If you’ve never seen it, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia follows the absurd and morally devoid adventures of a gang of five friends (played by Rob McElhenney, Glenn Howerton, Kaitlin Olson, Charlie Day and Prince Charming himself, Danny Devito) who own and work at a bar called Paddy’s Pub in Philly. And if you’ve never seen it, you should probably increase your therapy visits so you can figure out why you hate yourself so damn much.
Now in its seventh glorious season, Sunny is without a doubt the smartest and funniest show on television. And I don’t just mean out of shows currently on. Sunny is honestly the most well-written and brilliant show to ever grace sitcom history. Think that’s a bold claim? I challenge you to watch any two episodes. You’ll be struggling to find reasons to disagree.
With every episode of the show, the characters push the boundaries of their personalities to new extremes. Frank is always becoming increasingly more disgusting. Dennis becomes a little more obsessed with himself. Mac gets more desperate to prove his masculinity. Charlie transforms more into white trash and Dee tries harder to … well, matter.
On last night’s episode, High School Reunion, the gang revisits their high school days, each with a different personal mission to accomplish. For instance, Charlie’s is (surprise surprise!) to win over the waitress. Then there’s Frank, decades older than the rest of them, who just wants to get into the reunion so he can have friends to hang out with.
The MVP Award of the episode, however, belongs to Dee. Free of the back brace that was once the catalyst of her relentless torture, Dee shows up to the reunion determined to seek vengeance on the “popular” kids. All of the jerks who made her teenage years a living hell by calling her “the aluminum monster.”
To do so, she decides to pull a Lindsay Lohan in Mean Girls and pretend to make friends with them. She plans to gain their trust and seize the perfect moment to inflict the same degree of cruelty onto them that they bestowed onto her years earlier. But when she’s finally not rejected by (another) band of immature assholes, can she have the strength to forfeit being accepted for momentary payback?
While we’ll have to wait until part two of the episode (next week’s season finale) to find out the result, we witness in the meantime what happens when Dee gets to sit on the throne. “As far as I remember, all you really gotta do to get in with that crowd is be really cruel to people,” she says to Charlie. And cruel she becomes.
To gain cred with the “cool kids,” Dee begins throwing the rest of the gang under the bus. With the (epic) reveal of Mac’s full name being Ronald McDonald, Dee has a field day teasing him for his days as “Ronnie the Rat,” a nickname he acquired when he snitched on all the other drug dealers in the school.
In case that was too much information to sink in at once, let me spell it out again slowly. Mac’s real name is Ronald McDonald. In high school, he was a drug dealer who gained the nickname “Ronnie The Rat” after being a tattle-tail. Do you see what I mean about the show always managing to push itself to the next level?
Dee quickly realizes that amongst her new “friends,” homophobic jokes are particularly effective. “That’s what these gay guys do,” she laughs to her new buds Adriano and Brad when they find Mac and Frank standing above Charlie’s passed out body (from inhaling too much of his ammonia/bleach concoction) in the bathroom. “They just knock each other out with poppers and then find some kind of rabies infested rodent to tickle each other’s taints with.” The three of them then give Mac, Frank and Charlie wedgies. Naturally.
And then there’s Dennis. Anyone who watches Sunny can tell that Dennis is that type of douche who peaked in high school; so last night’s episode was a hilarious confirmation of what audience members have been thinking for seven seasons.
In the beginning of the episode, Dennis talks about revisiting the mid-90s when he was a “golden god.” He sits alone at a table expecting for people to flock to him. Or as he calls it, “to kiss my ring.” Yet when nobody approaches him except for the waitress (who has again fallen off the wagon), his ex-wife, Maureen Ponderosa (or as she is fondly referred to by the gang, “Dead Tooth”) and Frank (who managed to sneak past the security guard and steal the waitress’ nametag), he realizes that his stock has plummeted and becomes desperate for attention.
These cameos from Dennis’ past are part of what makes High School Reunion such a fantastic episode. Particularly the appearance of Rickety Cricket, who we’ve watched give up his priesthood to be with Dee (who was faking interest to get him to do the gang a favor) and ultimately evolve into a homeless, ringworm covered crack head that Mac and Dennis teabag on a regular basis. In last night’s episode, he fakes joining the clergy again so he can “bless” everyone at the reunion by shaking their hands, only to really be pick-pocketing them.
Speaking of reoccurring characters, the inclusion of the waitress in this episode is another example of comedy gold struck by writers Howerton and McElehenny. As it was with Mac, the waitress’ real name had never been revealed on the show prior to last night. Mandated to wear nametags at the reunion, the waitress goes looking for hers only to discover that hers is missing (god damn it Frank!). This leads her to believe that she was so irrelevant in high school that people forgot she existed. Genius.
The chaos that ensues in High School Reunion is just another example of how It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia explores territory and makes fun of things that no other shows have the nerve to even consider touching.
So like I do every week, I just want to extend a big “thank you” to the cast and crew of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia for making a show actually worth my cable bill.
It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia airs on FX on Thursday at 10 PM (EST).