Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia: “Charlie Rules The World”

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“Rule the world, huh? If that happens, I’ll blow myself.” (Looks down, then up.) Oh, Dennis, you don’t even know how weird this episode is going to get for you.

We get to see some more Dark Charlie this episode, as he goes mad with power after being struck by one of his recurring fits of competence and becoming a titan in a cartoonish online game called Techpocalypse. Here, the appearance of Dark Charlie made a lot more sense to me than it did in “Charlie And Dee Find Love,” when he got really malicious on what seemed like an innocent woman who seemed to legitimately like him (and you have to like somebody a lot to overlook dog-food breath).

Charlie does about as much bad stuff as the rest of the Gang. But where Dennis and Dee seem to wreak havoc out of narcissism and desperation for attention, Mac out of insecurity and a weird take on Catholic South Philly masculinity, and Frank out of sheer “I pooped the bed!” malicious delight in chaos, Charlie’s rampages, though no less destructive, always felt like they were coming from a slightly more innocent place. Well, two places—the first is his glue-huffing disconnect with reality, which includes all the byproducts of his Wile E. Coyote pursuit of the Waitress as well as Of Mice And Men stuff like carrying pigeons around in his pocket for a little too long.

The second is vengeance. Mac banging the Waitress. The newspaper guy talking smack on Paddy’s. The dickish Israeli guy evicting the Gang. Santa fucking Charlie’s mom. At the bottom of a Charlie rage, you’ll find somebody he feels has done him wrong. So, while I was perplexed when he went all dark on Rich Girl, any one member of the Gang does Charlie wrong on such a regular basis—like the par-for-the-course trigger here of having him get repeatedly electrocuted—that I find it totally reasonable for him to hulk out on any of them at any time. (“I’m always angry.”) And for him to give a rival online monarch a box of spiders—he’s given a box of hornets as a present before.

Dee, acting and looking a lot like her crack-addicted self in “Dennis And Dee Go On Welfare,” is a surprisingly good avatar-face crafter—good thing too, otherwise Dennis, Mac, and Frank would have never found out about the game by being recognized as, uh, Internet stars? By some rando Techpocalypse player in an empty bar who was one of Dee’s few followers? Whatever—Dee’s skill with avatars and FloJo nails were equally half-assed solutions to “We need the rest of the Gang to find out about the game” and “We need a reason for Dee to keep Charlie around,” but were silly enough that… whatever.

I don’t know how many times in a row I can say “Dennis gets one step closer to being Patrick Bateman,” until he actually puts on some Phil Collins and pulls out a chainsaw. (Though he and Bateman already share shitty taste in music—Lionel Richie is apparently the soundtrack of Dennis’ inner zone, and Space Sea Turtle is his spirit animal.)  He licked! The scissors! Even if it was for some bizarre haircut-themed sex. In the sex tape that Dennis, Mac, and Frank creepily watched. Together.


And then the sensory deprivation chamber (…at the mall kiosk). And then Confused British Dennis. And then “I. Am. God.” And then Dennis literally being made to blow himself. Lo, it has all come to pass!

Know what? I decide my own reality. Sometimes reviews just… end.

Stray observations:

  • They’re really playing up the “Everybody knows Mac is gay” thing hard lately—Dee with him as her hankie-waving handmaiden and Charlie’s “Ugly, or sick… or male or female, whatever you like.”
  • Every episode with dancing that does not involve Dee dancing is a missed opportunity. Though there’s Dennis demonstrating Frank’s killer dance move.
  • Terribly CGIed projectile vomiting, a la “Frank’s Pretty Woman.”
  • I liked Charlie Day’s weird-ass delivery on “If it isn’t the soiled fool!” There were, like, two dozen dipthongs in those six words.
  • Local note of the week/Cool story, bro: The Gang occasionally refers to real-life Philly dives (like Dirty Frank’s, where the show’s creators have been known to hang out), and tonight, I actually shrieked at what I think might have been a really, really inside joke referencing the dive I’ve been a regular at for, like, five years. I’ll just say that the actual Oscar’s is far from a Wine Bar & Bistro—though it does have most enchanting waitress in the world, and her name is Dee.