As sweeps stunts go, the “Two and a Half Men”-”CSI” writer crossover — you do one of mine, I’ll do one of yours — isn’t exactly a guest spot by Britney, but the results were amusing and inspired. Wrapping “Men” in a murder mystery introduced a “CSI”-ish twist, while the crime drama’s scribes demonstrated they can sling dick jokes with the best of them. Thursday’s ”Men”-scripted “CSI” will likely be the more intriguing mesh of sensibilities, but credit CBS with letting two of its hits take a chance and clearly have some fun in the process.
The initial idea sprang from an encounter between “Men” producer Chuck Lorre and “CSI” showrunner Carol Mendelsohn. (Lorre even graciously handed over his vanity card — the little weekly manifesto through which he both vents and settles scores — to the “CSI” team.)
The episode began with a rather grim twist for brothers Charlie (Charlie Sheen) and Alan (Jon Cryer): On the wedding day of their mother (Holland Taylor), her new husband (recurring guest Robert Wagner) winds up flat on his back for the wrong reasons, resulting in a hasty investigation — conducted by suspiciously buff-looking detectives — as to who or what killed him.
Not everything worked equally well here, such as adopting those “CSI”-style CGI graphics to chronicle the doings of half-man Jake (Angus T. Jones) and his insatiable appetite, zooming down his throat and into his stomach. Funny enough the first time, the gag grew a little stale by the time it devolved into the inevitable gas bubble at the end.
Still, the cast — especially Taylor, as the often-widowed Evelyn — appeared to be having a ball with the stunt. Even if the ratings didn’t spike, then, that’s a morale-building boon to series such as these, which, given their episodic nature, generally don’t provide their casts with big multi-episode “For your consideration” character arcs to play.
Even the opening theme — blending the Who with “Men’s” muttered anthem — exhibited a cheeky charm. So chalk this up as a successful experiment, allowing the “CSI” gang to try their hand at slaying ‘em in an entirely different way.