It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia – Ten Best Episodes
We’ve managed to decide on the ten best episodes of one of the best sitcoms on TV, currently airing on the FX network
It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia is a triumph of insanity, a show replete with absurdity and hilarity in equal measure. It’s a modern tale of warped yet somehow lovable characters, a show that could probably only exist after the Seinfeld era, and it manages to pull you into its world despite the horrifically anti-social behaviour on display by each of the cast members. Set in Philadelphia, the show is about five people who run an Irish pub in the city called Paddy’s, and the misanthropically driven adventures they embark on to improve their own lives at the expense of everyone else’s.
The show is just brilliantly written; the writers have a flair for the creative, bizarre and downright ridiculous, but they always pull it off, and as a result have created one of the funniest shows of the last decade. If you haven’t seen the show yet, let this be the only prompt you need. With that, let us present our completely arbitrarily chosen Top Ten episodes of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia.
The Nightman Cometh
Fans of the show surely won’t be surprised at our pick for best episode – it’s an obvious fan choice – but for good reason, as it’s really the episode that drove the show into the mainstream and actually defines what the show is about – five fascinatingly flawed characters who obliviously thrust themselves into surreal and ridiculous situations. In this case, Charlie decides to create a musical, and the results are predictably hilarious.
‘You gotta pay the troll toll to get into this boy’s hole. You gotta pay the troll toll to get in.’
Frank’s Back in Business
Season 8 of the show was one of the best yet, and this episode was the pick of the bunch, with Frank, or ‘The Warthog’ as his ex-colleagues refer to him, re-taking control of the business that he founded and made successful. His antiquated morals and business sense, unashamedly from the 80’s era of greed over ethics, are priceless to behold – witness, for example, how he brutally fires a young intern on the spot for failing to remove a paper jam from the photocopier. The clash of Frank’s callous quest to get richer at the expense of all others is made more beguiling by Charlie’s best attempts to be Frank’s assistant despite his illiteracy, and his absolute failure to understand the concept of a business that makes money despite not producing anything. He attempts to resolve his cognitive dissonance by introducing a new product to the company’s board members – Fight Milk, an alcoholic protein drink with added Crowtein – protein from crow’s eggs.
Charlie and Dee Find Love
Another pick from the excellent Season 8, this episode focuses on Dee and Charlie meeting and subsequently dating an absurdly rich brother and sister from one of Philly’s elite families. Highlights of the episodes are the pair’s attempts to pretend they are not cut from the most dingy innards of lower-class cloth in order to impress their wealthy new dates, and Charlie’s best attempts to resist eating an entire plate of cheese to preserve his dignity. This episode also reveals a manipulative and conniving side to Charlie that perhaps we didn’t think he had in him.
The Gang Goes to the Jersey Shore
In this episode, Dennis and Dee fondly remember childhood days spent on the Jersey Shore through the most rose-tinted of glasses, explaining it to the rest of the gang as a ‘magical, delightful’ place where dreams come true. They finally convince the rest of the gang to spend a weekend at the Shore, and the results couldn’t be more Hellish for Dennis and Dee, as they are kidnapped at gun point and witness to multiple brutal murders, not to mention two homosexual bums having sex under a bridge. Their resulting ordeal mentally scars them, whilst for Frank, Mac and Charlie, the Jersey Shore proves to be better than their wildest dreams.
The highlight of this episode, without doubt, is Frank’s obsession with the ‘rum ham’, a giant leg of ham soaked in rum, and his reunion with the rum ham after tragic events see them separated.
Mac is a Serial Killer
Mac’s secret fetish for transvestites leads the rest of the gang to suspect that he may be a serial killer, as a recent string of murders across the city coincides with Mac sneaking out of the bar to bang Carmen, the tranny he’s long had an unhealthy obsession with. The gang’s attempts to investigate the murders and especially Charlie taking it upon himself to represent Mac as his lawyer, complete with his short-sleeved shirt and ill-fitting tie, not to mention lack of literacy, are the highlights of the episode.
The Gang Gives Frank an Intervention
It’s no coincidence that many of the Top Ten episodes on our list are Frank driven episodes. The character of Frank Reynolds, played brilliantly by Danny DeVito, is one of the best characters in sitcom history – it’s a joy watching his loathsome and obscene character step deeper and deeper into the abyss of self destruction as he embraces insanity and willingly throws his life completely off the rails. This episode is one of the best examples of that, with Frank’s rampant alcoholism and increasingly bizarre behaviour prompting the gang to seek a therapist’s help in order to create an intervention for Frank. The episode is also host to one of the funniest guest appearances in the show’s history, with Mary Lynn Rajskub playing ‘Gail the Snail’, a highly annoying relative who the gang can only fend off by salting her.
The Gang Gets a New Member
This episode guest stars Jason Sudeikis as Schmitty, a former member of the gang who long ago was ejected (literally) from the crew when they threw him out of a moving car. Nostalgia causes them to re-invite Schmitty back into the gang at the expense of Charlie, who takes up a janitorial role at a local high school. The gang quickly fall out with Schmitty when he refuses to participate in their bizarre induction rituals. One of the highlights of the episode is Mac’s attempts to deliver a ‘sweet roundhouse kick’ to the ceremonial bell during the induction ceremony, and their display of disgust when Schmitty interrupts the ceremony to kick the bell himself.
Frank’s Pretty Woman
You would think it unlikely that the gang could possibly discover a person who’s more depraved, vile and disgusting than they are, but that’s exactly what they do in this episode, when Frank reveals his love for ‘Roxy’, a crass and desperately trashy whore with a raging crack addiction. The episode gives rise to possibly the funniest scene in the history of It’s Always Sunny – in which Charlie, keen for Frank to find a more suitable love interest, pretends to be a millionaire from the ‘boiled denim’ trade and goes on a date with a lovely lady. His attempts to sway the woman into falling for Frank as his pretend limo driver lead to disaster when he swallows too many blood capsules and projectile vomits all over her. Frank then attempts to reconcile things with her by offering her a fresh egg.
Sweet Dee’s Dating a Retarded Person
One of the classic episodes from earlier seasons, this episode sees Dee dating a local rapper who Dennis identifies as a former schoolmate suffering from mental retardation. She spends the episode trying to establish whether Dennis is playing her or whether her new boyfriend is, indeed, retarded.
The Gang Gets Extreme: Home Makeover Edition
This episode has been chosen purely because it represents everything that It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia is about. The episode is an amalgamation of the truly surreal, obscene, and just plain outrageous, as the gang launches a forced ‘home makeover’ renovation project by bursting in to an unfortunate Mexican family’s home late at night, blaring loud music and screaming like maniacal killers. Frank’s menacing screams at the family ‘Where’s your wife? Where’s your daughter?!’ highlight his complete lack of grace and Charlie’s improvised taco bed is a stroke of pure genius.
What did you think of our Top Ten episodes?
Agree/disagree? Think there’s an obvious choice that we missed, or perhaps an inclusion you vehemently disagree with? Leave your comments below.