This episode of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia – ‘The Gang Misses the Boat’ – is very definitely one for the fans; the ones who have watched every episode and know every line and comeback, prop and reference. In fact this episode has enough self-awareness that we will be fighting it and SKYNET in the post-apocalyptic future.
It starts with Dennis (Glenn Howerton) being angry for having missed the boat, and takes the opportunity to deride the rest of the gang for how weird they’ve gotten. In most long running series, this one included, characters become more exaggerated over time until they’ve become a caricature of what they once were. This phenomenon is called “Flanderization”, and is named after Ned Flanders from The Simpsons who went from a slightly better-off neighbour to a bible thumping maniac. And it’s true, the gang have gotten weirder. Just compare them with what they’re like now to what they were like in the first season.
This argument forces the gang to go their separate ways. Frank (Danny DeVito) finds a new crew that just opened a bar, and while they’re not perfect analogues to the old gang, he schemes with them all the same. The results of which are let’s say more grounded in reality than what would happen to the gang. Charlie and Dee (Charlie Day and Kaitlin Olson) figure out that they actually like each other and they only make fun of each other because of peer pressure. It culminates in some of the most delightfully cringe-worthy awkwardness ever put on screen; I cringed so hard I pulled a muscle in my face.
The highlight of the episode comes in the form of Dennis who shouts a man away with so much overdramatic rage that he seemed to be on the cusp of a hulk-like transformation. Very reminiscent of the famous scene in the 1931 version of Dr Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. This is very much fan-service in the form of an episode but it knows that and has fun with it, and I think you will with it too. Season 10 of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia is now available on Netflix.