TV Review: Stellar Start to Sixth Season of ‘It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia’

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CHICAGO – How funny are the first four episodes of the new season of “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia,” starting tonight on FX? Even though I’m knee-deep in screeners for new and returning shows, I watched all four episodes twice. And laughed during all eight combined viewings. Being a hardcore “Sunny” fan since day one, I can tell you that this is the best start to a season the folks at Paddy’s Pub have yet produced.

HollywoodChicago.com Television Rating: 4.5/5.0
Television Rating: 4.5/5.0

It feels like the show’s increasing popularity through ancillary outlets like Hulu and the show’s DVD/BD sales have made the cast and writers even more confident at the start of this season. The comic timing, creativity, and general pacing has never been stronger over any string of four episodes in a row over the entire history of the show. We all know that “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” can be occasionally hit-and-miss but every one of these episodes hits squarely, making it difficult to pick a favorite. I would love it if the entire season kept up this better-than-ever pace.

L-R: Glenn Howerton and Rob McElhenney on the season 6 premiere of IT'S ALWAYS SUNNY IN PHILADELPHIA airing Thursday, September 16, 10 PM E/P on FX
L-R: Glenn Howerton and Rob McElhenney on the season 6 premiere of It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia airing Thursday, September 16, 10 PM E/P on FX
Photo credit: Patrick McElhenney/FX

If you’re completely unfamiliar with this descendant of the misanthropic style of “Seinfeld,” “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” is vicious, fearless, and without peer in terms of where it’s willing to go to get a laugh. It’s easy to be offensive but “Sunny” finds a way to be edgy instead, crafting jokes around subjects that other writers are scared to touch. Charlie (Charlie Day), Mac (Rob McElhenney), Dennis (Glenn Howerton), Dee (Kaitlin Olson), and Frank (Danny DeVito) aren’t your average TV idiots — these talented actors and writers take the smart route to creating stupid characters.

L-R: Danny DeVito, Charlie Day and Katlin Olson on the season 6 premiere of IT'S ALWAYS SUNNY IN PHILADELPHIA airing Thursday, September 16, 10 PM E/P on FX
L-R: Danny DeVito, Charlie Day and Katlin Olson on the season 6 premiere of It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia airing Thursday, September 16, 10 PM E/P on FX
Photo credit: Patrick McElhenney/FX

The general theme of “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” is that the gang at Paddy’s Pub are some of the most self-centered jerks in the world. But they’re completely aware and unashamed of that. The show regularly revolves around the ancillary carnage caused by their latest scheme or attempt to backstab one another. And the cast continues to grow through their willingness to do whatever it takes to get a laugh. As each actor has developed their own unique personality instead of blending into one hateful crew, the program has thrived. They’ve become the most lovable a-holes on TV.

As has always been the case, the titles of the episodes often tell you all that you really need to know and this season starts with “Mac Fights Gay Marriage,” “Dennis Gets Divorced,” “The Gang Buys a Boat,” and “Who Got Dee Pregnant?” The premiere is a brilliant mix of unexpected events that includes a civil union between two of the show’s most-beloved characters but, for some reason, the episode in which the gang buys a shrimp-hauler expecting to turn it into a Diddy-esque yacht is my favorite. It perfectly captures their desire to roll with the A-crowd but their complete inability to do so.

Divorce, infidelity, kidnapping, unplanned pregnancy, incest, gay marriage — nothing is off-limits in the world of “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” but it’s the unpredictable way in which these controversial issues are woven into the show that makes it great. You never know where a joke is coming from in “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” or which one of the actors will deliver the laugh. One of the best ensembles on television looks set to top their best season this year. It can take some time to get on the misanthropic wavelength of Charlie, Mac, Dennis, Dee, and Frank, but you’ll be absolutely hooked once you do.

‘It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia,’ which airs on FX, stars Charlie Day, Rob McElhenney, Glenn Howerton, Kaitlin Olson, and Danny DeVito. The show was created by McElhenney. The sixth season premieres on Thursday, September 16th, 2010 at 9PM CST.

HollywoodChicago.com content director Brian Tallerico

By BRIAN TALLERICO
Content Director
HollywoodChicago.com
brian@hollywoodchicago.com

Ray's picture

"the best start to a season" -- what?

This is by far the absolute worst start to any Sunny season. We’re now on episode 3 and I am cringing to think that next week could be the nail in the coffin for me. Take a look around, you’ll see that the season 6 is being universally panned. I have no idea how you can be a long-time Sunny fan and enjoy this so far; the gang has spent a grand total of about 4mins in the bar, most of the jokes aren’t funny and none of them come Sunny’esque rapid-fire, the entire Ponderosa storyline was a complete trainwreck with thoroughly uninteresting characters who look like they’ll be returning later in the season, and the dialogue is stilted and contrived. I’m a huge Sunny fan and have never been disappointed all throughout seasons 1 - 5, and now this.

Again, look around. You’ll find most people are very disappointed.

Anonymous's picture

iasip

I have to agree and disagree with @Ray. I am a huge “Sunny” fan, and while I think the show may have lost a little bit over the years, it is still my favorite show by far. I am actually a few episodes into season 6, and I thought for the most part it’s the same hillarious stuff. I work for DISH Network, and with my Sling adapter connected to my 722 receiver, I am able to watch both live TV and my favorite “Sunny” episodes on my iPhone from anywhere.

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