Charlie Got Molested.
This is the seventh and final episode of the first season of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia. It is also the best episode of the season. The central problem of Mac, Dee and Dennis thinking that Charlie got molested and Charlie acting strange enough to justify that suspicion spin all four characters into hilarious directions. We see Dee and Dennis using competing half-baked psychological theories to help Charlie face his abuse, Charlie trying to avert a tragedy he inadvertently and drunkenly caused and Mac, showing his naïve vulnerable side as well as his complete asshole side tries to figure out why he wasn’t molested.
This episode also introduces the McBoyles; the only antagonists that can make the gang look like good guys because they are even more despicable. The gang’s foibles usual cause inadvertent damage to everyone else. They are self-centered enough to not care about the consequences of their actions, but they usually do not set out to ruin people’s lives. The McBoyles do. Plus, they are thoroughly disgusting. The implied incest, the dirtiness, everything about them is despicable and off-putting. The McBoyles are the least likeable people imaginable. The scene where Charlie meets them in their apartment, after they just got out of the shower, is hilariously uncomfortable. The brothers are barely clad and still wet. Their home is filled with weird shit, like stuffed squirrels and a gas mask. They out line an awful plan stand too closely and stare strangely. They are a foe that allows the viewer to root for the Gang, on the few occasions where that is desirable.
Dee and Dennis are mostly completely full of shit trying to figure out how to get Charlie to deal with his supposed situation, as well as being delightfully condescending to Mac because he didn’t go to college. Mac’s reaction to all of this is awful, but slightly understandable. He thinks something is wrong with him, that if a teacher was molesting kids, he should have been the one to get molested. So rather bluntly attempts to seduce the alleged molester Coach Murray, played by Saved by the Bell’s Dennis Haskins, and gets the expected reaction. Then Mac does something Dee and Dennis refuse to do and ridicule. He actually reads some books about the subject of pedophilia and comes to the correct realization: Charlie wasn’t molested.
Dee, in her great caring, plans a surprise intervention for Charlie about his molestation, with all his friends and family there. And the McBoyle twins. It is another great scene. From his Uncle Jack’s all too eager anticipation to the sweeping gothic music, it is perfection of uncomfortable hilarity. The episode wraps up quickly after that. Charlie turns in the McBoyles, then goes to drink himself into oblivion because his whole family thinks he’s been molested. Somehow, Dee and Dennis claim this as a victory and Mac still looks like an asshole.
This episode nearly gets to the absurd outrageousness of the later seasons, but the lack of the fifth cast member keeps it from quite ascending to that level of greatness. Still, the show has clearly found its footing after a somewhat rough beginning. Unfortunately, there are more rough episodes ahead before Devito gets settled in as Frank and the shows prime dynamic is fully realized.