Showrunner's sitcom stars reflect on their boss

CHARLIE SHEEN (Charlie)

“Two and a Half Men”

“I think he has an absolute and total focus on passion, and I think that’s fueled by his never-ending quest to not settle, to deliver things that are unique, that are original, because he’s the first to tell you that there’s enough crap on television and, without specifying, we can either contribute to that side of it or make an effort to do something much different.

“And Chuck has a way: He’s very firm, but he’s also very fair. Meaning you can present stuff to him and he’s not afraid to say, ‘Nah, I don’t like that, try something else.’ And if he sees one of us off the rails or not really remaining true to what’s on the page, he always says, ‘Hey guys, just trust the words, and if there’s a problem with the words, we’ll change the words. I’m not going to ask you to twist into a pretzel to make a moment work that we’re convinced can work.'”

JIM PARSONS (Sheldon)

“The Big Bang Theory”

“I was wondering recently why Chuck’s shows tend to repeat so well. ‘Two and a Half Men,’ in particular, pulls numbers most new (shows) would kill for. While I won’t pretend to understand all the reasons a show garners an audience — I’m so happy to still have a job! — I have decided that, as far as Chuck’s work goes, it’s partly a rhythm issue: When he has a hand in producing an episode of television, it simply sings like a favorite song that you can listen to again and again. It matters not that you know all the words already — it’s just a damn good time with a beat you can dance to. Or something like that. And I count myself very lucky to have the chance to sing in his band. Or, again, something like that.”

JON CRYER (Alan)

“Two and a Half Men”

“He is a guy who has spun all of the pain and bitterness and rage and bile of his life into a beautiful web of comedy. And it’s funny, because actually I suspect secretly he’s a pretty happy guy, because he’s always been so lively to me personally. He has this reputation of being this fearsome guy in the biz … but to the people he enjoys working with, he’s an incredible pussycat. He’s great to work for.

“I think also much of his comedy goes back to the colonoscopy he received from a bunch of training medical students. I’m serious. If you ask him, it’s one of the most formative experiences of his life. I think it prepared him for network television for years to come.”

JOHNNY GALECKI (Leonard)

“The Big Bang Theory”

“Chuck’s cerebral cortex would probably more closely resemble that of a Gershwin or a Van Halen than that of Norman Lear or Stephen Hawking, yet he’s made a hit sitcom about physicists. That’s how vast his mind is and how sprawling his interests are. Despite his experience and laurels, he still treats every obstacle as a chance at learning more. At the same time, he possesses the confidence that eventually, doubtlessly, we will always figure it out, whatever the issue, and be better for it. This makes collaboration easy. It makes exploration exciting and experimentation feel safe. It makes you miss working with him when you’re not.”

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