The Fightins'
Oct
23
2009
A Review of Last Night’s It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia
Posted by at 10:46 am ET 69 Comments

I love watching It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, one of the few comedies left on television that’s worth following on a regular basis. Part of the show’s appeal to me is that its story is set, obviously, in Philadelphia. The show’s co-creator, Rob McElhenney (who also plays “Mac”) is a born-and-bred Philadelphian, so his knowledge of the city helps convey an extra layer of authenticity, one not always evident in shows purportedly set in non-fictional American cities.

As those of you who watch Sunny can tell, many of the outdoor scenes are shot on location in Philly itself. It’s always a fun diversion during an episode to pick out local buildings in the background and watch the characters interacting within the landmarks we all know and love (like when the gang visits the Italian Market to barter with the “gypsies” who operate the various kiosks).

However, there are times when the show’s writers are willing to sacrifice accuracy for the sake of the story, and there is no reason to begrudge them that. But when they offer a plot element that is so utterly and indisputably wrong, it sticks out like a sore thumb. Thus, my reaction to watching last night’s episode “The World Series Defense.”

The episode itself was pretty god-damned hilarious (my favorite scene was when Dee read Mac’s “love letter” to Chase Utley), but a couple of historical inaccuracies, especially for an episode set barely one year in the past and supposedly based on actual events, were impossible to overlook (SPOILERS AHEAD)…

Too-Big-to-Ignore-Screw-up #1: The gang, while testifying in traffic court to dispute a pile of parking tickets left on Dennis’s windshield, recall the chain of events that began with them attempting to get inside Citizens Bank Park for Game Five of the 2008 World Series and ended with them trapped inside a hotel linen closet for six days (which may or may not have contained a secret room full of murdered Phillies fans). According to the title card, Game Five of the World Series took place on October 28, 2008. It most certainly did not. Game Five took place on October 27, was delayed due to inclement weather conditions and resumed on October 29. I don’t really have to tell you this because you already know. Apparently the writers did not. But didn’t this infamous postponement made national sports news?

Too-Big-to-Ignore-Screw-up #2: The reason why Game Five did not resume on October 28 was that the weather pattern which began the previous night continued and worsened through the following day. Yet in this episode we see Charlie and Dennis, sans game tickets, in a parking lot full of tailgaters enjoying what is by all indications a warm, sunny pre-game afternoon. I can assure anybody who was not in the Philadelphia region on October 28, 2008 that the weather conditions were anything but warm and sunny.

Since the show shoots its exterior shots in Philly during a few weeks in the summer, perhaps the crew didn’t get a window of time in which the weather was bad enough to simulate the abysmal conditions from last year? Or… perhaps the writers chose to take an ironic approach and apply the show’s title in its most literal sense? I wouldn’t put it past them.

Anyway, enough with the fanboy gripes and on to other observations. One thing in particular which stood out for me in last night’s episode of Sunny was how unbelievably hot Sweet Dee looked. I’ve never really considered Kaitlin Olson my particular cup of tea but, damn – she should dress like a Pink Lady more often.

 Other highlights:

  • Charlie once again breaks out his “Green Man” outfit and throws down with the Philly… Phrenetic? (Looks like someone couldn’t get the rights to use a beloved sports mascot. Why not just bring out the Capital City Goofball?) ;

  • Charlie and Dennis’s extremely dangerous plan – possibly fueled by healthy swigs of Mac’s homemade ”riot punch” – to obtain tickets by throwing themselves in front of a car and threatening to sue the driver
  • A disturbingly extended sequence of Mac, Dee and Frank retching inside of a bug-bombed apartment building.
  • http://mauleofamerica.net beelove

    this reminds me (actually my wife reminded me as we were watching the show) – when is the cast gonna get a nice box of fightins/birdland t-shirts so that we can see some panamania and moon shots on the show?

    MAKE THIS HAPPEN.

  • Cross

    heh, you over looked a great line right when they head for the holiday inn. Mac says “it seems like it’s gonna rain”

  • Cross

    Ohh, and at the end of the episode, I think it was Charlie that points out that they aren’t supposed to say Phanatic (even though he says it there haha)

  • Ryan P.

    They obviously had to take some poetic license with some of the details, not a big deal. This episode was classic. The Chase Utley letter was too amazing for words.

  • Cross

    I thought the drawing at the bottom of the letter of Mac and Chase was an especially nice touch haha

  • Gaze

    Overlooked is the “ass hammering” reference made by the tailgaters who beat up green man.

  • Harry Kalas Murder Conspiracy Theory

    I’m not gonna nitpick over details, that was a great f’n episode, and the show in general is pretty authentic. Also the timing of this episode made it even better. Hopefully those watching in LA vomited in their mouths when this came on. And I never had a bigger smile on my face than at the end of the opening sequence, when Dennis says, “…the Philadelphia Phillies winning the World Series.”

  • BP

    Where is this grass field with trees right by CBP that the gang is tailgating in, and Charlie beats up the “Phrenetic”? Imposed CBP?

  • bacon

    I don’t watch this show nearly enough, and yet every time i see it it’s absolutely hilarious.

    I loved how it just said “Philly” on the Phrenetic’s shirt. Getting the rights to use mascots is so overrated.

  • Ant Baby Machete Squad

    I thought Dee was semi-attractive the first 3 seasons, which made the gang’s digs on her appearance funnier. But this season she has looked bad. I wasn’t paying close attention last night since I figured to rewatch it anyway.

    Game 5b started at night, right? Like 8pm? It was still day when Frank said the game was about to start (before they went over to the Holiday Inn).

  • http://www.firerubenamaro.net Phylan

    I thought it was a great one, and I honestly couldn’t care less about timeline inaccuracies and whatnot. Wasn’t as good as The Waitress is Getting Married, but it was good.

  • http://www.firerubenamaro.net Phylan

    Also it’s silly to point out gameday inaccuracies about October 28th, because in the Always Sunny “universe” they’ve already established that the game began on 10/28 and not 10/27, so you can’t expect the conditions/start time/whatever to also be consistent. I can’t believe I just typed that but there you go

  • James Anthony Happ

    They definitely went for the ironic twist, especially since Mac says “it’s gonna rain” somewhere during the show.

  • http://twitter.com/mathewbrown Matt Brown

    Happ is right. They’re smart enough for that, just like how in the recession episode, they had gratuitous product placement for Coors and D&B in the dialogue and the story lines. That was an intentional joke too, about how everyone is going broke and they needed the revenue from advertisers in any way possible.

    How about the hotel being called the Oliday Inn? They are all dropping the H every time they said it.

  • Gaze

    @BP
    I think that lot looks like the area behind the Holiday Inn and Benny The Bums.

  • Here Come Da Judge

    i once got into the stadium by taking the secret tunnel between CBP and the Oliday Inn too

  • Erin

    They filmed the tailgating scene on location in June. Whether it be production schedule and a pun on “Always Sunny” I don’t really care about that; at least they made light of it with the “looks like its gonna rain” comment. Getting the actual date wrong, that is just lazy.

    LOVED Charlies rant about Phanatic/Phrentic at the very end.

    @beelove I also thought about the missed opportunity to have some unofficial Phillies shirts from the Fightins/Birdland used in this ep.

  • lovemesomewerth

    Does anyone have the exact quote that Dennis said in the beginning about the Phillies winning the World Series? Or the letter to Utley?

  • Big Joe

    I didn’t see the episode but from watching this clip and from reading the plot, there is another possibility:

    They are using this as a story to get out of tickets and telling it to the judge. These characters are, as anyone knows, awful people. They will lie about anything. So maybe they are telling this story to avoid tickets and the joke is that all these recollections are wildly inaccurate. So they messed up facts on purpose.

  • Jordan

    Really? To-big-to-ignore-screw-ups? Who cares, the show was fucking hilarious. You’re probably the same person who nit-picks transformers for lack of “character development,” instead of just focusing on megan fox’s fine ass.

  • http://www.defendbroadstreet.wordpress.com Matt

    The episode was incredible, and the letter that Mac wrote to Chase Utley sounded just like it was written by an 8 year old kid. It was fantastic. Plus, I was happy to see the return of Greenman! Did anybody catch the Greenman at game 5 against LA sitting in left field, I believe?

    And Big Joe, that’s actually a pretty good point…didn’t think about that.

  • sdk

    I think the date of the game was changed by a day to derail any possible infringement.. I highly doubt they got approval from MLB before shooting. If you noticed, all the Phillies gear was fake and mostly said “Philly’s” as well.. the Phanatics costume was fake etc

    Green Man vs the Phanatic was classic though.

  • lovemesomewerth

    I saw Greenman at Game 5 too. I wonder if he was placed there because the episode featuring him was being played that week or it was just some kid.
    I loved when Charlie’s Greenman costume was all ripped after the fight.

  • Cross

    There’s a greenman at many phillies games. I don’t know if it’s the same guy each time, but he’s usually in the lower level of left center field.

  • w

    Right on SDK

    I think they deliberately screwed up the a lot of details to avoid some kind of liability. Did anyone else realize they said “Oliday Inn” instead of Holiday Inn?

  • Harry Kalas Murder Conspiracy Theory

    Since FX is owned by FOX, I actually thought there might be some Phillies players making surprise appearances, so they could show highlights during the WS and cross-promote the show.

  • http://www.TheFightins.com Dash Treyhorn

    Changing the date wouldn’t have caused them to avoid any sort of infringement. After all, they said “Phillies” quite a few times, as well as “World Series,” which is a trademarked term.

  • Bob

    BP,That scene was shot in the back parking lot of the Holiday Inn off Darien Street.I was there the day of shooting.

  • moo

    yes, the phrenetic pummels green man on the south lawn of the holiday inn – the one that butts up next to the power station and parking lot, etc. i used to park there before they jacked up the price to 30 dollars :|

  • Joe

    I think Big Joe got it right. Everything was made up. That’s why none of the dates matched. Sure, potential infringement issues forced the writers to alter some details, but dates and weather conditions wouldn’t matter. And it’s not like the gang has any credibility when it comes to recalling past events anyway. Remember how they explained the Liberty Bell being cracked?

  • http://twitter.com/chibichazoo Chazbot

    Inaccuracies aside, it was a mighty fine episode, I’m hoping to see “Riot Punch” as a newly relevant theme drink at tailgates.

  • http://twitter.com/chibichazoo Chazbot

    “Oh I’m not going to be cold at all, cause I’m gonna be wasted on grain alcohol.”
    “Graaaaaain alcohol, baby. Whenever there’s a potential riot, I’m gettin’ blasted on grain alcohol.”

  • lovemesomewerth

    I think it’s important to figure out what player I’m gonna kiss when I thrust myseld out on that field. I’m going Shane Victorino right now.

    Flyin Hawaiian. Strong choice but centerfield. You’ll get jacked up before you get anywhere close.

  • http://westchesterbeer.com WCBC Frank

    Scene was shot June 12, 2009 – My wife and I were extras walking through the scene of the “Phrenetic” kicking Green Man’s ass. Seriously, they made most everyone take off their Phillies gear and wear their shirts inside-out….I had on a “Red Sux” shirt and they said even that was a no-no – MLB trademark and copyright infringement is no joke. Funny episode regardless and a awesome time – the cast kicks ass.

    Great job on the website – keep up the good work.

  • Freddie the K

    I have to sit down and watch this again. I thought it might be funny, but some issues I had with the episode left me uneasy. I first thought that the show was pretty bootlegged because of the lack of shiteous weather and any real Phillies gear. One of the main issues was the fake Phanatic. At the very end, though, Charlie rants about MLB etc., and he says that you can’t even say Phanatic without getting sued by MLB (paraphrased). At that point I realized that there might be a giant show-long joke in there that I missed the entire episode. After reading this and watching again (presumably tonight in an altered state) I am sure I will be more at ease to laugh.

  • Sundar

    Gotta love the reoccurring “Whoomp There It Is” in the background too

    /’93′d

  • neas

    Dear Chase,
    I feel like I can call you Chase because you and me are so much alike. I would love to meet you someday. It would be great to have a catch. I know I can’t throw as fast as you, but I think you would be impressed by my speed. I love you hair. You run fast. Did you have a good relationship with your father? Me neither. These are all things we can talk about. And more. I know you have not been getting my letters because I know you would write back if you did. And I hope you write back this time and we get to be good friends. I’m sure our relationship would be a real home run.
    Mac

  • http://twitter.com/waverider15 Bridge to Lidge

    nice tag

  • Dan Gross

    it was a classic

  • John

    gay

  • http://www.yankees.com Derek Jeter

    post this shit up for the diehards;

  • http://www.yankees.com Derek Jeter

    Looks like Pat Burrell found something to do in the off-season.

  • Mac

    Let the record show… in the opening scene, the Judge says that they are in court to dispute parking citations from October 28th – November 1st. Maybe the writers got it right, assuming that they parked on gameday (Oct 27th) they would not have started to accumulate parking tickets until the following day.

  • Kevin OD

    When will the love letter to Chase t shirt be available?

  • Kevin OD

    And I also saw Green man at Game 3 against the Dodgers. He was down the right field line in the first level. He did take the mask off a couple times to drink a beer, but it was him.

  • Jeremy14

    “OH Shit, there’s stickers”

  • RicoBrogna

    Wait…theres a Harry Kalas murder conspiracy? And it posts on the fightins? Where the fuck have i been? I bet wheeler did it!

  • Brandon

    Does anyone know the next time they’ll air it or somewhere online i could find it? I can’t believe this is the one i missed

  • hammerin’ time

    http://www.sidereel.com go there and search always sunny. about 40 links to all the episodes.

  • joe

    Green man was there for game 4 also. He ran by us after leaving.

  • JonInSoCal

    Yo- boys back in Philly

    I never miss Always Sunny. Great Show…great Characters…esp Charlie and Frank.

  • dale

    Just got the double meaning of “world series defense”. im retarded. and my name is dale.

  • dale

    also, just noticed dee says “Chane Victorino, the flying hawaiian”. they were playing the copyright thing extra safe….

  • #29 Juan “Unohuevo” Cruq

    Mac is a serious Phillies fan. No one who slips in “ass hammering”, “looks like it’s gonna rain”, and copious Tag Team “Whoomp there it is” references is going to mess up the date of the game.

    The first half of game 5 was on the 27th and the second half was played on the 29th. The only day it wasn’t played was the 28th. That was the joke.

    You have to be stupid as a Mets fan not to get that it was completely intentional.

  • Ozzie Virgil’s Beard

  • http://www.majorleaguejerk.com Gonzo

    Here is the full episode, and there is no lag. My name is Dale.

    http://www.megavideo.com/?v=0H7HJAGK

  • eminencegirl

    Am I the only person in the world with a sick sense of humor who can not stand this show? I despised Arrested Development and Curb Your Enthusiasm too. People think (read: know) there is something wrong with me.

  • http://fireericbruntlett.wordpress.com Estebomb

    @eminencegirl
    “Sadly” we can never be friends because you just said you despised 3 of my favorite comedies. Alas.

    Great episode, the Chase Utley love letter was phenomenal!

  • will.H

    eminencegirl, i dont think its too out of the ordinary for someone not to like these shows. ive seen these shows and i think theyre funny, but i dont go out of my way to catch the episodes. without going into too much detail, if these shows arent barrable, what is?

  • Jeremy14

    @eminencegil………..I’ve got a question for you?

    SHUT UP

  • Jordan

    @eminencegirl – you’re retarded

  • http://www.majorleaguejerk.com Gonzo

    So what if she doesn’t like the show. No way to treat a woman here, you cunt bubbles.

  • dale

    Even I, dale, a simmering pile of human excrement, know that’s an inappropriate way to address someone.

  • Brandon

    Just watched the episode, freaking awesome. Charlie calling out the mlb was perfect.

    Riot Juice!

  • DMac

    Did they say the game was on Oct 28 or that the ticket was from them? Cause it is could be they were given the ticket the next morning but not that day (the 27th)

  • http://glassesofjoe.blogspot.com jd

    ok, so who hasn’t written that letter to chase utley at least once? raise your hands. nobody? thought so.

    my green man costume for this weekend will be carrying a gallon of the riot punch.

  • breakfast

    Also noticed that all of the philly fans in the dungeon were wearing stuff that said “Philly’s” and not “Phillies.” No Philly logos there. Great use of an in-joke throughout the show of them not being able to get MLB licensing.

  • http://alexdmurray.com/ Alex Murray

    It’s a real shame that Megan was dropped for Transformers 3. But I know she will do well with whatever movie she does next.

  • http://sdhkfjshdjfsdjfhdfsk.com alex

    Beautiful subtle post. Never considered that it was that elementary. Praises to you!

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