I Love 'It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia'

March 16, 2009 § Leave a comment

It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia is one of the most crass, retarded, filthy, stupid shows I have seen. It’s also one of the smartest and funniest sitcoms running on American cable television.

It follows a group of five friends, who own an Irish bar in Philadelphia, and who get into all sorts of stupid situations – typical sitcom material. What isn’t so typical are the characters – who are completely unlikable, obnoxious, egocentric morons, who do nothing all day but drink bear and come up with ridiculous schemes, usaully for some sort of selfish and petty gain.

Playing the five imbeciles are Glenn Howerton (Dennis R. Reynolds), Kaitlin Olson (Dee Reynolds), Charlie Day (Charlie Kelly), Rob McElhenney (Mac) and Danny DeVito (Frank Reynolds).  As well as starring in the show, Charlie Day, Rob McElhenney and Glenn Howerton also serve as its producers and writers. It is currently airing on the FX channel and just finished its fourth season at the end of last year.

It’s Always Sunny (the shortened title, coined by fans of the show) is a bizarre mix of surreal, gross-out comedy and, what sounds like, improvised dialogue – which makes it all the more impressive, considering the show is totally scripted. It’s like a very strange and sordid version of Curb Your Enthusiasm; the show opening credits – which shows a beautiful video montage of Philadelphia at night, put to the sounds of easy-listening music – offers a twisted contrast to the rest of the show’s content. The same kind of music also plays between scenes – again, similar to Curb – and reinforces the absurd nature of the show.

The storylines for the show are usaully just nonsense; for example, here are some episode synopses from seasons three and four (taken from imdb):

Season 3, Episode 11: Dennis Looks Like a Registered Sex Offender

Original Air Date—25 October 2007
Dennis is angry because he’s being mistaken for a fat guy rather than the sex offender who moved next door to Charlie. Meanwhile, Mac’s father is released from prison and he and Mac have some catching up to do.

Season 4, Episode 1: Mac and Dennis: Manhunters

Original Air Date—18 September 2008
Mac and Dennis pursue the ultimate high of hunting another man by stalking Rickety Cricket, while Dee and Charlie become obsessed with eating human flesh after they come to believe Frank has fed some of it to them.

Most of the show’s gags are completely ludicrous and in bad taste, and most of the comedy is found in actually laughing at these grotesque characters, who just come up with some of most ridiculous, arrogent and offensive notions possible. I mean, the show isn’t as extreme as Family Guy in its disregard of political correctness, and, thankfully, it isn’t what the show centres on. It’s generally not focused on being extreme for the sake of it, but, instead, revels in the characters’ sheer and unadulterated stupidity. It’s actually quite similar to Burn After Reading, in which the main characters are all depicted as dim-witted, ugly people – and that’s the joke.  In this case though, the characters are far better developed, and the dialogue and jokes, far funnier than the Coens’ most recent film.

It’s difficult to talk about how funny the gags are without going into detail, but to do that would be kind of doing the show a diservice, as half the fun is in the delivery, not the message. What I recommend, is that you watch it, and you’ll find out if it is to your taste pretty quickly into it. There are couple of dud episodes here and there, but so far I have been watching season four and it is just brilliant. To just give you just a taste of what this show is like, I’ll give you an example of one of the scenes:

Charlie and Dee have been stealing meat from Frank’s fridge and eating it. Frank finds out and puts a lock on the fridge but leaves on piece of meat out in the open. Charlie and Dee eat the meat almost raw. Soon after, Frank tells them that the meat was human flesh. Charlie and Dee don’t believe him at first, but then they start getting huge cravings for meat and nothing satisfies them. They start freaking out, and it leads to this conversation in Dee’s apartment:

[Charlie knocks on Dee’s apartment door; Dee lets him in]

[Charlie is speaking frantically, panicked]

Charlie: Dee! You’re home; thank God! Let’s talk, let’s have a quick conversation, huh?! What do you think? I couldn’t sleep last night, could you?

Dee: Nope. [Shakes head.]

Charlie: And I tell you why: yesterday-

Dee: Yesterday…

Charlie: …What’s going on?

Dee: OhmyGod, Charlie, I didn’t want to say anything but I-I-I’m thinking there’s something strange going on with this meat situation.

Charlie: Yes! Okay, now I know it’s crazy – the idea of Frank feeding us human meat -…

Dee: Yes!

Charlie: …but I’ve been trying to disprove it- I absolutely can’t.

Dee: You can’t do it, can you?

Charlie: Let’s talk taste. The taste!

Dee: The taste, Charlie! I’ve tried everything-

Charlie: I can’t get the taste out of mouth! You can’t get it out, right?

Dee: Absolutely not.

Charlie: And have you tried all sorts of other meats, like deli meats and sandwich meats?

Dee: Yes! Absolutely!

Charlie: And th-th-then, di-di-did you go crazy, just licking everything in your apartment, like your shoe – I even licked a cat’s fanny – like, nothing’s working, right?

Dee: Maybe, it’s a trick, ok? Maybe he went and got some weird, exotic meat that we wouldn’t think of to try?

Charlie: Ok, it’s not like regular grocery store kind of meat!-

Dee: No! Not meat from a grocery store.

Charlie: It’s like he got it from some weird place…

Dee: Well, ok, w-w-well let’s think here, let’s put our heads together. where could Frank go to get mysterious meat?

[both pause, thinking]

[cuts to shot of Chinatown, traditional music playing in the background]

Enough justifications. It’s a great show; watch it.

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