It’s Always Money: One Of Television’s Most Absurd Comedies

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For over a decade, the world has been bombarded with blasphemy courtesy of the gang of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, a band of friends with one thing in common:  an enormous lacking of morals.  Currently renewed for a 12th season, the longstanding comedy is stronger than ever, outlasting any reasonable predictions for the life of a television show, let alone a comedy.  As the human mind is prone to do, we have to ask the inevitable question: Why?

To truly investigate the seemingly eternal appeal behind It’s Always Sunny, one must dig deeper than a surface level understanding of comedy.  Rob McElhenney (Mac) and Glenn Howerton (Dennis) created a care-free culture surrounding the characters and topics addressed, allowing for “nothing is off limits” approach.  Abortions, gun laws, and the housing market crisis are reduced to common methods of getting laid and getting paid.  Combine the idea of pulling no punches with distinct and unique characters and the results are fresh, volatile, and above all, entertaining.

Each character has such a specificity that is incredibly calculated.  The mannerisms, motives, and sentence structure (or lack thereof in Charlie’s case) create ultra realistic assholes that are just begging to be filmed.  These detailed creations are less concerned with punchlines, as they focus more on the hilariously awkward element of human interaction.  That means the flow of banter and tomfoolery is an essential item in the writing process.

Furthermore, the writing of any comedy is often the glue that holds every other aspect together.  For a complete and evolving cast to stay fresh for such a historic run, the writing must encapsulate more than a witty sense of humor.  The audience would have caught on to this style and would not be nearly captivated if this were the case.  To avoid this seemingly inevitable trap having captured far too many comedies, the writing focuses on the personalities of five friends and throws them into unfavorable positions (often ones they got themselves into).  In turn, this creates an original and organic feel to both the writing and the environment that feed off of each other.  To pull off this quick paced style successfully, every single line (both spoken and unspoken) has to be found humorous.  Now make that into a 22-minute episode roughly 12 times a season for at least 12 years.

The brilliance that goes into It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia is seriously impressive. You can find It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia on the FX App or on FX Wednesdays at 10PM.

Patrick Bardenett
Contributing Writer at The Establishing Shot
Firm believer that a Golden Age of television and film is upon us, and eagerly taking advantage of it.
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