Friday, December 16, 2011

It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia - Season 7

The seventh season is around the point where most comedies on TV start to lose their ability to really surprise you or affect you in meaningful ways, or at least stop making you laugh quite as much as they used to. I will say that It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia definitely feels like a show that's been around for that long, and it's reaching the point where they're running out of new gags and new ideas and has to rely on calling back to classic guest characters and running jokes in more extreme ways to stay exciting. Despite that, it still might actually be the funniest show I watch. Other comedies are newer and fresher and smarter and inspire greater passion and affection in me, but I just don't laugh as hard at them as I do at Sunny. A lot of this season's biggest laughs were based largely on shock value; creating situations so unexpected and unusual to see on TV that the novelty was a major part of their success. But who cares how carefully thought out or crafted a joke is when it makes you laugh until you start crying?

Despite having a lot of success recently in movies and other projects, at least compared to the rest of the cast, Charlie Day doesn't really dominate screen time like some people were maybe expecting. It was actually a pretty low-key year for his character, though he had a few inspired moments, including a scene that made me laugh as hard as anything I can think of in my entire life. Dennis continues to deliver great, increasingly disturbing performances, gradually continuing to develop into a fully deranged, secretive monster. Frank was the focus of a flashback episode that despite including a fun appearance by Lance Reddick stands as one of the series' only truly bad episodes, but Danny DeVito is so fully in control of the character at this point that it's always a joy just to watch him react or eat something. Sweet Dee got a lot of mileage out of her increasingly creative and filthy mouth, and while they didn't quite capitalize on the whole "fat Mac" arc, they did get some good jokes out of it and he's still a solid character. The show's been renewed for two more years, and I'd be feeling at least a little anxious about that with most sitcoms, but they only have to put out 13 or so episodes per year and they really haven't shown many signs of slowing down. I'll be glad to continue spending time with these freakish, vile lunatics for a while more.

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