When FXX suddenly started promoting Episodes 7 and 8 of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia this week as the “season finale,” I was pretty surprised. Only eight episodes this season? And with them doubling up episodes every week, we only got four weeks of new Sunny?!
I suppose the eight-episode season is due to a combination of COVID restrictions and (more likely) the cast’s busy schedules. As well as probably a bit of “quality over quantity” as well.
I had recapped the first two episodes on premiere night and enjoyed both. Episode 3’s “The Gang Buys a Roller Rink” was a fun origin story for The Gang.
But this milestone 15th season will be defined by The Gang’s trip to Ireland. And this five-episode trip has been some of the series’ best work.
Playing almost like Sunny‘s first full-length film, this Ireland adventure is what has made Season 15. Eight episodes feels so short, but if this entire season were just about The Gang on a trip in Ireland, it would’ve been perfectly fine.
And imagine if they were actually able to film on location in Ireland too. (I don’t think they did, yeah?)
Aside from moments that have immediately become some of my all-time favorite Sunny moments (Dennis trying to “pinch off” a cough had me bawling I was laughing so hard), this Ireland arc (so to speak) really exemplifies how and why the show is still going strong for now-15 seasons. (And counting!)
Though many fans have had issues with recent seasons, I’ve always felt that the series has been consistently funny. And one of the most consistent shows on all of television. They are able to regularly top themselves while staying true to what the show is at its core. And that core is these five people getting themselves into deep shit while sticking together.
As much as I enjoy and even prefer the small-scale hijinks, the series is able to hit it out of the park with some of their high concept shenanigans. And this Ireland trip was able to balance both sides of what the series does best.
Even being in “Ireland,” we still had the same five characters we’ve come to know and love (yes, love lol). There were some excellent character beats for each member of The Gang and all their stories (both individually and together) drew upon the crazy, colorful foundation that has been laid over 16 years.
Obviously, it all culminated in this incredible season finale. Season 15, Episode 8 might be one of the all-time best episodes of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia. And it’s for the following two reasons.
First, Charlie Day’s performance in that scene as Charlie breaks down was absolutely stunning. Though the impact is similar to Rob McElhenney’s amazing performance in the season 13 finale, there was just something extra here.
I noticed how sincere Charlie seemed to be as he got to know his father. This wasn’t the same Charlie we’ve known. The one bashing rats in the basement or playing night crawlers or gushing over ghouls. It was almost jarring at some points. Especially in the almost heartbreaking scenes where Frank is jealous of Charlie’s new relationship with his father. As much as the show played many of those scenes for laughs, (I mean, will you ever get over Danny DeVito pretending to have poop balls in his mouth? Lol) there was come legitimate emotion in those scenes as well. It was an emotional moment that was almost like a culmination of Charlie’s arc regarding not having a father and finding a father in Frank.
Though Sunny will always be a comedy series about five horrible people who do stupid shit all the time, these rare moments of earnest storytelling are quite welcome. I feel like scenes like Charlie’s break down here or Mac coming out to his father through dance are satisfying and rewarding scenes for long-time fans of the show.
At least for me they are. And that brings me to the second reason.
What was so awesome about the final scenes of this finale was how we saw that no matter what The Gang goes through, no matter how many times they will scream at each other or throw each other under bus, these five will be always have each other’s backs. They probably won’t hesitate to throw them under a bus (maybe literally) the next chance they get. But deep down, the five of them will always have each other’s backs. (Perhaps because they’re all each other has.)
That might make me sound like a jabroni (as Mac might call me). But I don’t care. I love the fact that these five idiots can always come together whether it’s for an impromptu acapella sing-along or the latest get-rich quick scheme.s
Still, to feel so touched and have such heartwarming feelings over the fact that these five horrible people have each other’s backs, that’s some talent on the part of everyone involved in the show. From the cast to the writers and everyone in between.
A MaGMCM from Always Sunny? What’s going on?! lol
Honestly, if any episode of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia deserved an Emmy, it would be Episode 15.08. The way they were able to find the perfect tonal balance in the writing. An emotional roller coaster indeed. And then to have the cast deliver (as they always do) with Charlie Day especially giving an unexpectedly stunning performance.
This honestly was the best showcase for why It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia has successfully completed their 15th season and has at least a few more seasons on the way. Still as hilarious and crazy as ever. But then you throw in some heartfelt scenes too? And scenes that actually land and fit within the world the show has established over 16 years? You can’t find that anywhere else on television today.
Raising a glass of monkey beer to toast to this awesome, hilarious, crazy show.