Dennis, Dee, Charlie, Mac and Frank have been gracing audiences with their repulsive, yet somehow loveable characters for nearly twelve years now, and amazingly, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia has yet to fall off the track. Season after season, the content remains fresh and the boundaries are constantly being pushed, but this season, the gang seems to be getting more and more self-aware.
After only six episodes of the new season, we’ve seen the gang make observations about their own existences like never before – and in the past we’ve seen them come to terms with issues like their mortality, drug issues, and absolute financial instability.
Yet in each episode of the 12th season, they’ve managed to tackle issues they’ve never quite dealt with in the past. If you aren’t caught up on the new season, we hope these tidbits from some of the episodes convince you to hop back on board the Sunny train.
1. “The Gang Turns Black”
The Gang opened up the new season reaching to depths extreme even for them — getting hit by a shorted out electric blanket while watching “The Wiz,” which consequently turns them black. As precarious as this premise seems, it managed to cautiously comment on race and white privilege in America, and even brings in the current political climate, maintaining its always crisp relevancy. “I mean we did have a black president before the orange one,” Dennis says.
2. “The Gang Goes to a Water Park”
The title of this episode already suggests that the gang is up to no good – we all know they’re not going just there for the rides. Though they come in with their always self-assured attitudes, the water park, a place where your money is essentially robbed by food vendors and half your day is spent waiting in line, the gang gets played by the amusement park. Mac and Dee get physically stuck in a water slide, and Dennis gets conned by a master pickpocketing tween girl.
3. “Old Lady House: A Situation Comedy”
In perhaps the most self aware episode yet, the gang puts hidden cameras in the shared home of both Mac and Charlie’s mom, originally after Charlie’s firm belief that Mac’s mom is holding his own mom hostage. But after watching some footage, Dennis adds laugh tracks and sound effects and the gang comes to a realization that their moms make a pretty funny duo. “That’s weird, because the situation really isn’t funny,” Dennis says to Mac, to which he replies “I know, but the laughing tells me when it’s funny.” “Having those other people laugh tells me when I should laugh!,” Frank says, “and the music I added makes you know that it’s light!” Could they be addressing the very genre of IASIP in an any more direct a way?
4. “Making Dennis Reynolds a Murderer”
Once again, IASIP grabs hold of pop culture and uses it as excellent fuel for a 20 minute episode. In this episode, the series completely parodies Netflix’s “Making a Murderer,” complete with interviews, camera angles, and even a title sequence nearly identical to the Netflix true-crime series. This time though, Dennis is convicted of killing his ex-wife, Maureen Ponderosa, who slowly evolved into a cat and was found mysteriously dead on the side of a building.
5. “Hero or Hate Crime”
In this episode, the gang visits a professional arbitrator to decide who is the rightful owner is of a two dollar – yes, two-dollar scratcher. Of course the gang is far too self-righteous to give up even the most measly of scratchers, and every time one of the arbitrators tells them they must treat one another with “respect” during the negotiation, they move on to a different arbitrator, clearly unable to take on that challenge. But perhaps the biggest unexpected challenge for the gang in this episode comes towards the end, as they tease Mac for being “gay” and then tell him, “it’s okay to go back in the closet now.” But Mac says he doesn’t want to go back in, and finally admits that he’s out, and out for good.
Sunny, you’re growing up, but you’re not growing old.