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Friday, December 16, 2011

It's Always Sunny attends "The High School Reunion Part 2: The Gang's Revenge"

     FX ends It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia's latest season with "The High School Reunion Part 2: The Gang's Revenge." Dee (Kaitlin Olson) has been ejected from the popular group after Cricket's (David Hornsby, Fanboy and Chum Chum) stunt, and looks for the others to help her seek revenge. She finds Frank (Danny DeVito), Charlie (Charlie Day), and Mac (Rob McElhenney) hanging by their underwear. They decide to track down a psycho, but that falls through. Luckily, Dennis (Glenn Howerton) has turned psycho after failing to close the deal with rival Tim Murphy's (Ian Reed Kesler, (500) Days of Summer) wife, Christie (Frances Turner). But then Mac is exposed as having done what Dennis hates Tim for, turning the group in on itself. Frank redirects them to Plan B, a big dance number, which goes about as well as one would expect it to.

     It's Always Sunny may not always be sunny, but it is pretty consistently funny. "The High School Reunion" allows for the return of many great recurring characters, including Cricket, the Waitress (Mary Elizabeth Ellis, Perfect Couples), Maureen (Catherine Reitman, Knocked Up), and Schmitty (Jason Sudeikis, Satirday Night Live), the former two of whom's lives continue to tank because of their involvement with the central gang, who bring misery wherever they go. Also introduced are some new classmates, like cool dude Adriano (Sasha Roiz, Caprica, Grimm) and a former fat girl (Judy Greer, Archer, Arrested Development), who hopefully will be seen again. It's interesting to see the disdain others have for the main characters, whose self-absorbed black hole pulls people in and destroys them, no matter how much those victims resist.

     "The High School Reunion" also gives fans one of the best moments of It's Always Sunny yet: the dance number at the end. When it begins, people immediately start applauding and cheering the gang's awesome moves, which plays a little false. However, that is forgotten as the perfect execution and light cues draw one in to something unexpected and awesome. When it is exposed that things are only that cheery in their heads, and they are pathetic, indeed, it not only makes sense, but makes the earlier vision more humorous, exposing once more their narcissistic streak. These people are so self-absorbed, they ignore everything else, which does not help them in society. Thank goodness they have a bar to hide out in!

     The main characters of It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia will never change. "The High School Reunion" proves this, telling how each of the four younger people were in high school, and in spite of the fact that they try to come off different, or deny their essential traits, they are still those same people. Dee continues to be insecure, and her back brace's return is simply a physical manifestation of internal feelings. Dennis thinks he is way cooler than he is, and so does Mac, in completely different ways. Charlie is easy going and easy to manipulate. They are mean townies who have little regard for others, and refuse to grow. Everyone knows someone like them, though rarely does anyone, let alone four such friends, go to the extremes of the gang. It's good to see them fail, because they deserve to fail. And yet, it's impossible not to tune in week after week to see just how they fall flat on their faces next. It's part hilarious comedy, part schadenfreude.

     Now, admittedly, Frank's presence and involvement in the events in the finale is a bit of a stretch. But no matter how hard certain other characters fight Frank worming his way into all of their activities, he does. He is part of the group, and he is there to stay. Which kind of explains why he might force his way into the reunion, considering that's what he does every day of his life. Though one does wonder, if bumbling Frank can get past security, how much protection would the guards really have afforded if Psycho Pete showed up to burn down the school?

     There is no end in sight to It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia's brilliance. The series will return next year to FX.

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