As the audience, we have been on a winding roller coaster with Always Sunny for the last 4 weeks. Frankly, it’s warranted. After “Frank’s Beauties,” we were subjected to “Sweet Dee Gets Audited,” “Frank’s Brother,” “The Storm of the Century,” and finally, “Chardee MacDennis: The Game of Games.” And where there was elation for “The Gang Goes to the Jersey Shore,” we came off that proverbial high to some pretty poorly written episodes. Let me take you on a journey.
First of all, none of these episodes deserve any failing grades. They all had some level of “hilarious ridiculosity” expected on Always Sunny. However, these episodes constitute a third of the overall season, and it’s fair to say, they don’t live up to the hype.
Sweet Dee getting audited for her dependency claim on the baby for whom she was a surrogate does garner some intrigue. However, the plot is mostly overtaken by a showing of the new “democratic” nature of Paddy’s Pub whereby Mac, Charlie, Dennis, and Frank vote on decisions. The writing for the boys is merely a distraction to some excellent acting by Kaitlin Olson (Dee) whilst trying to shake the IRS agent. Most of the comedic content comes from Dee in this episode.
“Frank’s Brother” is a weak attempt to bring Danny DeVito to the forefront of at least one or two episodes this season. It doesn’t work. I’m not sure who to blame, though I default to the writers. In this case, it may be Glenn Howerton (Dennis) and Rob McElhenney (Mac), the developers of the show, who are trying too hard to bring some character development to Frank. This show does not do character development, even as a ruse, to create situations to present comedy. It’s bad form, overused, and dried up. This episode was probably the most awkward and uncomfortable simply because there were no laughs to be heard.
At this point, one cannot lose hope. “The Storm of the Century” brought everything back into perspective. This paragraph deserves some first-person writing, so bear with me for just a minute. This episode has stuck with me after having seen it twice. It is not a shining example of how ridiculous or funny this show can be, but rather displays qualities of what a show can do to freeze frame in your mind, capture your attention.
The elements were all right. You start with one hilarious, yet true, cold open, sprinkle in a steady moving plot, a dash of Cricket (David Hornsby) getting shot, and some good ol’ fashioned rioting at the end, and you have yourself a concoction for a well-made episode. Watch this one; you will walk away satisfied.
That brings the focus back to the most recent episode “Chardee MacDennis.” This episode will be submitted in court one day as evidence as to why the 5 of them are completely insane. And we love it. Most of this episode came at us with great elements: suspense, cheating, and even a twist. But, what really made it special was the fact that you knew the writers spent time devising something that would truly make us laugh, albeit while chucking every conceivable notion of whimsy at the audience. The insanity level for this episode is very high, and for that, thanks are in order to The Gang.
So, that brings us all past mid-season. How have you liked it so far? Personally, they have had better seasons. Two or three of the first 7 episodes deserve recognition for how much time, thought, and laughter were put into and come out of them. That number seems a bit low to me. However, we have time. A handful of episodes remain, and from what I understand there are still a lot of on-location Philadelphia shots we have not seen yet. The anticipation remains promising, and there is still the fact that this show has not wavered in just how far up to the line they will go, and usually cross it.