Every once in awhile, I’ll realize I’m going down a path of poor decisions, and instead of course-correcting, I’ll just give into it. That’s what led to Bad Decision Weekend 2009, which ended with broken glass, a glossy coat of Jack Daniels on my apartment floor, and a $150 bill to get a friend’s car out of the sketchiest tow yard ever. But you know what? I had a blast that weekend, and for weeks afterward, when I’d find a plastic lemon or lime behind the TV or under the couch, I’d smile and think about that awesome 2 a.m. game of plastic-lemon-and-lime baseball (the TV was second base, if I recall).
The point is, Always Sunny is so much fun because it’s like vicariously giving in to the spiral of bad decisions. I’m not breaking new ground here when I say that these people are awful, stupid, irredeemable assholes. And while I love them for it, I’m also a little envious, because how cool would it be to have carte blanche to just be a total dick all of the time? Don’t get me wrong, I get in more than my fair share, but the Always Sunny characters are nothing but “id” 99% of the time, and It. Looks. Awesome.
Does that always lead to the best television? No. The episodes this season have been good; not great, but good, and ultimately enjoyable, but they’re not the same genre and barrier-breaking shows that we saw in the earlier seasons. Remember when they pretended to make a terrorist video? When Dennis kept hopping the fence, literally, between the Pro-Lifers and the Pro-Choicers? A misguided investment in a boat that catches fire is wacky, but it’s not exactly incendiary. Pun absolutely intended.
It makes me wonder, actually, if another groundbreaking show we all know and love, Arrested Development, would’ve lost its edge if granted more seasons. I like to think not, but I guess we’ll never know since it was canceled after three seasons while Two and a Half Men began its eighth this year. Why, what a convenient segue into an otherwise-unrelated point I wanted to make about FX airing Two and a Half Men in syndication! Really, FX? Really?
My point is that the characters are funny in almost any scenario, but what made this show great was its fearless approach to controversial issues. At least in terms of subject matter, I’d like to see more episodes focused on topics like the “Gay Marriage” season opener and fewer focused on such controversial issues as… divorce… and boat-buying. This episode did have the ongoing conversation between Mac and Dennis about “the implication.” As Dennis explains it, once a woman is out in the open ocean, she won’t refuse sex because she’s in the middle of nowhere, with some guy she barely knows, and since there’s nowhere to run, there’s the implication that she could be in danger if she didn’t have sex with him. But of course, if she says no, the answer is no. But she won’t say no. Because of the implication.
I thought this running thread was great, especially when it got turned around on the guys while they were on the boat with Patrick Swayze’s (RIP) brother. I loved that Mac resisted it and kept calling Dennis out on the fact that what he was proposing was basically a non-articulated threat. It’s funny to see Mac of all people as the moral compass.
There were several shout-outs for the benefit of loyal Sunny fans, which I enjoyed. Dicktowel, obviously. “Pop over” to the boat store and “pop by” the department store. I also thought it was a clever callback that, just like at the bar, Charlie is relegated to doing Charlie work and Dee is the only one of the original group who is not invested, so she gets stuck with the manual labor.
Loved that the gang acknowledges the rarity of focusing more than a day on one thing (in this case, buying a boat). Loved that Dee ends up embracing the fact that she dances like one of those inflatable wavy-arm guys at car dealerships. Loved that Charlie zipped up his jacket and pulled down his hat before jumping into the water (makes perfect Charlie-sense).
As always, there were some great lines, although it’s hard sometimes to comment on the dialogue, because some of the funniest scenes are when they’re all talking over one another. Still, here are some highlights:
“All the advantages of a house, with the excitement of the sea.”
“EPA says they’re toxic. Toxic my ass – they’re just endangered.” (Frank makes Charlie-sense a lot too. That’s why they’re such a good couple).
“What the hell happened down there? Some kind of horse massacre?”
“You can’t patronize your captain – that’s sea law!”
Even when its not great, Always Sunny is fun and escapist for everyone shackled by “ethics” and “morals” and “social skills.” Who wouldn’t want to be able to legitimately respond to someone by saying, “Yeah, I heard you, you said a bunch words, right?”