It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia
Make America Apolitical Again
The saddest thing about our era isn’t the contentious state of politics. It’s the upsetting fact that politics has bled over into every other aspect of American life.
The NFL, late night comedy, natural disasters, Kanye West: everything is politicized. Everything is polarized. As a society, we desperately need something that doesn’t make us choose sides; something that brings us all together. That something is “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia.”
If the comedians who make “It’s Always Sunny” are passionately pro or anti-Trump, they hide it incredibly well. The characters talk frankly about politics, social issues, and race in every episode, but the show never takes sides. It’s an incredible achievement in inclusiveness and restraint.
They have been making fun of overly political ignoramuses for years. Back in season 9 – in the episode “Gun Control Too: Still Hot” – the gang tackled the extremely polarizing gun control issue without taking sides.
The episode begins with amoral businessman Frank Reynolds (Danny DeVito) going on local news to tell the story of how his two guns purchased at Gunther’s Gun Shop saved him from a violent robbery. Mac and Charlie are convinced. Dennis and Dee are disgusted.
Mac and Charlie arm themselves and go to an elementary school to try to protect the children. Meanwhile, Dennis and Dee try to prove their point by showing how easy it is to get an assault rifle. Slowly, each pair realizes the flaw in their argument and switch sides in the gun debate.
In the end, Frank admits that he doesn’t care about the issue at all; he just bought a stake in Gunther’s Gun Shop and stoked the city’s fear to make more money. Frank compares himself to Al Gore, who spread panic about Global Warming and got rich in the process. “In America,” Frank concludes, “you are either the duper or the dupee.”
This cynical view of politics is more relevant than ever. If you are fired up about something political, consider who profits from your rage. And, above all, consider laughing at yourself for being duped into caring so much.
In season 13’s amazing premier episode, “Make Paddy’s Great Again,” new cast-member Mindy Kaling gives a heartwarming speech about how the formerly crass and bigoted crew at Paddy’s Pub have become woke. Behind closed doors, the gang laughs at the left-wing customers and counts the money they made selling cheap Cabernet labeled as “Conservative Whine.”
Then, Kaling reveals her grand scheme, which is to switch sides, pretend to be conservative, and steal customers from the Right-Wing bar around the corner. Mac and Charlie begin relabeling the cheap wine as “Liberal Tears.”
The characters on “It’s Always Sunny” are terrible people. But the people who make the show are not. In another episode last season – “The Gang Solves the Bathroom Problem” – the show successfully depoliticized another issue that was dividing our country.
I can’t imagine anything less important than the toilet that transgender people use. But every conservative father in America has had an impassioned argument with his liberal daughter about that very issue.
With zero partisanship and zero cultural sensitivity, the “It’s Always Sunny” gang broke down the debate for a half hour. Ultimately, they concluded that the most sane option was for us to toss the Men and Women signs in the trash and label every bathroom in America with a sign that reads “Animal Poop.” Problem solved – and everybody was offended equally.
“It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” used to be the best comedy on television. Now it is something even more valuable: it’s the last inclusive political show left in our fractured culture.
A populist guy and a raging feminist gal can sit on the couch – hand in hand – and enjoy this show as loving equals. “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” makes us laugh at the nitwits on the screen, and at ourselves.