The newest season of It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia kicked off this week, with a sequel to one of the funniest episodes in the series’ run. “Chardee Macdennis 2: Electric Bugaloo” is full of the same irreverent, sociopathic, narccisistic humor that remains the series’ staple.
This opening doesn’t disappoint, containing more laugh-out-loud moments than last season’s best episodes…
Here, the gang is hoping to impress a Mattel agent into investing in, and selling, Chardee Macdennis to the masses. While this episode plays primarily as a retread of the first session with the made-up board game, here we see a bit more of the minutiae. We see why Mac and Charlie hate the puzzles challenge so much, as they are forced to reassemble, and drink from, a beer bottle that had been shattered against a wall.
Gone, also, is the Maori war dance that opened the game; instead it is replaced with a raising of the teams’ flabs, with Frank’s (Danny DeVito) flag proudly showcasing a series of F’s unwittingly arranged as a swastika. As we see a lot more of the game played out, and the insane challenges (by the by, the very NAME “Shits And Ladders…AKA Chutes And Splatters”, wherein the gang has to remain sitting atop a ladder after ingesting copious amounts of laxatives, is comedy genius), the episode gains a welcome amount of energy, and we even get to witness Charlie (Day/Kelly)’s drunken subtitles once again (“I got ALL the numbers!”).
As was rare in most of last season, this episode shows the gang trying — and failing — to be “normal”, as the Mattel agent (played by Andy Buckley, who was also David Wallace in the American version of The Office) desperately tries to keep up with the insane rules of the game. The game (and episode) also takes an unexpectedly dark, yet hilarious, turn as Frank drugs and handcuffs the gang in the basement, with their escape possible only by digging out keys sewn into their arms (Saw-style), only by using tweezers attached to car batteries (“This part is based on Operation!”).
Ultimately, the episode is a great bottle episode, sticking to one main story and one location, and is a great return for the gang. How they managed to remain this creatively, hilariously depraved after eleven years is beyond me, but bless them to not fixing what ain’t broke. There is so much more I have yet to even touch upon regarding how the rules of Chardee Macdennis works, exactly what the challenges look like, and hopefully the rest of the season holds up.
Best bit? Dennis (Glenn Howerton)’s clay-based portrayal of what “love” looks like.