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To all you It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia fans out there, I want you to know that picking my 12 favorite episodes of the show was hard. In many ways it actually sucked. It's kind of like being asked to pick your favorite child. Now, it's not that you don't have a favorite child; you do. It's just that you don't want anyone to know that. So, here they are: (some of) my favorite episodes of Sunny, from seasons 1-5.
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''UNDERAGE DRINKING: A NATIONAL CONCERN''
There has always been a certain sweetness and innocence to this episode that appeals to me. It's definitely funny, but watching our characters revert back to their old high school feelings and personas also made them relatable. I think people started to care about our characters here, as deplorable as they often are. I feel like this episode helped our viewers to identify with us.
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''DENNIS AND DEE GO ON WELFARE''
One of the most fun things about writing for Sunny is being able to explore major social issues through the microcosmic viewpoint of these often ignorant but weirdly optimistic characters. We start out thinking we're going to ''work the system'' in the service of achieving our long-term goals, and in almost no time at all, Dee (Kaitlin Olson) and Dennis (me, Glenn Howerton) are strung out on crack and Mac (Rob McElhenney) and Charlie (Charlie Day) are in top hats and tuxedos running from a pimp. There's no taking it slow with this gang. It's all or nothing. And in the end, it's almost always nothing.
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''MAC BANGS DENNIS' MOM''
Charlie and I wrote this together at the beginning of season 2. I remember wanting to do an episode that wasn't ''topical,'' and to explore just how deceitful and backstabbing these characters could be within the context of a comedy. Everyone trying to screw everyone else's mom seemed about as far as you can go in that direction. And the episode still manages to be funny. To me, at least. Maybe not to my mom.
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''HUNDRED DOLLAR BABY''
This episode just makes me laugh. It's always been a favorite. It was fun to write, even though we must have gone through about 10 drafts. And it was really fun to shoot. All the stuff with us training Charlie. Frank (Danny DeVito) training Dee. ''I will eat your babies, bitch.'' Watching Charlie and Dee all jacked up on 'roids. Fun stuff.
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''THE GANG GETS HELD HOSTAGE''
I don't think this episode gets the credit it deserves. It's a little over-the-top, sure. But it's funny. In season 3, we decided to stretch, creatively, and really test how far we could push these characters, the situations, and the overall style of the show. In some episodes, I'm not sure we totally pulled it off. In this one, I think we did. I love Jimmi Simpson and Nate Mooney as the McPoyles. They are amazing. And spoofing Die Hard with Danny was fun. Danny was really settling into his role in this episode.
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''THE GANG SELLS OUT''
For as much as we wanted to push the show to further extremes in season 3, we also wanted to do some very simple stories. And I love how simple this story is. There's a lot of fun relationship stuff here. And the ''bears vs. twinks'' conversation is just classic.
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''MAC IS A SERIAL KILLER''
My sense of humor tends to skew a little dark, and since season 1, I had imagined doing an episode about serial killing. Mac's stuff with Carmen the tranny is hilarious. Dennis uses Dee to bait the killer and ends up getting mugged by a pimp who's obsessed with Fraggle Rock. Then he gets so caught up in understanding the psychology of a serial killer that he's ready to commit murder himself. And what are we saying at the end of this episode? Does Frank chain-saw that dude to death? I guess it's up for interpretation. Pretty dark, bizarre stuff. I like it a lot.
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''MAC'S BANGING THE WAITRESS''
Kaitlin was still recovering from her recently broken back and Danny needed out of one episode because he was prepping for a movie he was to be directing. So, we decided to do an episode with just the three boys. We threw ''The Waitress'' (Mary Elizabeth Ellis-Day) into the mix and had a fun, simple, character-interaction-based episode. Truly one of my favorites.
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''THE GANG CRACKS THE LIBERTY BELL''
Because the show takes place in Philadelphia, we'd been joking about flashing back to 1776 for a few years. We finally decided to go for it in season 4. We insisted on having someone get tarred and feathered, someone having wooden teeth, and someone's head exploding, and then we worked backwards from there. I have to say, I'm proud to be part of a show that can get away with a ludicrous flashback to the 18th century.
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''THE NIGHTMAN COMETH''
We had to follow up the Dayman phenomenon of season 3 somehow, so we came up with this little gem of an episode in which Charlie writes a musical and we all perform in it. When creating this episode, we asked ourselves: Will any of this make sense to the audience? Our answer: Who cares? And now we (the actors) are touring this musical episode all over the nation. Confused? So are we. It's awesome.
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''The Gang Hits the Road''
I admit I tend to be partial to our more simply plotted episodes. This episode started with a very simple concept: Our gang attempts to go on a road trip across the entire country but never even gets outside the city limits. It's a nice parallel to what happens whenever the characters attempt to do almost anything at all. They get so caught up in the minutiae of each moment that they forget the big picture, getting derailed at each turn.
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The Gang Gives Frank an Intervention''
Is drinking boxed wine ''low class''? It's debatable. Is drinking boxed wine from an emptied-out soda can ''low class''? Yes. It's not debatable. It looks like you're trying to hide the fact that you are drinking wine from others. Because you probably are. Plus, the small opening at the top of the can does not allow the wine to properly oxygenate. However...it really is much harder to spill the wine. And depending on your affinity for the brand of soda that formerly occupied the can, it might accent the taste of your merlot very nicely...so who cares if it oxygenates? Conclusion: Sometimes being ''low class'' is practical, tasty, and a hell of a lot more fun.