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 Rules The World
This episode was social commentary on bad reality tv, online gaming, social networking, and sensory deprivation all rolled into one. Through the gang, we see just how much of our culture has let living real life to the fullest fall to the wayside in lieu of alternative forms of “reality”. And the vessel for this fall from grace comes in the form of Techpocolypse, a major multi-player online game that has caused Sweet Dee and Charlie’s basic hygiene go to shit. The only hope for the gang is Dennis, who sees what’s really going on and will stop at nothing to bring his friends back from the brink.
“So let me get this straight. You’ve been playing this game for like a week straight just so you can feel like you lord over all of us?” Charlie asks Dee when she has him come over to watch her crops. This feeling of importance and self worth will eventually consume every member of the gang except Dennis as they try and establish themselves as individuals of status and privilege in the online community. Dennis tries to nip this at the bud by taking Mac and Frank dancing at a local Philadelphia hotel bar where they get down to poppy songs from the Footloose soundtrack.
The title of the episode comes from Charlie’s natural affinity for productivity in the world of Techpocolypse. Maybe this stems from his proficiency at Charlie work, which we find him doing at the very beginning as Mac and Frank are using him as human rabbit ears so that they can watch The Real Housewives of New Jersey.
“C’mon, Charlie. Please. I need you.” Dee confides in him. “It’s like when I’m doing good in the game I’m doing good in life.”
“Oh, I want to make fun of you for saying that, but I kind of know what you mean,” he replies. This is Charlie’s first real taste of what it feels like to thrive. And he has set a new standard for unprecedented productivity in this online realm.
When Mac and Frank get involved, they find that they too are more relevant in virtual reality. Mac has ballooned up his muscles to steroid proportions, fighting every online player he comes into contact with. “Aw, here comes another guy. I’m gonna fight him.”
Dennis is disgusted when he discovers them playing the game. Mac in turn puts on one of Dennis’ hidden camera home porno tapes, to the music of Lionel Richie, to show Dennis that he too is caught up in an alternate reality, and is no better than either him or Frank. “You say it’s real,” he insinuates, “but what even is reality?”
After virtually consummating their union online, Charlie and Dee bicker like an old married couple. And while Dee carries on about how much she wants a real mink coat, Charlie tries to drive home the point that they could both lose “everything” if she keeps distracting him from playing the game. According to Mac, the “Soiled Fool”, Charlie has psychologically annihilated her, and Mac is thoroughly impressed. Maybe this is why when he is tasked to watch over Dee in Charlie’s absence he goes through with the ultimate virtual betrayal.
Charlie’s had enough. “I think we can all agree that this game is the most important thing that’s ever happened to us,” he starts off after sitting Frank, Dee, and Mac down for a talk. He agrees to let them all live if they acquiesce to all of his demands. But Dennis, claiming to be a god, shows up and informs them that he’s unplugged them all from the game, because they were all stupid enough to use Paddy’s Pub as their password
Dee may have butchered a Boston accent by substituting it with a Brooklyn one, but the accent Dennis tries to imitate from his British vision quest doppelganger is incomprehensible. But the accent’s not what’s important. Dennis has removed them all from the game, saving them from themselves. Now they are free to go back to ruining other people’s lives in next week’s episode.