10:03am PT by Lesley Goldberg
'Two and a Half Men' to Explore Gay Adoption in Final Season
Chuck Lorre is poised to explore gay adoption in the final season of CBS' Two and a Half Men.
Speaking on Thursday at the Television Critics Association's summer press tour, CBS Entertainment chairman Nina Tassler told reporters following her executive session that the season 12 story will kick off with Walden (Ashton Kutcher) experiencing a health scare that will lead him to what she called an "existential crisis."
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"He wants to find a way to add more meaning to his life, so he decides he wants to adopt a child and in doing so, he starts the process and realizes that it's very difficult to adopt a child as a single, straight man," Tassler said. "So once and for all he decides, 'I'm going to propose to Alan [Jon Cryer] and we're going to get married and adopt a child as a gay couple."
She called the story a "great ride," and said that she views the storyline as a "very positive statement" about the wave of gay rights that are becoming more commonplace across the country and that she's not worried about any sort of blowback from the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community.
"I think it's a very positive statement that, you know what, I am going to adopt a child as [part of] a gay couple and the reality is, he can do that," she told THR. "And in a universe where at one point you couldn't do that and now you can do that, I think that's a much more positive statement that he's making."
For its part, watchdog group GLAAD told THR: "We hope the show will acknowledge not only the progress made in acceptance of gay and lesbian couples, but also the fact that -- in many areas of the country -- same-sex couples are often under greater scrutiny or still barred from adoption options that straight couples have." Same-sex couples are still barred from adoption in states such as Utah and Mississippi.
Tassler also confirmed that the network is not having conversations with Charlie Sheen about making a return to the comedy. The actor, who was famously fired from the series after his public bashing of Lorre and the show he created, saw his Charlie character get killed off in the following season's premiere.
The decision to explore gay adoption — and potentially marriage — comes a year after the series added Amber Tamblyn as a regular, playing Charlie's long-lost lesbian daughter.