‘It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia’ Sticks it to The Emmys, Sticks Up for ‘The Wire’

Published 2 years ago by

Its Always Sunny in Philadelphia Season 9 Episode 3 The Gang Tries Desperately to Win an Award Its Always Sunny In Philadelphia Sticks it to The Emmys, Sticks Up for The Wire

It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia is known for its signature band of crass comedy and characters – which is why some of the more clever comedic writing the show puts forth largely goes unappreciated. For example, the season 5 episode “The Great Recession” made great meta use of the show’s very-real budgetary strains by simultaneously mocking and promoting sponsor Dave & Busters as part of the episode’s commentary on the economic crisis in America; but to some viewers, it ultimately came off as shameless promotion.

For the third episode of season 9, titled, “The Gang Tries Desperately to Win an Award”, Sunny took satirical aim at a new target: The Emmys, which not-so-coincidentally will hold its 2013 awards ceremony this Sunday.

It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia actually received its first and only Emmy nomination this year… in the category of “Outstanding Stunt Coordination for a Comedy Series of a Variety Program”. Judging from the episode, the makers of the show clearly aren’t fawning over such “recognition.”

Its Always Sunny in Philadelphia Season 9 Episode 3 Review Its Always Sunny In Philadelphia Sticks it to The Emmys, Sticks Up for The Wire

Within the episode, the farce plays out in a plotline about the Paddy’s Pub Gang realizing that they are one of the only Philly bars never to win some kind of award. The revelation elicits the usual range of schizophrenic egoism, irrational rage, general mania and scheming you would expect from the gang, as they launch a doomed attempt to lure other “industry types” to their bar for a display of  feigned class and artistic talent. The whole thing ends in a classic Sunny meltdown, laughs are had, songs are sung ( much mucus is spit) and before you know it, we’re at the end of another fun outing with the gang.

Points to the actual gang behind the show, however, for an episode that deliciously skewers everything about The Emmys and the deeper industry politics that go into determining what is held up and rewarded, and what is not. The metaphors were pretty much dead on: from the saccharine sitcom bar the gang stakes out for research (take that multi-Emmy winner The Big Bang Theory!) to the real gem of the night: a timely hat-tip to the more discriminatory aspects of Emmy consideration – specifically in reference to one show.

The Wire Its Always Sunny In Philadelphia Sticks it to The Emmys, Sticks Up for The Wire

I nearly exploded with glee in the scene where Walking Dead star Chad L. Coleman showed up in a cameo that paid sly homage (intentional or not) to his earlier work on HBO’s The Wire – a show which remains one of the most egregious Emmy snubs of the new Millennium. (Just two nominations and not a single win in that show’s time on the air from 2002 – 2008 – despite its widespread critical acclaim as THE best show on TV at the time.)

A particular standout were Dennis’ (Glen Howerton) outbursts about how there were too many black guys in Paddy’s to create the proper atmosphere to impress the industry crowd (“Black bars don’t win awards – I don’t know why, they just don’t.”). The joke went beyond comedic satire to touch upon something deeper – a still lingering question of how things like the racial makeup of a show’s cast factor into decisions about what is put into the (often superficial) spotlight of awards recognition. And it wasn’t just race: technical matters like disingenuous, formulaic writing and misleading lighting and visual effects were just as ripe for a put down.

Its Always Sunny in Philadelphia Season 9 Episode 3 The Gang Tries Desperately to Win an Award 5 Its Always Sunny In Philadelphia Sticks it to The Emmys, Sticks Up for The Wire

The new Paddy’s Pub merch and guest star Oscar Nunez (The Office)

In general, the episode managed to do what good satire does: totally milk a sacred cow like The Emmys while appearing to do nothing of the sort. Not the kind of intelligence you might expect from the Gang at Paddy’s (or the team behind Sunny) – but then, maybe that was the point? Take note, Emmys 2014.

Meanwhile, as a conciliation prize, I’m hoping those Paddy’s Pub tee-shirts that they promoted in the episode (see above) make the Sunny gang a fat chunk of change in merchandising. Grass-roots profit can certainly be its own reward.


It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia is in the midst of Season 9 and now airs Wednesdays @ 10pm on FXX.

Follow Kofi Outlaw on Twitter @ppnkof
Get our free email alerts on the topics and author of this article:


Post a Comment

GravatarWant to change your avatar?
Go to Gravatar.com and upload your own (we'll wait)!

 Rules: No profanity or personal attacks.
 Use a valid email address or risk being banned from commenting.

If your comment doesn't show up immediately, it may have been flagged for moderation. Please try refreshing the page first, then drop us a note and we'll retrieve it. Keep in mind that we do not allow external links in the comments.

  1. I don’t watch this show but that sounds epic.

    I’m still shocked that The Big Bang Theory wins so many awards though. I’ve seen a dozen episodes of the show and never felt anything above “boredom”. The show is so tedious with its blatant laugh track and jokes that try to aim at making geeks laugh but come across as totally desperate.

    • I totally agree with you. I watched a few episodes because friends/family like the show, and I never really get why it’s such a hit. I barely get a chuckle since the great majority of the jokes are so predictable based on the stereotypical characters the actors portray. It doesn’t hold a candle to the earlier episodes of Sunny.

      Too bad the show doesn’t get more recognition. I’m glad Charlie is at least getting some more movie parts though so people can see how great he is.

      • Shocking thing is, over here the show is out on DVD and on Netflix UK but barely anyone knows about its existence because they have to actually watch a show to decide whether or not to buy the DVD and I think LoveFilm has more subscribers than Netflix UK does and even then, I think the majority of people still prefer to watch TV the traditional way with their digital boxes that have literally hundreds of channels.

        It’s a shame because I saw a few episodes after reading this article and the show is pretty funny but there’s still no UK air date.

        • It’s honestly one of the best comedies on TV. It’s vulgar and dark but brilliantly funny.

    • actually, it really just offends people like myself who are into the culture that is portrayed in the show. the big bang theory isnt funny and is really just kind if insulting in a variety of ways to “geeks” or “nerds”.

  2. This easily went into my top 3 favorite Sunny episodes. The bar patrons being the laugh track at SUDZ? Amazing! Hahaha!

  3. Too bad they moved it to FXX and I can’t watch it anymore without upgrading my cable package. Take a look at FX’s Facebook page which is nothing but angry fans unable to watch Sunny or The League.

    • You’re not missing much with the League this year….but yea that sucks for those that don’t have it.

      This season of Sunny has been great.

    • Yeah, it’s a bummer. I was very excited about this season but only got two episodes while FXX was on free trial.

    • I have yet to trundle back over to the FX FBook page since I tried to access the FXX channel a few weeks ago and multiple times since. My provider did tell me that I would have to pay another ten bucks a month for a sports package to get the channel which is funny cause FXX is no longer a sports channel.
      Off to leave many swear words and unfocused rantings ala Sunny style on their page…

  4. I still can’t believe Downton Abbey got major nominations. I actually watched all four seasons. It was nothing special. None of the performances or episodes were standout.

    • Well, it does have some moments based mainly around Dame Maggie Smith’s character but yeah, Downton isn’t for me. Neither was Mr Selfridge either although part of that is related to my utter hatred of Jeremy Piven and the rest is because it just didn’t interest me as a show.

  5. Yeah, gotta say this one had to be one of the best episodes they’ve done for a while, right up there with “Sunny Xmas” and “Kitten Mittens”. Can’t wait forvtge uncensored dvd of this ep.

  6. Def one of the best episodes, when Mac was telling the lady about busting a nut, cumming all over you. Dennis is like I think he meant orgasm. That was great.

    Def one of my fav episodes along with the the Jersey Shore episode.

  7. Like a few others have said this was one of my all time favorites of the shows entire run…
    Along with the shows Kofi mentioned I kept sensing a lot of jabs at New Girl and there were a few that could be pointed to Louie and American Horror Story.
    Great episode. :)

    Side note…
    Because I mentioned New Girl I want to take a moment to say “watch New Girl”. I stayed far away from that show because I figured there was no way I’d like it but when it hit Netflix I figured why not give it a shot and now I love it. It’s taken the spot that was empty because Happy Endings was cancelled.

    • Funny you should mention that because over here, New Girl airs before Happy Endings, both on the E4 channel.

      I don’t like Happy Endings that much but my saturday nights tend to be spent on E4’s late night line up of New Girl, Happy Endings, The Cleveland Show and The Ricky Gervais Show until 3 or 4am.

      • I used to have the same problem with Happy Ending but then found it to be a very serial-procedural show. I watched it’s episodes back to back earlier this year and found new light in it’s high quality.

        A lot of jokes in Happy Ending are references to events/jokes the episodes before – so they could hit a deaf note to people watching random episodes.

        I’m not that much of a fan of New Girl but it’s taken it’s place as the ‘poor mans version’.

  8. ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ! level 3 son!

  9. Great episode. I know it’s cool to hate big bang theory, but I enjoy it. It has a little bit of something for everyone which is why it has such high ratings. However, it’ll never surprise me and it’ll never makes me laugh so hard that I tear up; which is what Sunny does for me consistently. For you people that don’t have FXX show some real support and pay for it online (I ordered the season pass on Xbox) or just wait until the DVD comes out.

  10. I’ve been a fan of It’s Always Sunny since 09 and my word is this not the best episode of the entire series. I’ve always wondered why it never got any award and this episode skewers those poofs who run the Emmys. I hope they enter this episode into next year’s Emmys for consideration.

  11. In the future, scholars will hold up It’s Always Sunny as a high point in our current era of comedic writing and the American Sitcom.

  12. Actually, this is the exact genius I expected from the show. It has provided continuous social commentary via hilarious plots and despicable characters. Brilliant show.