For me, It’s Always Sunny’s biggest flaw is that they take a fantastic concept or idea and fail to stick the landing just as often as they hit it. For every time they try out for the Philadelphia Eagles, they run off and buy a boat for no logical reason. For every time they figure out who pooped the bed, they turn around and tell us the story of American Independence in a weird flashback vehicle. That is why I tried to suspend my excitement for the viewing of Lethal Weapon 5 as much as possible. Six viewings later (not entirely because I am weirdo, I had two different friends come over who wanted to see the episode plus couldn’t sleep on Friday), I have to say that this episode ranks very high on the all-time list for me.
The episode started with janitor Charlie walking the halls of his high school and soaking up the admiration of the students. For no logical reason, everyone calls him “Professor” and he dishes out Mr. T quality advice to each of them. I am fully planning on visiting the high school my wife teaches at and yelling for some kid to “keep that GPA up, up, up” before this school year ends. This is Charlie at his best and it sets the tone for the whole episode.
Dee’s job is to help move the plot along with her classroom of drama students and she quickly finds a somewhat plausible reason to want to take the kids to the bar to see a movie. The school doesn’t have any arts funding and, shockingly, Dave Foley won’t give her money to take an overnight trip to NYC to see a Broadway show. I still expected them to use Foley more than a simple straight man, but it was just nice to see him. I even Tivoed the latest Kids in The Hall special on IFC just to thank him for being back on my TV screen.
In another long-missed show staple I like to call “the guys arguing about stupid crap in the most hilarious way possible,” Frank, Mac and Dennis are trying to figure out whether the black face they used in their Lethal Weapon 5 movie was racist. They mine this joke for all it’s worth, discussing proper voices, situations, the work of Al Jolson and everything else in-between. When Frank declared that James Earl Jones did perfect black face because he was Darth Vader and Vader was white, it was clear this episode was going all in on every joke.
Before I get to the main event, I would be remiss to not point out the Jugaloo kid that Charlie took an interest in. After finding a student in full ICP makeup in the bathroom, he first asks everyone bullying him why they painted his face, and then tells the boy that “the professor has taken an interest in [him]!” I was hoping for a nice Miracles reference to tie it all together, but I will never turn down a chance for someone funny to mock these people, no matter how easy it is.
Finally, the piece de resistance – the official screening of LW5. Here’s a trailer someone already made:
Everything about this made me happy. The terrible accents. The Tommy Wiseau sex scene (I don’t care what Howerton says, The Room played a role here). Charlie’s use of wigs to play various parts. Fake tears. Shark meat. Dee taking out the trash during the torture scene. Mac and Dennis switching parts halfway through. Mac playing Murtaugh the way Robert Downey, Jr. played a black man did in Tropic Thunder.
Basically, if you didn’t like this, I don’t want to know you.
I promise I won’t always cheerlead this show (and I still want to be on record as saying that “The League” has had a better season and “Archer” will too), but in a world where Outsourced and Big Bang Theory count as edgy and hilarious social commentaries about foreigners and NERDZ, I don’t want to ever sell what really makes me laugh short. In short, go suck an egg.
- Charlie: I’ll tell you what. I’ll take him down to the locker room. I’ll lather him up real good. I’ll strip all these silly clothes off him. I’m gonna clean him. Sparkling clean. Brand new kid for you.
Principal: No, please don’t bathe the students.
Charlie: You’re right. He’s a big man. You can bathe yourself, can’t you, Rich?
Richie: Yeah, dawg.
Charlie: He’s bathing himself and I’m watching.
- Mac: They’re actors. They’re trying to create an illusion. In the Lord of the Rings movie, Ian McKellen plays a wizard. You think he goes home at night and shoots laser beams into his boyfriend’s asshole?
- Frank: Look at that! James Earl Jones is doing a great black-face.
Dennis: James Earl Jones has a black-face, he is a black man!