It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia | FX
The good news is that since we last saw the gang of Paddy’s Pub, not a lot has changed. And the bad? Since we saw the gang of Paddy’s Pub, not a lot has changed. Since 2005, Rob McElhenney, Charlie Day, Glenn Howerton, Kaitlin Olson and eventually Danny DeVito (who joined a year later) have been delivering raunchy comedy in the crudest possible fashion. And we were better for it. Their depiction of classless assholes who run the scummiest bar in the City of Brotherly Love has been pitch-perfect with its shameless delivery of jokes and oddball comedic premises.
Going back and binging past seasons of Sunny reminds viewers why this was a standout show. Featuring four of the most self-serving jackasses to ever grace the small screen, the sharp script and the comedic chops of the cast made for iconic episodes that reveled in bad taste. “The D.E.N.N.I.S. System,” “The Implication,” Pepe Silvia and rum hams are quintessential Sunny moments at their very best. Wrong, yet so, so right. If you’ve never watched the show, you don’t know what the hell we’re talking about, but trust us, you need to.
And yet, as the series moved forward, there were awkward moments. The environment for comedy began to change, and creating off-color comedy in a climate of PC culture became tricky business — especially when the comedy in question relies on taking the piss out of PC culture. The problem with the latest season of Sunny isn’t that the comedy is vulgar or racy, but that it’s somewhat old hat. We’ve seen it before.
It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia is still about the same group of schmucks — shitty people doing shitty things to other shitty people. It’s been this way for the last 14 years, which is fine; But some growth would be nice. Also, it’s hard to compete with our reality these days. News of even worse circumstances — and shittier people — is a daily occurrence in 2019, and in this context a show like this starts to lose its freshness a bit. It might always be sunny, but sometimes funny is another matter.
The Good Place | NBC
If television has taught us anything regarding the afterlife, it is that heaven and hell are very real. Heaven is filled with unlimited frozen desserts, flying lessons, giant mansions and a rigid sense of justice that teeters on unfair. Hell is laden with clown paintings, fiery demons, clam chowder fountains, and the Kars4Kids jingle running on repeat. All day. Everyday.
Hell is every fear ever proposed by the internet hive mind. And Heaven is The Good Place.
In its fourth season, The Good Place continues to successfully sell a complex premise thanks to the comedic chops of its cast. Starring sloth enthusiast Kristen Bell (Eleanor), William Jackson Harper (Chidi), internet freedom fighter Jameela Jamil (Tahani), D’Arcy Carden (Janet), Manny Jacinto (Jason) and former bartender Ted Danson (Michael), the gang of Good Place share a unique chemistry often found in classic sitcoms.
This last hurrah (creator Michael Schur announced this 14-episode season was the final one) follows our five protagonists as they attempt to thwart the Bad Place by conducting new experiments that will hopefully save their undead little asses from eternal damnation. To do so, the gang returns to their roots by going back to their original “Neighborhood” with a new group of “broken birdbrains.”
Watching the growth of these friends over the years has been a delight, even when they fail miserably. Part of this is due to the writing and part is due to the cast who deftly play off the absurdity of any situation. The end result is perhaps one of the best half-hours on television. God bless you, Good Place. You are doing the Lord’s work. It will be hard to see you go, and when you do, we can’t imagine it will be to a better place.