Friday, September 16, 2011
Second Acts - It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia Season Premiere (Spoilers)
In the season premiere of It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia, Dennis and Dee assures the prostitute Roxy -- who Frank is determined to marry -- that there are indeed "second acts" to look forward to in one's life and build towards. However, it's clear by the end of "Frank's Pretty Woman" that not only are none such new beginnings in store for doomed Roxy, but probably not for the rest of the cast as well, as Charlie pukes blood, Mac gets self-induced diabetes, Dennis is dehydrated, and Dee considers whoredom (albeit, only foot fetish whoredom with a Tiger Woods impersonator).
I've always seen Always Sunny as being the Seinfeld of my generation, if I'm allowed such a trite, douchebag observation. It's true. I've always hated people who followed Seinfeld religiously, and now I hate myself, finally understanding the wisdom and utter self-understanding of their choice. Watching Mac and Dennis in polka-dotted medical gowns, each getting their miserable prognosis, I feel as if I'm observing an emblematic moment concerning me and everybody I know in my age group, each in one of the two represented categories -- falling into self-justified hedonism and sloth as Mac, or Spartan pseudo-anorexic hyper-athleticism as Dennis does. Dennis believes he can look like he's in his Twenties forever. Mac -- who has gained at least 50 pounds -- has loftier goals, wishing to be an immovable mass. As much as I enjoy the almost retro charm of How I Met Your Mother, unfortunately Always Sunny seems more like *the* show about life in one's Thirties.
Just when you thought this show couldn't get any darker -- it totally goes there. The ending is as miserable and bleak as Requiem For A Dream -- Roxy's heart literally breaking as Frank makes a heartfelt proposal for marriage, only to be left as so much anonymous ballast by the Always Sunny gang in a dirty hallway. It's comedy by way of Hubert Selby, Jr., completely unforgiving and unsympathetic to those delicate souls who might be offended. So why do I keep watching? People who salvage abandoned crates of eggs, boil used denim, and inject themselves with insulin in the belly while pigging out -- this shit happens. Far more than being reminiscent of the urban neuroticism of Seinfeld, it's pure John Waters.
"Frank's Pretty Woman" puts the lie to just one more myth of my Late Eighties/Early Nineties teen years -- that a prostitute can find happiness with Richard Gere, or at least a hippy-haired aged Danny DeVito. And yet if there is one thing that separates Dennis and the gang from those like faint-hearted crack-overdosing Roxy, it's their insane paradoxical optimism. These idiots are *the* most positive-thinking, optimist characters in TV. Charlie never stops scheming. Dennis never stops reaching for a ticket to eternal youth. Mac sees even his extreme weight gain as some sort of weird martial-arts achievement. And whether it's pit-bulls or prostitution, Dee never stops trying to "better" herself and achieve some degree of satisfaction and success in her life. So screw the Kurt Cobaineque fatalism and nihilism of the 1990s -- the Paddy's gang are little achievers, and proud we are of all of them.
Posted by Verge at 7:12 PM