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It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia: The Complete Season 7(TV) (2011)
Step up to the bar with Mac (Rob McElhenney), Dennis (Glenn Howerton), Charlie (Charlie Day), Dee (Kaitlin Olson), and Frank (Danny DeVito), the outrageously inappropriate gang at Paddy's pub, as they work together for a common cause...themselves.
For more about It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia: The Complete Season 7 and the It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia: The Complete Season 7 Blu-ray release, see It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia: The Complete Season 7 Blu-ray Review published by Casey Broadwater on October 12, 2012 where this Blu-ray release scored 4.0 out of 5.
Directors: Randall Einhorn, Fred Savage, Daniel Attias, Jerry Levine, Rob McElhenney, John Fortenberry
Writers: David Hornsby, Scott Marder, Rob Rosell, Becky Mann, Audra Sielaff, Sonny Lee (II)
Starring: Rob McElhenney, Glenn Howerton, Charlie Day, Kaitlin Olson, Danny DeVito, Sean Combs
» See full cast & crew
It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia: The Complete Season 7 Blu-ray Review
Another great batch of episodes from Philly's biggest losers.
Reviewed by Casey Broadwater, October 12, 2012
It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia is one of those friendship dealbreaker shows for me; if you don't like it, I'm immediately questioning whether or not it's even possible for us to hang out. Few sitcoms are so loveably crass, so off-the-wall deranged, so gamely willing to mine taboo subjects for comedy gold. After seven seasons, it's still pushing the envelope of basic cable acceptability, and I'd even venture to say that the the last few years have been better than the first few. If you're completely unfamiliar with the series, check out our season six review—which has a more general synopsis of the cast and characters—but for fellow fans, I'm just going to launch into the greatness that is season seven, which finds "the gang" at Paddy's Pub in characteristically lunatic comedic form. The biggest change this time around? Mac got fat. Not just fat, but troublingly fat. Like, I'm worried for actor/co-creator Rob McElhenny's health fat. Read on for an overview of season seven's thirteen hilariously depraved episodes:
Frank's Pretty Woman: It comes close several times, but I'm not sure that It's Always Sunny's seventh season ever tops the supremely funny premiere. Playing like Pretty Woman gone terribly wrong, Frank falls in love with a crack-smoking prostitute named Roxy (Alanna Ubach), whom Dee unsuccessfully tries to reform. Concerned that Frank deserves better, Charlie tries to fix him up on a blind date, a date that ends with Charlie puking up "a handful of blood capsules" on the terrified woman. Meanwhile, we learn that Mac has put on fifty pounds and now has type II adult-onset diabetes. (Which he pronounces "die-a-bit-us.") Rob McElhenney actually porked up for the entire season, risking his real-life health for the sake of comedy. Now that's dedication.
The Gang Goes to the Jersey Shore: Spurred on by childhood nostalgia, the gang ventures down to the Jersey shore for the worst beach holiday ever. Frank shows up gnawing on a "rum ham"—yes, a rum-soaked ham—and the obese Mac starts wearing Tommy Bahama shirts. Dee and Dennis end up smoking angel dust with some deranged locals on a crime spree, and Charlie gets an eyeful—not literally, thankfully—when he disrupts two bums having sex "under the boardwalk."
Frank Reynold's Little Beauties: Another contender for best episode of the season, "Little Beauties" finds Frank trying to "legitimatize" a child pageantry contest formerly run by a convicted "diddler." His own attempts to avoid looking like a pedophile backfire hilariously. ("Welcome, welcome to our legitimate show of kids. Very, very nice. Which one of these talented entertainers, who I am not sexually attracted to at all, will be the winner? I'm not attracted to any of them, none of them. And that's the way it is.") Sweet Dee gets revenge on pageant moms, Mac starts wheezing when he eats, and Charlie and Dennis arrange a rave version of "Yankee Doodle Dandy" for an effeminate male contestant.
Sweet Dee Gets Audited: Remember when Dee became a surrogate mom? Well, she's been scamming the IRS by claiming the baby as a dependent, and the taxman—well, tax woman, in this case—has come a'callin'. Meanwhile, the guys fight over how to democratically run Paddy's, with Mac and Charlie forming the "Pickle Party." Stick around for the fake baby funeral, complete with the decomposing carcass of a dead dog found behind the pub.
Frank's Brother: I always like when we get to learn a bit more about Frank's sordid past. When Frank's long-lost brother, Gino (Jon Polito), shows up at Paddy's, we launch into a flashback episode that details their ridiculous falling-out, which involves a co-owned jazz club called "Shadynasty's"—no, it's pronounced "Sha-dynasty," after Frank's African-American love interest—an exile to Columbia, where Frank becomes a quality control tester for a cocaine operation, and a Black Panther played by The Wire's Lance Reddick.
The Storm of the Century: When a category-5 hurricane heads towards Philly, the gang goes into survivalist mode, which, for the guys, means going to the All American Home Center so they can buy a 3D TV and watch the local weatherwoman's ample breasts in three dimensions.
Chardee MacDennis: The Game of Games: A rainy day keeps the gang inside, so they decide to play "Chardee MacDennis," an invented board game that Dee and Dennis dominate. The entire episode takes place in the pub, and "The Game of Games" noticeably feels like a production cost- saving measure. One of the weaker entries this year.
The ANTI-Social Network: The season bounces right back with the very funny "ANTI-Social Network," which has the gang venturing out to a trendy gin bar that Dee found via Facebook. While Dennis and Charlie go looking for a rude "shusher" who shushed them for being too loud at the bar —there's a scene in a police office that's probably the most hilarious thing I've seen all year—the rest of the gang try to make Paddy's "go viral." There's also an homage to the film Catfish here, and an appearance by Frank's alter-ego, Mantis Toboggan, M.D., who mistakes "viral video" for "computer virus."
The Gang Gets Trapped: Another season highpoint. Inspired by Indiana Jones, Charlie and Mac—the latter compulsively shoveling chips into his mouth—get the not-so-wise idea that the gang needs to "extract" a vase that's been sold in a museum auction and now resides in the buyer's house in suburban Philly. Dee, Dennis, and Frank essentially break and enter, but they get trapped inside—and overhear a domestic dispute—when the "hillbilly" homeowners return. I'm not sure what made me laugh more, Mac's "Swedish plumber" disguise accent or Frank's bullwhip mishap at the end of the episode.
How Mac Got Fat: Maybe you're thinking, "What if Rob McElhenny just happened to get fat and decided to write it into the script?" This episode, which was actually made during the season six production run, exists to prove Fat Mac was in the plan all along. Well, and to be funny, which it is. Told in flashbacks as Mac confesses to his priest, the episode shows what happens when Paddy's suddenly becomes the hottest bar in town. With overinflated egos, the gang decide to get look-a-like surrogates to the run the pub for them, and when Mac doesn't measure up to his own "beefcake avatar," he spends the next several months putting on mass (but no muscle).
Thunder Gun Express: The gang is all amped up to see Thunder Gun Express, the biggest action blockbuster of the year, but they've forgotten that President Obama is in town, meaning traffic is clogged throughout the city. Leaving Dennis behind, stuck in his Land Rover, the rest of the gang set off on foot for a Thunder Gun-style adventure of their own. Frank commandeers a tour boat full of Asian sightseers. Charlie and Dee venture through the sewer system. Mac hijacks a motorcycle but has no idea how to ride it. They all finally meet up in the theater, where Dennis gets a handjob in the back row, Dee arrives covered in liquid feces, and the rest can't keep their mouths shut. Basically, a moviegoer's worst nightmare.
The High School Reunion, Parts I and II: Awkward high school reunions are a sit-com staple, but It's Always Sunny's two-part season finale takes the proverbial cake for sheer uncomfortableness. There's too much funny here to unpack in a single paragraph. We learn that Mac's real name is "Ronald McDonald." We see why kids used to call Dee "The Aluminum Monster" when she hurts herself and is forced to re-don her metal back brace. Charlie returns to huffing bathroom cleaner and being bullied. Dennis tries to prove how popular he was and refers to himself as a "golden god." Defrocked priest Rickety Cricket (David Hornsby) shows up supposedly reformed. And somehow, Frank sneaks in to witness the shenanigans. In a last ditch attempt to impress the "cool kids," the gang goes with "Plan B" and performs a hilarious musical dance number to George Michael's "Freedom! '90," a performance that's much better in their imaginations than it is to those watching on in disgusted awe. Look out for the members of King of Leon in quick cameo roles.
It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia: The Complete Season 7 Blu-ray, Video Quality
For the first five years of the show, It's Always Sunny was shot natively in standard definition, so the last two seasons—produced entirely in HD —have been revelatory in clarity. Granted, the series will probably always have somewhat of a cheap "sit-com" look, but the upgraded visuals certainly pay off. The low-res fuzziness of yore is replaced by a high definition, 1080p/AVC-encoded image that yields much better detail overall, with sharper fine lines and visible textures in the actors' faces and clothing. The show goes for strictly realistic color grading, and the picture has a satisfying density, with good contrast and sufficiently deep blacks. Sure, there are still some issues—noise spikes during darker scenes, aliasing can occasionally be spotted on tight parallel lines, highlights are sometimes blown out—but all of these go back to the source and have nothing to do with the Blu-ray presentation. If you've seen the show on TV, you'll have a good idea of what to expect here.
It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia: The Complete Season 7 Blu-ray, Audio Quality
Once again, the show features a lossless DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 surround sound presentation, but honestly, a 2.0 stereo track for each episode would've probably sufficed. The show's theme song and much of the incidental music gets panned lightly into the rear speakers—along with rare directional effects and some extremely quiet ambience—but, in general, the mix is so front-heavy that you wouldn't even notice if the surround speakers cut out. Still, no real complaints here. It's Always Sunny is all about the frequently improvised dialogue—spoken and quite frequently screamed —and the mix handles it all with effortless clarity. And that's what really matters. For those that may need or want them, the discs include optional English SDH, Spanish, and French subtitles, which appear in easy-to-read white lettering.
It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia: The Complete Season 7 Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
Compared to last year's set, season seven is short on special features, but we do get a great blooper reel and four compulsively listenable commentary tracks with the show's always-funny creators and stars.
It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia: The Complete Season 7 Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
I stand by my previous assessment—It's Always Sunny's last few seasons have actually been better than the first few, a rare thing indeed for sit-coms. There's precisely one dud in the season seven batch—"Chardee MacDennis: The Game of Games"—but it'd be a stretch to even call this episode "bad." It just doesn't quite measure up to the non-stop hilarity that is the rest of the season. And there were at least three moments this year when I LOL'd so hard, and for so long, that my mouth and stomach hurt. Fans will definitely want to add this 2-disc set to their collections. When winter is at its bleakest, there are few better cures for seasonal affective disorder than Always Sunny. Recommended!
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