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IT’S ALWAYS SUNNY IN PHILADELPHIA, “The Gang Gets Analyzed” Episode Recap

I absolutely love the idea of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia doing an episode with The Gang in treatment. Clearly, these people have plenty of issues, and this format of getting them all in a room alone with Kerri Kenney-Silver’s therapist to highlight their insecurities, fears, and troubles individually was a fresh approach for the show. There’s only one problem here: it wasn’t very funny.

Sunny has been getting a little more introspective and self-aware this season, and while the results have brought some fresh life to a show that can be stale from time to time, the laugh-out-loud moments have been few and far between, which is a real problem for a show that relies so much on outrageous gags.

But I suppose humor is suggestive. Maybe I’ve just seen enough after eight seasons. Maybe The Gang is like your real-life asshole friend who can charm the pants off a stranger but once you get what he’s all about you want nothing more than to get as far away as possible. But I digress. There were some interesting things covered in each of the mini-sessions that are worth mentioning, and while none were entirely surprising, it was nice to get a some vulnerable moments out of these people, even if it was for a fleeting moment.

MAC

Mac’s session opens, fittingly, with him doing his signature karate moves, as it is his only way of attempting to impress anyone. He’s wound up because he thought he was a great host (I should mention, Dee brought The Gang along to therapy so that Kenney-Silver can determine who should clean the dishes following their dinner party). He doesn’t feel appreciated, especially since he gained and lost 60 pounds in a matter of three months. He’s struggling with his identity, longing to be that monster that people feared. His erratic behavior — shifting from angry to confused to sad in a matter of seconds — can explained by Body Dysmorphia, as Mac sees a distorted version of himself that no one else does.

CHARLIE (“you’re gonna wanna strap in for this one.”)

Charlie’s history of potential mental illness has been hinted at for years, and his situation is nicely summed up in the opening shot of him repeatedly banging his head against the wall. Charlie’s problem isn’t that he’s always told to do Charlie Work — he loves dark and slimy things by nature — he just doesn’t like people telling him what to do all the time. He’s tired of being viewed as the weird guy. The therapist is impressed with the way he’s opened up, and she believes he’s more well adjusted than he gives himself credit for…then he reveals he’s been carrying around a dead pigeon in his pocket all day.

FRANK

Frank won’t open up at first, but much like the pistachios he’s chomping on, he eventually cracks, diving deep into the time he spent at the nit-wit school, where he fell in love with a girl who later died after suffocating on a plastic bag that she thought was her astronaut’s helmet. The awkward cutaway from a crying Frank to the cheerful theme music to introduce Dennis was probably the only time I laughed out loud all night. If nothing else, it was a nice bit of acting by Danny DeVito.

DENNIS

Dennis’s egotism has reached all-time highs this season, thinking he can fix nearly any situation. He sees himself somehow as a peer of the therapist, since you know, he finished a few semesters at Penn a hundred years ago. As usual, he was manipulating his friends the whole time, and then he drew a picture of him holding a woman’s boobs. So who’s the crazy one again?

DEE

Dee has been lying in all her session (she was indeed not the first choice for the female lead in The Notebook), so she cannot be helped if she is not honest with herself. But it doesn’t matter. She keeps lying, then she wants approval, and won’t stop asking for it until she gets the answer she’s looking for.

Ultimately, all the progress (is it fair to call it progress? It was something.) was for naught, as they all agreed in the end all they wanted was for someone to be assigned the dishes. Dee’s the odd woman out. She smashes plates. Everyone else is satisfied, except me.

Other Thoughts

– The very Sunny moment of the week: Charlie spiking the dead pigeon on the coffee table. “You all ate pigeon!”

– “La Salle? Sounds like a pasta dish.” As a Temple grad, I will always appreciate a good La Salle jab.

– Is it weird to survive an abortion? Or to share a bed with a man who may or may not be your father?

– Dennis and Dee had “another twin” in their mother’s womb who would have been named Donnie, but they gobbled him up.

Find Nick DeLorenzo directly on Twitter @nick_delorenzo and remember to follow @ScreenInvasion!

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The Author

Nicholas DeLorenzo

Nicholas DeLorenzo

television writer/social assassin