Binge Watchin' TV Review: It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia
Welcome to Binge Watchin,’ where we take a look at some of the best TV shows available on streaming or disc that have a great catalogue of seasons to jump into and get sucked into the beautiful bliss of binge watching! From crime, action, comedy, drama, animation, etc., we’ll be evaluating an assortment of shows that will hopefully serve as a gateway to your next binge experience.
Series: It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia
Number of Seasons: 11 (124 episodes to date)
What’s the show about?
It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia follows the wacky misadventures of The Gang, a group of friends who work at Paddy's Pub in the titular Pennyslvania city. Twins Dennis and Dee, closeted Mac, and the goofy Charlie have been friends since they were kids and work at the bar along with Frank, Dennis and Dee's father. The Gang think they are better than everyone around them and yet struggle to fit into society. Instead, they drink and get involved with plots big and small involving topics ranging from pyramid schemes to immigration. Truly a show about nothing and yet everything at the same time, no topic is out of bounds for this cast of crazies.
Why should I watch it?
The best way to explain It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia is to imagine if the writers of South Park and Seinfeld traded places. This series doesn't follow any logical rules with one episode wildly disconnected from the last. While there is a loose narrative through the eleven seasons of the show, each episode functions as a true standalone story that can be enjoyed out of context. Those who have stuck with the show since the beginning are likely to get more out of the zany plots and references to prior events, but newbies can drop in at any time and be shocked at what they see on screen. It's Always Sunny is not afraid to tackle anything or say anything. Hell, the show has featured the cast getting addicted to drugs and in another they performed in blackface. Yeah, this is a batshit crazy show.
Originally devised by stars Rob McElhenney and Glenn Howerton, the pair filmed their pilot on a Panasonic camcorder and shopped the DVD of the episode to networks. FX took a chance and ordered the series and the rest is history. It was not until season two that Danny DeVito joined the cast and took the hijinks to the next level. What started out as a goofy sitcom morphed into a live action cartoon. Since then the series has developed crazy schemes involving Dennis and Dee going on Welfare, Charlie staging a musical, and Mac questioning his sexuality. The show has also incorporated Kaitlin Olson's real life pregnancy into some of the most inappropriate stories about having a baby you can imagine. McElhenney also gained 60 pounds for the seventh season of the show, resulting in even more ridiculous jokes.
What makes this show work so well is the fact that it doesn't have any restrictions. The Gang are all despicable and terrible people, much like the characters on Seinfeld, and yet we love seeing them struggle and fail miserably episode after episode. Each season tries to top the previous one but they never feel forced. Thanks to the limited 13 episode season we are used to seeing on cable, It's Always Sunny delivers fewer outings but of a much higher quality. At eleven seasons, it also ranks as one of the longest running shows currently on prime time television and doesn't show any signs of wavering quality.
The show has been getting better with age, especially with some late season episodes like when the gang makes their own LETHAL WEAPON sequel or last season's foray into the suburbs, but the Season 4 finale "The Nightman Cometh" wrapped up a run of some of the best writing the show has ever had. From Frank entering a ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOO'S NEST mental hospital to memorable guest spots from Rob Thomas of Matchbox 20 and comedian Sinbad, the fourth season covers historical events and taboo topics like race relations with little to no subtlety and utter genius performances.
With at least three more seasons locked in for the FXX series, there is bound to be some insanity on the horizon we have yet to consider from this cast. With everyone involved with other projects (Rob McElhenney is directing the MINECRAFT movie, Kaitlin Olsen has a FOX sitcom coming, and Charlie Day is a regular fixture on the big screen), it may not last much longer after that. Still, we have over 100 episodes of the show to enjoy, each wackier than the last.