It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia: "Paddy's Pub: Home of the Original Kitten Mittens" 
B+

It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia: "Paddy's Pub: Home of the Original Kitten Mittens" 

Season 5 of Sunny has been one of the best years the show’s had in terms of consistency, but this week’s episode had something I think a lot of the s5 episodes have been lacking: a well-thought out plot. Rather than breaking up the gang into two or three different stories that are only vaguely related, everyone was in the same orbit this week, which meant lots of group scenes where nonsense phrases are shouted over each other and disturbing, violent threats are casually made. Classic Sunny.

It all revolved around merchandising, with a wonderful cold open showing Charlie, “local business owner,” in his dorky shirt and tie (I’m worried that costume gag is getting overused) selling the titular product. Are you deafened by your cat walking around all the time, making Godzilla noises? “Think there’s no answer? YOU’RE SO STUPID!” shouts Charlie. I’m not really a cat person, but I thought the cat awkwardly stumbling across the table in those mittens was cute. I bet a cat would cut your face off if you actually tried to put them on, though.

“What do moronic kitten mittens have to do with our bar?” Dennis asks, quite properly. But Dee is much wiser – she knows she can make money out of bar merchandise because of the George Lucas-esque contract she signed, which the gang made her sign to pay her less than minimum wage. Mac, both clever and stupid at the same time, devours her contract on the spot. What made it work was the relish with which he consumed it. “You don’t have a leg to stand on!” Frank tells Dee.

So the crux of the episode was everyone else’s merchandise ideas. Frank’s declining business sense, already exposed with his lame knife-salesman idea earlier in the season, appears to be sliding further with his bizarre green hard-boiled egg aka stressball idea. Even better/worse: adding gunpowder to the mix in his alcohol-shooting pistol invention, which really propels the tequila at your face! And will probably result in your death! Excellent spin on the “Frank randomly produces a gun” gag. My girlfriend pointed out Frank’s orange crocs, which apparently Mario Batali wears. Is this intentional, or is it just Danny DeVito’s strange fashion sense?

Sunny also took a foray into the internet tie-in website with Mac’s dick-towel invention, and you can check out a pretty hilarious two-minute video at www.dicktowel.com, which removes the blackout on the dick drawings. Click on to enjoy all the outsized and undersized dicks you want. Dennis wearing a thong was pretty lame, but Mac’s stream-of-consciousness musings on “the functionality of comedy” and how much bush the tiny penis towel should have made it work.

Then, they steal Frank’s liquor-gun idea with Paddy’s shotgun, although they can’t figure out how to shoot liquid out of the gun. “The technology just isn’t there!” Deciding to leave it up to “the brainiacs in China,” discussion turns to, what else, large-breasted women. Frank’s choice of gun whore definitely arouses Dennis, but it’s not quite enough. “You’re very busty, your breasts are very large, but we wanna go weird with it, we wanna get really freakish.”

The recurring lawyer character (played by Brian Unger) crops up again this week, and he gets his best showcase yet, and it has to guarantee him future appearances. I love his freaked-out yet totally deadpan reactions to all the gang’s twisted proposals. Instead of chiding Charlie’s hilarious legalese, he just ignores it, even when he spews phrases like “I’ll just regress, because I feel I’ve made myself perfectly redundant.” The penultimate Solomon scene where he channels the gang’s moron-language into English and solves all their problems dovetailed all the plots perfectly. And the final scene in which he revealed he’d screwed them all and stolen all their money was pretty much par for the course, but Mac pathetically spitting out the piece of paper was a great capper.

And even better than Charlie’s kitten mitten’s video: the gang’s epically uncool Paddy’s Pub merchandise video, set to Montell Jordan, with a cameraman far more interested in Mac’s vocal work than the six boobs and three guns on display. Like the liquor shotgun? That’s not all! Dicktowel! A nudie pen, featuring Dennis popping his shirt off, which if FX has any sense, they should merchandise for real. And then Frank, staring grimly down the lens, holds up his product. “Egg,” he intones. Plus, a callback to Dee getting set on fire, undoubtedly one of Sunny’s highest points.

We end on somewhat of a sad note though, as this episode was dedicated to David Zdunich, who played a Paddy’s barfly in at least one episode. That’s the only credit I could find for him, so you figure he was a friend of the writers, or maybe just a local character they found one day. He had a hell of an expressive face.

Stray observations:

Charlie’s meow, to end his video, was truly disturbing.

Dennis points out that people buy shirts to bars they’ve never been to all the time. “I have never been to Fiji!”

The woman next to the lawyer’s office ate an ENTIRE SLEEVE of Chips Ahoy. I’m on the alert for product placement whenever a brand is mentioned on Sunny these days, since the Dave and Buster’s episode.

The most disturbing and wonderful aside: Dennis’ “frame-bang” proposal. He slips into house, and then “I ease into her real nice.” Everything reaction to that line got the biggest laughs for me this week.

More TV Club