It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia Season 8, Episode 5 Deconstructed

by: Douglas Grant

Our weekly recaps continue discussing the adventures of five of Philadelphia’s most depraved underachievers in ‘It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia’. Pull up a stool at Paddy’s Pub as we let you in on “The Gang’s” adventures….

The Gang Gets Analyzed

It was 11:00 AM on a Thursday when Sweet Dee told her therapist that she wasn’t a dermatologist, and therefore had no business talking to her about her psoriasis, even though it may be an indication of a deeper issue. Dee wanted to talk about the cooperative dinner she was encouraged to have with the boys so that they might work out some of their deep seeded issues. More specifically she wanted to assign the role of who should have done the dishes that night. This transitions into psychoanalysis where the entire gang gets therapy in one-on-one sessions.

Mac: He goes through wild mood swings in very brief and violent spurts here. When he explains this to the doctor, he includes his weight fluctuation of late. This is our opportunity to learn how he lost all of that fat. When he confides in her that people used to cross the street to avoid “that monster coming barreling toward [them]”, she assumes it’s the pain and insecurity of being overweight that’s troubling him. But he’s more distraught over losing all the mass he’s spent so much time cultivating, leading her to conclude that he’s suffering from reverse body dysmorphic disorder, where he’s unable to perceive himself as others do.

Charlie: He’s convinced right off the bat that she’s going to make him do the dishes, because it’s “Charlie work”. And we can actually sympathize with Charlie here, because we all know that Charlie work is a very real thing, usually dealing with unpleasantness such as raw sewage or decaying animal corpses. And yet he tells her that he loves it. “I love the dark, I love slippery things, I like being naked in the sewer, bleach smells good, and tastes good, and . . . “ The positive spin she’s able to put on his troubles is that he’s a very well adjusted individual. His session ends with his revealing the dead pigeon he’s been keeping in the inner pocket of his jacket, which he hugged too hard and is now dead. I couldn’t help being reminded of Lenny from Of Mice and Men.

Frank: He’s combative from the very beginning, rudely spitting pistachio shells all over the coffee table that separates him from the good doctor. He hates therapy. He’s only confided in a shrink once, when he was a kid after a fight, only to be “shanghaied upstate to a ‘nitwit’ school”.  He goes on to tell her about frog kids and the physical suffering they endured there, but he goes off on a tangent that I either had trouble following or just lost interest in. But I recalled as I watched him prattle on that one of Danny Devito’s earliest roles was Martini from One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, where he played a patient in a mental hospital. For a moment I entertained the possibility that maybe the producers were inadvertently paying tribute to that role.

Dennis: He truly believes that he’s on the same academic level as the doctor. It turns out he’s “long maintained psychological dossiers for every single one of those raving lunatics”, with Dee’s going as far back as the second grade, and Charlie’s being the thickest, “of course”. She makes an inquiry about the “size pills” he’s been giving Mac. It turns out Dennis has been drugging Mac with Mexican ephedra. When she tries to convince him of the seriousness of secretly drugging his friend, he sardonically responds, “Giving a man medicine for his disease, wherever did I get that idea?”

Dee: Let’s face it: treatment simply can’t work if you can’t be truthful with your therapist. And the doctor sees right through Dee when she claims to have turned down the female lead in The Notebook, and graciously handed off the role to Rachel McAdams. We know from past experience that Dee has always deluded herself in her abilities as an actress, and now she’s flat out fabricating. Think back to when she was a substitute drama teacher at a local Philadelphia high school. But here, when she tries to recite Matt Damon’s lines from Good Will Hunting, and completely botches doing a Boston accent by substituting it for a Brooklyn one, it’s just plain sad.

The doctor wants to have intense repeat therapy sessions with the gang to dig deep down and get to the root of their problems. All they want to know is who should do the dishes from the party. “Dishes! Dishes! Dishes! Dishes! Dishes! Dishes!” they chant at her in unison. Put on the spot, frustrated, and knowing a lost cause when she sees one, she gives Dee the shit end of the stick, as usual, to the delight of the rest of the gang.

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