Behind The Times is a segment where I’ll be writing about things you have all seen and loved for ages and I’ve only just discovered. To kick things off today will be all about season one of It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia.
Despite running for eight seasons and starring Danny Devito for seven of those, ITSIP completely passed me by, to the point that until a few weeks ago I had never actually heard of it. So, with a strong recommendation from a trusted friend (and a high IMDB rating of 8.9/10) it seemed to be the ideal next stop on this cultural journey into oblivion.
For those who are unaware, the show is based around three American-Irish-Catholic friends who own a bar and the sister of one of them who works there. It’s a pretty standard setup, which is used specifically to mock the standard setup, which it does quite aggressively. It uses incidental music which sounds like it stepped straight out of nuclear family 1950s to contrast with the humour, which tackles all sorts of delicate subjects with not a shred of sensitivity.
So on paper, this show was made for me. I love a bit of nihilistic humour as well as mocking things old people hold dear to their hearts. But for some reason, it doesn’t quite work for me. There are certainly some laughs to be had from the show, but mostly it seems like it is trying too hard to be ridiculous and obscene. For example, in one episode one of the guys pretends to be interested in something because of a pretty girl. Pretty standard sitcom stuff. What is that thing? Protesting abortion clinics. This then gives his friend the idea that a pro-abortion rally would be a great place to meet loose women.
It’s full of things like that and I think the idea itself is actually quite funny, though the execution needs something to be desired. I’d say it is lightness of the show with the darkness of the humour that doesn’t really let it work as well as it should. It would probably have worked better as a straight-up black comedy.
It’s also worth mentioning that the performances by the main characters are actually pretty good and that at times it is very funny, whilst the convoluted plots are actually pretty well crafted. It just doesn’t feel right.
Regardless, I will push on with season two shortly and hopefully it will get better.