It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia – “The Gang Goes to the Jersey Shore”

It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia – “The Gang Goes to the Jersey Shore

You know what every single thing on TV has made fun of these past couple years? MTV’s Jersey Shore. I generally try to make it a point not to condemn things I haven’t seen but holy shit does that show seem to deserve it. I’ve seen clips on The Soup and I think that’s the ideal way to view it. Because without Joel McHale to make some sort of joke and convince that there is still some level of wit on television I think it might drive me deep into some sort of existential despair. Anyway the point is I think everything’s really been said about Jersey Shore. Going after it more is like beating a bloated orange dead horse.

Of course, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia is another animal altogether. It doesn’t really defend the much-maligned ocean front area, but it recognizes targets more substantial than Snooki and the Situation. In fact of the gang only mac and Frank run into the stereotypical guidos of the Shore and they have the time of their lives. Naturally the biggest proponents of going to the Shore, Dennis and Dee, are the ones who have an absolutely miserable time. They seek to recapture the magic of the trips they used to take in their youth. Dennis proclaims the Jersey Shore to be “a magical place” and the rest of the group goes along with it. They hit the beach in their swimsuits (and might I say that Kaitlin Olson has recovered amazingly from her pregnancy) and find the beaches empty (likely do to a sign warning about a toxic spill, which Mac instantly dismisses as “liberal bullshit”). They go to the Boardwalk and reminisce about the great time had under it. When they go to investigate however they find two hobos ass-fucking, because apparently you can show that on basic cable. After having one of her Bo Derek dreads ripped out by an amusement park ride they follow a stranger to go “party” which ends up entailing a liquor store robbery, back alley surgery, and the murder of a back alley doctor. They also add angel dust to the long list of hard drugs that the gang has abused. Barely escaping with their lives, the twins decide that there are far worse people in the Jersey Shore than some spray-tanned reality show stars.

Mac and Frank hit the beach and dine on rum-soaked ham. Having to contend with Jersey’s inexplicable hordes of stray dogs they decide to hit the water in an inner tube but are swept out to sea. I’m not sure why the writers thought that eleven years later was good timing for a Cast Away parody (when Frank loses his beloved rum-ham… which even looks a little like Wilson) but it was still good for a chuckle. Eventually rescued by a boat of partying guidos, Mac and Frank decide they love the Jersey Shore. Mac’s misplaced self-confidence in his physical prowess has always been a funny part of the show but now that he’s fat it is absolutely hilarious. He proposes diving into the ocean to kill a fish with just a knife. Even in-shape Mac couldn’t have managed that, but mac’s not the type of guy to acknowledge that putting on fifty pounds can actually change your abilities.

Charlie decides to go because he has never seen the ocean. He actually has to be put in a sleeper hold (twice) in order to leave Philadelphia but once there, is amazed at the bigness of it. He has to be specifically told not to try to swim to Europe. He has a magical evening where he and the Waitress spent time looking at “gems” that have washed ashore. The next morning the reason the Waitress was so nice is revealed. She was on ecstasy. She even briefly thinks Charlie raped her. Good things never last for poor Charlie it seems. Even though the cold dismissal of their magical night together made me feel sorry for the poor idiot, Charlie seems to handle it well enough. It was just a summer romance like the kind Dennis talked about at the top of the episode.

It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia really made its mark on me due to the fact that its characters were outright contemptible. All the situations they got themselves into, you never really worry for them because however bad it gets they probably deserve it. Tonight’s episode, though, had me kind of feeling for them. Dennis and Dee trying to recapture their former glory days and failing miserably, Charlie’s brief moment of happiness: the gang was actually relatable tonight (and I have to admit, rum-ham sounds kind of tasty). The show managed to do this without getting sentimental. This show dies the day they ever have “a very special episode.” That doesn’t mean that we can’t relate a bit though. As long as it makes me laugh, and this is a show that still makes me laugh.

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