Monday, October 17, 2011

Philadelphia Freakdom


It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia has a scummy, shoddy look to it and a fevered meanspiritedness at its core.  It's a really bad episode of Seinfeld directed by John Waters.  And bad on purpose.  Really, really, really bad on purpose.

I only started watching it this season so I don't exactly get the relationships and/or the premise.  But that doesn't really matter.  I have gleaned from the four episodes I've seen this season that a bunch of smarmy, creepy idiots who interact like white-trash anchor-people about to go to commercial (one female and four males, one of them being Danny Devito, who seems to be the magic-worm in this cheap bottle of tequila) are always looking for a way to, well, I really don't know.  Always looking for a way to be the penultimate smarmy, creepy idiots they are supposed to be in this universe of dead whores in hallways, chimichangas in garbage bags, and (my personal favorite) rum-ham floating delicately on the ocean's surface.  The nastiness of the show is its surrealism, and each of the puppet-characters are hell-bent on being horrible and stupid to the point there's a magical rhythm, kind of like when the Three Stooges really get going.  Only these stooges don't move around that much.  No pies or slaps in the face.  Just constant bull-shit talking.  And a sucky, vast abyss always around every corner.

My favorite episode happened a week or so ago when Danny Devito's Frank Reynolds decides to host a kiddie beauty pageant in the bar all the characters seem to either co-own or maybe just co-habitate.  The first scene is a true slapstick gem:  Devito jogs into the bar to tell everyone about his beauty-pageant idea and falls flat on his face, busting his nose.  Horrible horror-movie blood trickles down Devito's troll-like face in a gruesome, hyper-real pattern copied it seems from the Busted-Nose Hall of Fame dictionary.  The episode quickly descends into beautiful and completely politically-incorrect madness:  Frank tries to cover his broken nose with funeral-home make-up, giving him the pallor and soullessness of Nosferatu with a hangover, and he spends all his screen-time with a microphone telling everyone in the audience how much he is not going put the moves on the little girls in the pageant.  Tall and blond and gawky, like a slightly less stressed Ann Coulter, Kaitlin Olsen also stands out, turning one of the contestants into her little dancing and singing co-partner, in a duet about how horrible mothers are.

In every episode I've seen, Charlie Day's weaselly face and high-pitched voice always add a sort of terrifying joy to the atmosphere.  He's the Willy Wonka on this melted-candy-bar planet.  The atmosphere rots your teeth, the people are worthless, the candy is poisonous, and every situation is contrived and quite stupid:  God do I love this show.