For five seasons (plus a Christmas special), It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia has been the flagship comedy on a network known for its edgy dramas. Sunny remains on brand for FX by this virtue: you certainly can’t find anything like it on the broadcast networks, you probably can’t find anything comparable on the rest of basic cable, and even the unlimited bounds of premium cable systematically fail to espouse such depravity with such consistency.
There is a theoretical saturation point, where either I or the characters get too old for their antics. Thank god it hasn’t come in season six, which continues to provide shameful joy in the four episodes FX sent over for review. More after the jump:
If you’ve seen the show, you know whether or not it’s for you. If you haven’t, Sunny centers on the gang of Paddy’s bar, who take the solipsism of Seinfeld about seven leagues further into the depths of morality. There’s brother and sister Dennis (Glenn Howerton) and Dee (Kaitlin Olson), with father Frank played by Danny DeVito since season two. Outside the family, there’s would-be tough guy Mac (creator Rob McElhenney), and the probably-legally-retarded Charlie (Charlie Day).
As the title of the first episode back suggests, “Mac Fights Gay Marriage” puts the Sunny spin on that hot-button issue, without saying anything of particular conviction. Of course, the sanctity of marriage is unrecognizable by the time the gang is done pistol-whipping it. Dennis gets married because the idea occurs to him (Spoiler alert: the next episode is titled “Dennis Gets Divorced”). Dee plays mistress to a married father of two — her conscience can deal with breaking up the family as long as she gets to keep the car. And the bromance between longtime roommates Frank and Charlie reaches its natural conclusion when they decide to tie the knot. You know, for the health benefits.
Though it’s not among the first four episodes to air, FX made sure to include “Who Got Dee Pregnant?” for review. As the story goes, Olson was pregnant during filming, so the team wrote it into an episode and pulled out all the stops. Mac, Dennis, Charlie, and Frank plan to spend the night at the museum before Dee drops the bomb that one of the four of them impregnated her on Halloween night. This sparks a Rashomon-style narrative filled with flashbacks to the party in question, to get to the bottom of this terrible mystery. Quite a few recurring characters make a guest appearance in the half hour, including Artemis, the waitress, and (most notably) the endlessly creepy McPoyles.
Like South Park, It’s Always Sunny seems to thrive on this kind of short notice, reactionary comedy. “Who Got Dee Pregnant?” is about as good as the show gets, and I’m happy the getting is still this good six seasons in.
The sixth season of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia premieres Thursday, September 16th at 10/9c on FX.