The Gang on “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” — which returns for its seventh season on September 15 — means to do well. They really do. It’s just that Dennis, Dee, Mac, Charlie, and Frank’s good intentions often clash with the fact that they’re awful, conniving, despicable, racist, and misogynistic people. Their moral decrepitude makes “Sunny” one of the best sitcoms on TV, and its success has paved the way for FX to make other great comedies like “Louie,” “Archer,” and “The League.”
To tide you over until the premiere a month from now, here are the ten most revolting and rotten things the Gang from Philadelphia has done over the show’s first six seasons and 71 episodes, not one of which has anything to do with poor, dead-toothed Maureen Ponderosa.
10. Human Meat and Teabagging Cricket (“Mac and Dennis: Manhunters”)
Two things in this episode: 1) Because Dee and Charlie, in a rare plot together, keep eating his venison, Frank tells them that they’re actually eating human meat, and although the fake cannibals are disgusted, they don’t care and crave more human flesh. (It’s one of my favorite inter-Gang disgusting moments, because they’re usually destroying other people’s lives, not their own.) 2) After a few beers too many, Mac and Dennis agree that the only game worth hunting is an animal that can fight back. In this case, a human: Rickety Cricket. As if the poor bastard hasn’t gone through enough—Dee said she’d kiss him if he ate a horse turd, she didn’t; he quit being a priest for Dee, only for her to lose interest; the entire Gang got him addicted to crack—he now also watch for Mac and Dennis, who will teabag their prey when they catch him. Why teabagging? “What’s not to like? Cricket with a face full of pubes? Hilarious!”
9. Abortions for All, Abortions for No One (“Charlie Wants an Abortion”)
Mac falls for a girl named Megan that he meets at a pro-life rally. In an attempt to impress her, tells her about all the abortion-providing doctors he’s murdered over the years. Megan, who has seen The Passion of the Christ 12 times, is suitably impressed and the two have sex shortly after the rally ends. Mac tells Dennis that he should fake his convictions, too, because there’s plenty of fine tail on the pro-life side, but Dennis tries his luck with the pro-choice ladies instead, which results in eggs getting thrown at him. At the end of the episode, Megan tells Mac she’s pregnant (she’s lying), and he tells her to get an abortion (he’s not).
8. Makeover a Real Sh*thole (“The Gang Gets Extreme: Home Makeover Edition”)
Dee, after reading The Secret, tells the Gang that the key to happiness is to do good to others. In their warped minds that means making over a “real sh*thole” of a house, whose three non-English-speaking tenants have no idea what’s going on. All they see is a group of maniacs who barge into their home in the middle of the night, wearing all black and screaming through bullhorns, “WHERE’S YOUR WIFE?!? WHERE’S YOUR DAUGHTER?!?” The Gang starts smashing the family’s possessions and walls, while Dee speaks to the terrified mom, dad, and daughter in Spanish, saying, “Your house is no more. Your life is no more. We are extreme. Like television!” At least they tried to make her a taco bed…
7. Take Advantage of the Grieving Granddaughter (“The Gang Finds a Dead Guy”)
An elderly man dies in Paddy’s, and while Charlie’s hosing down the booth where he passed away, the dead guy’s attractive granddaughter, Rebecca, comes into the bar, hoping to learn more about her deceased relative. Mac and Dennis both pretend they were well acquainted with the man, Lionel, even though they have no idea who he is, because they want to sleep with Rebecca. They even round up a bunch of homeless men from a shelter to attend Lionel’s funeral, telling them to have fun and mingle. The homeless, still wearing their tattered rags, make a beeline for the food, and Dennis gives a full-of-sh*t heartwarming speech about all the good things he and Lionel did over the years, ending with a wink at Rebecca. He and Rebecca have sex, and after Dennis flaunts his victory, Mac reveals that Dennis’ grandfather was a Nazi, which explains the image above.
6. The D.E.N.N.I.S. System (“The D.E.N.N.I.S. System”)
D – Demonstrate Your Value
E – Engage Physically
N – Nurturing Dependence
N – Neglect Emotionally
I – Inspire Hope
S – Separate Entirely
In other words: flirt with a girl, sleep with her, exploit her feelings for you (get her car towed, so she has to depend on you for a ride, or invent a crazy neighbor who calls her in the middle of the night, screaming “You’re gonna die, bitch,” and tell her you’ll take care of him), then stop taking her phone calls, get her to trust you again so you can have sex one more time, and finally, “slink out into the night, never to talk to her again.” The D.E.N.N.I.S. System works much better than M.A.C. (“Move In. After. Completion”), but not as well as Frank’s S.C.R.A.P.S. (which isn’t an acronym and consists of dropping a Magnum condom and a $100 bill, to prove you have a huge dong and lots of money).
5. Kidnap the Critic (“Paddy’s Pub: The Worst Bar in Philadelphia”)
The Gang purchases a flat-screen TV to prove to potential customers that if they visit Paddy’s, they won’t get stabbed. The pretty-yet-birdlike blonde waitress won’t even make gay jokes if you order Chardonnay any more. The image makeover is all for naught, though, when a local food critic calls the pub teh worst bar in Philly. Charlie, in a flight of drunken, misplaced anger (the best kind), knocks the critic out with a hammer, stuffs him into his truck, and ties him to a chair. The Gang later kidnaps the critic’s neighbor and his diabetic cat. When they can’t get him to write something positive, Dee says she’ll write her own story with the headline, “Most Negative Man in the World Calls Other People White Trash to Make Himself Not Feel So Faggy.”
4. Childhood Labor (“The Gang Exploits the Mortgage Crisis”)
In a rare topical episode of “It’s Always Sunny,” Frank announces to the Gang (minus Dee, who’s off talking about being pregnant or something) that he’s bought a foreclosed home to flip, in the hopes of making a fine little profit. (What you must remember about flipping a house: “You gotta look for sh*t on the walls, ‘cause the people moving out just smear feces” all over them.) One problem: there’s still a family, including two kids, living in the house. The Gang threatens to rape the wife and torture the husband if they don’t leave, and the only reason they don’t go through with the raping and torturing is because it’d be too much of a hassle. Later in the episode, Frank, who warned the kids he was going to throw their toys in the trash, admits that he had the children handling copper wire for him. Not even Vic Vinegar and Hugh Honey could sweet talk their way out of this one.
3. The Fake Cripples (“Charlie Gets Crippled”)
Every character is guilty of being a dick in this episode. Let’s go through it, Artemis-style: when Frank (in his first appearance) tells Dennis and Dee that he’s going to give his money to poor people, they break into his house and start stealing stuff. Charlie, in a wheelchair because Dennis ran over him, tells everyone that he’s getting free lap dances because of his injury, which gives Mac and Dennis the idea to go to the mall, faking polio, to get special treatment. But Dee’s already scooped them. Charlie dresses up as a war veteran to get even more sympathy, but his plan backfires when he starts acting like a jerk, and Frank begins using the wheelchair idea. Mac and Dennis get trashed and drive over to the strip club where Frank and Charlie are, only to hit those two, along with the fake-crippled Dee and her nice guy friend, with a car. The only one who’s hurt: the nice guy.
The episode ends in a hospital, the Gang happy that no one got seriously hurt and going out for ice cream, with the nice guy severely injured in a nearby bed. He sighs, “What a bunch of assholes.”
2. Addicted to Crack for Welfare Benefits (“Dennis and Dee Go on Welfare”)
At 4:30 p.m. on a Wednesday in a bar in a sh*tty part of Philadelphia, dreams are going unfilled — the dreams of Dennis, who wants to be a veterinarian, and Dee, the would-be Broadway actress. So they quit working at Paddy’s, figuring they’ll make even more money by going on welfare. To strengthen their story, Dennis tells their case worker at “the welfare store” that he’s a recovering crack addict and Dee’s mentally retarded. The case worker doesn’t believe them and says that she needs medical documents and a blood test to prove the validity of their story. Shortly thereafter, Dennis and Dee are buying crack rocks and becoming addicted to Whitney Houston’s drug of choice.
1. Dumpster Baby (“The Gang Finds a Dumpster Baby”)
“What the hell is that?”
“It’s a baby we found in the trash.”
“Well put it back; it doesn’t belong to you.”
Mac and Dee find a baby in the trash after a screening of An Inconvenient Truth, and with good intentions on their mind, begin raising him as their own. Naturally the first thing they do is turn the infant, who they name D.B. (short for Dumpster Baby), into a TV star. An agent tells them that white babies aren’t in right now, so Mac and Dee bring D.B. to a tanning salon, hoping to brown him enough that their “child” can be marketed as Latino. He’ll only be in there for a few minutes, “just to get a base,” they say. When that doesn’t work, the parents — with a nearby Charlie swinging a samurai sword he found at the dump — begin applying shoe-polish to D.B. to make him darker. In the immortal worlds of Charlie Kelly, “You threw your babies away. And you threw your swords away. You threw your golf clubs and your tasty treats. And you know what? I found them. And I’m gonna raise all of ’em!”
Like I said, they mean to do well. It’s just that they’re idiots. Terrible, terrible idiots.