Image B Sound C+ Extras D+
"The Gang Gets Racist," "Charlie Wants an Abortion," "Underage Drinking: A National Concern," "Charlie Has Cancer," "Gun Fever," "The Gang Finds a Dead Guy," "Charlie Got Molested," "Charlie Gets Crippled," "The Gang Goes Jihad," "The Gang Gives Back," "Dennis and Dee Go On Welfare," "Mac Bangs Dennis' Mom," "The Gang Runs for Office," "Hundred Dollar Baby," "Charlie Goes America All Over Everybody's Ass," "The Gang Exploits a Miracle," "Dennis and Dee Get a New Dad"
by Ian Pugh When confronted with the inescapable, unfunny vacuum that is Carlos Mencia, I used to tell people I hated that which was self-consciously controversial. I soon realized, though, that any property that genuinely pushes the envelope has to be aware of its material on some level; it's probably more accurate to say I hate that which features controversy as its only selling point. Hostel Part II's DVD cover may sport an obnoxious stamp guaranteeing that it is "shocking and explicit," but the film puts those qualities to use in a capitalist redux of The Wicker Man. "The Sarah Silverman Program." may touch on taboo subjects, but it does so to question the self-aggrandizing persona of its star. Then you've got "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia" (hereafter "Sunny"), which parades the horrible actions of its lead characters as if they meant something on their own, believing that its toe-in-the-water venture into forbidden territory exempts it from criticism. Take a long, hard look at the episode list above, and know that just about every teaser sequence in "Sunny"'s first two seasons is followed by a smash cut to one of those titles--and in this brief moment, find everything you need to know about the episode and its comedic trajectory. The quality of the writing itself is ultimately summed up by the subsequent opening-credits montage showcasing the various sights and non-sights of Philly by night. While personal experience dictates that sunny days and dispositions are indeed hard to come by in that city, the fact that the series must directly invert the implications of its name reeks of desperation to have its weak antics seen as darkly ironic.