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Here Comes the Sun

  • Jan 14, 2012
In my review of The Big Bang Theory, I mentioned that show may be the Seinfeld of the millennium because of the way its cast chemistry carries it, and because of how mean the main characters can be to each other. Where the two differ is that Seinfeld was a dark comedy and The Big Bang Theory really isn't quite so dark. When Seinfeld was made, creators Jerry Seinfeld and Larry David held strong to a particular rule necessitated by all the cutesy family after-school-lesson comedies of the 80's: No Lessons, no hugging. The Big Bang Theory might have a few Lessons in its canon, but it generally isn't a Lesson show. And hugs are certainly in abundance - even the socially underdeveloped Sheldon has received the occasional hug.

Spiritually, the real millennial successor to Seinfeld resides on cable TV, on the edgy FX network. That show is It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia. And the prognosis of It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia is far from sunny. Sunny is a dark, cutting, offensive and excessively cruel show. The Big Bang Theory and How I Met Your Mother - as well as Friends back in Seinfeld's era, the 90's - actively try to come off as likable. Seinfeld was different in that it didn't try to hold on to its viewing audience; it acted indifferent. It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia outright hates your guts. The characters are bastards, pigs, weasels, thieves, and virtually every other nasty term you can think to apply to them. Sunny seems to actively be trying to push its potential audience away by being as vulgar as possible.

And you know what? It's funny as hell too. It's definitely offensive and tasteless - one of the episodes revolves around The Gang trying to figure out which one of them pooped in one of their beds - but it's also very funny.

The Gang is what the title card of the show calls the five collective main characters - Dennis Reynolds (Glen Howerton), his twin sister Dee (Kaitlin Olson), Ronald McDonald, whom everyone calls Mac (Rob McElhenney), Charlie Kelly (Charlie Day), and the legal father of Dennis and Dee and possible biological father of Charlie, Frank Reynolds (Danny DeVito). They run a pub called Paddy's in South Philadelphia, which is mostly failing. The one time it did appear to finally be meeting with the success the characters so badly wanted, they learned that maintaining their success would require the exertion of actual work and chose to go into the back room and huff instead.

That explains everything you need to know about all of these people. Wikipedia offers the closest description of their attributes: "They are dishonest, egotistical, selfish, greedy, unethical, lazy, manipulative, deceitful, hypocritical, self-centered, vain, disloyal, unremorseful, overly competitive, immature, vengeful, antagonistic, and arrogant." And that doesn't even cover the whole shebang. They also have a very high sense of self-worth which none of them have earned. And while they're friends outwardly, their friendship is only a friendship in the loosest possible context of the term. None of them would think twice about selling out or endangering the others in the name of some kind of personal gain. And none of them understand that complaining about being used by one of the others when they would do it themselves is hypocrisy, either.

All of the main characters are both evil and blitheringly stupid. They are just as shameless, and frequently resort to the most underhanded means possible to get something they want. In one well-known episode, they smoke cocaine in order to qualify for welfare. In another, the men hold a beauty pageant just to score with some hot models. The writing doesn't hold anything back: In one of the earliest episodes, one of the characters debates whether or not he should try to bang an underage girl who walks into the bar.

Aside from the shared personality traits of all the characters, all of them have their own traits, and they don't help make any of these awful people better. Dennis is vain about his looks. Charlie has issues with anger management. Dee is very egocentric and wants to be an actress but lacks the talent or the ambition. Mac brags about his hand to hand combat skills but doesn't have so much as basic athletic balance. Frank has a sordid past with a long history of shady dealings.

This show is about The Gang scheming and plotting against innocent bystanders and against one another for personal gain. Episodes frequently end with their humiliation.

I can't explain why Sunny is so much fun to watch. This is not a show where it's fun or moving to sit down and try to relate to the characters. If anything, these are people who people might want to see a psychiatrist if they find themselves getting too spiritually close to any of them. It may help to explain that Sunny is a true show to appeal to our ids: Our base instincts enjoy watching characters with no inhibitions and no parts of their souls that would prevent them from kicking old people down the stairs. They exist purely for their own pleasure, in their own little worlds. It also helps that the writing and scheming is as brutally funny as it is ridiculous. Or maybe it's just gratifying to see that people who can be the real-life version of nasty get comeuppances, even if they are only fictional. We enjoy seeing the Fred Phelpses and David Dukes of the world being the assholes they always were, and eventually being forced to run away or getting publicly humiliated, shunned, or beat up.

That's the story and I'm sticking to it. Sunny has gotten to be one of my favorite shows, despite the ways it occasionally offends me to the very core of my being.

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January 15, 2012
I haven't exactly gotten into this show as of yet. But the few episodes I've seen, I did like what I saw. Nice one!
More It's Always Sunny in Philadelp... reviews
Quick Tip by . June 17, 2010
I just wish they didn't yell so much, heh.
Quick Tip by . December 03, 2009
I'm worried that I'll subconsciously pick up the terrible behaviors exhibited on the show... but really, who cares?? Great show!
Quick Tip by . October 18, 2009
"Cannibalism? Racism? Dude that's not for us. Those decisions are better left to the suits in Washington. We're just here to eat some dude!"
Quick Tip by . September 01, 2009
One of my favorites! So pumped for the new season Sep 17!
Quick Tip by . September 01, 2009
Always Sunny... like a train wreck every week. Looking forward to this series picking up again on the 17th.
About the reviewer
Nicholas Croston ()
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Hi! I'm here in part to plug my writing and let everyone know that I'm trying to take my work commercial.      Now, what about me? Well, obviously I like to write. I'm … more
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It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia is an American television sitcom created and developed by Rob McElhenney, Glenn Howerton, and Charlie Day. It premiered on FX on August 4, 2005. The show follows the exploits of a group of self-centered friends who run Paddy's Pub, an unsuccessful Irish bar in South Philadelphia.
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Tv Shows, Television Shows, Comedy, Sitcoms, Danny Devito, Its Always Sunny In Philadelphia


Genre: Comedy
Cast: Danny DeVito

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"Here Comes the Sun"
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