What do you get when you combine the It’s Always Sunny gang, a trash collector’s strike, and a few ridiculous and complicated plans? A perfectly solid episode of the wackjob FX comedy. And that’s exactly what we need.
Last season, the series relied on a few too many elaborate plots, allowing the gang to take part in and make fun of more than a handful of cultural phenomena, including a love of the Jersey Shore and Toddlers and Tiaras. Were there hilarious jokes? Definitely. But were the episodes complete? Not really. With the exception of the excellent high school reunion episode, Season 7 felt a little disjointed, perhaps a symptom of the growing families stars Charlie Day, Glen Howerton, Kaitlin Olson, and Rob McElhenney were working on. Still, the episodes felt a little slapped together, relying on grandiose plots to carry the tasteless humor we crave.
This year, it seems the gang heard our cries, and they’re back on track. The gang is at its best when episodes simply give them a filthy playground in which to play, allowing the circumstances to be the guide, but not the joke. Sure, their situations are always absurd and in that way, chuckle-worthy. But what makes the series is the way in which Charlie, Dennis, Sweet Dee, and Mac handle the ridiculous situations. “The Gang Recycles Their Trash” was a return to basics.
After bursting into Season 8 with an episode that recalled back to Season 1, when we found out Dee and Dennis’ grandfather was a Nazi and blew that story line into a hilarious balloon of absurdity. This week, when our televisual friends hatch a plan to profit off the garbage men’s strike, it’s the perfect set-up for some good old fashioned It’s Always Sunny nonsense.
The plan to make money as the temporary trashmen delivers us a scene in which Danny DeVito and Olson debate the definitions of the terms “twink” and “twunk” while sitting in a gay strip club with the gay man who once tried to buy the bar. It gives us Dee in brown-face, acting like what she thinks is a “Latina from the hood” to convince the garbage men to extend the strike. (Bonus points for Dee, sitting with the make-up without the wig in Paddy’s.) And finally, we got Dennis, Mac, and Charlie, in tuxes, singing like a barbershop quartet and picking up trash for housewives in a 1950s-style montage. This is what this show should be: a place where these five crazy people can frolic and let their freak flags fly.
Naturally, some of the shock of their antics has worn off since the show first debuted in 2005, but it’s comforting (and hilarious) to know that the gang is still the gang. Look, Rum Ham was hilarious, but it doesn’t beat Dee and Frank carrying on a wildly offensive conversation for two minutes. Simple, disturbing, offensive, and effective. That’s all we want from this show in its twilight years.
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[Photo Credit: Jack McElhenney/FX]