October 10th, 2013 It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia 2
100 episodes of television is a milestone. By reaching the 100th episode, the show solidifies its status as “popular”, as unsuccessful shows rarely last this long. On American networks, the typical number of episodes per TV season is around 22, making the 100th episode occur somewhere in its 4th or 5th season. Sometimes at this point in its run the show is still fresh enough that the spectacle of their milestone episode is an improvement on the show as a whole, adding a new spin on something already great. More often than not, the 100th episode falls flat — a reminder of how far the show has fallen from its season 2-3 peak. Today was the first time I’ve ever seen someone consider a show’s 100th episode to possibly be its greatest.
It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia aired its 100th episode last night, and it was incredible.
Now, I’ll admit that I’ve always had a pretty big soft spot for IASIP, and therefore I tend to be less critical of it. That being said, there’s a reason I’ll forgive certain things on this show and not others. I don’t think there’s anything else like IASIP on television (if there is, point me to it) which is mainly due to the amount of freedom fx/fxx has given its creators/writers/actors. Almost anything the gang dreams up (and finds funny) can be found on screen, and this creative freedom have given us the countless absurd, horrifying, and above all, hilarious situation the characters get themselves into.
Regardless of my near-unconditional love of Sunny, I don’t think there has ever been a show that has remained so fresh in its ninth season. Think about that: nine years of having to come up with fresh ideas, and the show has remained as hilarious as ever. In my opinion, the show hasn’t even had the typical dip in quality I mentioned above — it’s definitely one of the most consistent shows (other than season 1 where the lack of money and experience clearly shows), with a handful of episodes going above or below the quality-plateau.
This brings me to last night’s episode, which was filled with so many jokes, references, and — very surprisingly — emotions, that I couldn’t contain my excitement. The majority of the action takes place within each of the characters’ imaginations after an armed thief holds up the convenience store they’re in. We get a glimpse into the psyche of each member of the gang, something that is predictably both disturbing and highly entertaining. Most longtime fans of the show could probably predict some of the content of each segment (especially Mac’s, which makes sense since he had an entire episode dedicated to him last week), but what I’m sure almost nobody predicted was how far the show would go. Through these glimpses we are nearly given full confirmation of certain things that have only been touched on in the past (Dennis’s psychopathy, Dee’s true feelings about the men she spends her time with, Charlie only comprehending the world through cartoon), as well as one of the most heartbreaking scenes ever produced on this show. Yes, I just used the word “heartbreaking” to describe Sunny. If Charlie’s segment hadn’t been so hilarious I might have burst into tears. We even got a cameo that’s been years in the making (spoiler: he likes his ladies to pop). If these aren’t the makings of an incredible episode of television, then I don’t know what is.
It’s Always Sunny‘s high-concept episodes tend to be my favourites, and this one is not an exception. I’m so happy with the overall quality of this season, and have decided to take it as a sign that Rob, Glenn, and Charlie will continue making episodes for many years to come. Here’s to 100 more!