May 14, 1998 was a sad day for many of us TV lovers. The infamous date marked the end of an era – the last episode of Seinfeld.
For nine seasons, this sitcom taught about adversity in the face of nothing, introduced the American television world to the concept of first world problems, and instilled in all of us an undeniable sense of skepticism toward the nature of human decency.
But that fire has been rekindled in a lot of us. I have little doubt that the comedy series “It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia” is the demon reincarnation of Seinfeld, exploding into the 21st century like a bat outta hell.
Premiering seven years after the 1990’s hit, It’s Always Sunny (despite having none of the same writers or actors as Seinfeld) brings back the four main characters in different forms and in different situations, but who’s intrinsic selfishness has warped into a deliciously offensive television show with a much deserved cult following.
Meet Dennis, Dee, Mac and Charlie. These four reign supreme in the twisted but hilarious world of It’s Always Sunny, whether they’re making a jihadist terrorist video, selling alcohol to minors, or just poisoning a bunch of frat boys. While these things may have been a little too risqué for Seinfeld’s time, the base concepts are the same. The plot never evolves, the characters never grow, and you feel that sick sense of guilty pleasure with every off-color joke you laugh at. It’s simply a show about people getting into all sorts of shenanigans because they have no sense of right and wrong. And it’s fantastic.
Now in its seventh season, It’s Always Sunny has already tackled children’s pageants, breaking-and-entering, the Jersey Shore, alcoholism, pedophilia, prostitution, adultery, internet dating, racism, and more…and that’s just in ten episodes!
What brings the viewers even closer to the insanity is the knowledge that the three main characters are the primary writers for the show, and appear to have no filters or shame. Rob McElhenney (Mac), Charlie Day (Charlie), and Glenn Howerton (Dennis) shot the pilot themselves for under $200 on a camcorder. It should also be mentioned that McElhenney gained 50 pounds for season seven because he thought it would be funny, and would also give the other characters more fuel to insult him with.
What’s refreshing about the show is the complete lack of boundaries. It will cross into any territory, mock it and offend everyone in it, and then leave, all for the sake of laughs. No matter who you are, where you come from, what you do or why you do it, odds are you will be highly offended by at least one (or probably several) episodes of It’s Always Sunny.
Danny DeVito, main character ‘Frank’ since season two, adds more fuel to the disturbed fire of the show, and in what is probably his best performance on television, completely degrades his character to nothing more than an alcoholic maniac (as are most of the characters).
Fans can only sit back and hope that the gang never reaches their limits in depravity. We hope that they never reach their May 14, 1998.
Catch new episodes of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia on Thursdays at 10p.m. on FX.