After the mildly entertaining, somewhat waning 10th season of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, fans like me were left questioning if the show’s dark comedy formula had finally reached its expiration date. Ten seasons is a fantastic achievement, yet the first episode of season 11 makes me feel that the show should hang up its kitten mittons and begin to close up shop at Paddy’s Pub.
After watching “Chardee MacDennis 2: Electric Boogaloo,” my nostalgia washed away into a feeling of confusion. The spontaneity and crudeness of the writers, who are also the creators and stars of the show, was substituted for an uncomfortable series of references to previous gimmicks and weak spurts of new material. A sequel episode is not necessarily a bad thing, but moments like the random insertion of the Waitress in the last few minutes of the episode create an hysteric pace that feels more like an obligatory filling of time than anything of comedic value or beneficial to plot.
The value of the original Chardee MacDennis episode was the surprise factor of each gag. Smashing wine glasses on the ground loses its humor without the shock factor of it happening for the first time. The episode itself becomes increasingly self-aware, as actions are more outlandish and absurd than clever. Dennis’s narration is the first sign of failure, and Charlie’s over the top flag-raising ceremony is too ridiculous to achieve the successes of the past.
Although the episode overall was lacking, certain moments gleamed through. Danny DeVito held strong in his portrayal of the boorish Frank Reynolds. His comedic timing and Saw-esque scene holding everyone prisoner were two of the modest redeeming qualities of the episode.
The series has already been renewed for a twelfth season, so the FXX network must have a great deal of faith in the show’s creators. Granted, after ten seasons it’s difficult to expect every episode of a show to be fantastic. However, a shaky premiere such as this does not cast a promising light on It’s Always Sunny’s future.