It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia S11E08 Recap: 'Charlie Catches A Leprechaun'
When you do something for eleven years, particularly a sitcom like It's Always Sunny IN Philadelphia, you have to find ways to keep it fresh. You try new things, you make the characters progress, you change up the setting. IASIP has been doing all of these things the last couple of seasons, and it's often led to some of the show's best work, however so far this year, it's become somewhat noticeable. People have even speculated that it's an identity crisis brought forth by the increasingly busy schedules of the people involoved. As if the show is going through some sort of late-life crisis. The result is an eleventh season which has leaned heavily (arguably more than usual) on past episodes and in-jokes, as well as a few high-concept episodes that maybe didn't pan out as much as ones from prior years had. And the couple of times they've tried more "normal" or constrained episodes, they've fallen flat. That's not to say IASIP season 11 hasn't been good. At this unprecedented age, it's impressive that they just keep putting episodes out, yet alone ones that are hilarious and well-done.
Either way, when it became apparent that this week's St. Patrick's Day episode, "Charlie Catches a Leprechaun", would in some respects be going back to the show's roots by hanging around Paddy's Pub and focusing squarely on a scheme to make The Gang some quick and easy money for their business, I wasn't sure whether to express concern or relief. I appreciate how much the show tries to do different, cerebral things, but sometimes I want an episode like this. At the same time, I was worried that maybe the fact that we've been spoiled by these crazy, original new ideas would be detrimental to something smaller and more insulated.
Thankfully, that wasn't the case. "Charlie Catches a Leprechaun" is classic Sunny. It isn't reliant on any tricks or high-concept directorial techniques. It focuses on all the characters equally and plays them at their strengths. And it manages to subvert the crassness of many of its jokes in a way only this show could.
The episode takes place on St. Patrick's day, which is obviously one of the biggest days for any alcohol-related business. Dennis wants to cash in by taking Paddy's to the streets with the "Paddy's Wagon", a mobile bar in the back of a van. But he has to fight The Gang because they tend to get distracted and want to do their own thing. For instance, Dee immediately starts doing offensive, confusing characters, Charlie decided he's going to catch a leprechaun, and Frank just wants to sleep.
In the end it's Dennis who is his own undoing, as he's over-thought this business idea. The show skewers business trends these days, as Dennis has an overly complicated payment method and an over-reliance on social media. No one wants to jump through those hoops when they're sitting in the back of a track waiting for a beer. Not to mention that the whole situation is pretty pervy. So three separate trips devolve into Dennis holding a bunch of people at gunpoint, stealing their wallets and phones so they don't contact the police (albeit promising to return them through the mail) and leaving them stranded on the outskrits of town.
Meanwhile, back at the pub, Charlie's seemingly caught a leprechaun. It's obviously just a little person dressed up for the holiday, but he's alone with Mac, so he convinces him. Mac heads to a gay bar called Rainbow to find the leprechaun's pot of gold, because obviosuly, while Charlie channels his inner Mr. Blond after drinking a can of paint and almost cutting off the little man's ear, before The Gang intercepts and they figure out that the little person is just a pickpocket who's been hanging around Paddy's for years.
It's a fairly simple episode, filled with a lot of crass, dumb humor. But that's exactly what I want out of Sunny sometimes. It's great that we can also get high-concept episodes like "Charlie Work" or "Being Frank", but sometimes, you just want to sit back and watch five assholes steal people's money and torture little people. There's a part of me that was probably reassured by the fact that they were dropping those high-concepts this week, but it's honestly refreshing to watch an episode like this, and it helps that it's really funny too. "Charlie Catches A Leprechaun" gets 9 groups of beligerent hooligans out of 10.
Notes & Quotes:
- I don't even want to consider how much jailtime everything The Gang does in this episode would add up to.
- Goddamnit count: 11(high one today)
- Who was St. Patrick, theory #1: "He played the flute for the some kids and he lured them into a cave somewhere and he diddled them."
- Who was St. Patrick, theory #2: "He drove the kids out of Ireland... and then he molested them."
- "Go get a flute! Everybody go get a flute!"
- "You wouldn't say 'I kidnapped Bigfoot,' would you?"
- "Unless he's a being who's unrestrained by the laws of the physical world, he's not getting down here, man."
- "Why didn't you say 'I wish I could live forever?'" "And live forever with you?!"
- "I can't tell if you're doing a thing or if this is just who you've become."
- "I don't want to be on your weird website." "If you don't comply with me, you're going to be on the weird one."