It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia (2005)

Bonkers, brash, & unapologetic with a ragtag team of degenerate main characters, penchant for exploring brazen adult comedic themes, metaphoric treatment of social topics, & satirically-elegant twinkling score in-juxtaposition, IASIP’s the perfect anti-sitcom. 9.3/10.

Plot Synopsis: Depraved underachieving might look easy, but for the egocentric Mac, Charlie, Dennis, Frank and Dee, it’s an artform. “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” follows ‘The Gang’ the owners of the un-successful Paddy’s Pub; a group of degenerates who loves nothing more than to scheme, conspire, & mostly revel in eachother’s misery. Whether gaming the welfare system, exploiting dumpster babies, pretending to be crippled, pretend policeman-ing, or faking funerals, The Gang never stoops too low in the name of fun.

*Possible spoilers ahead*

CLC’s Best ‘It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia’ Episodes: 1. Chardee MacDennis: The Game of Games, 2. Charlie Work, 3. The Nightman Cometh, 4. Underage Drinking: A National Concern, 5. The Gang Tries Desperately To Win An Award, 6. The Gang Solves The Gas Crisis, 7. The Gang Beats Boggs, 8. Paddy’s Pub: The Worst Bar in Philadelphia, 9. Being Frank, 10. Hero Or Hate Crime?, 11. Old Lady House: A Situation Comedy, 12. Mac & Dennis Buy A Timeshare, 13. Gun Fever: Still Hot, 14. The Gang Makes Lethal Weapon, 15. The Gang Goes Jihad, 16. The Storm Of The Century, 17. The Gang Cracks The Liberty Bell, 18. The Gang Group Dates, 19. The Gang Solves Global Warming, 20. The D.E.N.N.I.S. System

Season-By-Season Reviews: S1 – 9/10 / S2 – 5/10 / S3 – 7.6/10 / S4 – 9.7/10 / S5 – 8.9/10 / S6 – 3/10 / S7 – 9.5/10 / S8 – 7/10 / S9 – 7.5/10 / S10 – 9.6/10 / S11 – 8.7/10 / S12 – 8.6/10 / S13 – 3.2/10 / S14 – 9.3/10

Official CLC Review

Bonkers, Brash, & Bedlamatic

The Premiere Game-Changer Comedy TV Series Since ’05 – A Brazen, Boundary-Push, Bonkers Anti-Sitcom

Photograph Courtesy Of: FX Originals

Bonkers, brash, boundary-pushing, and bedlamatic, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia has been one of the premiere game-changer comedy TV series since it first premiered back in 2005. Choosing a no-holds-barred motif of aiming for the loftiest and previously-untouched-on-TV comedic themes – with writing flair and an immaculate collection of whack-o disenfranchised degenerate main characters and the sensational Danny Devito in its arsenal – it quickly built a cult following as a perfect anti-sitcom now through 13 seasons and counting (with no end in sight.) Wild, wacky, side-splitting, & unapologetic with a ragtag team of degenerate main characters, penchant for exploring brazen adult comedic themes, metaphoric treatment of important social themes, & satirically-elegant twinkling score juxtaposing it all, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia is a great Philly-based sitcom.

The Adult Comedic Themes

From Gun Control To Abortion To Politics, IASIP Defines The Paradigm Of Savage Comedy – & Navigates w/ Grace

Photograph Courtesy Of: FX Originals

From terrorism to abortion to racism to gun control to molestation to drug abuse to social media to ‘woke’ culture to politics to sexuality to medical conditions to violence to capitalism to climate change to MeToo, tackling controversial, purposely-uncomfortable topics and spinning them for comedic brilliance is the series’ M.O. and ballsily-distinguishing achievement. While the vast majority of series would get tangled in the web of taking on such tricky and heated topics, IASIP’s greatest strength is how masterfully it guides the landmine field without offending anyone regardless of viewpoint on the matter. Through strong comedic writing, it paints both sides of the issues without once getting overly-political or side-leaning, only making you laugh at previously-thought unlaughable topics in sublime showings like ‘Gun Fever Too: Still Hot’ portraying both sides of the gun debate before criss-crossing them so as the people on each side are swayed to the other side by the end of the episode while also learning politicians/media are exploiting them both either way – also given levity by their team of magnificently-blended and developed character work. Fitting hand-in-hand with glove-like snugness is IASIP’s sensational gang of degenerates meticulously fleshed out and developed over the 13 seasons and counting.

The Characterization & Performances

A Cast Of Depraved Underachievers Brought To Life By Career Performances – & The Legendary, Iconic Danny Devito

Photograph Courtesy Of: FX Originals

The true genius of IASIP is how it takes & presents a series of characters that would be considered the antichrist to any regular sitcom – caricatures of the American Dream and disillusioned, dysfunction, disenfranchised pub owners who spend their days trying to find some sort of scheme to keep them entertained enough to prevent wallowing in the self-pity of the realization they’re doing little to nothing practical and productive to society. There’s macho-masquerading closet homosexual Mac by actor/show-creator Ryan McElhenney who is the most strikingly-brilliant caricature of the average American (down to the anti-Science rhetoric and ~religious hypocrisy) I think I’ve seen in popular media. Following, there’s the most psychiatrically-fascinating and tragic-yet-fan-favofite of the bunch: Charlie Kelly, a lovable goofy dyslexic rat-basher with one of the darkest Nightman-personified backstories of All-Time. There’s the Reynolds twins: narcissistic-delusioned ‘Golden God’ playboy with psychopathic undertones Dennis to bullied-‘Bird’ & failed-actress with equally as tragic an existence as Charlie: Sweet Dee. These all convalesce into the ultimate show-stealer, MVP, & ultimate cool-grandpa: Danny Devito’s inimitable Frank, completing the ragteam team of comedic stars for a once-in-a-lifetime cast of bromance chemistry that carries the show.

The Characterization & Performances

A Cast Of Depraved Underachievers Brought To Life By Career Performances – & The Legendary, Iconic Danny Devito

Photograph Courtesy Of: FX Originals

Even the cameoing side characters are great in their own respects too all victims of The Gang’s degeneracy-shenanigans: priest-turned-junkie Cricket, the (apparently-nameless) Waitress, Old (Black) Man, the incest-y McPoyles, catty/bad-dad Ponderosas, Mac and Charlie’ weirdly-dynamic-duo moms, the Jew & hand-obsessed Lawyers, etc. All this is even further pushed by the satirically-elegant twinkling/orchestral main theme in stark contrast to the insane low-brow mischief and situational comedy on schedule for our heroes every progressively-weirder episode and season. The show’s pilot was reportedly ordered for a mere $85 by show creator Ron McElhenney – alone qualifying it as one of the most endorsable underdog stories in TV history parlaying into a 14-season, 150-episode empire with no end in sight. Part of that smashing success – apart from the depraved comedic hoolum gags as addressed above – is the surprising inclusion of cinematically-impressive showings of textbook technique & intellectual flair as well. The all-one-long-shot episode Charlie Work in S10, zombie horror film The Maureen Ponderosa Wedding Massacre, all-POV Frank-transportive episode Being Frank, showstopping interpretive dance coming-out sequence in Mac Finds His Pride, murder-mystery arc in Mac Is A Serial Killer, and differential storyline/perspective showcasing The Gang Saves The Day in S9 all make for incredibly-advanced showings of substance in a film that should (and has the right to by its premise) have none.

The $85 Pilot & Technique Inklings

A True Philadelphia Underdog-Story With Some Of TV’s Most Impressive Use Of Metaphor, History, & Comedic Style

Photograph Courtesy Of: FX Originals

The fan-favorite episode The Nightman Cometh – apart from being a tragically-dark play about Charlie’s past growing up in child abuse by his Uncle Jack (Nightman) – also socially commentates on the gang’s dynamic with clear parallels to George O’Neill’s 1939 Play in name The Iceman Cometh focusing on alcoholics in existential crisis drowning their sorrows away in their own saloon (sound familiar?) and Maxim Gorky’s 1901 play The Lower Depths about justifying painful truths by masking them in delusional lies just like The Gang does every day. Wow. Finally, best of all: there shockingly isn’t even a decline in quality as seasons roll – even 13 Seasons in, the show is just as funny as it was in S1-2, a testament to the writing and comedic staff actively avoiding a trap almost every other show of public interest falls into in a reciprocal curve of quality and season-count. It’s a downright pleasure to tune in every week and see how the gang consistently finds new ways to screw up every conceivable situation or real-world problem they (pretentiously)-think they can actually solve but end up leaving a trail of bedlam, comedic degeneracy, & ruined lives behind them in their wake.

Flaws

Chaos & Shrill Pitches Earlier On; Gross-Out Comedy In Parts – The Weakest Aspect; Non-Changes As An Unfair Advantage

Photograph Courtesy Of: FX Originals

Flaws in It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia include a shrill pitch for much of the early seasons, some lowbrow/juvenile gross-out or too-far comedy in parts, and a purposeful but easier removal of changes by-seasonn. Many of the show’s characters like Charlie and Mac talk at a really high frequency/shrill pitch – one that is exceptionally noticeable in the (comparatively-chaotic, but hilarious) early seasons before being reigned-in later-on. On the topic of early seasons, Frank’s entrance in S2 is handled very poorly: a shame since he’s easily the best character in the show deserving a far less-awkward and abrupt introduction. The comedy sometimes detours from smart metaphoric treatment of societal topics and savage hard-R adult comedy into lowbrow/juvenile or insensitive in others: like farting, burping, pooping, the McPoyles, and way over-borderline stunts such as Charlie and his mother faking they have cancer (twice) to swindle people out of money and Frank making Dee and Dennis dig up and see their dead mother’s corpse (out of a.. *checks notes*.. prank). Finally, while it’s the point of the show being the antithesis of classical sitcoms and The American Dream with its characters not really changing or achieving much as the seasons pass, that is obviously easier to write material & rake up episode counts on having that safety than traditional comedies promising massive changes, character shifts/shake-ups, and finality in stakes with every passing episode and season.

Conclusion

One Of TV’s Funniest Series

A Brilliant Anti-Sitcom Amalgamation Of A Legendary Gang Of Ragtag Degenerates & Brazen Hard-R Comedy

Photograph Courtesy Of: FX Originals

Overall, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia is a side-splitting Philly-based sitcom that showed you don’t have to teeter on politically-correct comedic topics to get a laugh, but can expand the boundaries of schticks if accompanied by the writing prowess to do so. The cast is absolutely irreplaceable and has grown their characters over 14 years into a beautiful machine of dysfunction and savage comedy. Bonkers, brash, & unapologetic with a ragtag team of degenerate main characters, penchant for exploring audacious adult comedic themes, metaphoric treatment of important social topics, & satirically-elegant twinkling score juxtaposing it all, IASIP is a great Philly-based sitcom.

Official CLC Score: 9.3/10