Commercial Interruption: "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia"
That's when we need a break to sit back, relax and indulge in some friendly back-and-forth (via email of course, we don't actually like to speak to one another in person). Bloggers Sara Boyd and Thomas Rozwadowski dissect back-to-back episodes of "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia" -- Boyd from the perspective of a newbie who may or may not have been prepared for a Season Four premiere about cannibalism, and Rozwadowski from the perch of a veteran who, in quiet moments, likes to prance around in spandex like Dennis as lead singer of "Electric Dream Machine."
Thomas: Sara, Sara, Sara ... I actually feel kinda bad that your first pure viewing of "It's Always Sunny" was an episode as deliciously demented as "Manhunters." I mean, it would be like a church-going 22-year-old losing her virginity to Ron Jeremy. Wait, can I write that here? Of course! It's an "Always Sunny" post!
I mean, you can't go back now. You. Cannot. Go. Back. There's this imaginary line of decency that keeps getting pushed further and further with "Sunny," and dear God, "Manhunters" even surpassed my expectations for just how insane the subject matter could get. Was it a classic? Well, I now know to choose the gorilla mask over the dated hand-in-a-cup-of-warm-water routine when hosting a sleepover. And while it was certainly funny -- I'm thinking specifically of the line, "The morgue. Now hear me out ... SOLD!" -- the pace was manic, the point-of-view almost too randomly absurd from the get-go. Ease me in, Sunny! Ease me in!
But that's also what I love about the show; it maintains a high level of self-awareness that only needs to make sense to a certain point. They can get away with anything, even cannibalism, and by the time a new episode (we'll get to "Gas Crisis" in a bit) rolls around, eh, all is forgotten and now Dee is talking about murdering her own brother.
It's more "South Park" than anything in that approach. Granted, it was on a major network, but remember when "The Contest" was a taboo topic amongst the "Seinfeld" crew? Um, how about teabagging and eating human flesh? SOLD!
Sara: Oh, Tom. I appreciate your attempts at shielding my "virgin" eyes when it comes to "Sunny," but let's be honest, if there was one way to really go -- ahem, balls to the wall (get it? yeah, that'll probably be edited out ...) for an intro -- it was most definitely with a crude, violent and obscene episode like last night's.
And let me just say, I ain't seen much, but what I sees, I likes. Sure, you could argue that last night's "Manhunters" may have scared, or scarred, a large portion of the viewing audience similar to me who thought, "Ooh, I've always wanted to check this show out." But as I quickly and perhaps, forcefully learned with "Sunny," there's just no room for the timid or "anti-cannibals."
It was shocking, no doubt, and it was a bit like watching a cast of misfits take a hit of acid and ad-lib from there. But it sold me, and oh yes, I will return. I did have a bit of a warning from dear Thomas Rozwadowski who described the show as perhaps crossing the line and maybe even pushing its own TV-MA rating.
And while I'm all for good, clean "Will Smith" humor every now and then, it's always refreshing to know there are shows still out there ready to push the envelope.
To sum up the first viewing of "Sunny," any show that successfully addresses cannibalism, gorilla masking and racism within cannibalism -- well, what's not to love? I'm literally asking. That. Episode. Had. Everything.
Thomas: First: You will be borrowing the Season One and Two DVD and watching "Dennis and Dee Go On Welfare" and "Mac Bangs Dennis' Mom."
Second: I can't stop laughing at the idea of a gorilla mask.
Three: It really feels like we're writing in code, which is probably a good thing. As I sit here today, I'm still stunned by the heightened level of absurdity in "Manhunters." Two people walking down the street while eyeballing everyday folks to sprinkle some Montreal Steak seasoning on? And I think both of us had to appreciate the monkey conversation that took place in Chinatown. You're right. What's not to love?
But as the second episode, "Gas Crisis," showed shortly after, when "Philly" rips a headline from the news and makes a mockery of it to the degree of Charlie adopting a horrible Texas accent and spewing fireballs at Mac as "the wildcard," well ... that's the gang I know and love. Not that I wouldn't know and love them as cannibals, but Mac running the "rape van" into that poor dude's parked car five times ... um, I can't finish typing this, I'm laughing too hard.
God, I can't wait for you to discover the backstory of Rickety Cricket. And also, I think it's pretty clear that if Channel Surfing fit the "team" paradigm, I'd be the looks and brains, Adam would be the muscle, MJ would be the wildcard and you'd be the ... oh, I guess all that's left is the useless chick!
Sara: Yes. I will be borrowing, and by the title of the episodes alone, I know I will soon be transformed into a true, sick-humored fan.
The visual of the gorilla mask will forever be etched in my brain, for use whenever I need a little pick me up. I literally was in tears laughing at that scene.
Another scene that brought me to tears, for which I don't really know why, was the fact that Frank and Dee were sitting in a "rape van" that had inside tinting that turned everything to blurred shadows in the outside world. Hilarious. Plus, you can't go wrong with a water boarding reference in a men's urinal.
Charlie's Texan accent reached new heights when he brought out the Foghorn Leghorn adaptation. Plus, anytime he was mentioned as the "wildcard" you knew it was bound to be a gut-buster.
I had a feeling monkey wouldn't taste like chicken, or human for that matter. And I think that's all I'll say on that.
And please, I would definitely be the wildcard. If anyone's the useless chick, it'd be Adam.
-- Sara Boyd, email@example.com, and Thomas Rozwadowski, firstname.lastname@example.org