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July 30, 2014

It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia: The Great Recession

by Annie Wu, posted Oct 2nd 2009 10:00AM
it's always sunny in philadelphia
(S05E03)
Something was a little off about this episode. I still can't tell what triggered this reaction. I think it was because I only half-laughed once or twice during the entire thing, or perhaps it was the heavy-handed product placements that were too involved to be casual and excusable. Certainly, it wasn't terrible television; it just didn't live up to the quality that I've come to expect from the show.

If I wanted to be harsh and really ballsy, I could say this was one of the weaker episodes from the series. But I won't. Because I have no balls (I haven't perfected the technology for me to engineer a pair).

There was something a little lacking in the content. All the story lines involved had major potential to be hilarious, but nothing was fully explored. Let's take a look at a selection of different things that were happening: The street outside Paddy's becomes a makeshift trailer park, Frank and Dee start a door-to-door business, Mac and Dennis make currency, Charlie goes Deadliest Catch (sort of), Frank is freaked out by the recession, Charlie isn't extra-comfortable with his uncle.

Yes! All around! Very funny material. Two or three of these, really pushed to their limit, could make an extremely successful episode. It was strange that they didn't go crazy with these, especially when one considers how much they did with just one mission in the season premiere. Many rather significant matters were brought up for a moment and then never talked about again. What happened to Frank and Dee's trailer situation? And where did that leave Frank-less Charlie?

Also, the product placement was almost too intense for me. Usually, I find it pretty amusing when a show has to blatantly force a name or two, because I realize product placement is something that some shows have to do, but the amount of "love" for Dave & Buster's and Coors was a bit much. Thanks, Dee, for reminding me that the mountains turn blue when the beer's the right temperature for slammin'. And Mac and Dennis's entire half-realized Paddy Dollars plot felt like a vehicle to say "Dave & Buster's" as many times as possible. I'd rather have them try to create a nice DirecTV set-up again.

There were only a select few moments that were worthy of laughing out loud, a notable difference from how much I've enjoyed other episodes. Charlie's interactions with his uncle, Dee's more offended than worried "I can see your bones!" and, of course, her vomit-face were instantly hilarious.

I really hope there wasn't a potential fan that chose this episode to start giving the show a try. To that fan, I say, like I've said to so many others that have watched a not-so-hot episode with me as I've tried to introduce something new to them, "It's not usually like this! Let me show you my favorites on DVD! Where are you going!?"

[Watch episodes and clips of It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia and other shows over at SlashControl.]

[Enjoy the best steak you can have in an arcade setting at Dave and Buster's.]

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Ron_Swanson

I'm sort of surprised nobody here mentioned the symbolism of this episode. Each character represents all of the different factors involved in our current economic situation. Frank being the U.S. gov't, Sweet-Dee being foreign investors (Chinese gov't), Charlie being the American people and Mac and Dennis representing the stock market and federal reserve printing fiat currency. Lol, maybe a little deep, but that's what it reminded me of.

August 22 2011 at 10:23 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
ryan

Wow I'm surprised by the negativity here about the "product placements". The reference to Coors was integral to the plot, as Sweet Dee was trying to stall and divert the conversation to avoid revealing that indeed, she had no idea how to make a mixed drink. And the D&B reference was also critical, both to the fact that the boys have no idea about their own finances but even moreso because of the gift cards that became the core plotline of the alternate economy.

You folks need to take things a bit less serious!

October 04 2009 at 2:47 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Richard

This episode was great. Those 2 scenes with Frank trying to kill himself were just priceless. I never saw the second one coming.

I didn't mind the Coors product placement because it worked kinda well with the episode. Dee trying to pass off that bottle to avoid making a drink and Charlie once again showcasing his illiteracy was just awesome.

I did mind that D&B product placement. It was annoyingly obvious. It didn't kill the episode for me though. It's hard for anything to kill an episode of Sunny for me.

October 02 2009 at 4:40 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Chris

I actually thought this was the best episode of this season, yet. I honestly only found the premiere moderately funny, but by the end of this I was laughing out loud, repeatedly. Especially at Mac and Dennis' ridiculous plan. I barely noticed the product placement for Coors and didn't mind the DB product placement 'cause, well, Dave & Buster's is awesome. And Mac's bullheaded assertion that his card could work at other restaurants was hilarious.

Hell, the irony of the episode about the recession featuring product placements is pretty damn funny in itself. I find it amazing how quickly people can threaten to be "done with" a show that gives them four straight season of incredible comedy because they don't like one or two.

October 02 2009 at 3:11 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Chris's comment
Pagan

it must be nice to get paid to read the internet (and run damage control)

October 03 2009 at 3:05 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
purpleslog

"Something was a little off about this episode."

The repetitive in-show ads for D&B and Coors were the problem.


I didn't like the episode.

If they do the same ad thing next week, I am done with the show.

October 02 2009 at 2:05 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to purpleslog's comment
Monkeydog

Like what prender said above...it was basically just one big joke.

It's not going to be in another episode because other episodes are probably not going to be relevant to the joke at hand.

It's like when Arrested Development or 30 Rock did it.

October 02 2009 at 3:22 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Ann B Martin

I thought the episode was good, but not up to what I have to expect of Sunny, with the few episodes I have seen. I just got in to this series 1/2 through last season and I can say it has come to be my favorite by far!! I didn't mind the Coors product placement I thought that bit with Charlie thinking the close sign is the Coors sign was way to funny, And since I never saw the "Gas Crises" episode which I was laughing all the way though, it made up for the lack of laughter I had for the 1st half-hour. I'll get my Sunny Series 1-4 DVD's any day now!!

October 02 2009 at 1:11 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
MAKB

I had the same feelings as Annie after watching this episode. It just wasn't as funny as usual. Especially since we watched the 'Gas Crisis' episode that followed this one and we laughed all the way through - even though we've seen it twice already (Charlie's "Wild Card Bitches" is priceless.)

October 02 2009 at 12:41 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
rahul

i agree there was way to much product placement, if it was just dave and busters i would understand because there is a DB is philly and it would seem like the place that the guys would go to hold a meeting but the coors was overdone.

October 02 2009 at 11:29 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to rahul's comment
prender

It could be coincidence, but I prefer to think of it in this way: the abundance of product placement was dry humor regarding the episode title. The reason that it was so blatant in this episode (and more than any other) was because the episode was about the recession and staying in business. It reminded me of the "Save Our Bluths" episode from A.D.

October 02 2009 at 11:52 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Annie W.

Prender, you're blowing my mind, man. Interesting point. Also, Sean: I was referring to Charlie's post-episode situation. I'm imagining he ditched his crab business/box even though his apartment is still being sublet (sub... letted?). Or maybe I'm underestimating Charlie's willingness to sleep in a box for a month.

October 02 2009 at 12:00 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
shadowracer

I thought this was hilarious...but not up to snuff when it comes to Always Sunny. I consider both Always Sunny and Curb to be the most consistent comedy series ever, so an off episode is ok.

The product placement was integrated well here though with the Paddy's dollars - which was a criticism of the US handling of the economic crisis. Yeah you can keep printing your own money, but if you got nothing coming in(US only imports), you don' make anything. It worked with the story and was fairly smart.

Overall a great piece of comedy...not for Always Sunny though.

October 02 2009 at 11:03 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to shadowracer's comment
Sean

We did find out where Frankless Charlie went...a cardboard box by the river where he fished for crabs. But fully agreed. It wasn't near as funny as usual. And the product placement...they have to stay in business, when they're a cult show, right? Chuck had to do it. It's going to have to happen if shows want to survive with Tivo and all that jazz skipping commercials.

October 02 2009 at 11:33 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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