By Jimmy Owens
Quite possibly one of the funniest, crudest and most thought provoking shows of its generation, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia reflects a shining portrait of how not to behave in a modern society. The show revolves around four young friends who run an Irish themed pub called “Paddy’s”. They represent the massive, unfettered ego which exists inside us all. The show’s creator, Rob McElhenny, plays Mac, an “expert” in karate. The character of Charlie is played by Charlie Day and siblings Dee and Dennis are played by Kaitlin Olsen and Glen Howerton respectively. The gang tackle societal taboos in a humorously childish manner. No subject is off-limits as they challenge the ideas of racism, homophobia, gun rights, abortion and paedophilia.
In the second season Frank Reynolds is introduced to the mix as Dee and Dennis’ dad. Played brilliantly by Danny DeVito, Frank abandons his lavish lifestyle to live in a studio apartment with Charlie and becomes part of the “fringe Society”. Frank fits in perfectly with the rest of the gang, and is often needed to offer financial support to get some their hair-brained schemes off the ground.
The characters are narcissistic, disgusting and politically incorrect, but hilariously on target with their social commentary of the ills that affect the everyday lives of people the world over. Despite the fact that not one of the characters has a single redeeming quality, you will find yourself identifying and agreeing with every one of them about so many “hot button” issues. Each episode sees the gang come up with a half-baked idea that they fully throw themselves behind, often to disastrous effects.
In one particular episode, “The Gang Goes Jihad”, an Israeli property developer buys the property adjacent to the bar and finds that the property lines split the pub right down the middle. He then erects a fence to keep the gang off of his property and half of Paddy’s. This expertly satirises the situation in Palestine. In reaction to this the gang goes jihad and, in attempt to frighten of the aggressor, they accidentally burn down his property.
What gives this show its charm is the fact that throughout the entire series there is zero character growth. There are no lessons to be learned, they are not made better people by their experiences. From episode one of season one to episode ten of season nine, the gang’s attitude to life and each other does not change. The humour throughout is entirely consistent which keeps you glued to your screen. I lost an entire weekend after stumbling upon It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia and regret none of it.
All nine seasons available on Netflix and they’re back for a tenth season, which premiers in the US on 16 January and will be available shortly after on Netflix.}