So I’ll just come clean and say that I really don’t watch The Office. Now hold on, before you reach for that molotov cocktail, let me make it absolutely clear that I have seen a good chunk of its episodes and have found most of them to be pretty enjoyable. While I do like the show, I could never really get into it too much. Call me an intolerable postmodern pseudo-nihilist sludge hipster, but, I like my sitcoms a little bit spicier than your average bear. That’s why when I’m looking for something to watch while eating an amount of Chick-fil-a most doctors would call “questionable”, my first choice is always FX’s black comedy sitcom, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia.
Created by Rob McElhenney in 2005, the series has graced us with twelve full seasons worth of the depraved and twisted adventures of, “The Gang”, which is basically what would happen if you were to boil the very worst that humanity had to offer down into five people named Charlie, Dennis, Frank, Mac, and Dee who own a bar called Paddy’s Pub. From musical theater to cannibalism, the gang does just about everything but actually run their bar as they try to find more and more depraved ways to bide their time. While each of the show’s 134 episodes share an equally warm little spot in my heart, the title of this article says that I’m going to rank them, and that’s exactly what I’m going to do. Keep in mind that this is just my own list and that opinions are normally pretty awful so break out your finest rum hams and milk steaks, because things are about to get extreme.
- Charlie Work – We begin our list with probably the most technically impressive episode of the show. After learning about a surprise visit from the health inspector, it’s up to Paddy’s illiterate janitor and cheese enthusiast, Charlie, to get everything in order before the inspector’s arrival. Obviously his friends have no interest in helping him out, and are already involved in a scheme involving frozen steaks by the time he gets to the bar. While on the surface it seems pretty stock standard for the series, what makes this episode so special is that most of it is comprised of an impressively well constructed sequence that consists of a single shot. If you had told me I would be praising an It’s Always Sunny for it’s technical specs way back in the day, I would have called the police.
- The Gang Gives Frank an Intervention – Taking a jab a nice jab at the intervention show craze, this episode sees the gang enlist the help of a psychiatrist to give an intervention to give Frank, Dennis and Dee’s rich and deranged father, an intervention for his increasingly erratic behavior. Really it’s more of an intervention in all but name because rather than actually sitting down and talking about Franks problems like any normal group of high functioning adults would, all the gang wants to do is sit Frank down and make fun of him. Definitely check it out if that how you deal with your problems in real life.
- The Gang Saves the Day – An average run to the convenience store turns into a struggle between life and death as the gang finds themselves hiding from an armed robber. The episode is an anthology made up of how each member envisions themself solving the crisis. It’s fun to see how each of them sees the world, and the creative (and uncreative) solutions they dream up, comprising everything from a spoof of the infamous opening to the film Up, to a noble attempt to put mustard on a hot dog. Good fun for the whole family.
- Paddy’s Pub: Home of the Original Kitten Mittens – Instead of writing another bad summary for this one, I’m just going to give you Charlie’s Kitten Mitten sales pitch. “Charlie Kelly here, local business owner and cat enthusiast. Is your cat making too much noise all the time? Is your cat constantly stomping around, driving you crazy? [Roaring] [Glass Shattering] Is your cat clawing at your furnitures? Think there’s no answer? You’re so stupid! There is.Kitten Mittens. Finally, there’s an elegant, comfortable mitten for cats.I couldn’t hear anything.Is your cat one-legged? Is your cat fat, skinny or an in-between? That doesn’t matter, ’cause one size fits all. Kitten Mittens.You’ll be smitten.”
- The Gang Makes Lethal Weapon 6 – As a person with a couple of amateur short films under his, this episode is really near and dear to my heart. Sort of a sequel to the episode Dee Reynolds: Shaping America’s Youth, which featured the gang’s take on Lethal Weapon 5, Lethal Weapon 6 takes the concept to the stratosphere. Featuring black face, sex scenes, and way too much rain, the gang’s take on Lethal Weapon 6 would have been fully Oscar worthy if not for its gross copyright infringement and horrifying level of casual racism. I could die a happy camper if someone could put together a Mel Gibson reaction video for the film.
- The Nightman Cometh – Weber, Sondheim, and Lin Manuel should honestly just call it quits with their dignity intact, because the best musical to ever grace the stage has already been written, and it’s called “The Nightman Cometh”. Who would sell their to see a hip hop musical about some guy on money when “The Nightman Cometh” is not only twice as good, but also contains about quadruple the amount of pedophilia. Not much more can be said that hasn’t already been said about what is arguably the series’ most iconic episode. One thing you may not have known is that there’s a live version on you youtube that I challenge you to find if you’re feeling extra motivated.
- The Gang Goes to a Waterpark – Criminally underrated, “The Gang Goes to a Waterpark” tackles just about every cliche thing about water parks, but of course with the usual dark It’s Always Sunny twist. Each member of the gan has a hidden agenda at the park, which is effectively destroyed by them at the end of the episode. It also features Frank’s plunge down the “Thunder Gun Express” water slide, which may be the hardest the show has ever made me laugh. Also, stay away if you don’t like blood.
- The High School Reunion parts 1&2 – I’m cheating a bit here, but this two parter is worthy enough for me to bend the rules a little bit. Focusing on the group’s time at its high school reunion, and oddly enough gives a surprising amount of backstory for the gang. Not like i’m implying that the show has a Tolkien level of lore, but it’s cool to see where their sociopathic tendencies may have came from. Throw in the mother of all dance numbers you got yourself some prime television.
- The Gang Buys a Boat – To impress the opposite sex, Mac and Dennis decide to buy a boat. Things get messy when the rest of the gang jumps in, and vessel is on fire by the end of the episode’s runtime. The episode is a bit ho-hum as far as the show is concerned, or it would be if it weren’t for… the implication. That scene alone is almost transcendental in how not only funny it is, but how dark it is. In face, i’d go as far as to say that it is the darkest moment in the entire show. Those who have seen the episode will know what i’m talking about, but I won’t spoil it for those who haven’t. Let’s just say that you’ll want to take a nice long shower after watching it.
- The .D.E.N.N.I.S. System – Nearly perfect from start to finish, The .D.E.N.N.I.S. system will be remembered long after the human race has disappeared. The episode centers on Dennis, the gang’s resident psychopath, as he explain to the rest of the gang his unique dating technique. His explanation is fruitless though, because before long, each of the gang members has devised their own warped version of the system. Honestly, if you only watch one episode of the show, just make it this one, I beg you.
Bonus. Pacific Rim: Uprising – Don’t watch this movie. If you did watch it, then you’ll know what I’m talking about. Just going to leave it at that.