When it comes to cable TV (that isn’t of the premium variety), there are few channels with original programming that truly stand out. USA has come into play in recent years for their “character’s welcome” franchise of shows and even TNT and TBS have some original programming mixed in with the syndicated shows and films. But when it comes to comedy and drama that is so expletive it should almost be on Showtime or HBO, FX reins king. While it too shows older films and the like, it’s also known for a whole variety of programming such as the Emmy-winning Damages, Nip/Tuck, and Rescue Me. But those who are looking for a real comedic treat (now that Rescue Me is between seasons once again) should look no further than FX’s It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia. The show is without a doubt one of the rudest and crudest things I have ever seen on television—and that includes HBO and Showtime.
Hey-oh! It’s time for another round of outrageousness as the irrepressible gang at Paddy’s Irish Pub returns—more rude, crude, dysfunctional, and downright hilarious than ever before in “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” Season Five. From Internet dating and in-vitro fertilization to an uproarious road trip to the Grand Canyon, Season Five is loaded with seductions, interventions, back-stabbings, and beat-downs.
It’s hard to believe that this show has already started its sixth season. It’s such a vulgar show that I’m truly surprised it found enough of an audience to last this long. While this season didn’t push things as far as the last one, there were still plenty of “who thought of this and how did it get on the air?” moments in the season. Still, even with the vulgarity that persists throughout each season, it manages to just entertain relentlessly. It’s essentially a meaner and cruder version of Seinfeld and being on basic cable at 10pm allows it to get away with saltier language and situations than any other comedy that airs on TV today.
After a roller coaster (in terms of quality) fourth season, my hopes for the fifth season started out low. Thankfully it wasn’t quite the swan dive in quality that the fourth season took midway, as there were more good episodes than there were bad ones. We start out strong with the “The Gang Exploits Mortgage Crisis” and “The Gang Hits the Road” episodes and hit a bump with the “Recession” episode, but after that it’s smooth sailing for most of the season. They got kind of weak again towards the end (although I didn’t like the “The Gang Reignites the Rivalry” episode at first, it grew on me with repeat viewings simply because of how ludicrous Dennis is in that episode), but truthfully speaking this was definitely one of the strongest seasons in terms of consistent quality of episodes. Plus there was the usual depravity, particularly from Frank in “The Gang Gives Frank an Intervention” which is as difficult to even watch as it is funny. Then of course there’s “The Waitress is Getting Married” which has Charlie uttering the now classic phrase “I’m a flan-rapist” and “milksteak.” All within the same scene too—brilliant!
So…yeah. This season is filthy and could easily offend…well, just about everyone, but if you can get into the brand of humor that the Gang dishes out episode after episode, then you’ll be in good hands with this season for the most part. Like the last season it starts off strong and coasts to a satisfying finish and as such those who own previous seasons will have a hell of a time watching this one again. Plus after you’re done you can jump right into the fifth season, which is now airing at 10pm on Thursday nights. Shameless plug? Maybe. But I want a seventh season, so I’ll whore this show out as much as I can. Highly Recommended.
Although available on Blu-ray, chances are you’ll not find much different about it from this DVD edition. Why? Well it’s shot in standard definition so you’re not really getting a full 1080p image; plus the video is meant to look rather home movie-ish, so it’s pretty mediocre looking to begin with. Fox has smashed this fifth season into their usual presentation for season sets now: a clear amaray viva multi-pak case that houses the three discs. The packaging is good for what it is, but it kind of clashes with the previous season sets which were thin-pak slipcase efforts before. Still…more shelf space saved, so I can deal with a less cohesive flow. As an additional note the cover art is once again awesome. “A circle of jerks.” Kudos. Video is a basic 16×9 effort (which is a new ratio for the fifth season, previous ones were 4×3) and looks better than your basic cable signal but…not by much. Still it’s a decent transfer for a show with a pretty straight forward color palette. Audio is similar with a DD5.1 mix that you won’t notice in the surrounds…it’s a comedy show and, as such, is focused in the fronts. Not a bad thing, but still not all that amazing either.
The full disc-by-disc extras breakdown is as follows:
Commentary on “The Gang Hits the Road” by Rob McElhenney, Charlie Day and Danny DeVito
Commentary on “The Gang Gives Frank an Intervention” by Danny DeVito and Dr. Drew
Archer – Season 1 Pilot Episode
Commentary on “The Waitress is Getting Married” by Charlie Day, Kaitlin Olson and Glenn Howerton
Commentary on “The Gang Wrestles for the Troops” by Danny DeVito, Glenn Howerton, and Kaitlin Olsen
Commentary on “Mac and Dennis Break Up” by Charlie Day, Rob McElhenney and Dr. Drew
Blooper Reel (7:48)
Deleted and Extended Scenes (19:37)
Kitten Mittens Endless Loop (5:45)
The Gangs Dating Profile (4:31)
Schwep Dream Sequence (4:55)
Commentary on “The Gang Reignites the Rivalry” by Rob McElhenney, Charlie Day and Glenn Howerton
Before I progress on too far, I should note that the “Kitten Mittens Endless Loop” really is that—it just keeps looping. I had been using VLC player to watch the DVD on my PC, but that loop just about broke the thing (every time I’d try to go to the main menu it’d just freak out and start the cats over again) so I had to move on to my PS3 for the rest of the extras viewing. Crazy. The remaining non-commentary extras are pretty simple bonuses, although there’s no behind-the-scenes type things but they’re fun to check out regardless (there are quite a few really good deleted scenes in the batch). The “Schwep Dream Sequence” is a series of photographs stitched together to show some behind-the-scenes elements on the sets…pretty fun to watch actually.
The remaining extras are the commentaries and…thank God we got commentaries. It’s a nice mixture of participants, although Dr. Drew being thrown in is…kind of strange. But he does provide an interesting bit of analysis about the characters. The one with him and DeVito on the “Intervention” episode is great as I remember watching a clip from a local Phili news station that showed them filming in a suburb area. In it DeVito was drunk, but he mentions on the commentary it was just part of the act, although the station attempted to pass it off as pure drunkenness.
All in all the extras are a pretty good crop this time around and the addition of commentaries once again makes it a pure joy to watch. It’s not a flawless set but overall definitely one I’d Recommend.
It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia – Season 5 is now available on DVD and Blu-ray.