By now, we’ve all seen the infamous Charlie Sheen interview on Good Morning America.
Sheen’s party boy personality is nothing new. In fact, he was fortunate enough to have a character built around it on Two and a Half Men.
This interview, however, transformed the celebrity’s image from that of a quirky star with a few vices to a man who is literally insane.
Some viewers were appalled. Some found it hilarious. Sheen’s egotistic expressions became viral jokes on the Internet and Two and a Half Men got higher ratings than ever before. The show might be on hiatus, but its producers are laughing all the way to the bank.
The reaction to Sheen highlights the public’s increasing demand for outrageous celebrities. People love a train wreck. The problem, however, is we’ve started to not just enable these breakdowns, but also to encourage them.
I was skeptical of Sheen’s persona on Good Morning America. Was Sheen merely acting, or was his behavior actually indicative of his real personality?
Some might recall Joaquin Phoenix’s appearance on David Letterman’s show a few years ago, during which the actor had a huge beard, stuck his gum under Letterman’s desk and was awkwardly averse to conversation.
It was later revealed the incident was a promotional stunt for an upcoming film of Phoenix’s, and the joke was on the public.
But what’s different about Sheen is he has a track record that backs up his insanity.
A recent GQ article details Sheen’s extravagant liaisons with prostitutes and porn stars, and, most damaging of all, cocaine.
Friends of the star say it’s not uncommon to find out his car was stolen and driven off a cliff.
These behind-the-scenes antics certainly support the hypothesis that Sheen has begun to treat life as a game in which anything goes.
And because of our hunger for constant entertainment, we’ve essentially created the atmosphere for him to do this.
Pavlovian analysis of psychology says intelligent beings, given a favorable response to an action, will be more inclined to repeat the action.
It’s a reward system.
People might try to pretend they haven’t rewarded Sheen for his behavior, but they’re wrong. Ratings of Sheen’s show (15.3 million viewers in his first aired episode after Sheen entered home rehab) are indicative enough of this.
Charlie Sheen went crazy, and suddenly became more famous than he was ever before.
If fans make this a trend, it might not only make celebrities crazier than they already are, but actually force them to either fake it, or put themselves in serious danger.
Clinton VanSciver is an undeclared sophomore.