This Always Sunny review contains spoilers.
Always Sunny Season 14 Episode 3
There are a few storytelling tricks you’re bound to pick up when you’ve been at something for 14 years. One of those strategies is certainly “don’t revisit an old plot unless you’re able to elevate it.” It’s Always Sunny season 14 embraces that strategy in the familiar yet evolved “Dee Day.”
“Dee Day,” of course, borrows its concept from Always Sunny season 9 episode “Mac Day.” It presents the charming (and surprisingly logical and necessary) tradition in which the gang devotes an entire day on the calendar to celebrating and obeying one of their own.
“Mac Day” was a relatively straightforward presentation of the rules of said day for the most part. Dennis, Frank, Charlie, and Dee had to do everything Mac tells them to and if they bitch about it even once, Mac is granted another 24-hour period of total dominance. The show used that half hour to also start more directly addressing Mac’s sexuality (“I know we don’t talk about this much as a group but like…Mac’s gay, right? He’s gay.”) and to introduce the much-beloved Country Mac (Seann William Scott).
“Dee Day” ups the ante even more than that, bringing forth a seemingly elaborate scheme that the boys are hellbent on running all the while trying to abide by the rules of “Dee Day.” The end result is an episode that gives every member of the gang equal weight and his own moment to shine. It’s probably the best installment of season 14’s first three installments yet.
As Dennis, Mac, Charlie, and Frank are stretching and preparing for the “most important 24 hours of their lives” Dee enters with a cuckoo clock to announce the official beginning of Dee Day. The only thing that could make Dee Day sweeter is the boys forgetting that it’s Dee Day, which obviously they have.
No bother! Dennis the Schemer quickly concocts a plan to abide by the rules of Dee Day while carrying out their mysterious mission at the same time. Dennis figures that everybody has to take at least one shit during every 24-hour period (this math seems to check out), so each member of the gang will carry out his bit of the plan during the allowed bathroom time. The setup is pretty brilliant on both Dennis’s and the show’s behalf. It leads to three different little vignettes in which each character gets their share of the episode’s spotlight.
The weakest poop break is the first: Charlie’s. The particulars of the plan are deliberately left vague at first and Charlie’s scene largely suffers because of it. Charlie, surprisingly compliant because he believes Dennis to have candy in his pants, heads back to the high school where he used to janitor to make a phone call from the nurse’s phone. The nurse is still there, however, with Dee Day having thrown off Charlie’s schedule. Charlie’s attempts to get rid of the nurse are amusing but not remarkable. There’s only so much Charlie (both Kelly and Day) can do this early on in an episode bouncing off of a rather inert guest character.
The next poop break is far more fruitful (gross). Mac and Frank are dressed as two of Dee’s inarguably racist caricatures. When Dennis sends them to the valet station to intercept their target’s car, they realize they won’t have time to take off all their makeup and put it back on again. This means that Frank, who has gorged himself on clams, must deal with another human being while essentially in brown face.
This show gets a lot of mileage out of making TV’s legendary teddy bear Danny DeVito do some truly revolting things. The sight of him puking up clams all over his giant, bulbous fake boobs is certainly up there. It’s not a “naked man in the couch,” but it’s far closer than any show in its 14th season should be able to get.
The best poop intermission, however, isn’t an intermission at all. When Dennis tries to break away from Dee’s bird watching venture, she first makes him remove his makeup. Dennis pretends not to know what she’s talking about at first. But of course, he has no recourse but to use Dee’s makeup remover. Moments later, the gang is in a bar and Dennis is a sickly, palid, disgusting mess of a creature. Unfortunately for Dennis, the councilwoman on whom their entire plan rests just happens to be at the bar. He has no choice but to approach her and try to seduce her.
“Oh, is your pec deflated?” Mac asks as he pounds Dennis’s chest to pump him up.
“That’s what his soul looks like,” Charlie remarks as he walks away.
Dennis’s attempt to woo the councilwoman is just absolute Sunny bliss. God bless Dennis Reynolds, a character who is somehow equally as funny being a golden god or a horrifying little creep.
“Hi. Did I frighten you?” Dennis says as his opening line, before soldiering on.
“Do you like hard candy? I have candies. Actually I don’t. I threw all those hard candies at those idiot children. Oysters or clams? Oysters obviously. But also you can get really sick off of clams. You know what? I just realized – we don’t have a lot of time. Can I get your house key? We don’t have to have sex like this. I can put another man’s face on.”
Dee arrives to save the councilwoman from Dennis and Dennis from himself.
“Dee Day’s” conclusion is as clever and satisfying as its setup and execution. Of course “the most important day” of the gang’s life would be ensuring that a female councilwoman wouldn’t be able to vote on a measure to legalize public urination. And of course, they would opt for an elaborate scheme to stop her rather than just, say, slashing her tires.
In the end, the legislation passes because of the episode’s titular hero. The appeal of It’s Always Sunny is that its characters always bring everything to an 11 out of 10. Everything is a crisis. Every plan is a scheme. Every day is the most important day of the character’s life.
Every now and then, however, Dee can be the voice of reason. And not the kind of voice of reason that can keep anyone in check, mind you. She’s the voice of reason that understands simply slashing someone’s tires and setting a cuckoo clock one hour forward is a solid way to get what you want and humiliate your friends in the process.