Underage Drinking: A National Concern
This episode begins as episodes of Always Sunny only occasionally do, with the gang convinced they are trying to do a good thing. Of course, being the Always Sunny gang they are not doing a good thing, they are doing a terrible, awful, selfish thing.
It opens with Paddy’s being full of obviously underage patrons. Dennis, playing the responsible one in this episode, quickly shuts it down. They follow up with one of the shows dizzyingly circular conversations that highlight the gang’s complete lack of reason. First Mac suggests the kicking them out could lead to the high schooler’s drinking being more dangerous. I have heard parents offer this same logic for allowing their kids to drink and it’s bullshit, at least because it is illegal. Dennis, showing a complete disregard for Mac’s moral and safety-focused proposal agrees while adding a plan to bilk the kids with watered down drinks. Even then, the plan is merely a shady, selfish social experiment. Always Sunny feeds on the depraved not the shady, so obviously the gang still has depths to sink to.
They soon integrate themselves with the teenagers, with varying degrees of success recreating their own high school experiences. Faced with actual interest from a guy, Dee turns into even more of a drunken mess. Mac’s abrasive asshole-ishness is only tolerated because he supplies the booze for the parties that quickly moved away from Paddy’s. Charlie becomes the shoulder for a gossipy girl to cry on. Dennis, meanwhile, tries to remain aloof despite being pursued by hottie Tammy (played by Jamie Alexander, who played Sif in Thor). Instead of benevolent purveyors of alcohol in a safe environment and caretakers if drunken teens, the gang soon collectively becomes that creepy guy who is still going to high school parties while nearing thirty. The whole thing converges with Prom invites for all save Mac.
Of course, it turns out they were being used by the teens all along. Dee’s and Dennis’ Prom dates used the siblings to make each other jealous, and even Charlie is brushed aside at the end, though he does end up at the Prom. I do especially like Charlie’s repeated recitation of the power struggle the drives the plot. “That’s Tammy, Trey’s ex-girlfriend. This is classic Tammy.” The whole episode is a chilling reminder for the gang just what high school was like without the rose-colored taint of nostalgia.
In this episode, the gang seems less depraved sociopaths and more sad shells unable to move on from non-existent glory days. Episodes like this, where the gangs follies a writ large for the audience to laugh at, are how the show gets viewers to like this group of unlikable, hateful, awful people. That is why this show is great. One episode you watch is amused shock as the gang does awful thing after awful thing, the next you laugh at their exaggerated foolishness. Occasionally you will even root for them. Some episodes you’ll do all three.