It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia: Charlie Gets Crippled/The Gang Goes Jihad (season premiere)
(S02E01/S02E02) There's been a lot of talk about the promotion that FX ran prior to tonight's premiere: the hunt for the next homemade sitcom. A lot of people have been furious over FX's claims that the original It's Always Sunny... pilot was made for a mere $200 by a bunch of nobodies. Well if you check out that link and watch some of the behind the scenes video clips, they probably spent more than $200 and let's be honest. Glenn Howerton, Charlie Day, and Rob McEllhenney aren't nobodies. They're all young guys and they've all had pretty successful careers thus far. Plus they knew people in the business which made it a whole lot easier to shop their new show around. I've heard this argument from all different angles and no one's plea has made me change my stance at all: who cares?
I don't care how the show got made, who made it, or how much it was made for. I don't care that FX may be exaggerating the details of their great find in an effort to drum up viewership for a show that most didn't even know already had one season. All I care about is that It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia is on. It's one of the freshest comedies on TV right now and it's not afraid to take on subjects that others find offensive or taboo. Just look at tonight's topics: crippled people and terrorists. And did I mention that Danny DeVito has joined the cast? Trust me, this counts as "must see TV."
DeVito has joined the cast as Frank Reynolds, which would make him Dennis and Dee's father. Hmmm, I don't see the resemblance. Regardless, he shows up in the first thirty seconds of the show. In fact, he shows up so abruptly, that it startles Dennis and backs his SUV over Charlie. Hence the title. The rest of the first episode deals with the gang's horrible(?) realization that people with disabilities get treated differently. In fact, they get treated great. While in his wheelchair, Charlie was offered two free lap-dances at a strip club. I will admit, I walk just fine and that has never happened to me.
Mac, Dennis, and Dee all catch on to Charlie's epiphany and don their own handicapped equipment. Mac and Dennis don't work together too well when they both decide they want polio as their backstory. Eventually they jump out of their wheelchairs in the middle of a mall and get into a fist-fight.
Yes, you read that right. Two grown men pretending to have polio got into a fist-fight after vacating their wheelchairs. That sentence right there defines the type of show It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia is.
Dee chose to stay away from the wheelchairs and instead opted for crutches and a back-brace. In perhaps the funniest ten seconds of the episode, we saw her walk away, flailing her "crippled" legs and trying to stay upright. It was priceless.
I was surprised by how well DeVito meshed with the cast. You'd have thought he's been there from the beginning. His reason for showing up though was simple. He's divorced his wife and needs a change in his life. He wants to move in with Charlie and "be pathetic, desperate, ugly, and hopeless." Sounds like a plan.
"The Gang Goes Jihad" was the second episode and it opened with a rather startling scene. Dennis was trying to cut off Charlie's leg cast with the biggest pair of hedge clippers I've even seen in my life. I say startling, but disturbing may be more accurate because these people are just like my friends. I've tried stuff like this before.
While trying to remove the cast, they met their new neighbor. An Israeli businessman, he bought the building next door and the zoning lines make it clear that he owns part of Paddy's Bar. So what are they supposed to do? Vacate? Well... yeah.
After speaking with a lawyer and learning that they have no "legal recourse" to take back the land, the guys resort to the obvious tactics at scaring off their new neighbor: toilet-papering the building, throwing flaming poop bags in the windows, and making a fake terrorist threat video. The video didn't work, but one of the poop bags got in the way of a gas leak and set the building on fire. Problem solved.
In the meantime, we met Dennis and Dee's mother (played by Anne Archer). I'm pretty sure she'll be back based on one of the future episode titles... but I won't give it away. Plus, Frank has now solidified his place as one of the gang. He bought the property from the Israeli businessman and he knows who blew it up. So he blackmail's his own children into letting him join the group or else he'll level Paddy's. Nice father, huh?
But as I mentioned before, that's the type of show this is. It's rude, offensive, vulgar, semi-racist, political, and unorthodox. But none of that matters because of one other thing.