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11 Best Episodes of It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, In Order (Version 2)
written by Sam Greenspan

One year and 363 days ago, in anticipation of the fourth season of "It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia", I put together a list of the 11 best episodes of the series. Now, with the sixth season kicking off tomorrow, I decided that list needed a serious updating.

Over the past two years, "Sunny" really came into its own. It found its rhythm, its style and its voice. And often, that voice is the characters screaming over each other.

Here is the NEW list of the 11 top episodes of "It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia". Last time I found it got a little gushy so this time I'm just going to point out the highlight and lowlight from each episode.

  1. Won't you come on stage and join me?
    "The Nightman Cometh" (Season 4, Episode 13)

    Highlight: It's hard to pick just one from the most complete, hilarious and revered episode ever, but I think Charlie's surprise song at the end just beats out the other parts of the musical, the scene where the gang finds out their parts ("Two parts? Aww yeah!"), and the opening scene where they ask "Who are we doing this versus?"

    Lowlight: There really isn't one. Charlie berating Dee for wanting to cut out a song is the closest.

  2. "Mac is a Serial Killer" (Season 3, Episode 10)

    Highlight: This marked the first time Charlie started on his quest to act like a lawyer and all the scenes of him trying to be a lawyer are gold... but the very end when Frank revs up the chainsaw in the serial killer's apartment makes the episode legendary.

    Lowlight: While I get what they were doing with Dennis's Chris Hanson "To Catch A Predator" impression, the bit felt a little forced.


  3. Fire a beer bottle across his bow.
    "The Gang Hits the Road" (Season 5, Episode 2)

    Highlight: I was tempted to go with Mac deciding to call people "bozo"... or to pick the gang's discussion about Mac believing he's the "Sheriff of Paddy's"... but nothing made me laugh out loud quite like Mac throwing a beer bottle at a bicyclist and making him crash. (Yes, this episode had some of the best Mac highlights of all. I feel like he was the last character to come into his own on the show, but over the past two seasons everything came together. He was a late bloomer.)

    Lowlight: I liked the "Name the States" drinking game in the car, but bringing it back at the end to try to tie the episode together didn't quite feel organic. Otherwise it's hard to find a fault here.

  4. "Sweet Dee's Dating a Retarded Person" (Season 3, Episode 9)

    Highlight: Charlie and Dennis, in Charlie's apartment, conceiving the "Day Man" song. Charlie in long underwear with a silver muzzle from huffing paint makes it extra sharp. Honorable mention would be Charlie's "Night Man" song, which he performs in Bob Dylan garb.

    Lowlight: While everything the guys do in forming their bands is perfect, the Dee storyline isn't quite there. The scene where Dee and Dennis visit the boyfriend's mom's house is the slowest.

  5. "The Gang Gets Invincible" (Season 3, Episode 2)

    Highlight: Charlie debuts Green Man and dances with the McPoyles. The mere fact that this episode featured the McPoyles heavily and still cracked my top five shows how strong it was. (I generally feel like they're too much of caricatures and really drag down the episodes they're in. In this case, they didn't.)

    Lowlight: I didn't really like the way they resolved the Sweet Dee punting situation. I wish it could've been more satisfying than "she's made of glass." And if she's that incredible at kicking, it could've been brought up again.


  6. Can I fill you up?
    "The Gang Solves the Gas Crisis" (Season 4, Episode 2)

    Highlight: The gang's determination of their roles (brains, looks, wild card, useless girl, muscle). Charlie's Foghorn Leghorn oil man accent and his decision to cut the brakes come in very close behind, and the guys trying to seduce the bank loan officer finished just behind that.

    Lowlight: When Mac got burned by Charlie and they wrap a towel around his head, it was pretty obvious they were going with a mistaken identity Arab thing. Felt a bit telegraphed.

  7. "Charlie Wants an Abortion" (Season 1, Episode 2)

    Highlight: Mac's signs at the abortion rally. ("What If Jesus Had Been Aborted" and his list of abortion doctors to kill with some of the names already crossed off.) They're incredibly edgy, but keep an air of satire. They aren't just "say something offensive and shocking to try to prove how offensive and shocking we are" jokes -- they're ultra-edgy jokes that work within the flow of the episode.

    Lowlight: Charlie's alleged son screaming and repeatedly asking him "Why?" in an annoying way. I think pain-in-the-ass kids just horrify me.

  8. "The Gang Wrestles for the Troops" (Season 5, Episode 7)

    Highlight: I loved Rowdy Roddy Piper's cameo in the film and the gang's discussion of Hulk Hogan at the beginning. This also had my favorite Artemis moment, asking for "dick pics." And Frank in his Andre the Giant singlet, thrusting his arms up for victory is a great cap. But nothing compares to the Birds Of War making their entrance with a song and failing miserably.

    Lowlight: I would've liked to see more out of Piper than getting hauled off by the cops before he could wrestle. That's nitpicking, though; everything else feels pretty solid though.


  9. You're trapped, you're trapped!
    "The Gang Gives Frank an Intervention" (Season 5, Episode 4)

    Highlight: The intervention scene itself, featuring Frank wielding a gun, everyone screaming about how he's trapped, wine in a can, multiple interventions and a quick roast.

    Lowlight: Gail the Snail is another in a long line of "let's create a character who's unlikeable in a different way." She's more tolerable than the average McPoyle, but gets very frustrating, very quickly.

  10. "The Gang Gets Racist" (Season 1, Episode 1)

    Highlight: Charlie accidentally dropping the n-word in front of the Waitress. It sets up the entire episode of him trying to prove he's not racist. Mac's inability to talk to black people without saying something dumb is another excellent bit.

    Lowlight: The gay bar thing feels a little obvious, especially Dennis's decision to embrace it when the guys like him.

  11. "The Gang Gives Back" (Season 2, Episode 6)

    Highlight: The youth basketball game at the end -- featuring drunk Charlie, Frank's Asian gamblers and plenty of carnage -- is a perfect ending. It's a testament to the show that it doesn't just degenerate into unwatchable chaos, but actually keeps a flow and tells a story through the madness. But Charlie's trip to an AA meeting (while drinking) remains the highlight.

    Lowlight: Some of the stuff between Charlie and the Waitress when she's his AA sponsor drags a little bit. The youth basketball action delivers better.

Just missed: "Sweet Dee Has a Heart Attack" ... "Charlie Goes America All Over Everybody's Ass ... "The Gang Exploits the Mortgage Crisis" ... "Mac and Charlie Write a Movie" ... "The Waitress Is Getting Married" ... "The World Series Defense" ... and "Mac & Charlie Die (Part 1)".


This post was originally published on Wednesday, September 15, 2010 at 11:00:00 AM under the category TV.

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