It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia had been one of my favorite comedies for a long time, but it kind of fell off of my radar around the time seventh season came along. That doesn’t mean there haven’t been exceptional episodes since the seventh season (“Chardee MacDennis: The Game of Games” and “Thunder Gun Express” stand out as recent favorites), but with eight complete seasons out now, it is reasonable that “Seinfeld on crack” might start to wear thin. There have always been episodes of Sunny where I thought “if this was the episode that introduced me to the series, I would not have ever watched this show” and halfway through the ninth season premiere, “The Gang Broke Dee”, I was worried this episode was going to be one of them.
I was wrong.
In the opening scene, the gang is doing what they do best: ragging on Dee for one thing or another. This time, it happens to be because she is eating “trash cake” that was thrown out over a month ago, drinking whiskey and smoking all the while. The guys try to make jokes about Dee being a bird, but she cuts off their jabs, completing their jokes before they even get a chance to make them. This, of course, takes the fun out of it for the guys. Why make fun of someone who won’t fight back? After many failed attempts to land a bird joke on Dee, Dennis comes to the conclusion:
The Gang Broke Dee.
At this point, the guys break up into two groups: Mac, Charlie and Frank, who decide that Dee is in the perfect “comedic sweet spot” between suicidal and actually dead that will allow her stand-up comedy career to flourish, and Dennis, who decides that it is time Dee settled down with a man who will take her off his hands forever. Dee doesn’t really seem to care about anything at this point though, so she gives both ideas the go-ahead and the guys head off to put their plans into action.
While Dennis is pulling out his selection of suitably sad suitors for Dee, the rest of the gang gets Dee set up for an open mic night at a local comedy club. By some sort of Sunny magic, Dee doesn’t bomb (much to Dennis’s disappointment). For some reason, her bizarre mix of saying the word “vagina” and sound effects send Dee on a one-way ticket to stardom. Sleeping with a small-time comedy manager helps probably, too.
After halfway into the episode, Dee has finally regained her confidence. Dee realizes she is too good for Dennis and his “selects”, now that she is no longer opening for the diarrhea-based comic, Landslide (Lavell Crawford), and too good for her fan club (the rest of the gang). That’s when big-time comedy manager, Rotenberg (Peter Jacobson), picks her up from her small-time living and offers her a gig performing on Conan.
Too bad the joke is really on Dee — it was all an elaborate plan by the gang (minus Dennis) to stop her from moping around the bar. The plan worked and Dee is back to just being angry instead of suicidal. The natural order has been restored.
I almost didn’t like this episode of Sunny. Watching Dee totally ruin the biggest job opportunity of her life after sinking to rock bottom was kind of rough, but the fact that it was all a prank won me over. Especially since Dennis ends up as the butt of the joke, too. So, faith in Sunny somewhat restored. I’m still a little skeptical about the rest of the season and probably won’t start watching it weekly again, but I’ll make sure to pop back in and see how things are going.
Welcome back, you terrible, terrible people.