Category Archives: recaps/It’s Always Sunny

It’s Always Sunny, “Charlie Kelly: King of the Rats,” and “The Gang Gets Stranded in the Woods”

“Gatsby believed in the good joke, the kick-in-the-nuts future that year by year recedes before us. It eluded us then, but that’s no matter — tomorrow we will run faster, stretch out our arms farther. … And one fine morning —- So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the MEH.”

This altered quote was one of my first brushes with literary depth when I was 13 years old. The Great Gatsby opened the door for a year of reading One flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, The Scarlet Letter, Catcher in the Rye, Huck Finn and some accompanying bleak short stories that would reaffirm my cynical world view and remind that I am not the first person to think people are inherently disappointing and terrible. My father had done his best to remind me to cultivate a basic mistrust of people outside our inner circle, but to know that Mark Twain agreed people sucked was a powerful thing.

For some reason, as I sat through a long backlog of recorded shows after the Thanksgiving holiday, the altered quote above kept rushing back. I prefer TV comedy to any other option (sorry zombies, vampires, crime procedurals and Two and a Half Men), but want to have at least 2-3 wow/lolz moments per 30 minutes invested. This can be as simple as a wiener in a mousetrap or as elaborate as hiding $200,000 in a banana stand – just bring the funny.

As low a bar as this sounds, you’d be amazed how often TV fails to reach it. The last two episodes of Sunny left me with a few laughs, but, when combined with the other dross clinging to my DVR, just left feeling like I would spend most of my TV time borne back ceaselessly against the meh.

So, now that I’ve journaled my feelings, let’s look at two exciting episodes of Sunny…together. Two weeks ago, Charlie killed a bunch of rats and went into a depression. I enjoyed his funk because it reminded me of my friend who reminds of Charlie getting depressed, well at least until I felt bad for everyone involved. Anyway, the gang decided they should be nice people and plan him a birthday party – but not really try – and then a bunch of boring crap happened that proved they weren’t really nice, which is totally shocking six seasons in. There was a friend who lives under a bridge and smokes crack and just made me feel dirty about myself who was on screen for awhile and something about a gifted shirt that was quickly returned and replaced for a better shirt. Oh and Charlie and Dee decided to go to a spa together (more on that later.)

It wasn’t bad or anything, but it just never resonated with me. I did laugh out loud when Dee asked Charlie to go to a spa with her. His response: “What is this word ‘spa?’ I feel like you’re starting to say a word but not finishing it. Are you trying to say ‘spa-ghetti?’ Dumb Charlie will always have a special spot in my heart, which is why the end of the episode made me at least end happy.

After an episode of teasing references, we got to see Charlie’s “Dram Bok” (or dream book.) This contained everything that goes on in his head between when he sniffs glue before bed to when he wakes up again the next day with cat food breath. Charlie’s book shows us ridiculous sketches for his denim chicken, teeth bird and worm hat. Sunny has always had the market cornered on denim comedy (remember the work out episode where Dee wears jeans to work out), but the idea of denim chicken really spoke to me. I would like to put one on my desk tomorrow. If you’re a coworker reading this, there are now 19 days until Xmas (Futurama, whaddup!?) Still, the meandering of the rest of episode cannot simply be redeemed by a bunch of teeth glued to a bird or a rat stick.

The next episode was going to be even ZANIER. You see, the commercial said the gang was going to get lost in the woods! Can you imagine those crazy kooks trying to survive a night in the wilderness? How would they find food, shelter and beer (because they like to drink!!!!!)? How would they escape? It’s all so darn zany!

So yeah, my attitude wasn’t the best at this episode and the part in the woods pretty much went how you would expect – except for the bunny. Dee, Frank and Mac decide to capture and kill a bunny, but they soon become convinced it is stealing their souls and grow to love – even worship it. Dee even names him Peter Peter Nickel Eater (which I imagine I will enjoy referencing later around small animals.)

Meanwhile, Dennis and Charlie are paired up to hitchhike to safety away from the wilderness and deliver a pretty good A Plot. I’m too lazy to look back on this, but I feel like it has been way too long since we’ve seen a good Dennis and Charlie pairing. They gave us Day Man – why not keep them around each other more? Anyway, they hitch a ride with a man-loving Tom Sizemore (add cock to his many addictions) who thinks they are “lot lizards.” Their goal is to get to Atlantic City for an animal rights fundraiser Frank donated money to so he could tell off the people running it.

As an aside, sometimes the use of money on this show drives me insane. Are they poor? Do they live off Frank’s riches when needed? Does the bar have customers? Every time I see someone bad with money, I blame TV. I’m not asking for a shot of their bills the way Roseanne did, but at least give me a framework.

Anyway, Dennis and Charlie escape Tom Sizemore and make it to the casino. Dennis convinces Charlie that he needs to start saying yes to life more, and he quickly wins $15,000 in roulette, tries asparagus and delivers a speech to the audience. Then, they get to hang out with their favorite Philadelphia Phillies ballplayers – Chase Utley and Ryan Howard. I was kind of hoping they’d pair up and hit the town for a bit, but the image of them wrestling homoerotically on the floor drunk while the two professionals watch dumb-founded worked for me, too. Before the night ended, they made sure to text photos with the ballplayers back to the gang in the woods to taunt them for missing their heroes.

The episode gave Sizemore one more appearances to pick up the rest of the group in the woods before the credits rolled and then I happily moved on to watch The League and drool over another Archer promo. Maybe I’ll get a chance to review THAT show two weeks too late in the middle of winter. After this handcrafted nearly 1,200 word masterpiece, how could I be asked to stick around and help drive traffic?

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It’s Always Sunny – I’m Never Getting Too Old For This $#!@ (Lethal Weapon 5 Edition)

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.

Good Times:

  • 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!

It’s Always Sunny, “The Gang Gets a New Member”: More Fun than Butt Dance 2.0!

This week’s episode was big for me because it confirmed a long held theory of mine: Jason Sudeikis is extremely talented and being held back by his stint on Saturday Night Live playing the straight man to a variety of Keenan Thompson and Kristin Wiig characters. Since he had a chance to work with Charlie Day in “Going the Distance” last year and show off some good comedic, scene-stealing (and yes, stealing a scene from Justin Long is a relative feat) ability, the two of them decided to work together on this episode. Tonight, Sudeikis had a chance to play Schmitty, the long-lost fourth member of the gang. On paper, this looked like a terrible set-up that left me with questions: why would the group have lose a member? Is it that hard for townies to lose touch? Did Schmitty keep in touch with the Ponderosas?

Rather than create an elaborate back story, it was simple. It was a four member crew ten years ago, but Charlie was jealous of him and convinced the group to push him out… of a moving car. The reunion works because Schmitty seems to be a smarter version of Charlie. Then, they slowly unravel him and show he’s not fit for the group: he lives at home because his Mom has MS, he questions all of the weird games Charlie played when they lived together — including “Night Crawlers” — and he even reworks Charlie’s butt dance. It’s early, but election returns are showing Butt Dance 2.0 may become a staple in my household.

I complained a few episodes ago that the action has not been taking place in the bar. Well, last week (BTW sorry about not reviewing what I thought was a great episode on Dee’s pregnancy) reintroduced hanging out at the bar as the center of the show. The show works best when Paddy’s is part of the action and not just a call back to sell t-shirts on FX.com. Hopefully we’ve moved past the constant zany setups and back to a world where the gang sticks together.

Dee has a side plot that you’re not going to believe. I won’t spoil it for you, but she realizes that she missed her dream of being an actress, finds an avenue to try to reclaim that glory and ultimately fails miserably. This brings her to helping her old drama teacher with his current class, but the big giveaway is she convinces Charlie to become a high school janitor to help cope with Schmitty replacing him. You’ll see the quotes below, but this one of the best scenes this season. Charley explains that he’s not a proud man, but he’s willing to degrade himself. Also, the principal is Dave Foley. If there is not a bigger use of him next week, I will be one sad panda.

Meanwhile, in Interesting Land, Schmitty starts to react to how weird the gang is the way that any normal person wood. He questions his sterling silver clover ring but really stops down once he learn that Dennis orders food for the entire group because he “has the most refined palate.” Like a modern day R.P. McMurphy, Schmitty leads Mac and Frank to also question their superiors and even go as far as to order ginger ale. It’s simple, it’s stupid and it’s funny.

Things finally fall apart when Schmitty shows up to his 3 p.m. initiation late and not wearing his ring. Under the guise of a promise of a hot air balloon ride, they gang again tries to once again throw him out of a moving car, but Frank is not able to push him out, so he just politely says goodbye once they pull over. The group then goes to the school to ask Charlie to rejoin the group, but he declines to stay a janitor and also setup a promising second act next week. Word on the street is we finally get to watch some more of “Lethal Weapon 5,” which is more than enough for me. What can I say, I’m easy.

QUOTES! (lots of good ones this week):

  • Dee: Rise and shine, dickwad.
  • Charlie: Hey, you’re stilling living with your mom? That sounds kind of lame.
    Schmitty: Well, it’s the M.S. that’s really lame, you know.
    Dennis: Oh, your mom has Multiple sclerosis?
    Schmitty: Yeah she’s doing alright. I moved in with her to take care of her; really get to know her before she moves on.
    Charlie: That story is kind of a downer.
  • Principal: I’m a little confused, are you telling me this photo of Bruce Jenner is your resume?
    Charlie: Well, when I showed up this morning I didn’t have a formal resume on me so I was sort of hoping the photograph of Mr. Jenner could represent the standard of excellence I’m hoping to bring to his position.
    Principal: And you’re looking for a job as a substitute teacher?
    Charlie: Substitute janitor.
  • Charlie: I’m serious I will eat that eraser whole.
    Principal: You don’t need to eat the eraser to prove your point, you have the job.
    Charlie: Are you serious?
    Principal: I love your attitude.
    Charlie: Sir, I’m not gonna let you down. I’m gonna start cleaning immediately. But, first, can I eat the eraser?
  • Mac: What’s weird about this? This is a men’s ceremony. They have ceremonies for all sorts of men’s club. Ya know, the mafia, the Free Masons, The White House…

It’s Always Sunny, “Mac’s Mom Burns Her House Down”: Finally, the Estelle Getty closure America needed.

It’s back. Every single time this episode went to commercial, it became apparent to me that something strange and powerful was happening deep down in my heart. I had enjoyed the previous block of the show without questioning the plot, wondering if opportunities for bigger jokes where wasted or thinking about how I wanted to see more or less of certain characters. Now, I’m not saying this was the best episode ever or anything, but the key word tonight was balance.

The jokes were balanced, the plot was balanced and not pushed in any extreme directions and the characters were used in a proportion that made sense to the plot. The thing I realized about this show is that the short seasons and long gaps between episodes make me judge it much more harshly. If I have to wait for months, I want a homerun every single time it steps up to the plate. If they just churned out safe crap every week with a couple of high points, I’d probably wouldn’t feel let down. Remember kids, you can’t get your heart broken by the girl you never notice.

The episode had a simple set-up: Mac’s mom (Mrs. Mac) falls asleep with a lit cigarette in her mouth and burns her house down, leaving Mac to take care of her. Meanwhile, Charlie is having his own problems helping his mom now that his creepy uncle moved out, so Dennis decides that the two moms should move in together. Charlie and Mac jump onboard once they realize they could create a new “Golden Girls situation.”

The comedy throughout the episode comes naturally – Mac’s mom is her usual disgusting self, Charlie’s mom is neurotic (way more than ever indicated before), there’s an indestructible dog named Poppins (hopefully a homage to beloved cat “Agent Jack Bauer”) and the attempts to make life resemble The Golden Girls go up in flames (because the episode is about fire.) There’s a side story about Sweet Dee wanting to beat a sore throat so she can see Josh Groban in a park. After shunning her, Frank realizes that he will have no one to care for him when he is old and tries to win back her trust. It all ties together without feeling rushed and the little touches are where the show got me.

Highlights:

  • Mac’s sick dog is not only gross, but it has emphysema and needs to have his eye popped in with someone’s knuckle.
    Charlie’s mom makes him vacuum the ceiling for splinters and is terrified that an animal will eat her face.
    Frank’s care package for Dee consists of coffee, Mexican peanuts, candy and a stud magazine.
    Frank’s idea of small talk with his daughter: “You still get periods?”
    The gang’s fear of nursing home includes the statement “why don’t I just rape her myself?” and a fear of soap-dropping.
    Mrs. Mac loudly proclaiming “I smell like shit.”
    When the Golden Girls bonding over cheesecake plan starts slowly, Charlie exclaims “I feel like if you and I were in a room with perfectly good cheesecake, all sorts of conversation would start happening.” This also led to an impromptu singing of the entire theme song, which is something I’ve been known to do both with friends and the very first week of my first job.
    Old people bonding over racism and ignorance will always be funny. It’s also why Grand Torino was one of the best comedies of 2008.
    A voicemail cameo from Artemis while backstage at the Josh Groban concert: “Groban’s feeling frisky and somebody’s gotta tap that ass.” I said I wouldn’t complain about character use, but Artemis is welcome to pop her bra off and blast her nips on the show anytime.

Now, cross your fingers that my over-celebrating a solid episode leads to even better things for the rest of this season.

It’s Always Sunny, “Mac and Charlie: White Trash”: We can beat this heat wave, Philly style.

I have spent years reading the TV review of others and always day-dreamed about how I would do it. Would I search for the unappreciated diamond in the rough shows and be that guy who tells you why the joke before the second commercial break in “Two and a Half Men” was actually not that bad? (SPOILER ALERT: It WAS that bad.) Would I ask the tough questions about a quality show that is almost universally praised (“Let me tell you why Don Draper is lamer than Christopher Reeve…”)? No matter what, I was going to bring something unique to the table. I’d critique this like a high school sophomore who connects with Catcher in the Rye – art was going to happen and it would be on my terms!

So, last night, I settled in on the couch, flipped on ‘It’s Always Sunny’ and took in “Mac and Charlie: White Trash”… an average to above average episode. It was my worst nightmare. Nothing terrible happened and I thoroughly enjoyed certain parts, but was not set up to use it as a launching pad to get creepy and up my own butt with what is missing in recent episodes and how the show lost some of the direction I loved. Sadly, I will have to table these thoughts for another day, but I’m happy to bring the first of possibly tens of reviews contributing to this site.

“Mac and Charlie: White Trash” was a nice, simple formula. Faced with a heat wave, Charlie and Mac (I’m not a slave to their title order) decided to hit the local members’ only pool club and go for a swim with a case of Durstin Beer in tow. I have no idea why I noted the brand name, but after reading this, I was really glad I did. AREN’T YOU GLAD I BROUGHT MY CRITICAL EYE TO THIS BLOG? Charlie also sported the same comfortable jorts Dennis introduced in last season’s “The Gang Gets Extreme: Home Makeover Edition.” After what seemed like a much more meandering and longer than normal intro, they were turned away from the pool and the credits rolled.

The boys then created a business plan (or just poster board with cool art taped on) to show Frank how they could renovate an abandoned pool from their childhood and make their own party. Mac decided to wear his classy gold chain and they appealed to Frank’s upper-class sensibilities. Sadly, they learn that Frank sees himself as “fringe class” and the plan dies a quick death. Once Dee and Dennis catch wind of the class debate, they decide that they are already born into class and head off to gain entry to the private pool.

From there, we get the usual, yet essential Sunny formula: Dennis and Dee have their dreams thrown back in their face and are humiliated while Charlie and Mac descend deeper into their own insanity/homosexual tendencies/whatever else is up with them. Dennis and Dee quickly strike out at the private pool and, after charges of racism fall on deaf ears when Dee incorporates the word monkey into her charges, tuck their tails and head to the public pool.

Why the plot exposition? Because I loved the public pool scenes. It was dirty, there were people everywhere, they questioned why so many people had sneakers on and then realized it was because the bottom of the pool was covered in broken glass. This is what works for me in the show – taking something simple, spinning it to the extreme and then committing to the joke beyond most others. It could have been a zany “hey look, pee in the pool” throw away, but they went the extra mile to think you were at a third world outpost where kids throw rocks at each other for fun. The xenophobic, high-class jerk in me appreciates that. I also enjoyed Frank embracing pool culture and playing a game where he chunked a greased watermelon in the pool and covered himself in butter. How can you not enjoy that he didn’t even question being clawed by a Filipino later on?

Then, we had Mac and Charlie’s quest to remodel the abandoned neighborhood pool themselves. Why was it abandoned, you ask? Because a kid died in it. This side of the story also had the standard storylines for these two characters, but it didn’t click as well. I feel like Charlie has been dialed down a bit this season and, while I admit being biased in my love for him, sacrificing him for more of the same Mac jokes leaves me disappointed. Charlie does something dumb and gets them trapped in the pool. Mac tries some kung fu moves and tries to back flip up the wall (without being able to do a back flip) and things look promising when Charlie finally says “all you know how to do is talk me into doing shit,” but then it just drops. In fact, we see several gags with potential that just die: Charlie’s reliance on burner phones, which race of delivery men would do the best job of rescuing them. They decide on a burley Italian pizza delivery guy over a small Asian delivery guy – and then the pizza guy turns out to be Asian. I really like to focus on the racism in my review? What does that say about me? Probably that I have a big penis. Anyway, they checked off a list of good jokes, but just never took them to the level or longer conclusion they consistently executed in previous seasons.

Then, it seemed like time was ticking and they had to wrap the episode up. Dennis, Dee and Frank try to get into the rich pool one more time and fail. Charlie and Mac do more stuff in the abandoned pool. By the time the groups reunite, Charlie and Mac have created a Jamie Nelson pool memorial and are debating how to pray. Mac opts for Catholic-style chants with the words jumbled while Charlie suddenly embraces voodoo. A voodoo Charlie extended out would have been great, and when he blurted out “what is that, there’s a lamb” while Mac recited “Lamb of God,” I laughed.

How did we get Voodoo Charlie and what is his back story? Is it in response to his role as a preacher in season one? It’s a funny concept, but it just seems like the latest in a line of jokes that will be touched on and shelved at the expense of whatever quick, shock value idea they will touch next. Tell me Charlie running around speaking in a Haitian accent doesn’t sound fantastic. If that was a show on CBS, it would be the #1 comedy on TV.

Back to the story, the gang finally left the pool and decided to just turn a fire hydrant like Frank did when he was a kid. Boom. Episode over. Here comes ‘The League.’

I don’t know if the writer’s just have too many good ideas or don’t have time to develop them, but it’s just hard to follow how a show that has managed to make gold out of such simple plots as starting a band, singing an acoustic version of “More Than Words,” running into an old high school friend or selling your own gas is hovering in a B/B- range. I don’t want to just be shocked or weirded out; I want my belly laughs back. I want more Charlie. I want more side characters being ridiculous. And, most importantly, I want the gang to spend more time in the bar. Good stuff happens when they hang out mainly in the bar and the apartments. It’s a scientific fact.

I will always love this show and was one of the original jerks lending DVD copies to friends and insisting they watch certain episodes. I once wore a Green Man outfit to a basketball game. I can reenact the entire scene where they write Day Man with my wife at the drop of a hat. I LOVE THIS SHOW and probably always will – just like folks never lose their love for ‘The Simpsons’ over the years. Am I asking too much or being unreasonable? If so, flame me in the comments. If not, I’ll be back next week and try to go heavier on the ha-ha and lighter on the exposition.

Other stuff:

  • “That girl just jumped in with her sneakers on.”
  • “These people all have sneakers on.”
  • “Stride, stride, stride…execute.”
  • “I do back flips every single day of my life.”
  • “Don’t undermine my prayer with voodoo.”
  • “I hope you trash bags die in the bottom of this pool like Jamie Nelson did.”
  • “Don’t bring Jamie Nelson into this.”

It’s Always Sunny, “Mac’s Big Break”: We’re gonna need a montage!

Oddly enough, at the end of this episode, my biggest takeaway was… how the f do you spell gibrone? Jabrone? Jabronie? Gabronie? Our good friends over at urbandictionary.com provide the four iterations above, but I was leaning toward the more subtle “gabrone.”

Either way, I have to side with Charlie and the DJ, gibrone is a great word, and your homework for this week is to incorporate it into your daily vocabulary. In this episode, Charlie and Mac win a radio contest and the chance to take a shot at the goal during a professional hockey game, and if they make it, they get to spend the weekend at the radio station beach house. Obviously, this will ingrain Mac into the upper echelons of Philly sports and celebrity society. So based on his extensive pee wee hockey experience, Charlie helps Mac prepare for his big moment so he doesn’t end up looking like a gibrone on the ice. We get some good exchanges out of this set-up, including Mac, as usual, wholly preoccupied with looking like a bad-ass, including yielding the hockey stick as a weapon, bringing the duster out of the Season 3 wardrobe closet (maybe it’s been used since then, but I don’t remember and don’t care enough to look it up), and contemplating the merits of a long, flowing, dramatic hockey wig.

The episode as a whole was okay, very big-picture, situational-type humor, but it still lacked that holy-shit-did-they-really-just-do/say-that edge that this entire season has been missing. The b-story with Frank taping Dee and Dennis’ “podcast” just illustrated the point (intentionally or not) that these guys are only funny and entertaining inside a very narrow band, although it was great to see some of the old favorite minor characters back again. Rickety Cricket, Ben and The Waitress are great foils to this gang’s abuse, and I enjoy watching the discomfort that comes from sticking them all in a small room together. Still, the podcast dialogue really needed to be better to justify such a boring setting – they’re just sitting in front of a computer, talking. In the words of my good friend Captain MessyPants, SNOOZE! The other problem I had with this set-up was that the hilarity of this group’s dysfunction comes largely from no one in the group acknowledging it, and here, Frank acknowledges that the exchanges between Dee and Dennis are ridiculous, which takes the audience out of the moment. Or at least it did for me.

That said, I’d definitely listen to that podcast.

The best part for me was the Mac-Charlie training montage – brilliant, and I also liked the play on reality at the end. They made you think for a moment that maybe Mac really was going to stroll out to center ice and make the puck his bitch. But about the time the cardboard goalie exploded, I was on to the gag. From that point, the episode ended kind of abruptly, but I do hope that there will be a callback to Charlie’s prediction that Mac will indeed become a sports sensation when his embarrassing collapse (complete with awesome sound effects – a callback to the podcast storyline) is shown repeatedly on ESPN.

I’m not a guy, so maybe the sports theme was just lost on me, but like a guy, this episode mostly left me unsatisfied and wondering, “Was that it?” (Yup. Sex joke. Hi mom!)

Funny lines:

  • This asphalt – that’s not regulation.
  • Where’s the H key? There’s no H key!
  • Does my scar look like’s a dog’s vagina? You know, maybe. I’m not going to sit here and try to get inside the mind of a dog.

P.S. You know who will sit there and try to get inside the mind of a dog? My friend TheQuoner, who gets a nod for being a great sounding board on all things Sunny and for letting me pass some of his great insights off as my own.

It’s Always Sunny, “The Gang Buys a Boat”: This isn’t Diddy-esque at all.

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?”