In August, reports came out that CBS was planning to kill off Sheen's character, which would effectively preclude him from ever returning to the series. Sheen was fired in March by production studio Warner Bros. TV after months of growing tension between Sheen and executive producer Chuck Lorre. Ashton Kutcher was brought onboard the hit show in May.
True to the show's tone, Cryer says Charlie Harper's death and funeral won't be a sobfest. "This show has never had an ounce of sentimentality; it's not what we do," Cryer says. "This is [handled] with that same lack of sentimentality. Any concerns I had about it were completely washed away by the studio audience we had — which signed nondisclosure agreements — and had a terrific reaction to it."
Still, memories of Harper will linger. "The history of the show does not go away at all," Cryer says. "It will be dealt with all through the first season. It's not, "Oh, that character's gone, let's forget completely about him." There will be ramifications all through the season. We're not taking this into a new universe where the first show didn't exist."
Now that Sheen is off the Men series, Cryer says it feels like they're starting fresh. "It's such a strange combination of the same show and a completely new show," he says. "All of us on the set keep referring to the first episode back as the 'pilot' by mistake."
Kutcher's character, a broken-hearted Internet billionaire named Walden Schmidt, will be introduced in the two-part season premiere. "Working with Ashton is a blast. Audiences have been going nuts for him," Cryer says, noting there will be a big change in the dynamic between their characters compared to what we've seen in the past with Alan and Charlie.
"I can only say my character ends up being the more romantically experienced one of the two of them," he adds. "So Alan becomes sort of a mentor character to Ashton's character. And as bad as an idea as that sounds, it's just as bad on the show — I'm a terrible mentor. And that's where a lot of the fun of the show comes from."
Elsewhere on TV, Sheen isn't being forgotten, either. On the same night of the Men premiere, Monday, Sept. 19 at 9/8c, Sheen will be roasted over on Comedy Central by the likes of TMZ's Harvey Levin, Jackass' Steve-O and boxer Mike Tyson.
How do you feel about the idea of Cryer's Alan giving Kutcher's Walden relationship tips? Will you miss Charlie Sheen?