Days like today, man, you can get nostalgic. On Wednesday, Blockbuster Video, a once proud staple of the 90s, announced it was closing its final 300 stores nationwide. Cue the flashbacks to the memories of entering your local Blockbuster and leaving with a Disney flick in hand and a glowing smile on your face. I know this is hard, but please try to hold back the tears.
I’ll always cherish the videos that went days overdue and the needless late fees I accrued. And how could I forget the countless times I asked my mom for just one piece of Blockbuster’s tasty array of candy only to be rejected? I’m sure that while I’m idly gazing into my Netflix queue I’ll stop and pause to reflect on the empty Blockbuster cases that remained on the shelf, giving me a false hope that the movie I wanted wasn’t already in someone else’s VCR. Blockbuster’s disastrous decline has been well documented for almost a decade now. It was no secret that video streaming, online pirating and laziness changed how we consume video. But Blockbuster, no matter all the obvious inconveniences we laugh about now, still holds a place in the hearts of children of the 90s.
Maybe this is why we have It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia. We need the Gang to snap us right back into reality—to remind us why we can’t have nice things like Blockbuster video. Tonight’s season finale was anything but a quiet, slow fading sendoff for the Gang. Really, this season has shown us that Always Sunny is an evolving product. Despite the limitations of a new, lesser-known channel, Always Sunny fearlessly assured its fanbase that it’s built for the long haul.
The holiday season comes earlier and earlier each year, but Always Sunny’s Thanksgiving episode hit the spot as the Gang turned in one of the most complete episodes of the season. “The Gang Squashes Their Beefs” fittingly opens in a video store, one that the McPoyles now own, and it’s the same store where Dennis and Mac are attempting to rent the unrated version of Thunder Gun Express. The extent to which the McPoyles are separated from reality is daunting, considering they think their video store is a viable investment. The episode doesn’t solely focus on the unsustainable video rental industry, although Dennis and Mac get their quips in before the McPoyles kick them out of the store.
In the true Thanksgiving spirit, Always Sunny reminds us how to make peace with those who have beef. Between the literal interpretations of “squashing the beef,” “burying the hatchet” and “wiping the slate clean,” and character callbacks like the landlord, the poor guy they confused for Bruce Mathis and Gail the Snail, Always Sunny sets the table for a memorable holiday. Some of the show’s best banter comes out of crowded rooms filled with incredibly stupid people (Cricket has sunk so low he’d consider ripping out one of his eyes). Here they overcrowd the room, raise the volume and it plays out just as you’d expect. The Gang has done some horrific things, but bolting their dinner guests in a burning apartment may prove to be their slimiest moment yet.
The Always Sunny writers have consistently said they’d do the show for as long as FX, or now FXX, allows them. In the entertainment industry, television shows (and video stores) tend to wither away. They string multiple lackluster seasons together before viewers tune out and networks lose patience. That’s yet to be the case with Always Sunny. Nine years of writing to these often despicable characters and the show hasn’t lost a bit of the filthy spunk that made it one of the most popular comedies on cable.