Its Always Sunny in Philadelphia Season 8, Episode 4 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….

Charlie and Dee Find Love

Apparently for about five minutes in the late nineties there was a genre of movies that dealt with the blue-blooded elitist community of the super-wealthy playing hurtful mind games with the lesser cultured, naïve, and often downtrodden people that were considered by the snobbery to be low class. In the spirit of movies like Dangerous Liaisons, Can’t Buy Me Love, She’s All That, and Cruel Intentions, the producers came up with a take-off episode on this very category, a strange choice if you really break it down. But then again, within this context the gang is the right age to appreciate the subtle psychological maneuvering that comes into play when ruining the lives of people you consider to be beneath you. Dennis is practically an expert at it, hence his familiarity with the subject, and Dee comes to realize that’s she’s being played when she says to Mac,” [Trevor’s] doing to us what I like to do to Charlie and the waitress.”

Charlie and Dee are fooling absolutely no one when they try to pass themselves off as members of high society, with Dee claiming to be from old railroad money and Charlie alleging that he’s from a “moneyful family, shippers of goods and builders of tall . . . somethings”. But once they’re accepted as the actual slobs that they are, they become more comfortable in their own skin, with Charlie gorging himself on the cheese course (Mac and Dennis warned him not to make the mistakes of the past) and Dee burping up booze on Trevor as she gives him a drunken lap dance to “Bad Company”.

As it dawns on Dennis what is actually taking place, he lets Mac and Frank in on his suspicions. And he’s worried about Charlie, because he’s played this game himself, on people he considers himself better than. “[Ruby] is just toying with Charlie. She is going to crush him.” When Mac fears Trevor may be doing the same thing to Dee, Dennis replies, “What, Dee? Oh, she’s constantly being crushed. She’ll bounce back. She always does. Or she won’t. It doesn’t matter. I don’t care about that. All I care about is Charlie here.”

Mac’s part in this episode is not as prominent, but this is the first time he’s been acknowledged for his martial arts prowess (Even if it is all part of Trevor’s charade). He truly believes that Trevor is impressed by his Jew Karate, all while playing it cool and modest, which leads them to sparring sessions that will come back to bite Mac in the ass later in the episode.

Whereas last week’s episode is the scariest one I’ve ever seen (Yes, scary), this week’s one was the sappiest. I’ve never seen so much forced romance squeezed into an episode. Like when Charlie returns his affections to the waitress in the end and she reduces his restraining order from 100 to 50 feet. It’s not necessarily a bad avenue to explore, there’s just something off about it, as if too much time has elapsed without a legitimate joke. But we’ve been with the gang for eight years now, and maybe some of the more sentimental fans needed some gratification in this regard.

This is the second time this season when we’ve seen an inappropriate role reversal. When Charlie dumps Ruby at the very end–and it is mean, we see the tables turning on the Tafts, save for the fact that Ruby actually cares about Charlie. But the verbal attack is not quite as convincing when it’s coming from Charlie. Dimwit though he may be, he’s the good-natured one of the gang. The diatribe, once again, would have been better suited to Dennis. In finding out that Charlie was waging psychological warfare with Ruby to make the waitress jealous, we see an ugly side to him. But maybe in keeping in check with the underlying theme of the episode, it’s fitting that “Charlie had the cruelest intentions of all.”

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