9 "Nice to Meet You, Walden Schmidt"
- ↑ TV Guide website