For 12 solid seasons, the show It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia has managed to stay demented, off the walls, and absolutely hilarious. Unlike most shows that aim to have characters better themselves in some sort of way, whether that be emotionally, physically, or even spiritually, this show has never been that. In fact, the creators stray far from that norm and actually try to make their characters more and more despicable, the more deranged, the better. Dennis has gone from the more intelligent but shallow older brother into a narcissistic sociopath for example whereas the most recognizable actor, Danny DeVito’s character Frank has gone from eccentric business owner to repulsive troll. The creators didn’t make characters we are to relate to, yet the show maintains a large following and has for a dozen seasons.
This season the format is a bit different. Typically each episode starts with the setup, a joke, and then the reveal of the episode’s title. We still have this setup but the subject matter has been strictly focused on current events that have been in recent news. Usually the gang is less involved with the outside world and more invested in their own selfish schemes, however this season we see them combating real world issues. The season premiere “The Gang Gets Racist”, saw our gang featured in their musical episode. Musical episodes eventually happens when a comedic series lasts for this long (for example Buffy the Vampire Slayer or Xena: Warrior Princess). It’s Always Sunny finally got theirs and decided to tackle controversial topics such as Black Lives Matters.
Without spoiling the episode for you, yes you read that right and yes they went there. This is a show that does not shy away from controversial matters or worries about offending. At times one may cringe but even the most shocking moments are done in ways so annoyingly smart, it’s hard to be offended. For some reason, they get away with it. Another example is the episode PTSDee, an episode that brings up the issue of PTSD within veterans but lightens the mood with some Magic Mike action. This is a combination that shouldn’t be funny, but you’ll end up hating yourself for laughing so hard.
It’s hard to believe that a show this demented has been able to stay fresh and retain its viewers for so long. And while the show that aims to be the absolute worst and everything that other comedies are not, it has this season had one moment of growth for one member of the gang. This reveal has been a long running gag for several seasons, but finally the joke has been put to rest. For the most part I feel that the change was rather refreshing and unexpected. Hopefully it will allow for weirder, wilder shenanigans in their future.