Monday, November 19, 2012

It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia - "The Gang Gets Analyzed" Review

"It's all coming back!!!"

I don't even know where to start.

I was in stitches during this entire episode.  It was not only the funniest episode of the season, hands down, but it was the best installment that the show has delivered in years.

A series like Sunny usually benefits from the simplicity inherent to the premise of the show.  This week was no exception, as it basically just served as a looking glass into the depravity of these characters.  The entire overarching plot was, "Who should do the dishes", and that minimalist approach coupled with a group therapy session was a recipe for comic genius.

The Gang also shines when they have a seemingly normal character from the real world to play off of, because it gives us as an audience a rare litmus test to measure just how far removed these people have become from reality.  It was interesting to watch Kerri Kenney (Reno 911), someone were so used to seeing as a character as nuts as the gang, play the straight man here, and she did it perfectly.

Just the sheer volume of bi-polar hilarity that was jam packed into twenty minutes is astounding.  It didn't so much ebb and flow as it did violently jerk us through the painful, conflicting, and often disturbing emotions of these characters, all sprinkled with their own funny moments, which come with such frequency that you find you actually have to watch the episode twice, because the cavalcade of hysteria has become so overwhelming that your side-splitting laughter is forcing you to miss dialogue.

For evidence of this, look no further than the first entrant onto the Doctor's Couch: Mac.  It's clear from the get go that this episode is not only going to be above average, but also an outlet for MacElhenney and Co. to provide us an acting clinic, which they all take advantage of.  Mac fidgeting wildly between emotions was amazing to watch, capped off by the spit-take inducing moment of him thinking the pen is a dick.  It really seems like the show is making an effort to bring Mac's latent homosexuality to the forefront, something they've casually hinted at before, but seem to be beating us about the head with this season.

The biggest highlight had to be listening to the aching cellos supporting Frank's agonizing tale of a nit-wit school.  "She thought she was a spaceman with a plastic bag for a helmet".  Genius.

Every character had these moments, and for me to list them all would literally be an exercise is Script Transcription.  From Charlie's pigeon moment, to Frank's unzipping, to Dee's callback to Good Will Hunting and desperate plea for affirmation, the episode did not miss a beat.

Bur for me, the unquestionable MVP of the episode had to be Dennis.  His Lectar-esque explanations and insidious demeanor were gut-busting from start to finish.  

I've said it many times before, but this episode confirmed that he is without a doubt the craziest and most disturbed of the entire group.  His thinking that everything revolves around him and that he can hang in any profession is insane.  

He not only has deep seeded emotional issues of his own, but he has delusions of reference which allow him to not only ignore his issues, but actively believe he knows what is best for everyone around him.  

The mexican ephedra revelation was not only the funniest moment, but equally the creepiest.  You get the impression that Dennis is not only as crazy as the rest of the Gang, but is actually the chief enabler of such craziness, especially after the gangs level of lunacy finally prompts the therapist to concede wildly, "Dee, do the fucking dishes!".  

It almost looked like the gang is so crazy, they have the ability to assimilate others into their thought process after extended exposure.  They're like a walking cluster of radiation.

By the end of it all, we are not just left with an extremely funny episode, but also a revelation that these characters are real human beings after all with serious psychological issues.  They've three-dimensionalized the characters again after so many years of devolution, which might turn off some viewers as the level of depravity continues to escalate, but for me it only makes everything funnier.  The magic of Sunny comes from exploiting the lives of these degenerates, but if it's not coming from a real place, however buried, it loses a lot of its sting and many of the satirical qualities which embody the show at its peak.

The episode closed with a symphony of broken china and flakes of dandruff, and such a bombastic finish is apropos.  This episode was a huge statement that Sunny still has some of its best days ahead of them.  "The Gang Gets Analyzed" will take its rightful place in the annals of the Sunny library with the same level of reverence as other gems like "The Gang Solves The Gas Crisis" and "The Nightman Cometh".

After this, it's clear that Season Eight is the best season of Sunny since Season Four, and the back half will have to produce some real duds to convince me otherwise.

97% = **** = "Masterpiece"


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