The Twelve Days of 'Sunny': Season 2, Episode 6 'The Gang Gives Back' (Day #2)

On The Second Day of 'Sunny,' The Gang from Paddy's gave to me…

…two months community service…

…and Dee Reynolds in a pear tree.

always sunny s02e06

For the past thirteen years and thirteen seasons, The Gang from Paddy's Pub–Charlie (Charlie Day), Mac (Rob McElhenney), Dee (Kaitlin Olson), Frank (Danny DeVito), and Dennis (Glenn Howerton) – have quietly turned FX/FXX's It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia into one of the most shocking, tasteless, and subversive sitcoms to ever hit the airwaves. It's also one of the best.

Because for nearly 1-1/2 decades, The Gang's put themselves on the frontlines of major social and political issues with all the satirical subtlety of a hand grenade–with Dennis, Dee, Charlie, Mac and Frank usually finding a way to blow themselves up in the process.

"We immediately escalate everything to a ten… somebody comes in with some preposterous plan or idea, then all of a sudden everyone's on the gas, nobody's on the brakes, nobody's thinking, everyone's just talking over each other with one idiotic idea after another! Until, finally, we find ourselves in a situation where we've broken into somebody's house – and the homeowner is home!"

– Dennis (s07e09 'The Gang Gets Trapped')

So with the holidays being a time to spend wih family and friends, the fine folks at Bleeding Cool are honoring South Philly's favorite sons (and daughter) with a rundown of our 12 favorite It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia episodes–one per season (sorry, season 13: you're sitting this one out until next year) – with "The Big Present" on Christmas Day as we crown an overall champ – and dump a little coal in your stocking in the form of the worst It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia episode of the first 12 seasons (spoiler: it's probably holding the crown next year, too).

It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia s02e06 'The Gang Gives Back': Mac, Dennis and Dee are sentenced to teach inner-city children how to play basketball while Charlie is sentenced to attend AA meetings. Written by Charlie Day / Directed by Dan Attias

The Twelve Days of 'Sunny': Season 2, Episode 6 'The Gang Gives Back' (Day #2)
FX

● If you truly want to appreciate The Gang's ability to get so caught up in their own self-inflicted drama that they become blind to basic social norms and laws, look no further than this episode. Ordered to perform community service by the courts for their little bout with arson in 'The Gang Goes Jihad,' our anti-heroes lament the "unfairness" of their predicament – right before pulling a "feast-n-flee."

● Frank's "friends" from Vietnam start driving home the theory that Frank's not the most honest and ethical businessman out there – which becomes more painfully evident in future seasons (Wolf Cola?). I know. Shocking. And by "not the most honest and ethical," we're talking "willing to wager on kids shoe-stabbing each other with needles on a basketball court." Subtle but important difference.

The Twelve Days of 'Sunny': Season 2, Episode 6 'The Gang Gives Back' (Day #2)
FX

● Dennis, Mac, and Dee's "team selection process" and the way Mac and Dee decide who will coach their team are two hysterically "just so wrong" reasons why none of The Gang should ever be in the front of the classroom. Unless stereotyping, racial division, demeaning women, using abusive language, and physical punishment are what you look for in your kid's 5th grade syllabus – proving that a lot of social satire can go a very long way.

The Twelve Days of 'Sunny': Season 2, Episode 6 'The Gang Gives Back' (Day #2)
FX

● Of all the characters in It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia canon, The Waitress (Mary Elizabeth Ellis) is second only to Mac when it comes to how far a character's evolved over the course of the series – or more like a "de-evolved." While we can debate whether The Gang makes people around them break bad or if they had that stuff inside of them the entire time, The Waitress proved her "gang sidekick" worthiness by willing to be Charlie's AA sponsor (of course, he's lying – besides the point) to get closer to Dennis – and then dumps Charlie when Dennis uses her sponsor role as an excuse to not be with her! Cold, heartless, amoral – and well-played.

● The episode's ending reminds me of the Coen Brothers' Burn After Reading in this sense: as The Gang picks up trash on the side of the road to burn off the rest of their community service, we realize they're just as oblivious about the raging disaster they created in that community center as they were about the raging fire they caused that got them here in the first place. With this gang, ignorance truly is bliss – and makes love/hate them even more.

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About Ray Flook

Serving as Television Editor since 2018, Ray began five years earlier as a contributing writer/photographer before being brought onto the core BC team in 2017.
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