Monday, September 10, 2007

I'm nothing but a corporate shill (AKA The "Sunny" Season 3 Review)

I have an embarrassing admission to make. I'm nothing more than a common huckster, and worse than that, I'm shilling for none other than the Prince of Darkness himself, Rupert Murdoch. That's right - just send a little swag my way and I'll sell out my own grandmother in a heartbeat.

By way of explanation, I've been recruited by an independent marketing firm to review the first few episodes of "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia", which airs on Fox network's cable outlet, FX. All it took to bring me over to the dark side was a preview disc and an awesome Paddy's Pub t-shirt. Shameless, isn't it?

Perhaps it is precisely this flaw in my character which drew me to "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia" in the first place. It's exactly the kind of self-serving behavior you're likely to see depicted on the show. Mac, Dennis, Dee, Charlie and Frank are not merely unsympathetic characters - they're amoral bottom feeders. As one of the guest stars this season so aptly put it, they "are the most horrible people alive".

"Sunny" is a tough show to describe to the uninitiated. I've found it best to just force random passersby to watch it for themselves. To that end, I popped in the preview DVD while my family had dinner last night. My husband had only watched one episode previously, and my dad had never seen the show.

After 22 solid minutes of choking on our swiss steak, Mark & I first hosed ourselves off, then volunteered to take the rest of the episodes elsewhere to watch, so we wouldn't keep bothering Dad. "Hell no!" exclaimed my 62-year-old father. "That's funnier than any damn thing I watched all last year...except maybe Scrubs." He's not exactly in the target demographic, but I don't think any 18-to-35 year old could have put it more eloquently.

As for myself, I haven't laughed so hard so continuously since watching an entire season of "Arrested Development" back-to-back on DVD. And I guess the two shows actually have a few things in common, such as the lack of a studio audience or laugh track, and the lack of any moral fiber in the characters. But where "Arrested" was dry and subtle, "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia" is loud and in your face. It's dark, it's subversive, it's often offensive - most importantly, it's very funny. And that's the mark of a truly great sitcom (or at least it should be).

Regarding the new season, I'm just not the breed of cat to hit you with the spoilers. Despite the alacrity with which I sacrificed my principles, I do still have some standards... But surely it couldn't be considered spoiling to reveal the titles of the first 4 episodes (which, as any true "Sunny" fan knows, always cut right to the point). We have:

Episode 1 - The Gang Finds A Baby In A Dumpster ("Well, put it back! It doesn't belong to you!")

Episode 2 - The Gang Gets Invincible (that's "Invincible" as in "the New Kids On The Block movie" about the Philadelphia Eagles)

Episode 3 - Dennis And Dee's Mom Is Dead (For real this time. How can that not be pure comedy gold?)

Episode 4 - The Gang Gets Held Hostage (Well, of course they do. It's not like they've ever made any enemies...)

Rather than try to outline the finer points of the plots, I thought I'd share with everyone the Lessons I Learned From The First 4 Episodes of "Sunny", Season 3:
  • Charlie's mother is a giant whore.
  • Putting an old boombox in a plastic bag makes an awesome shower radio.
  • Dumpster babies are heavy.
  • There is no way that a mouse could kill a scorpion.
  • Dee has bones made of glass, feet like wrecking balls, and her body is "like, 90% scoliosis".
  • McPoyles like it hot & clammy, and have thin corneas.
  • Dennis has the stride of a beautiful, beautiful gazelle-person.
  • Stockholm Syndrome does not cause a sore throat.
  • No one understands the subtleties of Charlie's retardation better than Mac.
  • A cool Ali Baba sword could "chop a camel right in its hump", allowing you to drink its milk right off the tip.
  • You do NOT want to accidentally stumble into Charlie's "Bad Room".
  • You can survive for at least 3 days on nothing but hand soap and toilet water.
You, too, can learn all these things and more by tuning in to "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia" this season, starting with the back-to-back season episodes this Thursday, September 13th at 10pm Eastern. If you choose not to watch, you'd best heed Charlie's words of warning:

"If here by now then bad place be. Trouble time 4 U when heat comes."

Sobering words, indeed. Do yourself a favor and watch.

Later, bitches!

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