Good things that have come out of Pennsylvania include Hershey chocolate, Heinz ketchup and It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia.
Committing to a TV show is a friendship compact: You agree to invite the cast into your home once a week (or, in the case of a TV-on-DVD binge, for sixteen hour marathons on the weekends). They agree to amuse and entertain you (30 Rock, Flight of the Conchords), unsettle and provoke (The Wire, Dexter), or just thoroughly confuse (Lost). Our newest TV crush is It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, which we recommend with hesitation not because we are not wholeheartedly enthusiastic about it, but because its cast may not be the kind of people you want in your home. They go to anti-abortion rallies to pick up women. They attend confession to seduce priests. They adopt a dumpster baby for financial gain. They backstab, spoof, slander, deceive, ridicule, exploit and offend. There is no sacred cow too sacred to tip or slaughter.
Why, you might ask, would we ever let these people into our home? Our answer is, Because they are freaking hilarious. But we’re not going to press the issue. It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia is not everyone’s cup of tea. You know your tea tastes better than we do. But we happen to be fond of these monstrously egotistical and depraved human beings.
Especially Charlie. (We’ve been informed by veteran Philadelphia fans that Charlie is everyone’s favorite.) Charlie is the biggest of the misfits, a more endearing, less cartoonish version of Bobcat Goldthwait with his pleading whine, hair-trigger temper and manic social dysfunction. The scene in the episode “Hundred Dollar Baby” when Charlie, hopped up on amphetamines, tries to eat eggs and a sandwich without flipping out is a comedic gem worth viewing ten times on a row. (We actually did this.)
We were ambivalent about Danny DeVito joining the cast at the end of season 1 as we strongly dislike Danny DeVito. (At least Ben does. Erin feels slightly less animosity toward him.) But somehow he fits in Philadelphia’s off-kilter comic universe. We’re also big fans of the uni-browed McPoyle family, Charlie’s Green Man, Charlie’s apparent dyslexia and illiteracy, Dennis’s propensity to go shirtless in season 3, and Sweet Dee’s phobia of the elderly. Perhaps all this makes us bad people, but on the bright side, at least we’ve got friends.
UPDATE FROM SCOOTER THOMAS: Forgive my morally reprehensible owners. Any show that features this clip is sick and perverted. I am declaring myself up for adoption effective immediately.