‘It’s Always Sunny’ returns with a political kick [SPOILERS]

I love “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia.”

As a Philadelphian, one would think that seeing my beautiful city portrayed by five depraved, horrible people would make me upset, but it doesn’t at all. The city is already slandered as a hateful, pole-climbing hellscape, so if a hilarious show wants to pile it on more, that’s fine by me. That’s the thing; the show is funny as hell. It’s been called “Seinfeld on crack,” and it lives up to that name: discussing some of the episode plots in this review would likely be unfit for print. The show isn’t edgy for edgy’s sake, however. It’s shown time and time again that it can pierce the veil of our society with laser-focused jabs that ring true beyond the comedy.

The long march towards the premiere of season 13 had one looming question: what role will Glenn Howerton have in the show? Dennis Reynolds, Howerton’s sociopathic yet strangely suave character on “Sunny,” ended season 12 on a rather ambiguous note, leaving viewers wondering if he would come back. That fear was quickly settled, as pictures of him around the set surfaced, although only backstage (Howerton is also co-creator, producer and writer of the series).

Last night’s episode kicked off the first season filmed after the 2016 election, so it is only fitting that the title was “The Gang Makes Paddy’s Great Again.” The episode opens with the gang attempting to scheme a cluster of liberals into buying their “Conservative Whine” (wine), while later in the episode they attempt to do the exact opposite and sell “Liberal Tears” to conservatives. The episode doesn’t aim to throw any haymakers towards our broken political system, although it doesn’t really need to - it’s always succeeded in the subtle jabs.

The first episode comes complete with some major changes to the composition of the gang. Mac (Rob McElhenney) is now completely ripped, finally fulfilling his wishes to be “huge” that he’s had for years. As expected, the gang doesn’t care one bit. Mindy Kaling (of “The Office” fame) seems to have bridged the gap left empty by Dennis’ departure with a new character, Cindy.

Her introduction shook me a little bit. Other than the introduction of Frank (Danny DeVito) in season 2, the gang has stayed the same: Charlie, Dee, Mac, Frank, and Dennis. Cindy seemed forced and I felt uneasy with her invading the core of the show.

I obviously didn’t give the show enough credit, as it became clearer throughout the episode that the episode wasn’t about politics at all, but rather about making Paddy’s great again by replacing the stick-in-the-mud Cindy with Dennis.

But therein lies the problem: how can you replace Dennis? If you thought “a lookalike sex doll that Mac ordered to ‘fill the Dennis shaped hole’ inside of him,” congratulations. The creepy, gape-mouthed Dennis-double infects the heads of the gang like the real one never left. Finally, at the climax of the episode, the real Dennis appears in the sex imposter’s place like Jesus from the grave. I audibly gasped in my suite; I had a feeling he would come back at some point this season, but had no idea he would come back in the first episode. Bravo.

All is right in Paddy’s Pub once more, and I can’t wait for next Wednesday. I love this show so much.

Rating: 4.5/5


Daniel Cohn is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at daniel.cohn@uconn.edu.