Over the past few weeks, in the run up to the premiere of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia’s fourth season, I’ve been a little hard on “the gang.” Between my own hit or miss experiences with the middle seasons, and that sincerely unbearable poster promoting this season, I felt that it had strayed too far from its shoestring irreverence roots. The show seemed to be wading into less and less funny waters. It couldn’t all be blamed on Danny DeVito, but Danny DeVito was definitely a huge part of it. And again that poster. Everything seemed to have devolved into half-hearted poop jokes and a deeply unfunny rotating cast of mentally retarded side characters. And things did not bode well last night when the show was introduced as being brought to us by My Best Friend’s Girl.
But I’m not so small of a man that I can’t admit when I may have been wrong. And last night’s double-episode premiere? Great. So it is with honor and humility that I offer this guarded but enthusiastic apology to the show: I am sorry for some of the things I said, because your season premiere was very funny and I laughed plenty of times.
Let’s do the numbers.
The first episode, “Mac and Dennis: Manhunters,” was CLASSIC Sunny (real fans call it Sunny, and hate themselves). It combined 2 (numbers!) great plots. The title plot was about Mac and Dennis hunting a man. Which was funny. But in true Sunny form, the truly great moments of the show were Charlie Day moments. He and Dee were eating meat from Danny DeVito’s refrigerator, so to get them back Danny DeVito feeds them “human meat,” but instead of getting disgusted, they discover that maybe they love the taste of human meat.
Even Danny DeVito was funny. “Don’t even joke about huntin’ no man.” Good job, Danny DeVito. Wow. It’s been so long since I’ve said that! Never is a long time!
The second episode is where the “guarded” part of my apology comes in. In my opinion, this show operates best when it’s small character-driven stories revolving around the central cast. As soon as it starts branching out into ongoing plots involving the side characters, in this case Dee’s and Dennis’s stepfather Bruce, my Ain’t Care Alarm starts going off. Not to mention the slapstick subplot of destroying some guy’s car over and over again. But I wouldn’t even be here if I weren’t nitpicky to the point of obnoxiousness and utter exhaustion, so to be fair, even the second episode was ultimately very funny. Lots of laffs. Especially Charle, Mac, and Dennis’s attempts to define their gang by who was the brains, who was the looks, and who was the wild card.
All in all, I hesitantly but dutifully proclaim that Sunny is back. We’re welcome.