Who Will Save Charlie Sheen?

Britney Spears shaving her head. Mel Gibson on a drunken, angry rant and his ballistic phone messages to his Russian woman. A wasted David Hasselhoff eating a cheeseburger on the floor. Charlie Sheen is just the latest on a long list of celebrity meltdowns that seem to captivate us.

Why are we so fascinated by this? What draws such massive news media attention to these disturbing episodes? Is there some perverse pleasure derived from watching a train wreck in action? Can it be as simple as our desire to see the rich and mighty fail? Maybe their pain makes us feel better about our own – for about six seconds. Charlie’s case entertains us now, but it makes me wonder: Does anyone care about saving the guy?

A cursory review of the Charlie Sheen trajectory.

Born to a famous dad, Martin Sheen, president on The West Wing. Also has a semi-famous brother, Emilio Estevez, of St. Elmo’s Fire, who was married to another semi-famous person, Paula Abdul.

He has played some very memorable characters, among them Bud Fox in Wall Street, Private Taylor in Platoon, and a screwball pitcher in Major League. He stars in one of television’s top rated shows since 2003, Two and a Half Men.

He has been with many “interesting” (re: gorgeous) women: He dated and then accidentally shot Kelly Preston, now John Travolta’s wife; he had a long-term relationship with porn star Ginger Lynn; he was married to Denise Richards, a Bond girl better known for her super hot threesome with Neve Campbell and Matt Dillon in Wild Things.

He reportedly earns $1.8 million per episode, and they shoot about 20 a season; he seems to spend it most freely on cocaine, pornography and hookers.

Some might suggest that his behavior is unsurprising, that he has too much money and he continues to get away with a shallow lifestyle. After all, he’s a grown man; whenever he gets arrested, it’s his problem. Let him deal with it. But that’s not happening, even now, as he refuses to go into rehab. Ironically, his monetary power is what shields him from the very help he needs on his inexorable path to self-destruction.

I’m no shrink, but I don’t think we’re looking at a guy who’s enjoying the perks and privileges of fame and wealth. For all his fortune, Charlie Sheen is a profoundly unhappy man. He can’t sustain a relationship with a woman or perhaps even another person at all. He has such a dark and gaping hole in his psyche that the only way he can deaden the pain of his own existence is through enough substance abuse to kill him.

You see? It’s not so great to be a celebrity after all. Who is there to save him?

Editors Note: We are pleased to announce Robert Rosenthal as a new feature writer joining the editorial staff of Digital Dads—look for more upcoming features from Rob, regularly, right here on Digital Dads, Where a Dad can be a Guy.

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Also known as the Short Order Dad, Rob accumulated 2.5 million frequent flier miles presenting creative ideas around the globe as president of a top international ad agency while performing stand up at NYC's top comedy clubs and earning a professional cooking degree from the prestigious Institute of Culinary Education. He hosted 50 fun food segments seen on TV stations around the country and served as guest host of WOR radio's nationally syndicated Food Talk. He writes in the Huffington Post, The Daily Beast and delivers his own weekly video "riff" on The Daily Meal. Advertising Age calls him, "undoubtedly one of the industry's most colorful characters."

6 Responses to “Who Will Save Charlie Sheen?”

  1. Paul Flanigan Says:

    It wouldn’t be so great if we were all celebrities. I think that’s what makes this fascinating.

  2. Get Report Help Says:

    Nic post Robert – I’ve had this question with other celebrities. I think that’s why there are psychologist that focus on famous people. But you are right his money is shielding him from having to face the real issue. Bottom line: he has to WANT to change, in order to change. We’re just watching on the sidelines.

  3. Tweets that mention Who Will Save Charlie Sheen? | Digital Dads -- Topsy.com Says:

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  4. Robert Rob Rosenthal Says:

    Thanks. I think everybody is just watching from the sidelines and I’m not sure he’s getting the help he obviously needs. We’ll see.

  5. Sjr Says:

    What you’re watching with him is as old as human nature. Sheen has a lifestyle that at some level many men would kill for, and he’s flushing it down the toilet. OK, I get that has a terrible impact on those who love him, but in a sense that’s not even about him, or his loved ones — if he has any left. If you sent him back 3,000 years in time, he could be the lead character in a Greek tragedy. Maybe we’re just not wired for that much success?

  6. Robert Rob Rosenthal Says:

    Agree that this sad story has been witnessed many times throughout history, but I don’t think it’s because people can’t handle that much success. After all, there are far more examples of super successful people who would be considered reasonably well adjusted. The problem with Sheen is one of self-esteem. That’s something that all the money in the world can’t buy. RR

The shoe cables a repent reward near the visible.