Just like Seinfeld, only more psychotic.
It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia is the continuing chronicles of the pathetic, immoral and narcissistic crew who call Paddy’s Pub home. There’s Dennis Reynolds (Glenn Howerton, Crank) and his sister ‘Sweet’ Dee (Kaitlin Olson, Weather Girl), their father Frank Reynolds (Danny DeVito, Throw Momma From the Train), and friends Charlie Kelly (Charlie Day, Horrible Bosses), and Mac — no last name — (Rob McElhenney, Latter Days), who all somehow manage to run a local pub and stay out of jail or a mental hospital in the city of brotherly love.
If you who cringe when expletives fall out of the mouths of characters on television, or are squeamish at plot lines that involve digging up a grave because there is believed to be thousands of dollars buried with the corpse, or if you happen to find it difficult to watch when someone considers pulling the plug on their grandpa — who by the way is a former Nazi party member — because then they can collect the inheritance he left them, then It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia: Season Eight is not for you.
But if you can look past the shockers of these episodes: the cursing, and all the self-serving things the characters do, what you have is a show that clearly displays what we all would be like without the normal societal filters keeping us from committing the most outrageous of behaviors. What’s surprising is It’s Always Sunny is all those things I’ve described and more, yet it still manages to be hilariously funny. (I know, doesn’t makes sense does it?) But it is a tremendously funny program because it doesn’t pretend to be more cute or clever than everyone else — it’s just trying to make us laugh, and it does this in spite of the abysmal personalities of the characters.
The scenario of It’s Always Sunny is similar to that of Seinfeld (still one of my favorites), but without the restraints of network television. Both shows involve a group of selfish individuals who go about trying to get what’s best for them at the expense of everyone else — including each other — but they always end up getting their just desserts. Like that classic sitcom, the ensemble cast works together like a perfectly fit glove, playing off one another so well that it’s hard to imagine that they aren’t this despicable in real life.
This two disc, ten episodes DVD set includes such craziness as: “The Maureen Ponderosa Wedding Massacre,” where Dennis shows up to his ex-wife’s wedding and on her special day he tries to get her to sign papers releasing him from his alimony payments. In “Reynolds vs. Reynolds: The Cereal Defense,” Frank rear ends Dennis but refuses to pay for any damages because Dennis was eating cereal while driving. This episode is one of my favorites because in it Mac presents to the court an argument for Creationism vs. Evolution. He does a fair assessment of both by showing that you need to have faith in order to believe in each of their teachings. And in “The Gang Gets Analyzed,” Dee brings her psychotic crew to her shrink, so that the good doctor can decide which one of them should do the dishes left over from a dinner they all had together. This episode does a great job at summing up just how crazy they all are — in fact, each and every one of the episodes are textbook examples of the functionally insane.
It’s Always Sunny was created by Rob McElhenney, who has brought to life some of the most uniquely obnoxious people who have ever graced the small screen, but he manages to make them a likable bunch — kind of. Clearly these people should never be allowed to live among the rest of us, and thankfully we only have to experience their lives in a fictional realm.
Fox has released a standard def 1.78:1 widescreen presentation that is crisp and clear, the Dolby 5.1 audio makes for a fine auditory experience. Extras include commentary on select episodes, deleted scenes, a gag real, and three short featurettes. One called “Lady House: The Lost Premiere,” is a hilarious spoof of those bad 80s sitcoms with the laugh tracks and the predictable plot lines. It stars Lynne Marie Stewart (Bridesmaids), who plays Charlie’s mom, and Sandy Martin (Napoleon Dynamite), who portrays Mac’s nicotine addicted mother. If you’ve ever seen Growing Pains or Saved by the Bell, you will appreciate the sheer awfulness of Lady House — sorry, Dave.
It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia: Season Eight isn’t for everyone; it took a few go ’rounds from seasons past before I really began to appreciate the show. But now when I sit down to watch the gang at Paddy’s Pub, it’s like spending some quality time with a few deeply disturbed friends. And I tell ya what, it’s a helluva a lot of fun.
Don’t knock it ’til you try it. Not Guilty!
It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia: Season Eight (DVD)
2013, Fox, 220 minutes, NR (2013)
VIDEO: 1.78:1 AUDIO: Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English) SUBTITLES: English (SDH), French, Spanish
EXTRAS: Commentary, Featurettes, Deleted Scenes, Gag Reel ACCOMPLICES: IMDB