The Shattered Ankles Moment On ‘It’s Always Sunny’ Was A Shout-Out To A Real Ski Wreck

This news may come as a terrible shock to regular viewers of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, but last week’s episode featured budding sociopath Dennis Reynolds (Glenn Howerton) felled by an act of hubris. We’ll give you a moment to politely gasp and then go about your business. All set? Great. When Dennis attempted to pull off some sweet moves on the slopes during this season’s big sloppy kiss of an homage to Ski School (complete with a Dean Cameron guest spot!), the D.E.N.N.I.S. System mastermind had his ankles shatter entirely during his botched attempt. It was a natural It’s Always Sunny comedy moment, but it also served as a sly shout-out to one of skiing’s most notorious injuries.

Dennis’ shattered ankles are a not-so-secret nod to the nasty wreck suffered by veteran skiier Tanner Hall in 2005. Not only is the wipeout itself Tanner-esque, but the agonized screams of “MY ANKLES ARE BROKEN” are lifted from the professional slopesman, too. Let’s do a video comparison, shall we? To the cringemobile!

Tanner seemed to be pretty happy with the nod when he mentioned the scene on Twitter. The use of “HIT SHOW” in the tweet feels a smidge awkward, mind you. It’s like how the NFL announces every Super Bowl performer as “popular recording artist” like that’s a thing someone has said in casual conversation.

The AV Club reached out to “The Gang Hits The Slopes” episode writers John and Dave Chernin to get confirmation on the Tanner nod. Confirmation was obtained.

As avid skiers, we’ve been familiar with the Tanner Hall clip for years. When we set out to write “The Gang Hits the Slopes” we knew we had to find a way to pay tribute to one of the sport’s all time greats. As far as we’re concerned, Tanner Hall at Chad’s Gap is the single greatest video on YouTube. It’s got it all—action, danger, hope, tragedy, humor… It’s incredibly sad, yet somehow hilarious. The comedic timing of him screaming that his ankles are broken, followed by his friends relaying the message across the mountain is superb. We could never improve on that, so we just kinda stole it.

Which sneakily hilarious clip of human misery will It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia pay tribute to next? Ask your cat with the Kitten Mittens on for the answer and see if they can type it out in the comments.

(Via AV Club)