It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia - Fourth Season Premiere
Starring: Charlie Day, Glenn Howerton, Rob McElhenney, Kaitlin Olson, Danny DeVito
Created By: Rob McElhenney

Premieres: Thursday, September 18, 2008 at 10:00 PM ET on FX

It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia is an FX comedy series that centers on Charlie (Charlie Day), Mac (Rob McElhenney), Dennis (Glenn Howerton), Sweet Dee (Kaitlin Olson) and Frank (Danny DeVito). The group runs Paddy’s Pub, a bar in Philadelphia. Each episode follows the characters as they fill their hours getting into mischief and basically living like overgrown, politically incorrect children. The series has an unscripted feel to it, though I’m not sure how far (if at all) off the script the actors are allowed to go with the dialogue.

I’ve seen a few episodes of this series and one thing I’ve come to realize is that despite the crazy antics that these characters get into in each episode, their lives don’t really change all that much. So if you’ve never seen an episode of this show, don’t hesitate to jump into it when the fourth season premieres. Even though Sunny is entering into its fourth season, you won’t really need to get caught up in order to follow what’s going on. One thing you should know about the characters, they’re all crazy to varying degrees.

I had the opportunity to screen the fourth season premiere, titled “Mac and Dennis: Manhunters,” and it was pretty disturbing. The word “disturbing” describes the whole series, come to think of it but if your sense of humor likes to feast on off-color jokes and whacky characters with no moral compass, disturbing is a good thing and in that sense, Sunny excels.

The season premiere follows Mac and Dennis as they attempt to hunt a man. They decide that hunting an innocent deer that can’t defend itself is no real sport and instead, set out to hunt down a human being. They set their target on Cricket (David Hornsby), an old high school friend who is now homeless and is regularly tormented by these guys. Mac and Dennis’ intention isn’t to kill Cricket. They just want to hunt him, catch him and “teabag” him. If you’re familiar with that quoted term, there's a good chance you'll find this story arc funny. If you don’t know what it means to “teabag” someone, I wont describe it for you but it’s definitely guy-humor and not a pretty mental picture.

While Mac and Dennis are off manhunting, Dee and Charlie discover a new kind of meat that they can’t get enough of. After stealing Frank’s meat, he tricks them by leaving some mysterious meat out for them to sample. When they devour it, he tells them that it’s human meat. They’re only mildly disturbed by this and unsure if they can even believe Frank but after a while they find that they can’t stop thinking of the delicious meat and want to find out what it really was and where they can get more of it.

Like I said: disturbing. It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia regularly explores different social taboos from the perspective of these characters, who have no real regard for what is moral, decent or socially acceptable. It’s this dark kind of humor that makes the show strangely satisfying, perhaps because that style of humor is not as common as the more cleaned-up stuff you see on the regular networks. Then again, most of FX’s series push the boundaries in that respect, which is probably why Sunny fits so well among the network’s other original programs.

If you’re sensitive when it comes to just about any kind of social, cultural, political or moral issue, you might want to skip this show. According to what I’ve read, this season “nothing is off limits.” So if you can laugh at almost anything, even if deep down you know it’s wrong, check out the season premiere.

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