While I was researching the television landscape of 2005 for a different article on this very site, I came across the fact that was the year It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia debuted. That got me thinking that it would make a good choice for a show to binge this weekend. Not that you can fit it all into one weekend.
Now, unless you like raunchy comedy, you should probably skip Always Sunny. Fortunately, raunch is just fine with me by and large. I would say the elevator pitch for Always Sunny is “raunchy Seinfeld.” It’s about four friends. Well, they are sort of friends, but they also hate each other. Nobody else can stand them, though, so they stick it out together. They run a bar together in Philadelphia, Paddy’s pub. I say four friends, but in truth that was only true of the first season and some change. During the second season, Danny DeVito was added to the cast literally to keep the show on the air. That was 14 years ago. The show is still on the air and is breaking cable TV records.
Everybody in the gang, as they are known, is a terrible person. Like, truly awful. They are also mostly dumb and gross. Dennis is a little smarter than the rest, but he’s also a monster who is maybe a serial killer. Charlie is probably the least terrible, but he’s also incredibly disgusting and a true idiot. He eats cat food before going to bed and can’t read or write. There’s also Mac, Dee, and Frank. Each of them is terrible in their own way.
Each episode is a different adventure. A lot of them involve trying to solve some big-picture problem they aren’t qualified for or taking some small, petty thing and blowing it out of proportion. They do horrible stuff to each other and to other people. In the end, things tend to blow up in their face, at least ideally. There are times when the gang actually gets one over on people, and I’ve never loved it. Then, there are the times when people like the McPoyles get one over on the gang. The McPoyles take the grossness of the gang at their worst and ratchets it up one more level.
The cast of Always Sunny is great. It introduced the world to actors like Charlie Day, Glenn Howerton, and Kaitlin Olson. No disrespect meant to the other member of the original gang, Rob McElhinney. He just seems to have stayed more focused on Always Sunny as well as behind-the-scenes work on other shows. Some episodes are a little too gross, or a little too sweaty. They have been trying to conjure up stories for 15 years now, after all. When the show hits, though, it’s as funny as anything on TV. That makes it worthy of a binge opportunity. You can honestly probably skip the first season, though. Maybe even the first couple. They are good, but if you’re pressed for time, you can jump ahead. You won’t be lost.