“It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” Returns to the Small Screen with a Bang- and a Sex Doll (review)

*Spoiler alert! If you don’t want to know what happens in the season 13 premiere, skip this article*

By Rachel Burt

It’s that glorious time of year again, folks. It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia is back on our screens, and back in our hearts- not that it ever really left.

In a not-quite-so-subtle, but well scripted first episode of the 13th season of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, aptly titled ‘The Gang Makes Paddy’s Great Again,’ the gang schemes to play on the divides between liberals and conservatives to make money. The episode aired on FXX at 10 pm.

Judging from past episodes, Always Sunny isn’t afraid to tackle nontraditional topics and let things get out of hand. This first episode for season 13 is no different. To replace Dennis, who has gone to North Dakota to try to be a father, and fill the Dennis-sized hole he has in his heart, Mac orders a very specific sex doll that looks nearly indistinguishable from the real Dennis. I, like the gang, was naturally weirded out by this development, but I also laughed a lot too.

Another replacement for Dennis comes in the form of Mindy Kaling, who plays a new character named Cindy. It’s unclear from this episode how long Kaling will stick around, but in this episode Cindy clearly took Dennis’ place as the evil mastermind of the group. Personally, I was just happy to see Kaling back on TV, as I’ve had my own void to fill since her own show, The Mindy Project, ended.

In her first appearance, Cindy gives a presentation at Paddy’s Pub during a night of “liberal conversation and liberal drinking.” Later, we find out that the event isn’t a fresh start for the pub or a turn toward liberal ideals, but merely a way to make money off of the crowd- a classic Always Sunny sub-plot. Later it’s  revealed that the gang really wants to draw in a conservative crowd and the event was the first step in a convoluted plan to gain their business and take their money.

The gang and Cindy have a plan to shut down Murphey’s, a successful bar around the corner from Paddy’s Pub, that involves fake news, liberal outrage, the triggering of conservatives, and a whole lot of wine- sounds to me like that would be one heck of a party.

Mac and Charlie cover wine bottles with labels that read “Liberal Tears”- while I don’t necessarily agree with the message, I can appreciate the creative name- but then overthink the labels after looking at the Dennis doll and feeling like it’s judging them just like the real Dennis would do. Eventually, everyone thinks the doll is somehow speaking to them and judging them, making them second guess their choices.  

Toward the end of the episode, a commercial with Charlie Day airs, telling the audience to keep their butts in their seats for a sneak peak of his new show, “Cool Kids,” that he’s executive producing. The show premieres September 28 on the same channel- I know I’ll be watching.

If any of you remember ‘fat’ Mac from previous seasons, he’s now jacked and shows off his newly trim body quite often during the episode (the poor guy thinks he can no longer be made fun of by the gang- think again, dude), and Charlie still dating the waitress- well, until she cheats on him with the Dennis doll- I totally saw that coming. She breaks up with Charlie and he is once again a single, lovable idiot.

After Charlie’s breakup, the gang goes to a strip club to make him feel better, and they decide to deal with their Dennis issues and not let him have power over them even in his absence.

Shortly after, the real Dennis shows up and everything changes; and by changes, I mean reverts back to the way things used to be. First, he tells Cindy she can go. The gang immediately votes Cindy out and accepts Dennis back into the fold.

At the end we get a classic Always Sunny moment where Dennis says “Shut up, bird” to Dee and asks Mac if he’s gained weight. This made me nostalgic for the old Always Sunny episodes, so I went back and binged some after this one ended. It looks like nothing has changed at all for our favorite group of psychos.

Always Sunny will continue next Wednesday with ‘The Gang Escapes’  at 10pm on FXX.

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