Going into the latest season of “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia,” I wasn’t sure what to expect, given the promos making the rounds.
For those unfamiliar, the ads for the latest seasons implied that either there was going to be a sitcom-within-the-sitcom based on the antics of our gang, or else that our fave cast was going to be replaced by a new cast altogether. Naturally, I assumed the former, but it was either an elaborate hoax or they haven’t gotten around to that plotline yet, because there was nary a sight of the likes of Andrew Dice Clay (in Danny DeVito’s role) or Xzibit (as Sweet Dee!), among others. (Here’s a link to said trailer)
Could make for some fun laughs, right? If anything, it’s such a crazy idea; it might actually work- at least if it was a one-off episode or a recurring bit on the show. I don’t know if it’s something I would want to watch on a long-term basis, but that’s mostly because I like the show just fine as it is, which is a testament to the cast as it is now. (Long-time fans will recall that Danny DeVito didn’t join until the second season.)
Anyway, none of that factored into the first episode, the amusingly-titled “Pop-Pop: The Final Solution,” which revolved around the decision by Dee (Kaitlin Olson) and Dennis (Glenn Howerton) as to whether or not to pull the plug on their not-so-beloved Pop-Pop (Tom Bower), a former Nazi (hence the title) currently in a coma.
This in turn led to the realization by Charlie (Charlie Day) that the box of mostly Nazi-themed memorabilia that he and a newly-svelte Mac (Rob McElhenney) trashed in a previous episode contained a painting of a dog that could have possibly been drawn by Hitler himself.and thus could be worth a fortune. The problem was that Frank (DeVito), Charlie’s roommate, was creeped out by the painting (“Its smug aura mocks me.”) and gave it away, so the boys must track it down.
All of this led to the usual off-kilter hilarity, which, this being “It’s Always Sunny,” is to say anything but the usual sitcom fare. The show really is like “Seinfeld” minus any sort of redeeming value in the characters whatsoever. If ever a cast actually deserved to end up in the clink at the end of the show’s run, it’s this one, and I don’t think anyone would bitch about it in their case. If anything, it seems about right. They’ll either end up in jail or dead or a variation of the two, mark my words.
Honestly, can you think of another comedic show that features a prominent plot about committing euthanasia? Or where that would be feasible? (Okay, maybe companion show “The League,” but even there, it would be a bit out-of-character.) Much less where the people dealing with said predicament decide they should work their way up to it by sentencing a pound pooch to its doom? (“Let’s kill something less important first, see how that goes, then move up.”)
Okay, so they ended up setting all the dogs free instead (“Let’s let Pop-Pop and these dogs die as nature intended- slowly and painfully.”), but leave it to this show for that to make things worse, when upon returning to the hospital, a doctor informs them: “We’ve had an incredible amount of stray dog attacks all over the city, so our ER’s slammed.”
It all ends with the boys determining the painting is worthless and tossing it in the fire, only for it to be revealed, as they walk away, that the painting was indeed helmed by Hitler and they just burned away a fortune. Ah, “IASIP,” you truly don’t do happy endings, do you? Gotta love it.
Overall, fairly inspired hilarity, if not the truly off-the-wall meta-com the ads promised, but hopefully we’re working our way up to that, because it’s too awesome a conceit not to explore for real. We’ll see in the weeks to come.
Best lines: Mac, regarding his sunglasses: “Now I can determine a subject threat level without them being able to feel my retinal assessment.” (“Retinal assessment” is now my new favorite saying.) Dennis, regarding the visit to Pop-Pop, who’s surrounded by left-over soup: “We are making a decision about whether or not to take an old man’s life, not whether or not to eat old rancid soups!” Mac, determining who would play him in the movie based on their “DaVinci Code”-like Hitler quest: “This is about ripping open the fabric of historical fact and making a film about it, starring Ryan Gosling as me! He’s the only one who can handle my intensity!”
What did you think? Business as usual or a new low? Personally, I thought the old home movies of the Nazi Boy Scout Camp were worth the price of admission. Were you disappointed not to see the Bizarro alt-universe cast? Or are you relieved to see it was just a stunt? Let me know in the comments!