I’ve moved house and country recently, so have spent the last few months packing and generally getting stressed out. Fortunately, you can pack while watching TV so I have been watching a lot of Netflix – specifically a show called It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia.
The show revolves around four characters who own/work in an Irish pub in Philadelphia. In series two they are joined by Danny Devito who raised two of the characters and may be the biological father of another. The first series is great but when Mr Devito joins up things get greater. All five characters are a bit mental/ shallow/ narcissistic/ sociopathic/ just plain a bit fucked up. It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia has been described as ‘Seinfeld on crack’ which I guess is kind of fair given the shallow cynicism of the protagonists and the ludicrous situations that evolve but they are from a very different social spectrum. In one episode, the crack analogy literally happens when two of the characters – Dennis and Dee – decide to start smoking crack just so that they can get benefits. (To give you some idea of the shenanigans they get up to.)
It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia treads very close to the line of being offensive but remains continuously funny. Unless you are easily offended and lack a sense of humour, in which case just move along. If you have ever written a letter of complaint about a TV show then don’t watch this and do something more meaningful and less whining with your life. For everyone else, prepare for a treat.
Here is a brief intro to the characters:
Dennis Reynolds – a good looking narcissist who gets lots of women but there are moments where what he gets up to are a little disturbing. His DENNIS system of getting women for example, is funny but a little unnerving.
Dee Reynolds – Dennis’s sister. She aspires to be an actress but isn’t really very good. She even gets stage fright which causes her to vomit. Which is funny.
Mac – Dennis’s flatmate and self proclaimed badass. His dad is a convicted drug dealer and he can be a bit of a religious gun nut. Good times.
Charlie – used to be a part owner but sold all of his shares for food and stuff. He now works as a janitor and is often seen sniffing the cleaning supplies. He is also semi literate and semi stalks a local waitress.
Frank Reynolds – Dennis and Dee’s legal father and possibly Charlie’s real dad. Great at business but a bit dodgy. At times, very dodgy. (The Devito character.)
I would mention some classic moments but there are just too many. Although the characters are all a bit on the negative/dark side, you kind of like them. They may be semi alcoholic and nearly everyone they meet comes off worse for having done so, but it is so damn funny you forget or forgive most of their behaviour. Where It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia succeeds is getting these strong disparate characters to exacerbate nearly every situation to the point where it is fucking hilarious (and sometimes quite extreme) while remaining believable given their motivations and personalities.
To quote Dennis: “We immediately escalate everything to a ten. … (S)omebody comes in with some preposterous plan or idea, then all of a sudden everyone’s on the gas, nobody’s on the brakes, nobody’s thinking, everyone’s just talking over each other with one idiotic idea after another. Until, finally, we find ourselves in a situation where we’ve broken into somebody’s house – and the homeowner is home.” (I saw that quote on wikepedia and it is a good one, so thanks for that.)
This review has run on longer than I meant it to but I have smiled while writing it. I heartily recommend It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia. Make sure you keep watching until Danny Devito enters in series two. Then you will be hooked. I am actually a little jealous. Enjoy.