TV Review: It’s still sunny in Philadelphia as ‘It’s Always Sunny’ season 16 hits UK screens

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★★★★½

British It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia fans can finally rejoice as season 16—formerly only available in the states—is now available on UK and Irish Netflix. 

First hitting TV screens in 2005 with their inaugural season, and reaching a wider audience with the second season introduction of Danny DeVito, Sunny has never been afraid to shy away from the gritty underbelly of Hollywood. Embracing the taboo and asking difficult questions, it’s made for often uncomfortable, always hilarious viewing—leading to its success as the longest running, non-cartoon sitcom of all time. 

Whether it’s Frank attempting to restart the Cold War in a rocky-themed chess episode, Dennis re-designing his psychopathic ‘DENNIS system’ to find men as opposed to women, or Mac fighting through an allergic reaction while eating a cheap tin of nuts, the Gang are just as sickening as ever in season 16—and I’m all for it.

Charlie Day, who plays the aptly named Charlie, spoke about his excitement towards writing season 16. He said: “We got closer to the characters in the show in a way that I felt was really invigorating, writing this season. So I think it’s a really strong season from a character perspective. 

“We discovered some things about the characters, and there’s some stories that just feel like ‘classic Sunny’ to me, personally.” 

I’ve decided to take the eight-episode long season and highlight a few of my favourite episodes. 

Warning: some minor spoilers, but nothing major.

The Gang Gets Cursed

This would be a great first episode for someone who’s thinking about watching Sunny, or getting back into it, and doesn’t know where to start. It’s a textbook narrative in which each character has their own individual, but ultimately linking, stories, each as abhorrent but amusing as you can expect. 

Whether it’s Frank bashing a seagull to death in the bar or Dennis’ brain fog, the Gang believe they’ve received a curse, which naturally ends in disaster.

Frank vs. Russia

I think this episode has the makings of an all-time classic. Frank (played by Danny DeVito) is a character that fans have latched onto since the early years. From dressing up as a Man-Cheetah to eating trash in a wrestling ring, Frank has provided fans with some of the greatest moments of the series; with this episode being an honourable addition.

So, when Frank attempts to imitate the real life story of a chess player who used a you-know-what to send him vibrations, telling him how to play the perfect game, the rest is history. Yet another testament to just how far this actor will go in the pursuit of comedy.

Love It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia? Click here to find out why we named it one of the best shows last decade.

Celebrity Booze: The Ultimate Cash Grab

They’re also just as self-referential than ever. The opening lines of: “It’s a total sellout, a complete cash-grab … We probably know more about booze than these guys”—in response to celebrities making their own alcohol—is a wry reference to the real-life ‘Four Walls’ whiskey, created by Sunny co-stars Glenn Howerton, Rob McElhenney and Charlie Day. 

‘These guys,’ for those unaware, are Bryan Cranston and Aaron Paul, stars of (in this writer’s opinion) the greatest series of all time: Breaking Bad. However, the Gang’s instant link between Cranston and Malcolm In The Middle leads to some brilliantly funny scenes, with the Gang confusing Aaron Paul for “Mr Malcolm”. 

It’s a great episode, not one of the strongest of the season, but chock full of one-liners that make it a memorable episode.

Dennis Takes A Mental Health Day

Dennis certainly carried the weight of this season’s brilliance, with Glenn Howerton’s portrayal of the psychopath highlighted in an amazingly brash but also subtle manner. In this season, Dennis can be as subtle as he daydreams about ripping someone’s heart out, or hurling abuse at the top of his lungs towards Dee; his psychopathy is a real spectacle in this season. As usual, Glenn does an amazing job—he’s a real stand out.

I almost don’t want to say too much about this episode, but for those who look back on episodes such as ‘Charlie Work’ with rose tinted glasses, this is a must watch.

When TV shows run so long, it’s common for the phrase “it’s not as good as it used to be” to be thrown around. Think about series such as The Simpsons, Family Guy, Saturday Night Live—some of Sunny’s main competitors in the race for longevity. This season is ultimately refreshing and it takes me back to the wonderful years of Sunny, and the positive personal memories that I associate with it. If the already renewed 17th and 18th seasons of the show are anything like this one, we’re sure to have a few more laughs along the way.

Words by Tom Moorcroft


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