The Best Lines from It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia S13E03: “The Gang Beats Boggs: Ladies Reboot”

 

Any other show would bungle an episode like “The Gang Beats Boggs: Ladies Reboot”. But for It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia, it’s exactly what we needed to see. Thirteen seasons in, a show unabashedly borrowing a concept from an earlier popular episode, replacing the cast with female side characters for the sake of making some meta commentary points and ending with everyone puking and shitting their pants would probably signal its death knell. But here’s, it’s unironically a sign that IASIP hasn’t lost a step.

The episode has Sweet Dee gathering all of the women she knows and can tolerate on a flight headed for the women’s march. But they’re not on it to celebrate their womanhood or to protest the current administration, they’re there because Dee is constantly trying to figure out how to stick it to the guys, and her latest scheme involves having one of the girls beat Wade Boggs’ record of drinking 71 beers on a flight to Los Angeles before winning the big game the next day. Only Dee doesn’t actually want “the women” to beat the record, she wants to beat the record and all the other women herself, because she’s a narcissistic misanthrope with a warped sense of feminism, and it says a lot about her that the only women she can harangue are two of her friends’ moms, The Waitress and Artemis (and, as we find out later, Snail, who is hiding and drinking quietly on her own in first class). Also she’s a bird.

It’s kind of a perfect setup. The show does well when re-exploring its own conceits, as this isn’t the first time its rebooted an episode. It also does well when it sets Dee up against everyone, because she’s a frustrated failure and she only gets funnier when her back is up against the wall (this episode features a lot of “goddamnits”). And it’s nice to see some recurring characters get their time to shine, as each of the four ladies have several great moments in this episode.

In a weird way, this episode does a lot to show that there is a version of IASIP that can survive without all of its main characters. While Frank, Charlie and Mac all sneak in cameos (The Waiter is also there, although who are we to remember every man we’ve seen fall into a plate of spaghetti), this is the first episode of the season with no sign of Dennis. While he still looms over the show (there is a lot of talk about his stay in North Dakota and, in fact, Dee winds up there herself, which may play in to a future reveal about Dennis’s kid there), this episode works without the classic Gang chemistry, and it works because Kaitlyn Olson is a great actress who has spent fifteen years honing what kind of character Sweet Dee actually is. And, as I said, she doesn’t hog the screen either.

The meta-commentary about feminism and lazy media attempts at representation were pretty spot-on as well, continuing the trend started in last week’s episode and that clearly seems to be a priority this season, with a lot more women working on the show behind the scenes and a concerted effort to make the show more relevant and topical. Without, of course, losing any of its charm, as suggested by the episode’s crux, where Artemis’ spiked Goop-style products induce mass vomiting and diarrhea amongst the women on the flight.

There’s little more you can hope for as a creative person than to see your meta-episode about lazy, diversity-induced spinoffs actually wind up being funny and memorable. And there are plenty of moments in this Boss Hogg sequel that work. “The Gang Beats Boggs: Ladies Reboot” gets 8 pussies on the track out of 10.


Here are some of the best lines from “The Gang Beats Boggs: Ladies Reboot”:

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  • Goddamnit Count: 7
  • A couple of great sight gags: Drunk Dee imagining Martina Navratilova all wrong and then picturing Boss Hogg instead of Wade Boggs, Charlie and Mac repeatedly yelling that Dee’s a bird before their facetime cuts out.
  • Mrs Kelly: “I didn’t know it was an all female flight. That feels dangerous.”
  • Artemis/Dee: “I don’t get it. You already did this. Shouldn’t we do our own thing? Why are we copying the guys?” “That’s the whole point. It’s the exact same thing, but with women. So it’s a new idea.”
  • Mrs. Mac: “What kind of a plane is this? How come the coloreds are allowed to sit with the whites and we’re way back here?”
  • Dee: “Wow, I’ve never heard you talk so much. Truly awful.”
  • Dee/Waitress: “What’s your secret?” “I’m an alcoholic.”
  • Artemis/Mrs. Mac: “Let’s at least beat a female sports star.” “Secretariat?”
  • Dee, to The Waiter: “That’s great, you’re a soyboy beta cuck.”
  • Mrs. Kelly: “Oh dear, watching a woman do math scares me!”
  • Frank: “In every reboot you gotta have someone from the original to make a cameo.”
  • Artemis: “She’s gone full Judy Garland, isn’t it glorious?”
  • The Waitress: “I had sex in the bathroom with Frank and now I’m in a shame spiral. I’m going to drink my self to death.”
  • Martina Navratilova: “Now you’re imagining me as Lori Petty in A League of Their Own.”
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The Best Lines from It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia S13E02: ‘The Gang Escapes’

 

After It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia devoted its thirteenth season premiere to the pressing question of whether or not Glenn Howerton’s Dennis would return to the show, things were unsurprisingly back to normal in “The Gang Escapes”. In fact, the episode holds itself to Dennis’ word, not worry about why or how he’s back or for how long, plunging The Gang right back into the type of low-brow, inconsequential misadventures we’re here for.

The funny thing is that the episode, which, at Sweet Dee’s request, has The Gang locked in Dennis and Mac’s apartment doing one of those escape room team-building challenge thingies, opens with Dennis actually trying to justify why he and the other guys would do something like that, establishing that there need to be stakes; in this case, an actual sirloin steak, to be purchased for the winner by Amanda, the girl setting all of this up, along with disturbing promises of sexual conquest. In true Sunny form, however, Dee has ulterior motives, having already done this exact escape room before, attempting to make herself look good in front of the guys.

Things devolve pretty quickly, as you might expect. The guys lock Dee in Dennis’ bedroom the moment she starts being annoying. In there she must escape a room of her own, as Dennis has set it up for his deviant sexual conquests. Outside, the guys pair off when their egos get in the way and they can’t decide on a leader between Dennis and Frank, but when they match each others’ tactics (The Art of the Deal, bro!), they decide to hold a summit where a pecking order is decided and they put their clues for the escape room together, only to discover it’s just the beginning. Luckily, Dee falls off the building forcing Amanda to open the door before the deadline, thus earning everyone their steaks and their picture on the company’s website. In fact, in a surprisingly sweet moment for this show, the guys let Dee take a bite of her steak first for leading them to victory.

The episode wastes no time delving into topics such as machismo and toxic masculinity, putting the guys against both Dee and each other in a bid for dominance. It treats the idea of an escape room like mice in a laboratory maze, compacting all the terrible things about the guys into an environment where they can quickly manifest themselves and explode. But it all kind of works because obviously it’s satirical and tinged with irony. What’s more, it’s an episode written and directed by women. Megan Ganz, formerly of Community and Modern Family fame joined the show last season (writing the equally hilarious and meta The Gang Tends Bar), and while I consider her to be one of the best working sitcom writers and she certainly earned her job based on skill and merit, it’s also clearly part of an attempt to diversify the Sunny writer’s room. This is a show that has been largely written by men (even outside the bulk of the episodes written by its three main stars and creators), and while most would likely consider the likes of McElheney, Howerton and Day to be relatively woke, it’s an interesting direction for the show to take after so many years. Not only is this episode written by a woman and directed by a woman (LP), but so are most of the next four episodes, and that’s probably a bigger deal than most will give credit.

It doesn’t really affect the quality of the show one way or another, it’s still just as funny and ridiculous, and the stars’ influence over it still persists, even though these changes were likely made to accommodate their increasingly busy schedules as actors and producers. But it’s a positive sign to see a show thirteen seasons old capable of making big changes in the way it’s written and produced, capable of tackling subjects not outside of the show’s realm, but potentially from different angles, all without losing much of a step. “The Gang Escapes” is both topical and timeless, hilarious and well-made. And with everything so quickly going back to normal for The Gang, it reassures me that this is a shot that still has a lot of life left in it.

“The Gang Escapes” gets 8 ounces of sirloin steak out of 10.


 

Here are some of the best lines from “The Gang Escapes”:

  • First and foremost, the Goddamnit Count. I forgot to do this last week, but I don’t remember hearing any. This week the show comes out swinging, with 5 instances of the gang (mostly Dee) expressing their displeasure with the show’s signature word.
  • I also want to shout out Charlie’s speech as speaker during the summit. Too much of it was hilarious to transcribe but the whole thing was just phenomenal.
  • Dennis: “I’m fully aware of this practice. It’s a highly sexual experience for people. You’ll get no judgements from us.”
  • Mac: “This sounds very nerdy. Is this a nerd thing?”
  • Mac: “Men don’t do things just to do them. We’re busy running the world, providing for our families. We need stakes. If there’s no stakes, what’s the point?”
  • Dennis: “I get out of the room, that means I win the game, the lady here, she takes me out for a steak, then it becomes sexual.”
  • Charlie: “Frank hasn’t been locked up since the nitwit school, so he gets a little uptight about it.”
  • Frank: “Everybody knows quarterbacks are men.”
  • Dennis/Mac: “By constantly chewing so loudly he’s sending a very clear message that he is the head cow. And as we all know, the head cow is always grazing.” “Aren’t all cows female?”
  • Dennis: “Mac, sometimes I’m just riffing. Would you allow me to riff? As the leader, can I riff? CAN I RIFF!?”
  • Mac: “Just to clarify, are we monkeys or are we cows?”
  • Frank: “It’s a power play. Everybody knows that the head cow is always grazing.”
  • Mac: “Never trust another man in negotiation! That’s textbook. Art of the Deal! Art of the Deal, bro!”
  • Computer Dennis: “Remember, if you’re having too much fun, it ruins it for me.”
  • Computer Dennis: “Ugh ugh ugh! You didn’t say the safe word.”
  • Amanda/Dee: “This is insanely disturbing.” “You do it for a living, get off your high horse.”
  • Dennis: “Clever girl.”
  • Dennis: “You figured out the only loophole in my carefully curated and well-researched bondage facility. You’re the only person who’s ever done that. The only one. THE ONLY ONE.”

The Best Lines from It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia S13E01: ‘The Gang Makes Paddy’s Great Again’

Ever since Dennis was written off It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia last season, and Glenn Howerton and the rest of the gang spent the ensuing months insisting that they weren’t sure how or if he’d ever come back to the show, fans have been lamenting what the show would look like without one of its five key ingredients. The rest of The Gang are all interesting characters in their own right, but the show has always worked because of the dynamic between the five (and I say this knowing that Danny DeVito was only added to the show in season 2). Most fans feared the worst, but, to tell you the truth, I was kind of curious what the show would look like sans-Dennis.

In this week’s season 13 premiere, “The Gang Makes Paddy’s Great Again”, we got a glimpse of what this Dennis-less show would look like, and yet the episode was almost entirely about how he loomed over the show, as The remaining Gang turns to Cindy (a guest-starring Mindy Kaling) as a replacement leader but quickly finds that Dennis’ disapproving, judgmental aura continues to haunt them, especially after a newly super fit Mac reveals that he’s ordered a specially-made sex doll that looks exactly like his former roommate/not-best friend. Cindy schemes to pit liberals against conservatives in order to drum up business for the bar and shut down the competition around the corner, and at first The Gang is into it and sees how Cindy brings out the best in them, but they very quickly get in their own heads about what Dennis would say, the presence of the sex doll not helping.

By the end of the episode, Dennis has inexplicably returned and Cindy is cast out of the bar, with everything returning to normal. No questions are asked about where Dennis has been and why he’s back, and while I would expect the show to address all of that in a future episode, I don’t think anyone really minds. In fact his sudden return, including downplaying why he’s back, is quite funny in and of itself and perfectly executed for this show. The scene at the end of the episode where Dennis suddenly standing where the sex doll was propped up is perfect. He surprises everyone, causing Frank to draw and quickly fire his weapon at him, and within the span of about 90 seconds thereafter he’s successfully driven Cindy away, surmised what Mac is doing with his likeness and thrown casual, devastating insults at both him and Dee.

That’s not to say that the rest of the episode doesn’t work without his actual presence. There’s a sincere self-awareness that permeates the episode. The Gang is aware of the fact that they’re incomplete, yet it doesn’t really change the dynamic. Mac is still woefully insecure, resorting to getting utterly jacked thinking that it’ll make his friends happy or somehow help with their schemes (the fact that Rob McElheney put his body through that for the sake of comedy is a perfect as it was when he gained an obscene amount of weight for a previous season). Dee is a broken creature who would rather return to the bottom of the group’s pecking order with Dennis if it means she’s the only woman in the group. Even Charlie is having a tough time, suddenly dating the Waitress and hating it. In all honesty, this is as much an episode about Mac as it is an episode about The Gang coping with the loss of Dennis.

There’s a lot of great stuff in the first 18 minutes of the episode, and Mindy Kaling is great as the group’s temporary foil, especially considering the reasoning for her presence is just as unexplained as Dennis’ return, but I think we’re all glad that Dennis wound up being back, and I think we all knew deep inside that the show wouldn’t have worked for very long without him. The fact that they so quickly brought him back is proof of that (as is the season’s promotional material, which includes the Gang running away from a Dennis-like figure in a Jason Voorhees mask), and it makes me wonder if that was always the plan, or if they tried to break the season without Dennis around and realized that it couldn’t be done.

In any case, the gang is back in full force now (The Boys Are Back in Town!), and the mystery surrounding Dennis’ whereabouts really added an interesting layer to the show. Mac’s coping mechanisms were hilarious, as was the meta-commentary around Cindy’s plan and how they expertly sidestep any meaningful political commentary despite the episode’s title and the contents of the plan, and all of that makes “The Gang Makes Paddy’s Great Again” an excellent, raucous episode of IASIP, and it gets 9 liberal tears out of 10.


 

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Here are some of the best lines from the episode:

  • Charlie: “No one ever really knows what’s going on with Mac. He’s fat, he’s skinny, he’s muscular, it’s really a cry for help and attention I think. So what you do in that situation is you ignore it.
  • Mac, to silence: “You guys like me, right?”
  • Mac/Dee: “It’s not like I’m going to have sex with it.” “He’s going to have sex with it the second we walk out of this door.”
  • Mac/Frank: “I tried, but apparently I can’t return the doll due to the custom nature of the usage of the doll.” “Banging its mouth.”
  • Cindy: “Stop trying to shoehorn your shirtlessness into plans that have no need for it.”
  • Cindy/Dee: “What the hell are you guys talking about?” “It called me a bird.”
  • Mac/Charlie: “Why did I do all this working out, Charlie?” “Nobody knows, man.”
  • Mac: “Tell her not to worry, I’m doing crunches.”
  • Mac: “Dennis is a bastard man.”
  • Frank: “After a series of events that I’d rather not go into, I came to the realization that the only way to not be humiliated by Dennis while playing the tuba was to play him.”
  • Dennis, about his facsimile sex doll: “Ah, Mac’s shooting his loads into it?”
  • Cindy: “Charlie, you were just playing his asshole to humiliate him.”