With the launch of It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia's ninth season tonight on the new FXX, it seemed a fitting time to take a look at the gang's misadventures during the last eight years at Paddy's Pub.
What follows is the single best episode from each season of the show up to this point…
Season 1 – Charlie Wants an Abortion
If there was any episode in that first short season that really showed us who ‘The Gang’ was, it was this one. Charlie runs into a girl he slept with years ago and finds out he has a son. And the kid is pretty much the biggest A-Hole you can imagine. Charlie tries to spend some QT with the brat in order to impress the Waitress, only to later learn it’s not his kid at all.
Meanwhile, after talk about how that kid deserved to be aborted, Mac decides to look into the religious ramifications of aborting a pregnancy. This leads to him hooking up with an extreme anti-abortion hottie, who later tricks him into thinking she is pregnant and dumping him when he insists on aborting the baby. He and Dennis also attend a rally at an abortion clinic to try to pick up chicks. Sweet Dee, disgusted with her brother and Mac, joins the Pro-Choice side of the rally, which ends with Dennis getting pelted with eggs from both sides when he tries to hop the fence. This is the episode that hooked me forever. Even before DeVito joined the cast the following season, I knew this show was gonna be one of my favorites early on.
Runner Up: Charlie Got Molested (1.07)
Season 2 – Dennis and Dee Go on Welfare
In typical ‘Reynolds-Fashion’, Frank begins screwing with the gang and Dennis and Dee decide they want no part of it. So they quit and go on unemployment. They have big plans to become very successful, but when their unemployment runs out, they’re not ready to get off of the government teet. So, until they can achieve their dreams, they decide they’ll go on welfare. To qualify for the government assistance though, they decide that they should first get hooked on drugs. They quickly become addicted to crack.
Meanwhile, tired of the added workload around the bar, Frank, Charlie, and Mac apply to get some ‘Work for Welfare’
slaves employees. With the new government funded help, Mac and Charlie are free to entertain themselves elsewhere. When they starting bumming Frank out though, he fires the new help. At this point though, Mac and Charlie have dipped into Frank’s money, which he hides from his wife in Charlie’s bank account. While Dennis and Dee become low life drug addicts, Mac and Charlie become men of privilege, at least until the ATM declines them…
Runner Up: Hundred Dollar Baby (2.05)
Season 3 – The Gang Dances Their Asses Off
The season 3 finale has the gang getting screwed by Charlie’s inability to read. Again apparently.
From Wiki: ‘Frank announces that he’s created a “ranking system” for the pub’s employees. Everyone at the bar then obsesses over their rank. When prompted for their ranks, Frank informs Dennis that he’s 2nd after himself. Mac is told that he’s third because he’s too volatile (which Mac protests). Sweet Dee is fifth and last because she has too much lip and is too sassy. When Dee argues the fact, Frank claims she’s just proving his point. Before the matter can go any further, Charlie shows up to the meeting late with a signed contract in his hand.‘
It would appear that Charlie signed the bar up to host a dance contest, but upon closer examination, it’s a dance marathon and the bar is the prize. The entire gang must now enter the contest to retain the bar.
Predictably however, they all turn on each other in hopes of moving up in the ranking system. The Waitress and Cricket also show up in hopes of winning the bar away from the Gang. Well, the gang all start ‘challenging’ each other to dance-offs where the loser is eliminated. Mac’s ‘Fight Dancing’ is a personal favorite of mine. unfortunately, it’s not enough to keep Mac alive in the contest. In the end, they hold on to the bar thanks to some massive amounts of cheating.
Runner Up: Sweet Dee’s Dating a Retarded Person (3.09)
Season 4 – The Nightman Cometh
The single greatest episode ever was the finale for Season 4. This episode spawned a live tour that sold out in minutes. I know, I tried to get tickets to the Boston show. Hey guys – a Detroit show next time? Anyhow, this episode revolves around Charlie writing a musical. Charlie insists that he has no ulterior motives, he simply wants to create something, which is met with some doubt. He rewards each member of the gang with a role in the show, which is based off the song that got him kicked out of the band in Sweet Dee’s Dating a Retarded Person. That song is ’Nightman’. The stage production, assisted by Artemis and Gladys (who also appeared in The D.E.N.N.I.S. System, which we’ll discuss soon), is a pleasure to watch, and is highlighted by DeVito’s Troll character.
Frank: You gotta pay the troll toll to get into this boy’s hole. You gotta pay the troll toll to get in. You want this baby boy’s hole, you gotta pay the troll toll.
Charlie: Stop, stop, stop. All right not bad, good rhythm, love the enthusiasm. I feel like you’re saying “boy’s hole”, and it’s clearly “soul”. And I know, Artemis, you did write “soul”, right?
Artemis: I did write “soul”. I definitely did.
In the end Charlie does of course have other motivations, as the rehearsed ending to the show has him being lowered from the ceiling and proposing to the Waitress, who promptly refuses.
Runner-Up: Mac’s Banging the Waitress (4.04)
Season 5 – The D.E.N.N.I.S. System
This whole episode is a systematic breakdown of how Dennis dates. Using woman for sex then breaking off contact completely.
We also learn that the other guys have systems too. The M.A.C. System (Move in After Completion) is when he picks up these woman, emotionally damaged by Dennis, and bangs them himself. And finally, Frank swoops in for the scraps after Mac is done. Charlie simply relies on stalking the Waitress. Dee is disgusted by all of this, and they convince her that Ben Smith is running a system on her too. She then challenges Dennis to win back one of these girls and he accepts said challenge.
Dennis tries repeatedly to win back Caylee and it’s not going so well. Perhaps the best part of the episode (outside of Dennis’ calls from the Pay Phone) is Frank’s alias: Toboggan, Mantis Toboggan, M.D.
Frank: I got my magnum condoms, I got my wad of hundreds; I’m ready to plow!
While Dennis is trying to prove Dee wrong, she is throwing away her relationship with Ben, and Charlie is trying to apply the DENNIS system to The Waitress. Charlie is unable to apply it correctly, and ends up only making her further hate him.
Runner Up: The Gang Wrestles for the Troops (5.07)
Season 6 – Who Got Dee Pregnant?
This was awesome. The whole episode is a flashback to a Halloween party where Dee got knocked up. The guys are trying to figure out who she banged and putting together what they can each remember of the night. As the episode progresses, with each story told, Dee becomes more and more Bird like. This is my favorite moment of all time on this show. In Mac’s version, Dee is just flat-out a bird.
Unable to solve the puzzle they are forced to ask other people who were there, including Artemis and the McPoyles.
After combining all they know they become convinced that Dennis and Dee slept together. This turns out false, but it’s awesome while it lasts. Everything about this episode is awesome. The McPoyles insisting the toilet not be flushed, Frank and Artemis ‘dumpster banging’, and Charlie harassing someone he thinks is the Waitress, but isn’t.
Runner Up: Dee Reynolds: Shaping America’s Youth (6.09)
Season 7 – Thunder Gun Express
I hear he hangs dong! This whole episode is shot 24-style with a ticking clock as the gang attempts to make it to what sounds like the sweetest Terminator-inspired movie ever. Their willingness to abandon each other after the slightest sign of inconvenience makes for a rather amusing trek across Philly. From Mac’s attempt to steal a motorcycle to Frank’s successful theft of a tour boat, and the constant promises of “We’ll come back for you!” made this the most memorable episode in season 7.
For weeks after this aired people were still using ‘Thunder Gun’ as a verb…
Runner Up: The Gang Goes to the Jersey Shore (7.02)
Season 8 – The Maureen Ponderosa Wedding Massacre
In season 6 we met Dennis’ high school girlfriend Maureen Ponderosa as he married, and almost immediately divorced her. In season eight’s brightest spot, she remarried…Liam McPoyle. The wedding quickly devolves into something out of a zombie flick as we hear the retelling from those in attendance.
Perhaps one of the best running gags on the show, continued here, is where Mac and Charlie wreck yet another one of Dee’s cars.
Runner Up: Charlie and Dee Find Love (8.04)
Hopefully that gets you ready for the premiere of Always Sunny’s 9th season on FXX, and at the very least gets you started with one of the funniest shows on television.
What do you think of our favorite episodes? Let us know in the comments section below if you have different favorite episodes we should check out!
Photo Credits: Tumblr, FX