‘It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia’ Review: “The Gang Gets Quarantined”
We're more than halfway done with Season 9 of 'It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia' and it's already looking like an all-timer. They show and its creators have been on fire, and maybe the ten-episode season or something kicked it up a notch. Tonight's episode, "The Gang Gets Quarantined" wasn't as sharp as previous episodes, but it was solid -- perhaps this was their Halloween episode.
The episode opens at "11:30 AM On a Monday" with the gang singing Boyz II Men's "Motownphilly" until they lose the harmony, when Frank comes in telling them that Rodriguez is dead. Rodriguez lived in their building and had the flu that's going around, so Frank wants to quarantine them. And since everyone but Frank is trying to win a contest to open for Boyz II Men (and you can't sing when you've got the flu), they all agree.
They show up for "Day 1" at the bar, and Dennis annoys everyone by saying that they shouldn't drink, while Dee wants to get a pizza (showing that she doesn't understand the concept), so Frank takes everyone's cell phone. Charlie never got sick as a child, but it's revealed it's because his mom kept him in a bubble boy suit. "Day 2" rolls around and everyone's practicing in the bathroom, where Dennis loses his temper because they're only "good enough." Everyone else suggests they wear matching clothes and synchronized dance moves, while Dee plots to create a sympathetic backstory, but Dennis just wants them to rehearse. Frank asks them to come outside as he's found a still-warm pizza box. Dennis says he'll get to the bottom of it by calling the pizza place, but the line is disconnected (a trick set up by Frank). Dennis admits it was him, and so he gets quarantined in the bathroom.
"Day 3" has them thinking about costumes, while Dennis practices in the bathroom. Charlie reveals his sketch for the costume -- which looks a lot like Voltron -- and Dee practices her stutter and backstory. Frank decides to throw out the food in the bar and says they need to go out and get fresh food, so Charlie and Mac go out in his old bubble suits. Charlie wears his mom's suit, which has a a place to put booze in it, while Mac shows off his dance moves, and when he falls gets a breach in his suit.
Back at the bar, Frank is starting to hit Howard Hughes-levels of paranoia about hair, and says that being hairless creates purity. Dee is caught eating pizza and drinking beer, so she gets thrown in the bathroom as well where Dennis is obviously sick, though he denies it. "Day 4" starts with charades, but Charlie can't concentrate because Frank's shaved off all his hair. Mac sneezes, which gets him put in the bathroom where both Dennis and Dee are super-sick, and an attempt at "Motownphilly" leads to them vomting.
"Day 5" starts with Frank off his rocker, covering himself in sanitizer, and getting freaked out by Charlie's eating. Everyone in the bathroom is supersick, but Charlie comes in because Frank has flipped. He thinks he'll be fine because he's been vaccinated. But by "Day 6" he's as bad off as everyone else. Charlie reveals he keeps a stash of booze under the bathroom sink, and so everyone starts drinking and "3 hours later" everyone's fine. They realize they were having alcohol withdrawals. But they plot to ignore that info, and leave the bathroom. They find the bar covered in hand santizier and Frank crawling on the ground covered Purell. They take him to the hospital, where they find out that the Boyz II Men concert was cancelled because the band got sick. But the gang would just rather drink anyway, and so they leave Frank to get a sponge bath from a very hairy male nurse.
Perhaps inspired by 'Contagion' and 'Outbreak,' tonight's 'Sunny' was well constructed, but it didn't have many laughs until the end, when it revealed that everyone is an alcoholic. that's a dark but funny choice, and some of that worked, like Frank going crazy, but it was more plot driven than funny, which makes it seems a little lesser.