Monday, November 19, 2012

It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia - "Charlie and Dee Find Love" Review

"Guess Charlie had the cruelest intentions of all."


Another week, another standout episode of Sunny.

This week saw Charlie and Dee finding love in the strangest of places.  Im glad they brought back Mary Elizabeth Ellis, as The Waitress is probably my favorite supporting character and always enhances the gang's exploits when she's around, because she as a character has the ability to simultaneously be the sobering straight man highlighting how nuts the Gang really is, while her obsessive infatuation with Dennis and alcohol problems also allow for her to support their exploits on occasion.

The riff of the week was a celebration/parody of late nineties "mock the marginalized" movies such as cruel intentions, she's all that, etc. and it was pulled off brilliantly.

Charlie was hysterical during the double date in which they try to pose as wealthy aristocrats.  Dee just kind of hung around and supported the proceedings, but everything out of Charlie's mouth was solid gold, whether it was him saying he's from a moneyful family that ship good and services and build tall buildings, or the screech he let out before he gave in to the cheese mound.  Fantastic.

However, despite the veil being pulled away, everything seems to be going swimmingly.  This perplexes Dennis, who then asserts that this must be a game of exploitation.  "Can the girl not smell Charlie, can the guy not see Dee?" was a standout line, and I only laughed harder when Mac shat all over the late Princess Diana, because I'm sadistic and I love humor that deliberately goes too far. Such humor is designed to offend the easily offended so we can shine a light on how insular and self-aggrandized we've become as a society.

The rest of the episode played out as you would expect, with the Gang consistently making asses of themselves, many times in front of a camera, much to the delight of their hosts.

Any time Dennis gets to show off his blind arrogance hiding a thinly veiled and crippling insecurity is always a great moment for me.  He can't even stay on plan as soon as a relatively attractive female looks at her.  This man craves physical adulation to the point of utter shamelessness, and watching him slowly cower after realizing he's too pale is a moment of cringe-worthy hilarity.

Dennis also, once again, demonstrates that he is the most sinister of all Gang members, because he deludes himself into creating plans that superficially seem like they help the group, yet only solve his own problems that usually aren't there in the first place, he just creates the situations in his head because his ego is so inflated.  It really is kind of disturbing.  So it was no surprise that Dennis' "contingency" plan turned out to be a self-fulfilling one, and created the precise scenario that Charlie warned the Waitress would arise upon his dismissal as her protector.

I also loved the way they addressed the fact that we still don't know the Waitress' actual name.  The phone conversations were a great idea because it kept the secret while using it as a punch-line at the same time given that the characters not only don't care enough to learn it, but actually have learned it and don't care to remember.

Drunk whore Dee came back hard this week, but I was more psyched to see the wacky waving inflatable arm-flailing tube man dance.  How can you not love that.  And it's topped off with the cherry of  "Let's Hump."  Doesn't get much better than that.

Best line of the episode though?  "I'm your neighbor!!"  But that's really just the natural comedic talents of Danny Devitto.  That man could make Victor Hugo sound like Monty Python.

I really liked how the Gang was able to not only become wise of the ruse they partook in, but were actually correct... well half correct.  Maybe there's some egg on my face, since I just got done saying that Dennis deals in selfish delusions, but his assessment of the situation was not only largely correct, but his plan to save the Gang's face went off without a hitch, though make no mistake, that's a rare moment for Sunny.  Didn't make it any less hilarious though, as watching Glenn Howerton kill the scene, we could tell that Dennis truly believed he was on their level.

Yet another moment of questionable homosexuality came of Mac in the big reveal, and one of the best moments was Mac assuring it was taken out of context with Charlie responding simply, "What was the context?"

But the biggest surprise came when we found that Charlie was, in fact, the exploiter, and his dabbling in the rich girl scene was only an elaborate scheme to get back into the Waitress' life.  It was so deliberately over-the-top in its cruelty that it became obvious the show knew how shocking it would be for us to see, given the Charlie we've known for so many years now.

We haven't seen this side of Charlie since the early seasons of the show.  Since then he's devolved into the one-dimensional "wild-card" of the show.  Don't get me wrong, I love that aspect of his character, but at the end of the day, Charlie's not truly an idiot.  His illiteracy, odd character traits, and drug use come from his circumstance and upbringing, and while those do account for his crazier moments, they don't mean he's inherently a moron, and this episode was a great illustration of that, and a disturbing reminder that Charlie is actually a human being.  It would be endlessly creepy if it weren't so ironically sad that Charlie just gave up legitimate love with a beautiful and rich woman to return to stalking a girl who wants nothing to to with him, and to satisfy his warped view of what love is.  So even though it felt like a win, and even a cruel moment, the true cruelty lies inside the blissfully ignorant loneliness that is Charlie's life.  It all struck a great balance.

I've always been of the thought that the Gang should "win" more often.  Sure, everything they do is disgusting and reprehensible, but that's kind of the point, and having things either revert to the status quo or turn out detrimental for the Gang kind of undercuts the huge middle finger that the show seems to want to flip at pop culture and modern television.

Overall, Sunny season 8 keeps roaring along with an impressive head of steam.


87% = ***1/2 = "Amazing"


-VMA

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