Itâ€™s Christmas time at Flixist, and despite being a movie website, our editors have given some of us the gift of revisiting a fantasticÂ television Christmas special for your reading pleasure. Itâ€™s Always Sunny in Philadelphia is one of my favourite programs for being the funniest, most absurd show Iâ€™ve ever seenâ€”now in its sixth season, its blown every other comedy out the water. Glenn Howerton, Charlie Day, and Rob McElhenney have put together a fantastic cast of characters over the years and put themselves and fellow stars Kaitlin Olson and Danny DeVito in ever more ridiculous situations. I thought A Very Sunny Christmas represented new levels of outrageous, irreverent comedy for the show, and a second viewing confirms it without a doubt.
It’s Christmas time at Flixist, and despite being a movie website, our editors have given some of us the gift of revisiting a fantastic television Christmas special for your reading pleasure. It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia is one of my favourite programs for being the funniest, most absurd show I’ve ever seen—now in its sixth season, its blown every other comedy out the water. Glenn Howerton, Charlie Day, and Rob McElhenney have put together a fantastic cast of characters over the years and put themselves and fellow stars Kaitlin Olson and Danny DeVito in ever more ridiculous situations. I thought A Very Sunny Christmas represented new levels of outrageous, irreverent comedy for the show, and a second viewing confirms it without a doubt.
To anyone not familiar with Sunny, the story revolves around Philadelphia-based, Paddy’s Pub-owners Mac (McElhenney), Charlie (Day), and Dennis (Howerton), Dennis’s twin sister Dee (Olson), and their father Frank (DeVito). I’ve made a rather big boast saying that Sunny surpasses all, at least among the current roster of TV comedy, but if you mapped the narcissistic, destructive behaviour of these five Philadelphians against Seinfeld’s New Yorkers, say, you’d see the former deserve a far heftier punishment than the latter got at the end of their television tenure. Take this Christmas special: 43 minutes of asinine situational comedy that is nonetheless a beautiful network of cringe moments, misguided nostalgia, and reward for a loyal audience. In true Sunny fashion, the extended episode starts with a plan, two plans to be specific, that end badly and are left unfulfilled.
Released directly following the conclusion of Season 5 of the FX series last year, the special delves into the Christmases pasts of all five principle characters. Mac and Charlie, intent on spreading the holiday spirit, discover their Christmas memories have some large, devastating holes in them; meanwhile, Dennis and Dee know perfectly well the horror of Christmas past, Frank having always bought the presents his children most wanted for himself and rubbing it in their faces.
DeVito is tirelessly over-the-top and brutal in his beauty, driving around in Dennis’s dream car, and eating Cheetos out of Dee’s dream designer bag. Flashback scenes are priceless, featuring the recurring characters of Mac’s criminal father and apathetic mother who made Mac unwittingly steal his own presents and Charlie’s mother, who serviced many a Santa Claus while little Charlie played with his presents. The child actors who play Mac and Charlie as children turn in perfect performances and provide a cuteness factor that sweetens the bitter taste that the site of DeVito’s naked body will definitely leave in your mouth. Those with a keen eye will recognize a Dexter alum (a.k.a. Cody Bennett) in the role of young Mac.
Fred Savage (The Wonder Years), who shares a long history with Sunny, directs this Christmas special, which besides establishing the importance of Mac and Charlie’s childhood bond, sees Dee and Dennis attempt to bring about a Dickensian revelation in Frank, a la A Christmas Carol. They involve Frank’s old business partner, Eugene and embark on a test of wills that ends in the aforementioned nudity, and a greater proof of the principle of Karma than the Christmas spirit, as Christmas Day ends in humiliation and failure for the fivesome.
Fans of the show will find this special every bit as entertaining as the content that came before it, and maybe even find themselves shocked by a bar raised or two – seeing Charlie vent his newfound hate of Santa Claus in Mike Tyson fashion would count for one, as well as the most graphic stop motion animation sequence I've ever seen. For those not as familiar with the series, I would suggest you take the time to get to know these lovable assholes. Invest in the absurd history of the Paddy's Gang, and A Very Sunny Christmas may just play to you as a masterpiece as it did me.
Overall Score: 8.05 – Great. (Movies that score between 8.00 and 8.50 are great representations of their genre that everyone should see in theaters on opening night.)
While It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia isn't for everyone, the Direct-to-DVD A Very Sunny Christmas special is pure gold for fans of the series. Operating on classic holiday flashback fare, the Gang from Paddy's Pub never could do it just like everyone else, instead delivering a laugh-out-loud tale of retribution, wrapped in absurdity.