Heading into the seventh season of “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia,” “The Gang” returns to Paddy’s Pub on the FX network Thursday, Sept. 15 at 10 p.m.. The infamously dark satire that once deemed itself “Seinfeld on crack,” has already poked fun at touchy topics such as abortion, gay marriage, cancer, gun control and race. It’s also spoofed films such as “Million Dollar Baby,” “Invincible” and “Lethal Weapon.” Guest spots have included the likes of Jason Sudeikis, Sinbad and Rob Thomas from the band “Matchbox Twenty.” The insanity, arrogance, narcissism and stupidity have only become more inconceivable as the season progresses, and “Sunny” has only become more entertaining.
So what do Mac, Dennis, Charlie, Frank and Dee have up their sleeves this season?
Well, things will most definitely be on a larger scale. In actor Rob McElhenney’s case, that is taken literally. He gained 50 pounds for the upcoming season, as his character, Mac, learns to live with onset obesity. Although the weight gain may come as a surprise to fans, it shouldn’t be, given the progression of the characters in the past. Last season featured some of the more grim aspects of Charlie Kelly, played by actor Charlie Day, such as the fatal clubbing of basement-dwelling rats. Danny DeVito’s character, Frank, was a father simply looking to reconnect with his kids and redefine his life. But his downward spiral has been drastic and seems to have culminated in this year’s season premiere, in which he marries a prostitute. How much further could Charlie and Frank fall? The show needed another victim and Mac was the odd man out.
A growing trend that “Sunny” seems to be continuing this season is that The Gang has brought their antics outside of their rundown, disgusting and shady bar. In the last few seasons, The Gang has ventured into the wilderness, attempted to visit the Grand Canyon and infiltrated a local high school amongst other things. The upcoming season once again features The Gang reaching further than the depths of their bar to seemingly make others’ lives more difficult for their own personal gain. This season The Gang will attend their high school reunion, visit the Jersey Shore and go out of their way to put on a children’s beauty pageant.
Those who are hoping for more “old school Sunny” need not be concerned; though the scenery may change, “Sunny’s” priceless back-and-forth banter and bickering is sure to continue. The characters’ selfish, personally-driven motives behind any and all actions will not dissipate either. “Sunny” may also be more open to guest spots than they have been in the past, but familiar faces such as The Waitress, Cricket and the McPoyles are bound to make their usual appearance.
FX has a great lineup of shows, especially comedies but none are as outwardly funny as “Sunny.” “Wilfred” premiered this summer and was good for a few chuckles, but it did not quite satisfy. “Louie” is genuinely funny, but Louis C.K. does most of the work; it seems to be just a one-man show. “Archer” is funny to a degree, but “The League” has not been entertaining recently. “Sunny” certainly put FX on the map in terms of comedy and helped spawn these other shows, yet none can replace the absurdity that happens in each of “Sunny’s” episodes.
Early previews for this season are amusing, which seems to be an early indicator that “Sunny” is only getting bigger and better in 2011. Though snippets are usually rather comical, “Sunny” has always followed through the real laughs on nonsensical dialogue between the group members. “Sunny” generates its best laughs simply from the characters letting their personalities shine through. The antics are a welcome addition, but for fans that have been following the show for years, they are just happy to have The Gang back together again.
Nick Coviello can be reached at email@example.com.