It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia Season 9 Review “The Maureen Ponderosa Wedding Massacre”

It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia Season 8 Episode 3 Maureen Ponderosa's Wedding Massacre

Injecting comedy into horror isn’t that hard- the genre sort of lends itself to ridicule at times, especially the slasher or zombie subgenres- but attempting a horror-comedy most certainly is. For every “Evil Dead 2” or “Dead/Alive,” there’s a god-awful attempt like “Return of the Living Dead 2” or “Shriek if you Know What I did Last Friday the 13th”- as to the latter, who’d have thought someone would actually make the “Scary Movie” look like fine satire in comparison?

Such was the uphill battle “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” faced in their Halloween-themed episode “The Maureen Ponderosa Wedding Massacre.” Oddly enough, though it was clear that their hearts were in the right place- witness the small army of horror in-jokes- in a weird way, it was almost too effective. By which I mean, it was actually kind of disturbing and creepy at times! Not exactly what you want in a supposed comedy show, yet there it was.

That said, the episode had its moments, including the always-welcome return of the McPoyle Clan, including fellow critic Catherine Reitman- check out her great web movie review show here and while you’re at it, here’s mine. (Go easy on mine- I don’t have the budget she has!)

For once, they actually allowed Reitman to look like the babe she is- not a lot of hot critics out there, alas- albeit with considerable enhancements! Can’t say I blamed Dennis for his transgressions, even if it cost him in the end. Honestly, though, I’m just glad she fixed those teeth! (The character, not Catherine, lol.)

We discovered that the McPoyle family has a long history of inbreeding, which, as Dee noted, explains a lot. Over the years, many died because of syphilis, with most of the others succumbing to mongoloid-ism. Good times! (Also, ick.)

Later on, most everyone got hopped up on bath salts (!), leading the boys to mistake them for zombies. Not sure why that would cause one of them to make with the contortion like an erstwhile possession victim, but hey, it was pretty impressive, regardless. There were also “Evil Dead,” “Blair Witch Project,” and “Jaws” homages, the latter the most elaborate, as Charlie recited a spin on Quint’s famous speech in that flick.

There was also a hilarious spoof of the doomsayer characters in films like “Friday the 13th” by, of all people, a guest-starring Guillermo Del Toro, unrecognizable underneath old age make-up. For those who don’t know the name, he’s the director of the likes of “Hellboy” and “Pan’s Labyrinth.” It wouldn’t have occurred to me in a million years that he would be a fan of “Sunny”- or they of him, for that matter- but you learn something new every day, I guess.

All in all, this wasn’t a particularly funny show, as so much of it was played surprisingly straight. As horror fan, I liked it just fine, but as a “Sunny” fan, it wasn’t so much funny as a bizarre anomaly. Too sincere to be funny, too broad to be truly funny, but there were a few funny bits. In addition to Toro’s riotous performance, Jimmy Simpson (as Liam McPoyle) had the best lines- or at least the funniest delivery of said lines. “Don’t be jelly,” he said to a bemused Dennis, when he discovered Liam was marrying his ex, “See you bitches on the dance floor.” Words don’t do justice to how exquisitely weird Simpson was- you gotta love it.

The bit with the bat was also pretty funny. “I just got tagged by a bat- suck out the poison, Dee!” cried Frank. “I’m not sucking on your head, Frank!” cried Dee, but did just that- for a price. Bats also figured into an amusing aside about monstrous creatures, in which Charlie discovered that Batman was just a “guy who liked bats.” “That can’t possibly be what Batman’s all about- these are Academy-award winning movies!” he protested. The visual gag- emphasis on the “gag” with Liam and his brother was priceless, if totally gross. But hey, it was the Halloween episode- nothing says icky like implied incest.

Best lines: “One of those babies tried to eat me- I ate him first. I ate him first!”- Del Toro, as Pappy McPoyle; a recovering alcoholic that Frank was sponsoring, offering Dee a drink- of milk: “Dee’s nuts! Drink this- It’ll loosen you up a bit, make your butthole hot.” What does that even mean? I don’t know, but I laughed, nonetheless. I also giggled at Charlie’s assessment that he “knows the Academy as well as anyone.”

Still, an odd episode on the whole, down to “Cold Case”-vet Jeremy Rachford basically playing his old role on that show, without a hint of satire. I’m not sure what they were going for, but it was a moderately entertaining show, at least if you were a horror fan. As for “Sunny” fans, I’m not sure what they’ll make of it, but hey, at least they’re trying something different. An “A” for effort, I suppose, but it was more weird than funny most of the time- but it’s possible that’s what they were going for.

Let me know what you thought below in the comments section!