Few shows have proven to be as resilient or as self-aware as It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia. The show has managed to evolve tremendously over nearly a decade, but has always featured “inside references” that casual viewers might not catch. In the second episode of season eight, The Gang Recycles Their Trash, the gang does just that. The schemes have become so ridiculous that the characters themselves are beginning to catch on. The cold open is a near-identical compilation of previous episodes (The Gang Finds a Dumpster Baby, The Gang Runs for Office) prompting Dee to ask if the dialogue sounds familiar, which naturally leads to Dennis calling her a bird.
Frank hatches a con that closely resembles the door-to-door plan from The Gang Solves the Gas Crisis, but the gang is reluctant to follow it due to their past failures. After convincing the guys to stick to the plan, for once, Frank takes Dee to once again bribe a politician, who (to the surprise of the characters and the viewers) turns out to be the gay restaurant-chain owner from The Gang Sells Out. They take him to a strip club (this time with male dancers) where Frank and Dee engage in another convoluted, homophobic gay-culture discussion. While traditionally the gang’s “victim” would have tried to escape during this ridiculous exchange, the politician reveals that he can’t because Frank is pointing a gun at him. In a brilliant nod to past episodes, Frank says, “well, I guess we’ll be the ones to slink away.”
Despite tremendous success, the guys eventually become bored and decide to revert to selling gas door-to-door. Martina Martinez makes an unexpected appearance, and delivers an incredibly racist speech in an attempt to rally the trashmen to continue their strike, before unknowingly setting them on Mac, Dennis, and Charlie. The episode ends, as so many others do, with the gang sitting around the bar tossing out ridiculous ideas (“We could put on a show where we play rug salesmen!”) before Charlie, ever the motivational speaker, encourages everyone to give the plan one last try. True to wildcard form, Charlie cuts the breaks on Frank’s van, but Mac reveals that he expected that and got the brakes repaired. Regardless, the trashmen show up and render another episode of the gang’s effort to be pointless.
The episode has everything a diehard fan could ask for: Mac trying to kiss Dennis, Dee in a yellow pantsuit, and Charlie yelling “Wildcard, bitches,” and adds plenty of new one-liners to the rhetoric, such as Frank’s: “some cocks can’t be un-sucked.” This was a strong start to the eighth season, and put to bed any thoughts that the show might be past its prime. In acknowledging just how insane the scams have become, and focusing on the re-use of popular bits, the show reveals itself to be even more clever than we already believed.
by Brad T.
Would you like to write a fan review of an episode of It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia and have it read by millions of other fans? Let us know!