Television

TV Review: It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia – The First 4 Episodes

It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia

It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia Airs Thursdays, 10/9c on FX

Episodes: “Manhunters;” “The Gang Solves the Gas Crisis;” “America’s Next Top Paddy’s Billboard Model;”
“Mac’s Banging the Waitress.”

Synopsis: In the first four episodes of the new season, the gang covers a myriad of topics ranging from hunting homeless people to torture to cashing in on viral videos. We get loads of racism towards Arabs, Puerto Ricans, Asians, African-Americans and Texas Oilmen. We get cannibalism played for laughs and more mentions of the word “bang” (mostly by Mac) than you’ll ever hear in under two hours. And not to mention tea-baggings, bed-wettings, pube-glueings, and goody-kickings. Frank (Danny DeVito) keeps confusing his lifestory with that of John Rambo’s and even tortures Sweet Dee (Kaitlin Olsen) at one point. Charlie (Charlie Day) and Dee become obsessed with the taste of human flesh before creating YouTube videos in which GreenMan makes a triumphant return. Dennis (Glenn Howerton) takes his shirt of a lot and there’s allusions to his testicles being scary. Mac (Rob McElhenney) not only hosts a version of “America’s Next Top Model” at Paddy’s, but also his own “Bachelor” and “Project Badass.” Rickety Cricket and the Waitress also return in supporting roles.

Review: With a show as edgy and fearless as Sunny, you always root for the jokes and the situations to remain fresh. Well I can say, as a long-time fan and admirer of the show, that the first four episodes of Season 4 are among the series’ best. The gang is firing on all cylinders. Dee and Charlie as conflicted cannibals is the funniest thing the two have done since Season 2 when they were both hopped up on steroids (“Hundred Dollar Baby”). When the two of them get access to the morgue, the discussion about white meat vs. dark meat is about as good as anything Trey Parker could come up with. When edgy shows get comfortable and settle, the results start to dip, but It’s Always Sunny is still finding ways to top itself.

One thing that’s helped the series this season is that there’s much less bickering. In the first episode “Manhunters,” no idea, no matter how crazy it may be, is rejected. Dennis and Mac are totally stoked about how hard Dennis’ nipples are, and Dee and Charlie are all about trying more human flesh–no arguments, more laughs. In improv, the number one rule is to always say “yes” in a scene. You waste time with fights and bickering in comedy, because all we want to see, as the audience, is the action move forward. The show’s least funny episodes were when the gang spends the entire episode bitching at each other. But when they just accept the circumstances of the scene and move on, we’re free to watch them play effortlessly off each other. I will say that it’s quite shocking to see in “Mac’s Banging the Waitress” that Frank and Dee are not even involved in the episode at all. The three guys and the waitress have an entire episode where they backstab each other and re-establish their friendship at the same time. And although Dee and Frank are missed, watching the three characters and the Waitress (Mary Elizabeth Ellis, aka Mrs. Charlie Day) interact is comedic gold. No one plays dramatic deception better than Howerton, naivete better than McElhenney, and drunken lunatic better than Day. These guys are at the top of their game. It’s Always Sunny was already up there with the funniest shows on television, but if the rest of the season is as good as these four episodes, Sunny will easily top 30 Rock and The Office as television’s best comedy.

Up Next Week: AN HOUR-LONG! The series first hour long episode (excluding the two-parter “The Gang Gets Whacked”) sees Mac and Charlie . . . dying?

For more coverage of your favorite shows, check out the Control Freaks Archive.

Did you catch the first 4 episodes of It’s Always Sunny? If so, feel free to discuss below.

Josh is a multi-tasker. He's been a cubicle monkey for the last few years, a veteran stage actor of over 10 years, a sometimes commercial actor, occasional writer of articles, a once-legend in the realm of podcastery, purveyor of chuckles in his homecity of Chicago as he has trained with the world renown iO (Improv Olympic) and Second City Conservatory and performed with both theaters, and can be seen doing a thing that actor's do on the website of his online sitcom, LackingDirection.com. Josh also likes to tackle the beef of his bio with one run-on sentence, because it befits his train-of-thought.

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