Review: It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia - The Gang Reignites the Rivalry (season finale)
by Annie Wu, posted Dec 11th 2009 12:32PM
(S05E12) Well, that's it for season five of It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia. It would have been foolish to expect something mind-blowing this week, because, as usual, the show didn't go out with a bang or any nail-biting cliffhanger. Instead, there were people vomiting, naked chicks in blacklight paint, beer, and lots of screaming. Just another day for the owners of Paddy's Pub.
So in this episode, the gang wanted to reclaim their former glory in a flip cup competition ("Flip, flip, Flipadelphia!"), after getting banned many years ago for poisoning an opponent. Also, keeping poison in a decoy jar in the fridge? Classic Charlie (not-so-classic Charlie was hearing him use the word "clout"). It also gave us one of the best exchanges of the episode:
Charlie, regarding the poison: No, I don't have any on me, but I do keep some in my fridge at home in the relish jar.
Frank: There's poison in that jar? I thought I was allergic to pickles! What's in the jar with the skull and crossbones?
Charlie: That's mayonnaise. That's a decoy.
Frank: And the mayo?
Charlie: That's shampoo.
Frank: You're telling me that I've been putting shampoo on my sandwiches?
Charlie: If you're using the mayonnaise, then yeah, probably.
Dennis and Frank's whole situation with the frat boys was also pretty interesting, if only to see Dennis treated like some sort of evil genius again. They've gotten into playing epic classical music while Dennis hatches plots, haven't they? Anyway, their shenanigans were fun to watch but weren't nearly as sexy or silicone-filled as Mac and Charlie's attempt to infiltrate the frat house. Taking both this episode and "Paddy's Pub: Home of the Original Kitten Mittens" into consideration, I think Always Sunny wins the prize for trashiest looking lady extras.
As for Danny Devito in hipster-tastic skinny jeans, well, that in itself is worthy of mentioning. "Humpty Dumpty" was definitely the perfect description.
The episode itself was pretty funny, though not the best of the season. It was good to close with a story that equally involved everyone in the gang and once again reminded us what a hazard they are to everyone else around them. That scene in the restaurant alone was a great example of that (joking about poisoning the water, harassing customers, casually pissing in the corner), not to mention gleefully singing the Flipadelphia song while a bunch of college kids (and poor, poor Sweet Dee) throw up from poisoned beer. By the way, I totally cracked up when Mac started pulling aside a bikini babe while still singing.
Going more big picture, I've got to say that this whole season has been strange. We got some real gems with the Kitten Mittons video and episodes like "The Gang Hits The Road" and "The Waitress Is Getting Married," both of which really celebrated the ridiculousness of the show and the chemistry between all the actors. However, the rest of the season didn't quite meet the same level as previous ones.
I don't want to say that the show has lost its charm, because I'm not sure what the characters have could even be called "charm" but the tone has definitely changed to be a little more abrasive (man, they really fell in love with yelling over each other). Now, obviously, changes in any show are completely natural and to be expected, but I'm not sure that this development has benefited Always Sunny. Sometimes it felt like they were almost parodying themselves.
That said, I'm probably nitpicking, and, honestly, I only nit-pick the things that I love. It's still an endlessly quotable show and fearless in terms of pushing aside clean comedy, and I'll be tuning in again next season.
[Watch clips and episodes of It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia at SlashControl.]