It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia is one of the funniest shows on the air right now. It’s been on TV for thirteen seasons and it’s still going strong, still turning out fantastic episodes that rank among the show’s best. However, as with any show that goes on for over 100 episodes across more than a decade, there are also some weak episodes.
While some of the show’s installments can stand endless rewatches, there are others that hardly warrant a single viewing. It’s a mixed bag. So, here are The 5 Best (And 5 Worst) Episodes Of It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia.
10 Best: ‘Mac and Dennis Move to the Suburbs’
After Mac and Dennis move out of the city and into a suburban house, it doesn’t take long for them to slip into insanity. They have one night of domestic bliss and then, bugged by little things like the noise the pool filter makes throughout the night and traffic on the rush hour commute, they very quickly start to hate each other.
The episode takes ridiculous turns like Dennis’ naked “Have you ever been in a storm, Wally?” monologue and Mac cooking chunks of their dead pet into the mac and cheese as a cry for attention. It’s endlessly rewatchable and hilarious.
9 Worst: ‘Ass-Kickers United: Mac and Charlie Join a Cult’
This one was especially bad considering it was a season finale and had such a juicy premise. Mac and Charlie have become members of a religious cult and begin living by its teachings, and then we discover the cult has actually been founded by Dennis as a way of controlling his roommate.
However, unfortunately, nothing is done with this premise. Even when Dee and Frank get in on the scam and it becomes a Reynolds family operation, nothing is done to raise the stakes or develop the plot. The ending of the episode is underwhelming as well, even if it is psychedelic.
8 Best: ‘The Gang Gives Frank an Intervention’
This season 5 installment is what turned Frank Reynolds from the soft father figure he was initially conceived to be into the embodiment of depravity we see today. Danny DeVito leans right into the character’s newfound decadence as he belches in Mac’s face, “roasts a bone” at his brother-in-law’s funeral, and gargles foamy beer all over his chest in the middle of the street.
It’s completely hilarious just how far DeVito is willing to go with the grossness of his character. Meanwhile, the rest of the Gang plan an intervention for him and drink red wine out of Coke cans.
7 Worst: ‘Who Pooped the Bed?’
The episode about the investigation into who pooped the bed – Charlie or Frank? – is one of the show’s dumbest premises, and as a result, it’s also one of its worst episodes. It’s written and shot and edited in the style of a murder mystery, but the humor is childish.
The comedic value of poop only goes so far when you’re not six years old, and sadly, this episode keeps repeating the same joke and that joke is that, essentially, poop is funny. “Who Pooped the Bed?” is a sad, yet apt example of a sitcom beating a dead horse with cheap, immature comedy. We expect much better from the Gang than that.
6 Best: ‘Charlie Work’
Funnily enough, this episode was actually devised and written before Birdman came out. The style of the whole thing being edited to look like one long take and the jazz drums playing in the background make it seem like this is an Always Sunny parody of the darkly comic Best Picture winner.
But the writers actually conceived it based on the long take from True Detective season 1. Either way, the end result is one of the most tightly plotted, engaging, complex, and hysterical episodes of the whole series. It’s one of the best examples of a gimmick working out.
5 Worst: ‘Frank’s Brother’
Frank never mentioned his brother before this episode and he hasn’t mentioned him since. It takes us back to the ‘70s for Frank’s blaxploitation-inspired backstory, but it’s nowhere near as funny or exciting or interesting or engaging as that sounds. Even the scenes featuring the Gang, as they frequently interrupt the story, don’t offer much relief either, as they’re depicted as the loudest, screechiest, least distinctive versions of themselves.
There’s a lot to enjoy about Danny DeVito’s performance in this episode as he gets the chance to enjoy the spotlight, but overall, it is one of the show’s weakest installments.
4 Best: ‘Mac and Charlie Die’
What makes a truly great sitcom episode is having both a memorable A-plot and a memorable B-plot. It is nearly impossible, since one will almost always outshine the other. But this works in “Mac and Charlie Die” as much as it does in any other episode of the show. The two-parter sees Mac and Charlie fake their own deaths as Mac’s dad is released from prison and they fear he’s out for revenge.
Plus, Dennis and Frank find a glory hole in the men’s room of Paddy’s Pub and try to capitalize on it. Every scene in the episode, from Dee riding the bus with vomit-spewing degenerates to Frank taking Dennis to the most disgusting orgy ever organized, is filled with brilliant, inspired comic moments and lines.
3 Worst: ‘Flowers for Charlie’
It was an interesting idea to get David Benioff and D.B. Weiss, the duo behind HBO’s Game of Thrones, to guest-write an episode of It’s Always Sunny. But while the pair can certainly write a rousing epic medieval fantasy drama, they’re not comedy writers. They can’t write jokes or comic characters or ironic narratives.
The premise of the episode was intriguing, with Charlie taking part in an experiment to increase his intelligence, but the episode itself wasn’t funny. The B-plot involving Dennis, Dee, and Mac trying to kill a rat is pretty mediocre. Plus, the final twist that it was all a placebo didn’t even add up, because Charlie’s intelligence was visibly improved following the experiment.
2 Best: ‘The Nightman Cometh’
The season 4 finale “The Nightman Cometh” introduced the Always Sunny fan base to all those songs they’ve been singing in the years since. Every joke and gag in the episode lands, from Frank singing “boy’s hole” instead of “boy’s soul” to Mac wearing cat eyes to Dee making up her own song to clarify the uncomfortable overtones of Charlie’s writing.
The plot is continuously driven forward as Charlie’s true intentions are kept hidden from us until the very end. The episode proved to be so popular that the cast would go on to tour America with a live version of the titular musical.
1 Worst: ‘The Gang Cracks the Liberty Bell’
Season 4 might be the strongest season of It’s Always Sunny – it has “Mac and Charlie Die,” “The Nightman Cometh,” “The Gang Solves the Gas Crisis,” and many more gems – but it also has what is possibly the show’s worst episode. It stars the same cast, but it’s set hundreds of years in the past. It sees the Gang trying to get Paddy’s Pub granted landmark status by spinning a yarn about how it was involved in cracking the Liberty Bell.
It was the first example of the show deviating from its format and doing a gimmicky episode, but unfortunately, it didn’t work. The episode has some inspired comic moments, but nowhere near enough to qualify as a strong installment of the show.