March Madness: IT’S ALWAYS SUNNY IN PHILADELPHIA Winner Decided
As if there was really any doubt. It took over a month to whittle 32 of the best It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia episodes to the final two. In one corner, we had the classic Chardee MacDennis: Game of Games. In the other, a newcomer to the series, Maureen Ponderosa Wedding Massacre. Well both the writers of Screeninvasion and the fans have spoken, and there’s no doubt what the undisputed champion is. Without further ado….
In honor of the winning episode, we are taking a look back at how the writer’s told the story of this episode through this amazing bracket. We start with the first round matchup.
Round of 32: 1. Chardee MacDennis over 8. Gang Goes Jihad 6-0
The game of games dominates the jihad in the opening round. CharDee MacDennis has maybe the funniest scene in the entire series, when Mac and Charlie throw darts at an unflinching Dennis. Without even speaking a word, Glenn Howerton has never been funnier. CharDee MacDennis should make a deep run into the tournament, because it not just a game. It’s a war.
It’s sort of sad to see The Gang Goes Jihad bow out in the first round. The gang’s attempts to keep a lawyer from taking the bar are so desperate and depraved, even they can’t go through with all of it. The episode also ends with one of the greatest “oh shit’s” ever, courtesy of Charlie. – Ryan Hill
Sweet 16: 1. Chardee McDennis over 5. The D.E.N.N.I.S System 4-2
Sitcoms with confusing games have long been some of my favorites. Friends had Fireball, the quiz for the apartment, and the game show Ross was in line to host. Community had yet another one just last week. But few games are more complicated than Chardee MacDennis: The Game of Games. It’s an unholy mash-up of Monopoly, Trivial Pursuit, B.S., and any complicated drinking game you played in college. I love the little ridiculous details of the game, like certain rounds don’t allow you to curse, to get out of “jail” you have to eat the individual ingredients of a cake and little breaks where everyone is required to be civil before engaging in debilitating trash-talk. I’m still amazed how I get wrapped up in this completely stupid and pointless game, but that’s the joy of Sunny.- Kip Mooney
Elite 8: 1. Chardee MacDennis over The Gang Gets Held Hostage – 4-2
“It’s not just a game. It’s a war.”
That’s how Charlie sums up the gang’s homebrew cure for boredom in “Chardee MacDennis: The Game of Games,” and it might as well be the episode’s slogan as it steamrolls through the bracket. Not even the gang’s Die Hard episode can match the intensity of this cutthroat competition, which combines inexplicably elaborate rules and rituals with the show’s customary degradation. Case in point: the game’s “jail” is a dog cage, the perfect size to enclose poor Frank while he’s forced to gorge on cake ingredients.
“Chardee MacDennis” is a near-perfect narrative manifestation of Sunny’s hodgepodge of strangely specific and inherently funny ideas, a pointillist portrait of character-driven humor that adds up to one twisted, hilarious whole – all in less than 20 minutes. I could definitely see it smashing its way to the championship, provided it can avoid the dreaded coin flip…- Eric Ambler
Final Four: 1. Chardee MacDennis over 2 The Gang Dances Their Asses Off 3-3 Tie Broken by EIC Kristal Bailey
I was a bit of a latecomer to the greatness that is It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia. I had heard about this show that was basically ‘Seinfeld on crack’, a wildly inappropriate show with arrogant, self-centered, sociopathic, horrible people that was probably right up my alley. But I didn’t actually see it until it was well into its run. And the first episode I ever saw was ‘The Gang Dances Their Asses Off.’
So that episode has a special place in my heart. But even setting that aside, it’s a strong 30 minutes of TV. It’s almost as if the gang is at its best when nothing really happens. Charlie feebly tries to promote the bar and ends up forcing the gang to win their bar back in a dance competition. That’s the episode. That’s the whole thing. It’s a ludicrous plot and a sneaky way to rope in a bunch of ancillary characters, all of whom are trying to win the bar in revenge for all the ways the gang has mistreated them, but dammit if it isn’t hilarious.
But it doesn’t feel like a “big” episode. Chardee MacDennis feels like a big episode. The very definition of a bottle episode, Chardee MacDennis is 30 minutes of the gang playing the board game they made up one boring afternoon and one which encapsulates all of the negative individual traits of the gang and exploits them in legendary fashion: Dennis and Dee’s smirking superiority, Fat Mac’s rage, Charlie’s resigned befuddlement, and Frank’s calculating semi-evil. As silly as it is, the episode works because of its strange inaccessibility: it invites the audience to experience a bizarre game that the gang has made up and then doesn’t really show them how the game works.
Think about it. They lay out the ‘rules’ to Frank, the audience stand-in who has never heard of Chardee MacDennis before, but the explanation is incomplete and maddeningly vague at times. Google Chardee MacDennis and you’ll find oodles of posts in which people have attempted to recreate the game for home use. But they’re all poseurs and copycats. There’s only one real Chardee MacDennis and nobody really knows how you play it. All we know is that it’s really fun to watch. It’s grotesque and mean-spirited and crude and nonsensical and funny as hell. And it might have led to the greatest episode in Sunny’s history.- Gabe Ruzin
Finals: 1. Chardee MacDennis over 1. Maureen Ponderosa Wedding Massacre 4-2
There’s really only way one way to put it. CharDee MacDennis: Game of Games is the best episode of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia ever. It combines all of the things that make a Sunny episode great. The gang thrives in situations where they’re competing against each other, a la The Gang Dances Their Asses Off, and CharDee MacDennis takes things to a whole new level by making the entire game about scheming, belittling and every other bit of despicable behavior the gang gets into on a routine basis.
The Maureen Ponderosa Wedding Massacre is one of the best Sunny episodes ever, featuring the McPoyles, and the series, in classic form. The episode is chock full of hilarious sight gags, zombies, and even Dennis falling victim to Maureen Ponderosa and her massive boob job. There’s just one catch. It’s not CharDee MacDennis: Game of Games.
And CharDee MacDennis: Game of Games is the best Always Sunny episode in the history of the show.- Ryan Hill
Late last year, I was faced with a rather big decision regarding It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia. I highly recommended the show to a good friend of mine who warned me that she had high standards for comedic television, and I told her to start watching this show immediately. She took my advice, watched the first two episodes, and wasn’t feeling it. I was visiting her shortly after, and told her that I would show her one episode, and if she didn’t like it, I would never bother her again about watching the show. Though this sounds like a tough decision, it was in actuality an easy one. I immediately chose Chardee MacDennis: The Game of Games.
I chose Chardee because it is a great episode in a vacuum. There isn’t any ancillary characters that pop in and could cause confusion. It’s simply the gang doing what they do best: drinking and being dicks to each other. Wedding Massacre is a great episode. Anytime zombies, the McPoyles, or the woods are invovled with this show, I’m in. This one had all three. But ultimately, it doesn’t hold a flame to the game of games.
She did enjoy it, we watched another episode, and I’m happy to report that while she hasn’t continually watched the show, she does sees the show in a new light. Thank you Chardee MacDennis, you truly are worthy of the top spot in this amazing bracket. Kevin Taylor
Well that does it! We would like to thank all of the screeninvasion staff: Cat Edison, Gabe Ruzin, Eric Ambler, Ryan Hill, Kip Mooney, and Kevin Taylor, who helped out with the bracket, and for all the fans who voted on our facebook poll. Be sure to come back next year for our next installment of Screeninvasion March Madness!