Philly Mag’s social scene photographer HughE Dillon selects 2013’s best snaps
This is the best thing ever:
Zap2It explains: “From the bizarre and fun file comes a video of Japanese kindergartners singing “Day Man,” a song written by Dennis (Glenn Howerton) and Charlie (Charlie Day) on “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia.” It sounds better coming from the children than it ever did from Dennis or Charlie, but one has to wonder where this video came from. Who had the idea of teaching these kids the song? Most importantly, why is Peter Griffin from “Family Guy” drawn on the dry erase board behind them?”
It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia lampooned the gun debate last night—the latest issue that’s gotten the gang “hot” enough to want to do something about it. The gang being anarchy incarnate, however, a structured debate weighing pros and cons is never in the diplomatic cards. Which, of course, is why we love them.
Of course, the gang’s reign of terror in the Always Sunny universe is the core of our enjoyment, and that goes double for when they set their sights on the controversial issue of the day.
“Gun Fever Too: Still Hot” opens with Frank roping in a Philly news anchor on air with a story about defending himself against a group of muggers who may have “wanted money, or they wanted something more sexual.” Waving around a pistol and a revolver while eating a hoagie, Frank wraps up his diatribe with a recommendation that Philadelphians head down to Gunther’s Guns and strap up. Cut to an increasingly “hot” gang, each member explaining their stance on the gun issue to reveal a 50/50 split: Dee and Dennis vs. Mac and Charlie. The latter duo wants a gunslinging Philly, and hopes to get “more guns on the streets,” in Mac’s words. Dee and Dennis, on the other hand, want stricter regulations because in their view, anyone can buy a gun.
With matchups like this, Always Sunny cannot be topped, especially with the trio of Charlie Day, Glenn Howerton and Rob McElhenney having written this episode. Their grasp of the characters shine in these kinds of episodes, with Mac and Charlie serving as one of the greatest comedy duos currently going—Dee and Dennis, meanwhile, are the perfect high-stress, low-values foils. Each team’s approach to proving their point reflects that.
Mac and Charlie, being “hit the streets” kind of guys, head down to the local middle school, headed up by Dave Foley reprising his role as school principal from season six. The pair’s “hotness” really comes out here, with Mac toting a “saber” (samurai sword) and Charlie dry-firing a revolver the whole time to show his well-known “hair trigger.” Foley, of course, kicks them out, leaving Mac and Charlie to defend the school on their own from the outside—which they do by harassing kids wearing black (“I’m just gonna profile this guy real quick”) and taking their cell phones before deciding to educate the kids in self-defense. That, however, devolves into an off-screen “Hunger Games scenario,” one of the episode’s few letdowns.
Dennis and Dee, meanwhile, head down to Gunther’s Guns to buy a “man destroyer,” in Dennis’ words, in the form of an AR-15 (the model the media has focused on most recently). They are denied due to a failed background check, Dennis for an “extensive history of felonious behavior,” and Dee for a short period of institutionalization (she burned her college roommate, who “deserved it,”). In a rage over their gun denial, the duo sets out to obtain a gun from a gun show, but that doesn’t work, so to the black market they go. Specifically, they head back to the season-two drug dealer who got them hooked on crack, who happily strolls off with Dennis’ $1,500, and his gun (“Go stop him? The man has an assault rifle, what am I supposed to do?”).
By the time the gang flip-flops on their views (“If only we could have met up two hours ago,” Mac mourns), that they won’t solve the gun debate is already a foregone conclusion. But the reveal that Frank has simply been playing the city for a profit—he bought a stake in Gunther’s Guns—is the kind of evil comedic genius that Always Sunny pulls off perfectly in its satire. Frank’s on to his next scam, water filters, and the gang is left to ponder why they were ever upset in the first place if nothing can be fixed (or, as Frank says, “I’m the duper, you guys are the dupees”). With that, we remember why the gang, the five worst people in Philadelphia (if not the world), are the least equipped to handle these kinds of issues.
The Always Sunny writing staff, though, are no strangers to satire, having cut their teeth on countless biting social and political events transformed into a mental playground for the gang to play on and eventually destroy or forget. It’s been a long running theme for the show to take on the problem du jour, and in many ways, that’s where it shines most. These are Always Sunny’s most blistering satire episodes:
“The Gang Gets Racist”
The show’s pilot, “The Gang Gets Racist,” set the satirical tone for the entire series. Worried with their lack of ethnic friends after Dee brings a black friend back to the bar—and after the Waitress overhears Charlie uttering the dreaded “n-word—the gang sets out to add some black friends to their group. It doesn’t work, of course, but the gang does reveal some startling truths about the American view on race along the way.
Not surprisingly, last night wasn’t the first time the gang took on America’s gun problem (and lost miserably, so at least it’s realistic). This season 1 episode revolves around Paddy’s Pub being robbed, leaving the gang to defend their turf after buying a gun at Mac’s recommendation. From the “power” Charlie feels in holding the gun, to the decision Mac and Dennis make to become “vigilantes,” this episode perfectly lampoons the “rugged individualism” approach to security, especially by the likes of the gang.
“The Great Recession”
Few shows mock the current economic climate as well as Always Sunny, perhaps because its protagonists are constantly out to make a buck or become famous by any means necessary. This season five episode is the economic satire standout, with the gang doing just that—Charlie becomes a crab person, Dee and Frank sell knives door-to-door, and Mac and Dennis come up with the economically flawed and ill-fated “Paddy’s dollars.” In their failure to grasp how the economy works, we see our own all too clearly. The episode’s inordinate product placement also serves as a great meta-gag that plays off the episode’s money-centric topic, giving the impression that selling out is the only way they could survive production.
“Dennis and Dee Go on Welfare”
Ah, the time where Dennis and Dee get hooked on crack. In season 2, the sibling duo decide they hate their jobs and leave Paddy’s Pub, drawing their funds, instead, from welfare after their unemployment checks run out—which, by their logic, they get because they’ve hooked themselves on crack. Frank, meanwhile, hires two “Work for Welfare” program applicants, who the gang eventually treats like slaves. Few episodes are as biting as this one, serving as a great skewer of our country’s inability to institute a working public welfare system.
“The Gang Runs for Office”
Of course the gang had to wait for Frank to show them the easy money potential of local politics (especially in Philly), which explains why this one didn’t come along until the second season. At the gang’s direction, Dennis decides on running for local comptroller, primarily so they can skim money from bribes—that premise alone is too real to not be funny—and live easy. From there, the political backstabbing begins, ending with cops demanding a bribe from Mac for bribing union officials because “that’s politics, bitch!” Only Always Sunny could put it quite that way.
With “The Gang Broke Dee,” It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia is back for its ninth season on FXX, and thankfully the gang is as nihilistic and amoral as ever. Famously called “Seinfeld on crack,” this has always been Always Sunny’s draw: Its characters are unabashedly self-interested, self-obsessed and megalomaniacal, long ago having eschewed any semblance of ethics in favor of the kind of narcissism that can only lead to a rock bottom that never seems to come. It is, in effect, the anti-Breaking Bad.
Wednesday night proved that, with the season opener starting out with Sweet Dee sipping Wild Turkey and snacking on a cake she had trash-picked from behind the bar (or, as Dennis says, “trash cake”). Depressed and despondent, Dee has finally accepted her role as the gang’s perpetual punching bag, filling in the guys’ usual ugly bird insults for them and seriously ruining their fun. Dennis, ever the rapey pseudo-alpha male, decides Dee needs an “average-to-below-average” man to turn her life around, or at least “take [her] off [their] hands forever.”
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It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia creator, producer and star Glenn Howerton is set to guest star on the upcoming second season of The Mindy Project, we’ve exclusively learned.
Howerton will take on the recurring role of Cliff Gilbert, a handsome mild-mannered attorney who ends up wooing (Mindy Kaling) on the Fox hit sitcom after they meet-cute in their office building. He will first appear in episode four.
The important thing to remember, if you’ve ever seen the show, is that Kaling’s love interests never last. So even though Always Sunny is about to finish out its run, Howerton hasn’t found a new place to settle just yet.
We already knew that Game of Thrones writers David Benioff and D. B. Weiss would be creating an episode of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia this season. Today, the New York Times brings us the back story:
When Mr. Weiss and Mr. Benioff hit upon an idea for “It’s Always Sunny” — a gloss on the novel and short story “Flowers for Algernon,” in which Mr. Day’s ne’er-do-well character is convinced that a scientific experiment is making him smarter — they suggested it to Mr. McElhenney.
Asked if they were tempted to kill off any principal “Sunny” characters, Mr. Weiss and Mr. Benioff said: “Nah. Those guys are immortal in our minds. They’re like the Simpsons.” As for supporting players like the unnamed Waitress or the down-on-his-luck Rickety Cricket, well — they didn’t quite answer the question.
Mr. McElhenney said that the intricate serialized style of “Game of Thrones” is “the polar opposite of what we do on ‘Sunny.’ ”
Rule No. 1 of “It’s Always Sunny,” he said, is “our characters never really change or grow,” or else “there’d be no show.”
Dennis from “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” (Glenn Howerton) has a new movie coming out. It’s called Coffee Town, and it’s about a bunch of guys trying to save the coffeeshop where they mill around. Yesterday Rolling Stone published an interview with Howerton in honor of the flick. Here are four things you will learn from the Q&A.
1. Power balladeer Josh Groban (“You Raise Me Up”) plays a barista and Howerton’s “nemesis” in Coffeetown. Howerton, like us, says he was “shocked” by the casting choice.
2. Why he and the “It’s Always Sunny” crew are calling it quits after 10 season. “There’s a certain point where you wear out your welcome and we don’t want to do that…I’m sure there are already a few people who are like ‘Jesus Christ is that show still on? Go away.'”
3. Why “It’s Always Sunny” has never even been nominated for an Emmy. “I don’t know what it is man, because I meet enough people, well respected people in this business who are really big fans of our show…In a lot of ways, it’s kind of our fault, because we never go to the parties, you know, the events you’re supposed to. We’ve never really played the game.”
4. Is he into twisted Asian horror movies? “Right now I’m watching a lot of twisted Asian horror.”
BTW: Coffee Town
Technically, Charlie Day isn’t a Philadelphian—he just plays one on TV. But that’s close enough for us to follow his career in the movies, where he appears in the new monster movie, Pacific Rim. Vanity Fair interviewed Day and posted the video today:
The Always Sunny crew has been in Philly this week, shooting scenes, doing quizzo at Mac’s Tavern, etc. One Redditor posted a photo of Mac and Charlie, wearing full retro-futuristic space gear. Based on my knowledge of their whereabouts, and the very Philadelphian appearance of the sidewalk pictured, I’ll go ahead and assume this photo was taken somewhere in Philadelphia. Or maybe they’re not DIY astronaut suits. As one commenter on the thread suggested, the crew is simply planning on cooking up some methamphetamine.Plausible. Very plausible.
Variety has posted new commercials for Season 9 of Always Sunny on its YouTube page. They’re black-and-white, and they’re Swedish: