Many TV sitcoms have come and gone in the past decade, but one constant that viewers have been able to count on during that time is the hilarious misadventures of the morally corrupt fivesome of Paddy’s Pub on FXX’s It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia.
Charlie (Charlie Day), Mac (Rob McElhenney), Dennis (Glenn Howerton), Dee (Kaitlin Olson) and Frank (Danny DeVito) – also known as “The Gang” – are each as self-centered, narcissistic and psychotic as TV characters come, yet we love them for their audacious depravity and wild comedic creativity. So, to celebrate that creativity (and any number of inventions or trends that Sunny has inspired) we give you our picks for The Gang’s 10 Best Inventions.
Ocular Patdown Glasses
Despite never really having to deal with customers (unruly, or otherwise), Mac takes pride in his ability to protect the bar and the Gang as the pub’s bouncer/security guard. However, before he even uses one of his badass roundhouse kicks, Mac utilizes his ocular patdown glasses to assess a threat.
Unfortunately, Mac is never able to successfully perform the ocular patdown, with the glasses or without (though, Charlie seems to be able to utilize them in “Pop-Pop: The Final Solution”). In “The Gang Hits the Road”, Mac even gives ocular clearance to a young man who eventually steals Dee’s car. Regardless, it’s possible the invention could be useful in the right hands – especially after Country Mac (Seann William Scott) proves capable of the ocular patdown, clocking a knife in an attacker’s boot in “Mac Day”.
Why It’s Awesome: Who doesn’t want eye wear that both blocks out excess UV rays AND helps us make ocular assessments on the fly? Sure, many would abuse the privilege (we know Mac would if he actually had the ability), but there are also those who could keep us safe with the power, like our dearly departed Country Mac.
Charlie’s Rat Stick
As we learn early on in the series, Charlie Kelly is a man of simple pleasures and tastes (as odd as they may be). So, when the Gang gifts him a baseball bat wrapped in chain and fitted with sharp nails to kill rats in the pub’s basement (in “Charlie Kelly: King of the Rats”) Charlie is much more excited than anyone else would be. For Charlie, the barbaric tool is as practical and essential to his job as a torque wrench is to a car mechanic, making his ‘Charlie Work’ all the more enjoyable.
Why It’s Awesome: An exterminator would probably tell you poison is a more effective method to take care of a rat problem, but if you are willing (like Charlie) to get up close and personal with the vermin, then wielding this medieval-like weapon would be an absolute blast. We can only imagine that handling pest control in this fashion has to be cathartic, as well.
Lethal Weapons 5 & 6
Although most us of love – or at least appreciate – the Lethal Weapon series as one of the best action movie franchises out there, we would also agree that the series ran its course after four films (maybe even two). However, as overtly obsessed fanatics of the Mel Gibson and Danny Glover-led buddy cop films, the Gang is not in that camp, taking it upon themselves to keep the franchise moving — even if it means inappropriately wearing blackface to do it.
Despite Mac and Dennis inexplicably swapping roles midway through Lethal Weapon 5, and Frank portraying a ridiculous and racially insensitive villain in Lethal Weapon 6, the Gang’s homemade amateur films are memorable, at the very least. Just don’t expect them to hit theaters anytime soon.
Why They’re Awesome: If these aren’t campy fun, then we don’t know what is. Mac’s gruff Murtaugh voice, the terrible acting and cheesy over-the-top action scenes make us wish that these movies actually got made. Plus, seeing the Gang doing something creative outside of Paddy’s is always a nice change of pace.
Wine in a Can
The Gang may not have realized their collective alcoholism until season 9’s “The Gang Gets Quarantined”, but viewers spotted it much earlier. One sign was the group’s decision to conceal wine in soda cans in order to drink on the go in “The Gang Gives Frank an Intervention”; unfortunately no one – including the Intervention Lady – was fooled by the what the Gang thought was a clever guise.
Regardless, the invention still served an important purpose, as Mac and Dennis found that drinking wine out of cans significantly reduced spillage when using violent hand gestures. And, based on the actual existence of canned wine, it turns out the Sunny crew was really onto something. We’re not sure where the idea came from first, but we’re willing to give this one to Paddy’s Pub.
Why It’s Awesome: Don’t like all the pomp and circumstance that comes with drinking wine? Drinking it out of a can removes all the aroma sniffing, glass swirling and gentle sips. If you’re drinking wine out of a can, it’s clear you mean business, and we have no choice but to salute that kind of drinking candor.
If filling soda cans with wine wasn’t a telltale sign that the Gang had a problem with alcohol, then their trip to the beach in “The Gang Goes to the Jersey Shore” should have driven the reality home.
While Dee and Dennis filled empty sun tan lotion bottles with tequila to sneak booze onto the boardwalk, Mac and Frank get even more creative, buying a spiral-cut ham soaked in rum. Not only does the ham get the two lit, it also provides important sustenance after Mac and Frank get stranded at sea on a small inflatable raft. Tragically the rumham floats away, but is later reunited with the duo when they are rescued and becomes the life of the party.
Why It’s Awesome: Well, if you like ham and love rum, this seems like a combo right up your alley. Plus, as we see in the episode, it’s great for sharing at parties. Admit it, you wish you thought of it before Sunny did.
Known to the Gang as “The Game of Games,” CharDee MacDennis is admittedly just another excuse to drink, but is also more competitive than your average board game. The bizarre mash-up of trivia, physical challenges and soul-crushing ridicule may be confusing and convoluted to outsiders – and even regular players – but at least it gives the Gang something to do on another incredibly slow day at the bar. Of course, it also feeds Dennis and Dee’s superiority complex, as Mac and Charlie – without any help from a clueless Frank – lose the game and have their figures smashed yet again.
Why It’s Awesome: The insane rules, structured drinking levels, abundance of completely acceptable cheating and addition of dumb luck make CharDee MacDennis infinitely more interesting than any board game we’ve ever played. And when you consider the amount of drinking required, it seems like even the losers win – until the next day anyway. Fans have already created their own versions of the game – better grab some beer, wine, and hard booze and get to work on your own.
Most of the Gang’s ideas – albeit creative – don’t really get them anywhere; however, this is not the case with Dicktowel.com, which proves to be a profitable endeavor after the Gang is able to sell enough well-endowed towels to realize their dream of buying a boat in the aptly titled episode “The Gang Buys a Boat”. Of course, the dream is short-lived after the boat subsequently sinks due to Charlie, Frank and Dee’s recklessness, but that shouldn’t take away from the success of Dicktowel.com, a site that actually exists because of the show.
Why It’s Awesome: Considering the priceless reactions you’re bound to get from unsuspecting friends, the $19.99 just might be worth it. Of course, it also serves its functional purpose as a way to dry you off, so if you were looking to buy some towels anyway, you could go ahead and get a Dick Towel.
The D.E.N.N.I.S. System
If you’ve ever wondered how Dennis is so successful with the ladies, he meticulously outlines his approach with the foolproof D.E.N.N.I.S. System in the eponymously-titled season 5 episode. While it seems simple enough to the mastermind Dennis, the manipulative system – with steps including Demonstrate Value, Nurture Dependence and Neglect Emotionally – is unsurprisingly lost on lovelorn Charlie and horndogs Mac and Frank, the latter of whom develop their own systems of seduction. Appalled by her male counterparts, Dee becomes paranoid and wrongly accuses Ben the Solider (Travis Schuldt) of using the system on her, proving, at the very least, that it does have a dramatic effect on its targets (unwitting or unaware).
Why It’s Awesome: Just to be clear, we’re not saying emotionally manipulating women is awesome, but you have to be impressed with the amount of thought Dennis has put into this practice, and the academic way in which he presents it all the more hilarious. Think you can create a seduction system that’s also an acronym for your name? We await the results in the comments section.
The Nightman Cometh
A rock opera with an ambiguous, but seemingly inappropriate message, “The Nightman Cometh” is ironically written by the illiterate Charlie as a last-ditch effort to win the affection of the obviously disinterested waitress (Mary Elizabeth Ellis). While he fails on that front yet again, Charlie does succeed in creating a highly original – albeit bizarre and incomprehensible – stage play that not only brought the Gang together on the show, but also spawned a real life adaptation that toured part of the U.S. Considering the surprising catchiness of the main Dayman-Nightman theme, it’s easy to see how the ridiculous play became a real life sensation.
Why It’s Awesome: The songs are actually better than they should be and the costumes are certainly eye-catching. However, the best part about Nightman Cometh is it’s like taking a peek inside Charlie’s strange brain, and what we see is something wholly unique, disturbing, yet childlike at the same time. It’s a blend that makes for an entertaining show, if nothing else.
Only from the mind of Charlie could an invention such as Kitten Mittens (which he spells mittons, due to his illiteracy) emerge. Designed to reduce the noise and furniture clawing of domesticated housecats, these one-size-fits-all handmade mittens actually attract interest from a buyer at a merchandising trade show in “Paddy’s Pub: Home of the Original Kitten Mittens”. Of course, as with most of the Gang’s good ideas, any potential fruits of their labor are seized, this time by The Lawyer (Brian Unger), who tricks them into signing over the product’s rights.
Why It’s Awesome: PETA definitely wouldn’t like Charlie’s invention, but for a pure sight gag, the mittens are pretty humorous. We also love the idea that, in Charlie’s world, cat noise is a major problem, and these mittens are his best solution.
If comedic ingenuity is the name of the game, then there’s no doubt the Paddy’s Pub Gang is near the top of the ranks. Series creator Rob McElhenney and writers Glenn Howerton and Charlie Day continue to not only invent new things for their characters to do, but also new ways to make us laugh. And after doing it for nine seasons, everyone involved with It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia deserves a lot of credit.
Of course, these 10 inventions don’t even come close to covering all the hilarious ideas and concepts the show has come up with. Here’s a few that nearly made our list:
- Frank’s Sausage Pocket (“Mac and Charlie Write a Movie”)
- Milksteak (“The Waitress is Getting Married”)
- Greenman (“The Gang Gets Invincible”)
That’s our list for The Gang’s 10 Best Inventions. Did we leave anything out? How would your list look? Let us know in the comments.
It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia season 10 premieres tonight (Wednesday, January 14) @10pm on FXX.