- Hamish Hart
Why It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia is the Greatest Television Show of All-Time
PHILADELHPIA'S most irresponsible, endearing pub proprietors are ready for the latest season of It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, so with the recent announcement Season 15 has begun filming, this begs the question: what makes It's Always Sunny one of the greatest sitcoms in television history?
Created by and starring Glenn Howerton and Rob McElhenney, It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia follows the lives of five friends working at an Irish bar called Paddy's Pub, including Dennis (Howerton), an egotistical sociopath who cannot accept rejection; Charlie (Charlie Day), a dim-witted, kind-hearted janitor who is madly in love with a neighbouring coffee shop waitress; Mac (McElhenney), the self-assured muscle of the group unsure of his sexuality; Dee (Kaitlin Olson), sister of Dennis and butt of every joke; and Frank (Danny DeVito), the father of Dennis and Dee who ditched his upper-class life to experience the "joys" that come with living the lower-class lifestyle.
Since its premiere on August 4, 2005, It's Always Sunny has continually pushed the boundaries of dark comedy by tackling controversial subjects such as religion, racism and addictions in refreshing and brutally-honest ways in order to remain relevant and sharp after nearly 16 years on-air as each episode never feels repetitious or unnecessary unless explicitly implemented to create self-aware humour that never misses its mark.
It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia is aptly-named as the repugnant personalities of the gang shine thanks to the performances given by the recurring leads. Unlike television shows before and after, the gang doesn't have a weak element as Day, McElhenney, Howerton, Olson and DeVito bounce off one another so effortlessly that it is easy to forget they are supposed to be portraying terrible people, and knowing their real-life relationships just makes the show that more enjoyable as Olson and McElhenney, and Day and his "stalkee" are happily married outside the show.
While there is no weak link, everybody has their personal favourite character - and for me, that would be Glenn Howerton as Dennis Reynolds.
From Season 1, Dennis shows early signs of his sociopathic tendencies that would become a trademark for the character. Some of the show's best episodes such as 'The D.E.N.N.I.S System' and 'Mac & Dennis Move To The Suburbs' showcase his ever-changing emotions best, being calm and collected one moment before expressing and exasperating his repressed rage onto others either verbally or methodically through well-calculated, devious revenge plots, usually involving sleeping with or humiliating their partner.
Aside from dark comedy being utilised to express underlining messages, It's Always Sunny also features incredible musical compositions. Episodes such as 'The Gang Turns Black' and one of the most critically-acclaimed episodes, 'The Nightman Cometh', showcase each actor's musical capabilities, performing catchy songs, which despite their abhorrent subject matters and language, still enhance the compelling narratives, leading to a plethora of hilarious situations such as Frank mispronouncing "get into the boy's soul" with "boy's hole"; a joke that feels rudimentary on paper, but is only made funny due to DeVito's out-of-place casting and delivery.
Due to a significantly lower budget and the notable absence of Danny DeVito, It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia does begin a little slow, but once you reach Season 2, the show keeps an upbeat and hilarious pace which remains 150 episodes later. Some episodes may not be everybody's cup of tea due to their subject matters, with five episodes being removed from streaming services due to their explicit use of blackface, It's Always Sunny is undoubtedly my favourite show of all-time and is a true inspiration for any television show looking to make an impact, especially considering that the show was nearly cancelled during its first season, but it would persevere, turning into the longest-running television comedy of all-time.