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‘It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia’ Review: “Flowers for Charlie”

'Its Always Sunny in Philadelphia' "Flowers for Charlie"
Patrick McElhenney/FX

This season of ‘It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia‘ has been on fire, so it will be interesting to see what ‘Game of Thrones‘ creators David Benioff and D.B. Weiss bring to Paddy’s Pub as they’re the writers of tonight’s episode “Flowers for Charlie.” Hopefully they’ll steer clear of too many winks at Westeros.

The episode opens at “9:14 AM On a Wednesday” with Mac comparing himself to John McClane, and suggesting that neither needed to go to college, while Dennis informs him that the character is fictional. It appears the gang have shown up for an intelligence experiment conducted by Charlie Day‘s ‘Pacific Rim‘ co-star Burn Gorman.They just want one test subject who will receive a thousand dollars in compensation. Dennis, Dee and Mac argue for who should be the guinea pig when Charlie acts stupidly and gets the job.

Back at Paddy’s, Charlie is trying to learn Mandarin and listen to Beethoven at the same time. Dennis dismisses Charlie’s newfound intelligence, but Charlie seems to actually be smarter and won’t help them kill a rat. Charlie then goes home to work on some scientific stuff with a lab assistant and may have found a new discovery. He wants to double his doses, but he’s also feeling some side effects from taking the pills. Frank comes home and wants to watch ‘Police Academy’ movies, but Charlie dismisses him in Cantonese. Back at the bar, the rest of the gang haven’t caught the rat, so Dennis thinks the best way to catch the rodent is through seduction. Dee then gets stuck to a rat trap. They think that it’s a smart rat.

Charlie plays chess with the lab assistant, and calls Stephen Hawking the Lady Gaga of intellectuals. He dismisses Frank’s intellect, but also suffers from painful migraines. Back at the bar while trying to free Dee, the three start sniffing gasoline. Charlie is reading at a wine bar when the waitress shows up. Frank paid her five hundred bucks in the hopes that it will bring Charlie back to him, but now that Charlie’s smart he finds her annoying. Back at the bar, the gang are high on gas when Frank shows up. He wants Charlie back on the bottom, but the rest of the gang are too high to care.

Back in academia, Charlie is put on display but he’s now barely able to walk. The rest of the gang shows up to see him reveal his new invention. It’s a device that allows spiders to talk with cats. The head scientist reveals that the pills were placebos, and that all of Charlie’s behavior was just arrogance. This annoys the gang, who go home to watch ‘Police Academy,’ as Charlie returns to his old self.

Though the ending is something of a cop out, the fun of this episode is watching Charlie behave like a (pseudo)intellectual, and it’s a smart change of pace. One can see how it does upset the order, and Day is fun as the intelligent version of his character. That’s the strength of the episode, as it doesn’t seem to have anything going on under the surface (that is to say it doesn’t seem to suggest that Charlie is smarter than he acts, even if he must be to say and do what he does in the episode).

What’s also fascinating about this is that either ‘GoT”s Benoiff and Weiss are good mimics or huge fans, or that so much of what makes these characters special is the delivery. And it’s good to see they don’t wink at themselves. There’s a lot of fun to be had here, and this continues this season’s winning streak.

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