Charlie gets the only surprises in “Charlie And Dee Find Love.” This episode was pretty predictable—it’s obvious even before Glenn Howerton gleefully drawls “Les Liasones dangereuses” that there’s something going on behind the rich siblings’ mysterious attraction to our trashy, smelly friends, and the resolution of the Dee/Frat Jerk Trevor situation was pretty pat.
But, Lord, the resolution of Charlie/Ruby situation was very surprising, though I wasn’t a fan. I didn’t expect that he would ever actually give up on the Waitress in the same way that I’d never expect Wile E. Coyote to give up on the Roadrunner, but the dressing-down he gives Ruby at the end of the episode is so brutal that it seems like Charlie’s temporarily switched personalities with Dennis. Dark Charlie only comes out for a few minutes right at the end, but what a nasty few minutes. To the tune of “Dance Of The Sugarplum Fairy”:
I was using you. That’s why I kissed you in front of the Waitress, and that’s why I banged you a bunch of times: to make the Waitress jealous. Amazing. You slept with me almost instantly—and by the way, a quality woman doesn’t do that. She doesn’t say yes right away, she says no to a man, for years, like 10 years. That’s what a real woman does. You know what you were acting like? A stupid little rich slut.
If I recall correctly, this is the first time in the show’s eight seasons that Charlie’s definitely gotten laid in the events of an episode, and I don’t think I remember him ever talking to a woman like that before, either. He gets to be pretty masculine, too—I think this is the most lines I’ve heard Charlie Day say in an episode that weren’t delivered in a crazed, high-pitched shout. It’s kind of fun to watch quasi-debonair Charlie work his magic, but his lack of personal hygiene has been harped on so many times that it’s a little hard to suspend disbelief about a normal, very attractive woman not involved in the frat bros’ nasty Dinner Game-esque bet overlooking it. He’s declared that he doesn’t own a toothbrush and only washes his junk once a week, for god’s sake. And everyone saw him eat those cheese cubes, right?
But though I give it credit for being unexpected, I wasn’t a fan of Dark Charlie. (Although… character growth? Going new places? Sort of?) Giving Charlie such cruel, cruel intentions—sorry—unmoors the show. Always Sunny needs somebody quasi-innocent like Charlie to provide at least a dingy gray as contrast to all the blackness of the rest of the characters. Like comedians need a straight man, the Gang needs someone who, deep down, basically means well.
Though Mac isn’t at the same level of sociopathy of Dee, Dennis, or Frank, the four of them could definitely be described as spiteful. Charlie’s as close to a moral center as the Gang has. His actions may cause grievous harm, but the mayhem seems more a result of his long history of glue-huffing, a desire to avenge wrongs, or his admittedly creepy love of the Waitress than pure mean-spiritedness or egotism. When I started watching the show a few seasons in, the amorality of the characters had been hyped so much that I was kind of shocked by the ending of “Charlie Got Molested,” in which he simply does the right thing by turning in the McPoyles.
The writers often signal that Charlie’s better than the rest of the Gang. He’s the only person that the Gang repeatedly expresses genuine concern for, in “Charlie Got Molested” or “Charlie’s Got Cancer,” for example, or here as Dennis worries that Charlie’s going to get his heart crushed but waves off the idea of potential Dee-crushing. And they write him a semi-charmed life, balancing out his terrible moments by having him win at roulette, at dance-offs, and at being liked best by non-Waitress outsiders—Ruby here, his potential cult members in “The Gang Exploits A Miracle,” and, apparently, black people in general in “The Gang Gets Racist.”
We’ll see whether Dark Charlie was just another Waitress-spurred out-of-character fluke, like his sudden ability to mastermind elaborate schemes in “Mac Bangs Dennis’ Mom.” I hope Charlie’s reinvestment in the Waitress, who’s now cut down her restraining-order radius, means that he’ll be back to his old self next episode.
- The Waitress getting constantly beaten down and humiliated is getting a little old—we already have that done to the max in Rickety Cricket, and I can barely watch his scenes anymore.
- Opening line: “I can’t believe you just bought another ridiculous ugly car.” It actually seems to be the same hideous purple PT Cruiser that Mac and Charlie wrecked in the Halloween episode, whether this means Dee replaced it with the exact same car or episodes had to be swapped around I can't say. (Seeing as how “The Gang Recycles Their Trash” was supposed to be the premiere but was swapped out for being too weird and conceptual, I’d guess the latter.) Regardless, it’s smashed within the first two minutes, and man, does Kaitlin Olson pull a fantastic rage-face.
- Speaking of Olson’s physical-comedy skills, no episode in which Dee is called upon to dance or react to what appeared to be a very hard vag-punch is all bad in my book.
- “This shirt is ridiculously tight, and restricting my play, so—I think I’m just gonna pop it off.”
- “If you’re in my room, you’re always being filmed.”