Review: "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia" Season 5, Episode 11: "Mac and Charlie Write a Movie"

12/05/2009 Posted by Admin

By our guest blogger, Sam Roos

“It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia” continued its focus this season of giving their characters new worlds in which to play. For this fifth season of the show, the writers seem to have been aware of the need to keep switching things up, and this week was no exception, sending “The Gang” into the world of Hollywood (if not Hollywood itself.) Unfortunately, for whatever reason, the shift didn’t seem to do much for this episode. It’s not a bad concept, but the execution is lacking, and this definitely feels like an episode that didn’t get enough attention in the re-write process.

The general problem with this week’s episode is that, while the world was new, which usually means new ways for the characters to interact, something about this episode just didn’t inspire much new behavior in the characters. Dee’s dreams of grandeur collapse quickly and predictabl; Frank ultimately looks out only for himself; Dennis is shallow; and Mac and Charlie are children. It’s not that these characterizations haven’t worked in the past--indeed, in the past, these same characters acting the same way have produced some great episodes. Instead, it’s just that as we near the end of the fifth season, the audience no longer is impressed or shocked by the characters acting the way that they do. And when a show that openly discussed “Dolph Lungren’s naked penis penetrating [a] young girl” starts to lose its shock value, there is cause for concern.

Ultimately, this episode highlights why this is such a difficult show to pull off. With characters so devoid of real intelligence or a sense of morality, they have to be goofy and shocking every week to keep us interested. And while some of this week’s episode certainly qualifies as delivering that, it simply isn’t up to the standards they’ve set for themselves this season, and the result is a flat and largely boring episode. Dennis and Dee storylines, in particular, fall surprisingly flat.

Dee’s fall from “featured actress” to “featured extra” is predictable and repetitive, and the choice to make Dennis completely uncaring about everything for the entire episode simply doesn’t work--instead of a quirky choice, it just reads as dull. If he doesn’t care, why should we? It does (sort of) set up the ending to the episode, but that feels more like a convenient way to downplay the deus-ex-machina of the whole thing, because really, it’s a pretty lazy ending. This season of “It’s Always Sunny” has been great, and while this episode had its moments, in the end, it’s probably the season's weakest.

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