Partly Cloudy in Philadelphia

The Gang.

Is it me or is It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia just not funny anymore?

Somehow in the past five years, FX’s little show about four unlikeable losers has gone from an underground cult hit to a mainstream success complete with live show tours and fans with no sense of humor quoting dialogue to look hip. Unfortunately, Roy Halladay is the best thing going for the city of brotherly love right now.

When It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia first came on the air, it was fresh, dark and really funny. Watching the misadventures of Dennis, Charlie, Dee and Mac was a weekly event for me, laughing out loud at several jokes per episode.”Dee and Dennis’ Mom Is Dead” is one of my favorite episodes of TV. The fact that the ensemble cast write, direct and act in each episode made the show very tight and there’s a great sense of pride in ownership.

I don’t know when or where it happened, but Sunny has fallen out of favor with me. I think it stems from the show’s resistance to evolve. Every week it seems like they just pick a current events issue and write a wacky story about it. Every character has their role and they rarely surprise us. Another thing I’m just tired of is their improvisations within the script. You can tell when the actors are riffing and I just think there’s point when improv and free form scenes hurt more than help. Maybe Green Man’s success got to their head and they’ve stopped trying. Maybe they’re trying too hard to give people the hipster show they want.

The best thing about the show continues to be Danny DeVito. He’s creepy, ugly and perfect as Frank. I think they don’t use him enough. But other than Frank and a few other fringe characters, there’s been nothing new about the show for several seasons. Maybe the characters aren’t supposed to grow or mature or change, but that makes for boring and repetitive TV. This season seems to be more of the same. The podcasting plot has promise and I would have liked to see Dennis’ marriage last longer than two episodes, but Dee as a home wrecker, Frank and Charlie getting married, the boat episodes–maybe some potential but the execution just isn’t there. I’ll also stick my neck out there and say that Charlie is now just fucking annoying. I know some people love his crusty look and abrasive voice, but the shtick is just tired.

I’ll give Sunny a few more episodes, but there best days are behind them.

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