Jake, it takes more than sex to make a man happy... You also need money.
Ladies' man Charlie Harper is living the good life as a successful jingle writer in a seaside mansion in Los Angeles. That is, until his nerdy brother Alan's ex-wife throws him out and he's forced to move in with Charlie, bringing his ten-year-old son Jake with him. Now, not only does he have to cope with Rose, the stalker who lives next door, his conniving and guilt-tripping mother, and his sarcastic housekeeper Berta, but also Alan's various neuroses and Jake's complete lack of any sort of tact or personal hygiene. Sadly however Charlie's womanizing nature eventually catches up with him in 2011 when he catches a train the hard way. Enter suicidal billionaire Walden Schmidt as the new owner of Charlie's home. After quickly becoming friends with Alan he continues to let him and Jake live with him while they get over the loss of Charlie.
The show first began airing on CBS in 2003 and is currently[when?] in its ninth season. Season eight was cut short after lead actor Charlie Sheen was fired due to his self-destructive breakdown in 2011, one effect of which was a public feud with series creator Chuck Lorre. The show has continued with Ashton Kutcher as Walden, the show's new lead.
- Aborted Arc:
- With Charlie Sheen gone, the story of the decidedly odd love triangle of Charlie, crazy Rose, and "Manny Quinn" will never be resolved. Well, the Charlie/Rose/Manny issue has been somewhat resolved due to Charlie being dead.
- Whether Judith's new baby is Alan's or Herb's was never really resolved since her baby is not even mentioned anymore.
- Judith actually was supposed to turn out to be a lesbian originally... until someone pointed out that Friends had already used the "woman turns out to be a lesbian and throws out her husband" plot in its own pilot episode nearly a decade earlier (reminding, that was Ross' first ex). As a result, the remaining first season episodes instead had her just pretending to be gay so that Alan wouldn't contest the divorce.
- Abusive Parents:
- Evelyn eats the souls of children, as Alan points out.
- Judith herself isn't the best mom, or human being, ever. Considering how both Charlie and Alan seem to suffer from Mommy Issues and possibly Oedipus Complex, one can easily deduce Judith is not much better than Evelyn. Seeing strange men in front of her underage son? Check. Verbally abusing him and his father? Check. Gold Digger and Hypocrite? Check, Check, Check.
- Actually Pretty Funny: Charlie Sheen claims to have actually liked the infamous funeral scene, claiming it was "eerie but fun".
- Adam Westing: Charlie Harper is clearly based on Charlie Sheen, the actor who plays him.
- Aesop Amnesia: Charlie seems to go through this every time he gets involved with an older woman. He ascertains that's he's fine dating one older woman and then goes through the whole thing all over again with another older woman.
- The Alleged Car: Alan's less-than-10-year-old Volvo is inexplicably this.
- All Just a Dream: The Humiliation Conga that spans most of the episode "Frodo's Headshots", from learning Jake's tutor is pregnant to seeing Walden making out with his girlfriend to being booted out of the house to being shot to death just as he was about to go out with someone.
- Animal Athlete Loophole: There is an off-hand joke about a movie involving a dog playing hockey in one episode.
- Artifact Title: Jake eventually gets old/tall enough that it might have gotten by being called Three Men.
- Ascended Meme: When Alan believes he's Charlie, he states "Winning!" A reference to Charlie Sheen's Memetic Mutation, "bi-winning."
- Ashes to Crashes: Charlie's ashes end up on the living room when Alan is startled by Walden.
- Batman Gambit: In "Kinda Like Necrophilia", Charlie manipulates Alan to get him to steal his girlfriend and dump her for him, while making Alan think he was hurting Charlie for it.
- Bigger Is Better in Bed: According to Alan, Walden is hung like an elephant. Berta and Judith are impressed when they see him naked.
- Bilingual Bonus: The Chinese-character tattoos on Isabella's right arm mean "true love".
- Black Comedy:
- The episode "A Sympathetic Crotch To Cry On". Dear. God.
Evelyn: (To dead husband at his funeral.) I've got a great ass and yours is decomposing!
- Charlie's funeral.
"Yeah, Yeah, Why can't we see the body?"
- Brain Bleach: Invoked in an episode, where the brothers discover that one of Charlie's former girlfriends has undergone a sex change and is now dating their mother. Charlie's suggestion to dealing with this? "Drink until the part of the brain that creates mental pictures dies!"
- Brainless Beauty: Kandi.
Alan: I need to communicate after lovemaking. I need to share.
- Breaking the Fourth Wall: Although in this case literally, as Walden's ex-wife drives her car through the wall we usually never see because it's the side from which the audience watches the show (in the episode "What a Lovely Landing Strip").
- Brick Joke:
- In one episode, Evelyn asks Alan "More embarrassing when you were eleven and I caught you with the dog and the peanut butter?" In a later episode, Charlie tells a group of friends that he walked in on Alan and said "Alan! The dog is supposed to lick the peanut butter off you!" In "A Giant Cat Holding a Churro", when Alan tells Lindsey all his embarrassing secrets, he starts with this.
- In one episode, where Charlie dates a foreign girl he can't understand she says her family will be coming over and he of course can't understand her and just agrees. After an entirely unrelated episode at the end she comes over with most of her entire family to Charlie's surprise.
- Bring Me My Brown Pants:
- After Walden apologizes for nearly killing them with his reckless driving, Alan apologizes for peeing on his car seat.
- And this clip, where a father-son bonding moment gets a little messy.
- And again, when Walden offers Alan a "small" stipend to serve on the board of his corporation. Alan's response is to make a bubble in the bath, and not with his mouth. If it had been higher, "we would have had to drain the tub."
- Bungled Suicide: When his wife left him, Walden tried to drown himself in the ocean. Apparently he didn't realize that the water would be really cold.
- Charlie tries this too in an earlier episode. Same result.
- Butt Monkey: Alan.
- But We Used a Condom: Charlie had a pregnancy scare in one episode. In another, he began to believe that he was the father of his ex-girlfriend's son and she went along with it. He eventually agreed to keep his distance but supplied the ex-girlfriend with a fat monthly check. As it turns out she was actually the kid's nanny and she conned Charlie. At the end of the episode she quits her job, telling the real mother that she just came into a new source of income.
- But You Screw One Goat!: Charlie tells his friends about when Alan was a kid and Charlie caught Alan licking peanut butter off a dog.
- The Cameo: John Stamos and Dharma and Greg showed up looking to buy Charlie's house.
- Car Meets House: In "What a Lovely Landing Strip", Bridget deliberately crashes her car into Walden's house after he dumps her.
- Casanova: Charlie.
- Catch Phrase:
- Charlie's "Are you out of your freakin' mind?" usually said to Alan.
- Alan's "nevertheless" and "be that as it may."
- Celebrity Paradox: In "Is There A Mrs Waffles?", Charlie watches Dharma and Greg (an inside joke as that was another Chuck Lorre production). Then they turn up to buy Charlie's house after he's killed.
- Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: Jake's new baby sister, especially considering on how the show played up on whether if Judith's new baby is Jake's half-sister or his sister. (Judith and Herb had a fight and separated in which a depressed Judith seems to be nicer to Alan and they are in a sexual relationship in which Judith seems to want to get back together with Alan. However shortly before Judith and Herb reunited, Judith began hating Alan again and told him to go away. Shortly after Herb and Judith have reunited Judith is pregnant, before and after the baby was born Alan believes that he is the father of the child while Judith strongly denies it due to her hatred of him.) However shortly after the baby was born, the child was never mentioned again and only Jake was accounted for when it came to Judith's children (though it was briefly brought up in "A Giant Cat Holding a Churro", where Alan tells all of his embarrassing secrets to Lindsey, and again in "Frodo's Headshots", thanks to a dream whipped up by Alan's guilty subconscious).
- Cloudcuckoolander: Rose.
- Code Word Coitus: Charlie, natch.
- Comedic Sociopathy:
- Charlie to disturbing levels.
- Also Alan, via his ventriloquist's dummy, "Danny O'Day".
Alan: Boy, [Charlie] can be such a pig sometimes.
- And Rose, who has yet to be prosecuted for Charlie's murder despite in effect confessing it to the assembled crowd at his funeral.
- Companion Cube: For Alan, Danny the dummy, for a short string of episodes.
- Covert Pervert: Alan's pregnancy fetish when Berta's daughter Naomi shows up.
- Crapsack World: From Alan's perspective, you live with a brother who's Comedic Sociopathy is well known, and gets more then you do, not to mention having an ex-wife who spends alimony payments for inherently selfish purposes, all love affairs you attempt have a Failure Is the Only Option promise, and virtually every single person you meet is a Jerkass or a Gold Digger. Alan has it pretty bad.
- Crossover: With the CSI franchise, on the episodes "Fish in a Drawer" and "Two and a Half Deaths", where each show's writing team wrote the other show's episode.
- Cultural Translation: Parodied when Charlie has to write a theme tune for an Anime dub. Hilarity Ensues.
- Deadpan Snarker: Pretty much everyone fits this role at one time or another, but Berta most frequently.
- Depraved Kids' Show Host: Charlie, when he becomes a Children's Song Star.
- Distinguished Gentleman's Pipe: Alan, while staying at Lindsey's home, finds her ex-husband's pipe and starts using it to look more distinguished. Unfortunately, he leaves it too close to the drapes and burns the house down.
- The Ditz: Kandi and Jake.
- Do-It-Yourself Theme Tune: Though in appearance only.
- The Door Slams You. Happens to Alan courtesy of his dimwit son and his dope-head friend while investigating a noise in the middle of the night. Part of a long Humiliation Conga that leaves him a twitching, broken, possibly rabies-infected nervous wreck.
- Doppelganger Dating
- Double Standard: Egregiously done towards both sexes, including the Running Gag that is Rose. Think about it for a second: if she'd been a guy and Charlie a woman....
- Dropped a Bridge on Him: Charlie; see McLeaned.
- Drowning My Sorrows: Walden tries it, but he can't stand the taste of whiskey.
- Enter Stage Window
- Even the Guys Want Him: Charlie.
- Everybody Has Lots of Sex:
- Except Alan.
- Continued briefly with Walden's addition.
Seeing Walden go upstairs with both girls after coming home
- Everyone Has Standards: Charlie found there were lines he wouldn't cross.
- Evil Matriarch: Evelyn.
- Failure Is the Only Option: Both Alan and Charlie have received a load of this such as their respective love lives, whether Alan would ever move out of Charlie's home, etc.
- Fan Service:
- How many gratuitously naked sexy women can fit into one show?
- And then for the ladies, Ashton Kutcher's first episode featured him walking around in his birthday suit.
- Fetish: Alan has a bit of a thing for pregnant women.
- First Girl Wins:
- (Sort of) In the pilot episode, the actress who plays Chelsea appears in the supermarket and hits on Charlie while he's shopping with Jake.
- In recent episodes, Charlie hooks up with Rose because she tricked him into thinking she got married, making her more attractive to him. She has been around since the very beginning as his stalker and has finally gotten her due (such as it is).
- Jake has become more stupid as the show has gone on, almost to the point of being a The Ditz. Recently he has shown to be good at cooking, so he is not totally helpless. More jokes have been made about his weight as well, even though he seems to be evening out. Makes you feel sorry for Angus Jones. Additionally, since he began smoking pot, he has gone from lovably dense to damn near inert.
- Every single character on the show. Charlie is a hedonistic man-whore and is worse than when the show started, many recent episodes made jokes about his recent love for prostitutes, despite having a fiancée. Alan is a cheapskate who literally will not pay for anything ever and he started out just having internal struggles paying for stuff.
- Judith is nothing but a giant bitch to everyone for little reason. Season 9 nicely lampshades this
Alan: When [Judith] left me, I was devastated.
- Flirty Stepsiblings: Charlie and Evelyn's fiance's daughter, played by Jenny McCarthy. It was later revealed that she wasn't actually the guy's daughter too (they were both con artists) so there was a TON of Not Blood Siblings going on.
- Four-Temperament Ensemble: Charlie is choleric, Alan is melancholic, Jake is phlegmatic, and Rose is sanguine.
- From the Mouths of Babes: Jake.
- The Fun in Funeral:
- In "A Sympathetic Crotch To Cry On", the family attends the funeral of one of Evelyn's exes; a lot of jokes are on the dead guy in the coffin.
- Charlie's funeral in "Nice to Meet You Walden Schmidt" is similar.
- Gag Boobs: Take a look here.
- Gasinass Syndrome:
- Jake. Alan squeaks a few off now and again as well. He once admits red wine causes him to fart.
- Berta's daughter had this problem while pregnant, much to Alan's dismay: --> "Wow, that one's got some hang time!"
- Who could forget a less-than-affectionate Lyndsey telling Alan to back off in no uncertain terms? One appearance has her getting back together with Alan, one of the reasons being she can fart "like a buffalo" and he still won't leave her. She then proceeds to do so.
- Genius Ditz: Walden is great with computers but has trouble picking matching shoes.
- Getting Crap Past the Radar: Many times throughout the show. One time Charlie was reading a letter from Rose (the time she was in England) and instead of "greetings from foggy old London" he read it as "greetings from faggy old London."
- Girl of the Week
- A Good Name for a Rock Band: Invoked on Season 7 premiere "818-jklpuzo" with "Psychosomatic Constipation".
- Groin Attack:
- "I just got kneed in the nuts!" - Charlie Harper.
- Jake mentions getting "a soccer ball to the nads" at least twice.
- Has Two Daddies
- Henpecked Husband: Herb and Alan are both abused by Judith.
- Hilariously Abusive Childhood: Charlie and Alan's childhood was like this.
- Hollywood Dateless: Although gnomish, nebbish, and for all practical purposes homeless, Alan does fairly well in the tail department. Most of the failures in his relationships come about as a result of either his crippling insecurity and neediness or the fact that he gravitates towards emotionally-damaged women. This included his first ex Judith, his second ex Kandi, his former receptionist Melissa--and her mother--Rose, and a pill-popping suicidal woman played by Janeane Garofalo and Rose herself (not Melissa's ugly mother but Charlie's Rose, the Rose that is mad and played by Melanie Lynsky).
- Hollywood Tone Deaf: Averted in "818-jklpuzo"; the singer comes off as realistically unable to sing.
- Hypocrite: Judith. For one thing, she chews out Alan and Charlie for the women they bring to Charlie's house while Jake is around, whom she deems as inappropriate, while she has been known to bring strange men to her house while Jake is around just the same.
- I Can Change My Beloved: When Charlie's mother meets his first serious Love Interest, they square off like a confrontation is about to take place. Instead, the mother simply asks desperately, "Can you fix him?" Exasperated, the girl confirmed, "I'm trying." She is, but it doesn't work.
- Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: Episodes are named for throwaway lines of dialogue in the episode, thus leading to a Title Drop as well.
- If I Had a Nickel: "An Old Flame with a New Wick" has, "If I had a nickel for every time a girl broke up with me and came back as a man, I'd have a nickel!"
- The Immodest Orgasm. When trapped in the beach-house by a storm, both Zoey and Lindsay fake very loud sex noses, each to try to one-up the other. Zoey's are operatic, no less. Also, Lindsay can be quite vocal when she's having a ball.
- In-Series Nickname: Berta calls Alan "Zippy", and Alan calls Jake "buddy".
- Indulgent Fantasy Segue: In one episode, Charlie imagines tearing Alan's arm off and beating him with it.
- Informed Ability: For a Big Eater, Jake never seems to finish a meal on the show, often going off to do his homework with his plate still mostly full.
- Informed Flaw: In Rose's earliest appearances, the major characters reacted to her as if she was ugly; this was phased out and replaced by sheer creepiness relatively quickly, though. Rose's actress is, by most standards, very pretty.
- Inherently Funny Words: SQUAB!
- Inventor of the Mundane: Walden Schmidt is billionaire after developing a website that he sold to Microsoft for $1.3 billion. No one has ever heard of it because Microsoft decided to bundle it with the Zune.
- It's All About Me: This arguably applies to everyone, but especially Evelyn, the two brothers' mother. She frequently reacts to news that affects anyone except her with "Do you have any idea what you put me through?!"
- I Was Young and I Needed The Money: Lindsey says this almost verbatim in "A Giant Cat Holding a Churro", when Alan finds out that she once appeared in a soft-core porn film.
- Jerkass: Most characters, but especially Charlie, Judith and Evelyn.
- Virtually every character on the show--primary, secondary, and tertiary--is a Jerkass, except for Alan and Rose, though even those two have their moments.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Charlie shows signs of this throughout the series, however his many callous moments tend to mask them. When Alan and Jake appear to be moving out, Charlie very nearly tells Alan he can stay before Alan's bluff about finding a good place to live falls through. Charlie however, does not rub it in his face; it's almost a nice moment.
- Karma Houdini:
- Judith is always abusing Alan and she never gets any payback for it.
a lot mostall of the time too (well, until he went to Paris, that is).
- When Alan runs a Ponzi scheme on his family and friends, he manages to get enough money from Rose to pay everyone back before they find out what he did.
- It's heavily implied that Rose murdered Charlie, and made it look like an accident. Alan and Berta both realize this, and Alan casually tells it to several people, but nobody does anything about it.
- Karmic Death: Charlie went to Paris, and married Rose, then cheated on her. Let's just say he scorned the wrong woman and she pushed him into a train.
- Kavorka Man: Charlie.
- Killed Off for Real: Charlie dies between seasons by "falling" in front of a train. The only "witness" is Rose and while she's talking about it the camera cuts to Alan with a knowing look on his face.
- Leaning on the Fourth Wall: Berta in the Christmas episode. Just before the ad break she quips "I can't wait for Act 2."
- Long Runner
- Manly Gay: Chelsea's father and his partner, played by Stacy Keach (Mike Hammer) and John Amos, respectively.
- Mars and Venus Gender Contrast: Driving force in plot, characterization and dialogue.
- McLeaned: Charlie was killed off by being pushed in front of a train after he was caught cheating on his fiance, Rose. And just to add insult to injury, the funeral is full of one night stands and angry exes. And after he is cremated, Walden's first appearance has Alan spilling Charlie's ashes all over the ground. Then Alan vacuums Charlie's remains with a dust-buster.
- MD Envy: Alan is a chiropractor who gets made fun of constantly for his work.
- Mistaken for Gay: Charlie and Alan on several occasions. Neither of them ever seem to want to point out that they're brothers.
- Moral Dissonance: Charlie is pretty goddamn abusive to Alan to the point of being like a sadistic abuser in a relationship and the characters treat this as if Alan did something did wrong to Charlie. No one ever seems to bring up that Charlie could've gotten rid of Alan if he didn't sleep with his divorce lawyer and made him pay Judith ridiculous amounts of alimony for petty vengeance. It's all about Charlie.
- Mr. Fanservice: Walden. Every female character who met him (except for Danny, a lesbian) expressed attraction towards him in some way.
- Ms. Fanservice: Kandi, including a few subtropes, most memorably Catholic School Girls Rule.
- Never Speak Ill of the Dead: Subverted during Charlie's funeral; Alan tries to say nice things about him in his eulogy, but Charlie's ex-girlfriends interrupt him with insults. Later subverted by Alan himself:
Judith: And I thought your brother was a horrible influence. (on Jake)
- Nice Guy: Herb.
- No Nudity Taboo: Walden.
- Noodle Incident: The "Den Mother Fiasco" continually mentioned when Charlie started going out with Jake's teacher.
- No Pregger Sex: Inverted; Alan says that the most sex they had with Judith was during the time she was pregnant with Jake. This led to him having a pregnancy fetish.
- No Sense of Personal Space: Walden thinks nothing of hugging Alan while in the nude.
- Not Blood Siblings
- Not Staying for Breakfast: Charlie.
- Not What It Looks Like: Walden gives Alan a big hug after being helped by him... while nude. Cue Jake and Judith walking in the front door and Hilarity Ensues.
- Odd Couple: Charlie and Alan. Walden and Alan later on.
- Once Per Episode: An attractive woman shows up for one or two episodes. If Charlie isn't sleeping with her, Alan will be. This was dropped when Charlie was dropped.
- One-Hour Work Week: Walden is the head of a billion dollar company, yet he seems to have tons of free time to hang out with Alan and is hardly ever shown working.
- One of the Kids:
- Walden, originally. He no longer shows any shades of this, though.
- Charlie too, the guy depends on other people for everything. As Alan put it: "You are a child. A high-maintenance child!"
- Only Child Syndrome: Jake was an only child up until the end of Season 6, when his mother gave birth to Milly.
- Only Sane Man: Alan... until you realize he is a jerkass, a disgusting man who uses everyone, has a fetish for pregnant women and claims he is on the moral high ground but has cheated on his partner more than once.
- How does Alan's fetish for pregnant women make him a Jerkass?
- Parenting the Husband: Being fed up with this sort of situation is what causes the split between Bridget and Walden.
- Pet the Dog: Berta has some of these moments.
- Played for Laughs: Anytime Alan is almost suicidally depressed, Charlie is always thinking of himself no matter what.
- Ponzi: Alan accidentally sets up a pyramid scheme by asking his friends and family for money for advertisements and paying them back with each others' money.
- Pretty in Mink: Alan's literal dream woman is a Lady in Red who mentions she has several fur coats, that all feel the same in the dark.
- Queer People Are Funny: Especially with Chelsea's dad and Walden.
- Quip to Black:
- Real Life Writes the Plot: The reason for Season 8's sudden halt in production, and ultimately why Charlie is revealed to have died between Season 8 and Season 9, is because of Charlie Sheen's erratic behavior.
- Rearrange the Song: After writing Charlie Sheen out of the show necessitated new opening titles (which also meant abandoning the shot of Angus T. Jones circa season one morphing into his present day form), someone involved in the production pointed out that they also needed to replace the child singer in the theme song.
- Sensitive Guy and Manly Man: Go ahead. Take a wild guess.
- Servile Snarker: Berta.
Charlie: I don't pay you to mock me.
- Sexy Santa Dress: A lady with... issues about Christmas wears one.
- Shallow Love Interest: Kandi. She really showed no signs of wanting to know what Alan was like on the inside, just interested in the sex. And it really doesn't help that she dumped Alan soon after he got a gambling jackpot... But it was said that she dumped him because he did not wanted to have children with her.
- Shoot the Shaggy Dog Chelsea's entire relationship with Charlie becomes this in universe and for many fans as well.
- Shout-Out: Happens occasionally, for example, when Charlie attempts to get Alan out of the house, and Bertha suggests they Make It Look Like an Accident, Charlie shouts out to The Godfather (Even 'forgetting' to replace "Fredo" with "Alan"):
Charlie: While my mother is alive, nothing must happen to Fredo.
- The Sociopath: Charlie shows enough signs to be diagnosed as one.
- Something's Different About You Now: Inverted.
- Something We Forgot: In "People Who Love Peepholes", Alan moves out of the house and leaves Jake behind.
- Stalker with a Crush: Rose. She is annoying and very creepy. She's also super-glued Charlie's testicles to his thighs, poisoned Charlie to keep him sick so she can take care of him and get him to fall for her, and it's implied that she pushed him in front of a train after she caught him cheating on her.
- Status Quo Is God: No matter what plot twists we're wrung through, Alan is still sponging off of Charlie, Jake is still a young doofus, Evelyn is still a self-absorbed drunk, Judith is still an absolute bitch, Charlie's still single, etc.
- Stylistic Suck: Charlie's jingles.
- Suddenly Sexuality: Judy.
- Take That: Numerous to Charlie since Charlie Sheen was fired. There were even some beforehand in Chuck Lorre's vanity cards which may have sparked their whole feud.
- Taking the Kids: Judith used this as a threat from time to time, to drum up zany sitcom conflict so she can take advantage of Alan.
- The Thing That Would Not Leave: Alan. So much so, you could practically call this trope The Alan Harper.
- Title Drop: As mentioned above, every episode is named after a throwaway line of dialogue from that episode.
- Toilet Humor: Greatly emphasized ninth season that it's arguably much more gross then funny, the episode "Not In My Mouth" stands out in particular as you can see in the Vomit Discretion Shot entry below.
- Took a Level in Jerkass: Over the course of the series, Alan evolved from a down on his luck man into a sleazy weasel who makes no effort to find a place of his own and just intends on sponging off of Charlie, later Walden, for the rest of his life.
- Jake also suffered from this. At first, he was a naive, but pretty nice kid. But as he got older, he became a lot more rude; making snide comments to his father and uncle, shows insensitivity to other people's feelings and barely appreciates the hardships his father goes through for him.
- Transgender: A transsexual man in "Old Flame with a New Wick" when one of Charlie's old girlfriends come back... with a new wick. He starts to date Charlie's mom. Once the obligatory torrent of puerile jokes are through, the episode is surprisingly sensitive.
- Unproblematic Prostitution
- Unsympathetic Comedy Protagonist: Most of the cast.
- Vanity Plate: Read about 'em here.
- Viewers are Morons: The episode "Does This Smell Funny To You?" has a subplot about Jake not being able to find his Gameboy. When he does eventually find it, it's actually a Nintendo DS. Apparently the writers thought viewers wouldn't know what a DS was almost two years after the DS came out. It is possible that Jake was just calling it a Gameboy, though (as many people in real life did at the time).
- Vomit Discretion Shot:
- Both played straight and averted in "Not In My Mouth". Lindsey gets terribly drunk and vomits everywhere on Walden's private plane. Though we never see it coming out of her mouth, puke appears on Alan and Walden's shirts, and a great huge splat strikes the window. Also seen in the Charlie era, where following a night of binge-boozing he excuses himself to the kitchen to retch loudly in the sink.
Charlie: Hey, guess who had a Cobb salad for dinner? ** Also in one episode, Jake is doing an experiment called the "human volcano" which involves coke, mentos, and a massive projectile vomit onto Alan.
- Weather Dissonance: Whenever Alan wants to take Jake on a camping trip or some similar outdoorsy bonding experience, it rains.
- What Did I Do Last Night?: Charlie. A lot. But one example in particular had him wake up the next morning finding out he tried to mail his pants back to the manufacturer because he snagged himself zipping up.
- What's a Henway?: Occurs in "I Called Him Magoo", after Alan's girlfriend said her first time having sex was at a Police concert:
- What the Hell, Hero?: Alan gives this to both Evelyn and Charlie in "A Sympathetic Crotch to Cry On". Evelyn isn't a hero, though.
- Who Will Take the Kids?: If something should happen to Judith and Alan... Charlie?!?
- Woman Scorned: This is ultimately the reason why Charlie died, in-universe.
- Worlds Smallest Violin: Charlie mentions the world's smallest violin in an early episode.
- Yandere: Rose .
- Yank the Dog's Chain: Alan on many unfair occasions.
- Yippee Ki-Yay!: Played with in this exchange in one episode:
Alan: Now, I have been to a lot of these things with Mom, and I know you think it's gonna be bad, but believe me, it's gonna be worse than you can even imagine.
- You Look Familiar:
- The actress who plays Chelsea, one of Charlie's few meaningful relationships for a long time (some would say too long) had already appeared in other roles in previous episodes, including the Pilot.
- The actress playing Kandi made an earlier appearance playing a woman in Charlie's shower, named "Bubbles". It is possible Bubbles was Kandi, as Kandi shows up two episodes later.
- Jenna Elfman appeared in a two-part episode in the first season as a woman named Frankie. She later appeared as Dharma in the Season 9 opener.
- Judy Greer, who plays Walden's wife appeared in the fourth season as Herb's sister, Myra.