It’s funny, the question of how a show like It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia could survive in the post-MeToo world (or even, more generally, in the increasingly progressive/”woke” world we find ourselves living in) has never really crossed my mind, despite the fact that this is a show that almost persistently ventures into crass and offensive territory, or maybe it’s because I’ve always trusted the people behind it and their intentions. And yet, here we are, in the show’s unprecedented 13th season, witnessing the show’s strong attempts to change with the times and evolve. Not only by addressing these topics head on (without losing track of the no-holds-barred sense of humour that’s kept it around for this long), but by addressing them behind the scenes as well.
As I mentioned a couple of weeks ago, the Sunny writer’s room and troupe of directors, which has been predominantly male for over a decade, is now considerably more female, with The Mick import Kat Coiro and one of TV’s best writers, Megan Ganz, front and center, having written/directed two episodes so far this season including tonight’s impeccable “Time’s Up For The Gang”.
It’s impressive in and of itself that the show made these changes preemptively, before anyone noticed or really said anything. But it makes sense, not only because it allows the show to remain topical when the topics at hand are becoming increasingly sensitive, but also because the show’s creators are becoming busier and busier and changes were going to have to be made anyway. They made the changes the right way, and while some may say that these first few episodes of the season have been weak, I personally feel as if the show has felt like a breath of fresh air, on top of having a renewed sense of relevance.
Previous episodes this season have tackled such things already, but “Time’s Up” is the season’s most topical episode to date, and it not only delivers on some great commentary, but it’s also probably the funniest episode of the show in recent memory. The episode has The Gang attending a sexual harassment seminar after someone put them on some sort of online list. They are as disruptive as you expect them to be, antagonizing both the moderators and each other as, progressively, each of them experiences the “heat” of the changing climate, before Dennis, in a long-winded speech, reveals that he orchestrated the whole thing in order to get a leg-up on the group.
The episode is riddled with poignant commentary about Me Too (both about sexual harassment itself and the misguided attempts to take it down with arguments such as “not all men” and victim blaming, things that seem especially touchstone at a time where an alleged rapist is being thrust onto the Supreme Court) and said changing climate, but it doesn’t lose sight of the things that make Sunny great. For starters, the whole point of the episode isn’t really to make fun of Me Too or to try and put men down, or whatever. It’s all about the power dynamics in the group. Dennis does this because he sees things shifting, not in the climate but among his gang of degenerates. He wants them to know their place.
And it’s also great because it’s probably the funniest episode of the show in a good long while. From Dennis’s speech, to Frank’s antics trying to keep his stolen robe on, culminating with Mac literally grabbing Dee by the pussy, there’s a lot of great stuff here, stuff we’ll mostly get to in the notes below. It works because it balances the funny and the relevance. And it’s exactly why IASIP needs to continue to exist. “Times Up For The Gang” gets 10 year passed the statute of limitations out of 10.
- Frank: “You kids and your climates. Back in the day I banged all my secretaries. That’s the way you did it. You hire some girl with no experience, you bang her, you promote her. It’s a win-win situation for everyone, except for the wives.”
- Dee: “Eh yo! Who’s ready to party ! TimesUpTimesUpTimesUpTimesUp!”
- Kate/Frank: “Yes, you have a question?” “Statute of limitations?”
- Frank: “They got nothing on me passed ’92, tops.”
- Charlie: “We really don’t know how funny the joke is yet because we haven’t seen the girl’s boobs. Can we see them?”
- Charlie on Mac: “He’s just, like, our gay guy now.”
- Mac: “Now, should I take my shirt off for this scenario?”
- Dee: “It made me feel tiny, like Thumbelina!”
- Frank: “I’m sweating through my clothes. It’s this damn climate!”
- Frank: “Shit, I just looked at her tits.”
- Dee: “I like the tactic here. Get em all horny with your titties. That’s when they make their mistakes.”
- Frank: “Hey, Larry? How soon can you get to the Hyatt? My dong fell out. A woman saw it.”
- Dennis: “You’re lanky and your hair looks like a wig. Is it a wig? What’s going on? Doesn’t matter, your time’s up.”
- Dee: “You guys think that Allan guy’s got a big dick?”