Tv Review: It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia S13 E01

It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia Season 13 Episode 1 – Which airs on September 5th on FXX.

I was a late comer to It’s Always Sunny, partially as I watched the pilot episode when it first aired and it didn’t really work for me. But a friend suggested I start from season 3 (and later revisit the early episodes) and I quickly fell madly in love with the show. It’s dark, twisted, silly and bizarre, and builds on the absurdity of it’s scenarios with glee, and it quickly became one of my favourite ever series. However after Glenn Howerton threatened to leave, and is now only a part timer on the show and no longer involved with scripting duties, there were a lot of concerns that the series would suffer from this. Thankfully this hasn’t been the case with this episode, though his presence is still felt due to Mac buying a disturbingly realistic if creepy Dennis sex doll, which is used throughout to perturb and distress to beautiful effect.

Meanwhile Mindy Kaling is now part of the gang, at least for this initial episode, and the show acts as if she’s been part of the group for a fair old while, indeed it looks like she’s taken over Dennis’s role as de facto leader of them all. Whilst I liked her in The Office I never got on with The Mindy Project so wasn’t sure how well she’d fit in, but she does so perfectly as she attempts to control our beloved motley crew. Though alas her plans don’t go to plan, as the Dennis doll soon begins to influence everyone else.

There’s an enormous amount to love about this opening episode, from Mac showing off his new six pack which all of the gang are completely unimpressed by, and mock heavily, to Charlie dating the waitress and inevitably treating her poorly. So it’s perhaps not a surprise when she ends up having sex with the Dennis doll, and breaks up with Charlie intending to stay with it instead, but the scene is perfectly constructed and full of laugh out loud moments.

There’s a cliche when it comes to film and tv that it’s always better to show and not tell, but It’s Always Sunny subverts this in quite a few places, firstly when the waitress fucks the Dennis doll, and then later when Cindy describes the inevitable orgy that took place with Frank, Mac, Charlie, Dee and the doll. It probably shouldn’t be a revelation though as the show’s always reliably broken standard conventions in an impressively skilful manner. Along these lines towards the end there’s a lot of meta talk about leaving Dennis behind, only for Dennis to suddenly pop up, which might be how you’d expect the series to handle his departure, and yet it’s still a joyous moment. Inevitably Cindy’s dispatched by the end of the episode, which is a shame as Kaling puts in some sterling work here, but as her character takes on the Dennis role in the group it’s clear she’s not needed.

It’s not as strong an opener as season 12’s, but considering that was one of the show’s finest ever episodes it isn’t a surprise, and there’s an awful lot to enjoy here, and it truly is great to see the gang back on our screens.

Alex Finch.

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