Hilarity shines on in 'Always Sunny'

From left to right: Kaitlin Olson, Glenn Howerton, Danny DeVito, Charlie Day, and Rob McElhenney star in "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia".

By Tim Angerame
Entertainment Editor
Every day when I get home, I turn on the TV in my room. If thunderstorms aren’t blocking my satellite cable, I always watch an episode of “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” on Comedy Central, sandwich and Pepsi in hand.
The show revolves around “The Gang”, five young adults who run “Paddy’s Pub”, an unsuccessful and unremarkable Irish bar. They are Dennis and Dee Reynolds (Glenn Howerton and Kaitlin Olson, respectively) their step-father Frank (Danny DeVito), and their friends Ronald “Mac” MacDonald (Rob McElhenney) and Charlie Kelly (Charlie Day).
Dennis has an overwhelming, borderline sociopathic, superiority complex, doesn’t really take any criticism, and drives a Range Rover. His twin sister Dee constantly tries and fails to become a professional actress. She thinks she knows more than she actually does, has had multiple failed relationships and the rest of the gang thinks she “looks like a bird”. Frank Reynolds, a formerly wealthy (and shady) business man was recently divorced by his wife, and wants to embrace poverty like the rest of the gang. He makes his debut in Season 2, and knows multiple shady business practices to keep it going.
Dennis’ roommate Mac prides himself on being strong, athletic and on never losing a fight. In reality, he is severely uncoordinated and he either chickens out of or badly loses any fight he goes into. In “The D.E.N.N.I.S. system”, it is revealed that he goes for the rebound whenever Dennis’ girlfriends break up with him.
Mac’s childhood friend Charlie is the poorest in the group, and also the dumbest. He lives in a tiny, unsanitary apartment with Frank, is illiterate and in a criminal negotiation once referred to his payout as “Many thousands of green people from history times”. However his ability to write plays and play the piano suggest that he is an idiot savant. He is extremely terrible with women, most notably the unnamed Waitress (Mary Elizabeth Ellis), a woman he loves and constantly stalks.
Charlie’s frequent awkward encounters with the Waitress have led to multiple restraining orders and worsened chances. However Charlie cannot accept that he cannot have her (she is actually more attracted to Dennis), and has resorted to using incredibly elaborate schemes to be close to her. In “Charlie has Cancer” Charlie notices the Waitress wearing a Livestrong bracelet, and pretends to have cancer to extract a sympathy date. Thinking that Charlie really does have cancer, Mac and Dennis pay the Waitress $250 to sleep with Charlie. In “The Nightman Cometh”, Charlie strikes a deal with the Waitress that if she sits through a musical that he wrote (where he sings a marriage proposal at the end), he would never bother her again.
She is unimpressed at the end of the play,  and tells Charlie she is glad she will never see him again, to which he retorts “Well I did never sign anything… so um, I’ll see you tomorrow?” It is funny to see Charlie go through all this trouble seeing that Mary Elizabeth Ellis, who plays the Waitress, is Charlie Day’s real life wife.
The Gang’s members are greedy, unintelligent, drug-abusing, and unbelievably self-centered people. And they’re freaking hilarious. Most of the episodes revolve around their poorly thought out get-rich-quick schemes, ridiculous plans to promote the bar (designing a shotgun to shoot beer into peoples’ mouths), and pathetic attempts to exact petty revenge or commit petty crimes. Their schemes rarely work out and often leave them in worse shape than they were before.

For example, in the episode “Dennis and Dee go on Welfare,” Dennis and Dee decide to leave their employment at Paddy’s to pursue the professional careers of their dreams. They become crack addicts in less than a day’s span. In another episode, “The Gang Buys a Boat,” the gang pools their money together and well… buys a boat. And unintentionally burn it down the same night.

The show usually begins with a cold opening in which the characters are going about their business. At a certain part of the intro where something poignant or funny is mentioned, the name of the episode and the opening titles are shown. For example, in one episode, Dee tells the gang that she has finally found a way to cheat her taxes and beat the system. The opening titles immediately reveal the name of the episode to be “Sweet Dee gets Audited.”

The no-holds barred lifestyle of the gang has led to several moments of dark comedy. In “Dennis and Dee’s Mom is Dead,” Frank pops open a bottle of champagne and smokes cigars to celebrate the death of his “whore wife” from a botched neck lift. In “Sweet Dee gets Audited,” Dee gets $30,000 for being a surrogate and tries to scam the IRS by listing the child as a dependent. When she gets caught, she doesn’t have any documentation for “Barnabas Reynolds,” so she and the gang reluctantly have to created a fake funeral to make it seem as if the nonexistent baby had died before any documentation could be made. They even had a giant stock photo of a baby on display that reads “Barnabas Reynolds: 2010 – Too Soon“.

The show is pretty much the characters of “Seinfeld” in the setting of “Cheers” using the humor of “South Park”. Just five people with extremely different personalities in an everyday setting getting into extremely outrageous situations. As I said before, the show can get a little dark at times, but it’s still hilarious.