It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia S11E02 Recap: 'Frank Falls Out The Window'

It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia has never been shy about making references to its storied past. Eleven seasons will leave any show with a bevy of jokes to call back to, especially one as quotable and hilarious as IASIP. But so far over just the course of two episodes in this unprecedented eleventh season, something feels a tad different. It almost feels like the show is aiming to do a victory lap of all the great things we remember from its past. With last week's season premiere, it was the return of CharDee MacDennis: The Game of Games. This week in "Frank Falls Out The Window", IASIP harkens all the way back to season 2, when Danny DeVito's Frank Reynolds first arrived on the scene.

In the episode, as the title may suggest, Frank literally falls out the second story window of his and Charlie's apartment, leaving a gash on his head that makes him forget the last ten years. He doesn't remember Charlie or Mac, and treats Dee and Dennis as if he just came back into their lives to tell them he and their mother are getting a divorce. Charlie, of course, immediately assumes their window is a time portal, but the rest of The Gang use it as an opportunity to fix past mistakes. To get Frank to give them the money he originally promised them so they no longer have to work at this filthy bar as they approach their forties.

But they quickly find out that mistakes of the past are bound to be repeated. Immediately, things seem to go exactly the way they did back then. Frank gets enamored with living a life of squalor with Charlie, and just like in the episode where he made his debut, brings two strippers back to Charlie's apartment and leaves him and Mac in his dust. Meanwhile, Dee and Dennis get re-addicted to crack while trying to hatch a new scheme and try to get on welfare.

The format of the episode allows for many of the show's old references from a full ten years ago to make a return (peppered with a few more recent ones, of course). But it's also clever enough that they don't feel cheap, instead used in a new context to tell a new story. Much like the season premiere, which used the CharDee MacDennis concept not to merely do another board game episode, but more to make a point about how things aren't always better the second time around. And just like this episode, that this group of people is doomed to repeat the mistakes of the past.

It almost feels like the show is having an existential crisis. Like I said, IASIP has always been very ingrained in its own mythology. You should always expect old jokes to make comebacks, or references to older schemes, but most episodes have always been able to stand on their own. It feels as if there's a driven motive behind making this season about things that have happened in the show's past, and I'm not quite sure what that motive is just yet. Maybe they're getting them out of the way this year before a potential 12th and final season does something different, maybe they're really just making a point about what this Gang is and why they are the way they are, always making the same mistakes, always stuck in the same, never-ending loop of idiocy and assholery. Either way, based on some of the remaining episode titles, it seems like there might be more of that to come.

And "Frank Falls Out The Window" works. In fact better than Chardee MacDennis 2, which I honestly felt was lacking when put up against what it was following, even if the episode itself was good. It didn't have as many big laughs and its purpose seemed part of something larger, as I've alluded to here. "Window" seems to have more laughs-per-minute, but that could also be the nostalgia factor, since it's very much about reminding us of where the show was literally a decade ago. But the bevy of callbacks really works. I haven't seen a lot of the episodes they're referencing in a while, and it didn't seem like many of those references were too deep, to obscure.

If this season is meant to be a sort of "best of" of the show, I think I'd be down for that, and "Frank Falls Out The Window" proves how they could make it work. 9 welfare forms out of 10.

Notes & Quotes:

  • You really forget how bizarrely Danny Devito's aged over the last 10 years. Those flashbacks were jarring.
  • Second Waitress appearance in as many episodes! You gotta love how her pure disdain for Charlie has grown over the years and reached the point of utter hatred.
  • And we're all okay with Charlie trying to throw her out a window out of love, right?
  • As you'll see below, there were many callbacks in the episode, but my favorite one was to last year's phenomenal "Charlie Work", as The Gang argues who really came up with the steak/chicken cross contamination scheme. One day we'll get to the bottom of this!
  • Callbacks: Rum Ham, Gugino's (although no passive aggressive waiter appearance), toe knife, donkey brain, Dee you goddamn bitch, crack cocaine.
  • Nice addition to the Sunny pantheon of great old songs with "Gone Til November", but I'm very glad "You Got What I need" made a return too.
  • "Rum Ham on a Grilled Charlie? That's a stomach bomb, bud."
  • "Well why do you want to bang... oh! Cause it's 2006 and you're still into women."
  • "And by the way, there's no reason why a bald man who enjoys skins and has a little something something around his belly can't be a veterinarian."
  • "You are a wrinkled bitch!"
  • "No, Dennis, I don't have more crack. No one in the history of crack has ever woken up in the morning with more crack."
  • "You having a gangbang?"