78 of 85 people found the following review helpful
Who says the sitcom is dead? Not since Arrested Development has a sitcom been this truly hysterical and quick paced that you don't know what to expect next. It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, originally premiering on the FX network in 2005, revolves around four friends: Charlie (Charlie Day), Mac (Rob McElhenney), Dennis (Glenn Howerton), and his sister Dee (Kaitlin Olson); all of whom own and run an Irish bar in downtown Philadelphia. They get into all kinds of crazy hijinks through misunderstandings and just plain bad judgement, ranging from being mistaken as a gay bar to Charlie lying about having cancer. Yes, there's nothing really wholly original about the show's premise, but it remains hysterically funny throughout. The second season of the show finds Danny DeVito joining the cast as Dennis and Dee's father, who isn't the sanest of the bunch either. This DVD set compiles the first two seasons of the show, and is definitely worth picking up for viewers who turned it when it first premiered, as well as newer viewers who may be anxiously awaiting the upcoming and long awaited third season of this very funny show.
54 of 59 people found the following review helpful
on September 9, 2007
Anybody can make a comedy about a gang of hard-drinking idiots who get into amusing situations. But it takes genuine perspective and brains to make that kind of humor work on more than one level, to make it pay off with any kind of irony, to make it say something about culture and society and that old cold cruel finger of fate.
Time and again, "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia" pulls off those mean feats.
Perfect example: Upon learning that his elementary school classmates were possibly molested by their gym teacher, one of the characters is thrown into a crisis of self-esteem, essentially: Why was the coach attracted to the other kids and not him? He was a much cuter kid than they were ... wasn't he???
Much like Ren and Stimpy used to change size and proportion depending on their surroundings, the boys and girl of "Sunny" alternate in their thought processes between brain damaged and strangely elloquent -- but since it's usually in the service of making a cultural or political point, it's a device that works really well.
"Sunny" is easily one of the best sit-coms on the air right now. The masses who continue to mourn the loss of "Arrested Development" would do well to turn their attention to this underseen little gem.
This is a potent blend of high- and lowbrow -- a kind of "Curb Your Enthusiasm" centered around a quartet of boozy brats, or "Friends" with a more realistic amount of toxicity and "pushing 30 desperation."
The dialogue flows like good improvisation and the plotting is always clever and more complicated than you'd expect (in that respect it even one-ups "Curb" whose twists can be viewed from a mile away [though that's admittedly part of "Curb's" charm]). Plus the acting is surprisingly natural and the leads have an atomic-clock degree of comic timing; DeVito, who joined in the second season as the main siblings' ne'er-do-well dad is infinitely better than he might've been and a reminder of what a shrewd comedian he can be; and I, for one, sincerely hope we see a lot more of the great Jimmi Simpson and Nate Mooney, who play the mind-boggling McPoyle twins, in S-3.
Added to which, "Sunny" features one of my favorite television opening credits sequences ever. Even when I watch it on DVD, I never fast forward past it.
35 of 42 people found the following review helpful
on July 31, 2007
Format: DVDVerified Purchase
Its the show you and your friends wish you wrote. Laugh Out loud funny. I'm psyched i can finally get the DVD's so i can delete the 2 seasons off my tivo.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on September 20, 2007
Format: DVDVerified Purchase
On my cable plan I dont get to see the FX channel, which is the channel for this series on cable. Rather, I saw a promo for the 3rd season (look for it with youtube searching for danny devito and fred savage.) It was so funny that it nudged me to buy the 1st two seasons and I dont regret that purchase in the least. Im not one to buy whole seasons of series. But this one really fits my sense of humor. The comedy is pretty low brow, the characters are selfish, bottom of the barrel with little redeeming qualities. And the laughs come easily. Reminds me of what a bunch of drunks would come up with as they riff on different subjects. No holds barred, vulgar as all hell, outrageous like Family Guy meets Arrested Development. Devito isnt really the standout. The other four actors are the draw. At times it remains so over the top that you might get tired of it. But overall, the series is a great diversion. Fantastic show that will never win an emmy.
17 of 20 people found the following review helpful
on June 19, 2007
This comedy series definately isn't for everybody. It's a completely different species than "Two and a Half Men" or "War At Home". This is a thinkers comedy series in that the jokes come fast so you really have to pay attention, but the reward is gut-busting laughs. The charactures are very well defined, as well as the group dynamic (the "gang") so you are immediately sucked in. They have spent a lot of time writing for Season 3, so buy this set and gear up for a new quality season!
13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
Take equal parts "Arrested Development" and "Seinfeld" and add in a little "South Park" and you have "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia."
Not since the departure of "Arrested" has there been such a narcissistic group of characters. In fact, these folks make the Bluth bunch seem downright nice. FX's lowbrow comedy features a trio of friends who co-own an Irish pub - Dennis, Mac, and Charlie (who also co-created and write the series). Adding some estrogen to the mix is Dennis' twin sister Dee, an aspiring actress. They leave nothing sacred and no taboo safe from scorn. Like the Seinfeld gang, they are equal opportunity offenders - other races, religions, elderly, and even the disabled - each is treated with the same nihilistic disdain.
Whether the gang is trying to "altruistically" give teens a safe drinking haven, fighting over who's the sexiest man candy to their suddenly all male-clientele, coaching a team of at-risk youths in a basketball league, tossing flaming poop bombs into neighboring businesses, changing sides while cruising for hot chicks in a pro-choice/life rally, "banging" an inappropriate partner, or running for office hoping to resign with a bribe, each episode is pure comic genius. And the casting of swarthy and height challenged Danny DeVito as the twins father (who'd much rather be a buddy) in the second season is an inspired choice.
Touted as Seinfeld on crack (and two characters even experiment with it to secure unemployment benefits), no character is more put upon then Charlie. Like Kenny from South Park, many of the episodes are devoted to putting him in harm's way ("Charlie Gets Crippled; Charlie Got Molested; Charlie Gets Cancer"). He is the underdog that has an on-going attachment to the unnamed waitress and a history with the creepily incestuous McPoyle siblings. If you like lowbrow humor (and apparently I do), this show is guaranteed to keep you laughing and tuning in to repeated viewings. I still cannot believe what they managed to get past the censors!
© TJ Vest, August 2008
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on October 12, 2007
Format: DVDVerified Purchase
I have to admit I love this show. There are parts in these first two seasons where I laughed so hard that I hurt. What I really love about the show is how none of the main characters are sympathetic. At first I thought Sweet D. might be the moral center, but nope she is just as narcissistic as the rest of the gang. I think this is the truly ballsy aspect of this show. To create a show where all the main characters have absolutely no endearing qualities whatsoever is a big risk since most shows want to hook viewers by having them identify or empathize with the characters, but this show goes the opposite way and gives you a cast that the viewer can actually feel good about rooting against.
These characters are losers who are destined to go nowhere and see there lives degenerate into alcoholic self-destruction, but somehow they have made that funny. If the characters were sympathetic at all then we wouldn't be able to watch them fail and tear each other down episode after episode. If they actually succeeded or their machinations didn't blow up in their faces then our sense of justice would be thrown off. This show walks a very fine line and walks that line very well.
This show isn't going to be for everyone. Those (like me) who love this show will never be able to explain why to those who don't like it. I think to truly love this show one has to have a bit of nihilistic streak with in themselves. I hope the gang can walk this fine line for many more seasons to come.
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on September 3, 2007
It seems like I have waited forever for them to release this show on DVD. This is the best comedy series on TV. If you have not seen this show definitely check it out, I will be buying the DVD set the same day it is released.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on December 4, 2007
It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia is probably the best comedy running on television right now. It's a very edgy, very creative show, but what's most surprising about it is that it succeeds in a lot of ways by taking the trademarks of other great television shows, blending them all together, and coming away with something entirely its own.
What does it lift from other shows?
The single-camera style that started in the late 90s with The Larry Sanders Show, later to be used unsuccessfully in Sports Night, but then very successfully in shows like Curb Your Enthusiasm and Arrested Development.
The misanthropic attitude of Seinfeld delivered via three guys/one girl in an urban environment, shot through with ridiculous supporting characters. (Seinfeld's Maestro/IASIP's Rickety Cricket, Seinfeld's Crazy Joe Davola/IASIP's McPoyles) Like Seinfeld, no character that 'the gang' encounters is left any better for having met them. In fact, they're often worse off. The narcissism and selfishness of the characters, like in Seinfeld, are the defining traits of these people.
The joy of being irreverent that is the trademark of South Park, not only in the subject matter but in the liberal use of words that you don't typically hear on television. Probably the biggest surprise of It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, given the language and the subject matter, is that this show isn't on HBO.
But It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia is not a knock-off. The show is elevated to extraordinary heights by the people involved in its production.
The writing is phenomenal, each of the characters has a very clear voice, and not even the smallest part is underwritten. No character is ever just a mere caricature or a "type."
The acting is wonderful. Rob McElhenny gives some of the best line readings I can remember seeing on TV. (My particular favorite is in the first episode of Season 3, "The Gang Finds A Dumpster Baby," when he echoes Dee's sentiments that they want to put an infant in a tanning bed "just to get a base.") Charlie Day has one of the more expressive faces I've seen in a while, and uses it to his great advantage. The actors play the narcissism of the characters to delusional heights, making for very entertaining viewing. Also--and again like Seinfeld---despite the characters being so self-absorbed and selfish, you want to go sit in their bar and hang out with them, get involved in their ill-advised plots. It speaks volumes to the actors that they can make such jerks look like people you'd want to be around.
Probably the reason the show succeeds as such great entertainment is that it's written and produced by McElhenny, Day and Glenn Howerton, who play three of the five main characters in the show. The show has a feel to it that tells you that the plotlines, jokes and characters are the things that they find funny. You get the feeling that they're doing a show that they would take the time to sit down and watch. IASIP does not in any way feel like it's been filtered through focus groups or network executives with pages of notes on how to make it better. It's three guys, who are very funny, making their own brand of sitcom. Too bad there's not more of that on TV.
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on July 12, 2007
This series is sooo funny, and doesnt get enough credit that it should. The acting and writing are great, and I hope they continue the series.