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‘It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia’ Season Premiere Review: “The Gang Broke Dee”

It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia "The Gang Broke Dee"
FXX

It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia‘ is kicking off its ninth (but probably not final) season on the new Fox channel FXX, which means it’s possible many thought they had their DVR’s set to record this, but didn’t reprogram their machines. Alas, this new channel may take some getting used to, but it takes no time to settle back into the antics of the ‘Philly’ crew in “The Gang Broke Dee.”

Starting at “12:15 PM On a Wednesday” Dee is shown smoking and eating a cake straight from the box and drinking whiskey straight out of the bottle. The boys try to insult her, but she beats them to it. Everyone’s confused, but Dennis knows what it is (or thinks he does.)

At home, Dee has become slovenly when the boys bust in and say that they know it might be their fault, so Charlie, Frank and Mac sign her up to do stand-up comedy. Dennis disagrees and suggests he find her a man to settle down with. She agrees to both. Dee goes up for her comedy set, and though she spends the whole time denigrating herself, people laugh. Charlie, Frank and Mac all compliment her set, while Dennis says he’s got some men for her to date when a talent scout comes up to give her his card. Dennis thinks the talent agent is just hitting on her, so he says he’ll come by in the morning to get Dee cleaned up to meet some guys.

The next day Dennis shows up, but Dee’s busy. It seems Dee slept with the talent scout, but also she has a new gig that night opening for Landside, who’s known for his diarrhea jokes. The gang go to the gig while Dennis brings Walt, who Dennis thinks Dee will be into if she bombs. Dee goes up and does great, though, even if her routine involves bad sound effects. The boys go backstage, but Dee ignores them, until she lets everyone but Dennis backstage. Dennis insults her, but Dee just thinks he’s jealous, while Dennis thinks she’ll fly too close to the sun and fail spectacularly. We then get a montage of Dee’s success, and Dennis having troubles finding her a match. She then is approached by a talent manager from LA who offers her a spot on Conan O’Brien’s show. Dee’s gag reflex then starts kicking in, but she is able to tell off the boys and her old manager before she heads out to have sex with her new manager.

At the airport, Dee is about to board a private jet when Dennis approaches and says he’s the perfect guy for her, even as her twin brother. Dee’s response is to kick him off the plane. On the flight, Dee’s told all about getting famous and can’t stop gagging. She tries to get focused for her appearance by getting drunk, vomiting and practicing. Backstage, she tries to get ready, but when she comes out, she’s back at the bar with everyone there. It was all an elaborate prank, which Dennis wasn’t in on. When she realizes they’re serious, Dee starts breaking stuff, while Dennis decides to get some fresh air. Charlie, Frank and Mac think that Dennis might try killing himself because of it.

Wow, what an amazingly brutal punchline that is somehow just vicious enough to be hilarious. Yes, the stand up comedy was terrible, but the lengths the practical joke went to reminds of the ‘South Park’ episode “Scott Tenorman Must Die,” albeit slightly less mean. In that way, it’s a pretty awesome piece of work because it’s all about one dumb joke, but spending an entire episode for that sort of punchline is pretty brave. That it works is the cherry on top.Many found last season to be uneven (it was), and there’s a fear that the show has run out of gas, but this was a strong return that promises a good year ahead.

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