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It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia: "The Gang Exploits The Mortgage Crisis"

Illustration for article titled It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia: "The Gang Exploits The Mortgage Crisis"
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Illustration for article titled It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia: "The Gang Exploits The Mortgage Crisis"

It's been a long summer of genteel comedy on basic cable channels that don't encourage rampant swearing and immorality.  Heck, it's been a long winter, spring and summer since "The Night Man Cometh."  But what's that sound you hear coming from the those channels near the century mark?  Charlie pretending he knows something about lawyering?  Frank abusing kids and then having to give them his property, because that's the law?

Sunny's back!

And they're all meta and shit, too.  In the opening to the Season 5 premiere, Dee bursts into the bar where Mac, Charlie and Dennis are discussing whether it's legal to keep a hummingbird as a pet, and announces that she has some big news.  But until Frank bursts in promising big news, nobody pays her the slightest mind.  Frank's news is that he bought a foreclosure to flip — great idea in this depressed housing market!  Dee's news is that she's going to be a surrogate mother and have a baby for some rich yuppies.  Which storyline should the episode pursue?  "We could take the house idea and the baby idea and … merge them somehow," Dennis muses.  But repeated group cheering cannot be denied: "House, house, house, house, house, house!" the guys chant, motioning Dee out the door to pursue the B story on her own.

The problem with the house that the guys want to flip is that it still has a family living in it.  And a lawyer who knows how to put Charlie's fake attornizing in its place.  Apparently the couple and their two kids have ninety days to move out, but Frank can't wait that long to get to paintin' and knocking down walls and flippin' like crazy.  So Dennis and Mac team up to act as their own realtors and get some potential buyers in while Mom and Dad are at work.  Their concept is good realtor/bad realtor, honey and vinegar.  That's not a metaphor; they pose as Hugh Honey and Vic Vinegar, gold-blazered realtors squirting cheese onto crackers for the open house. 

Hugh never really gets "good realtor" off the ground, though, because crazy Vic goes from glowering at the guests to threatening them bodily until they agree to buy the house in order to save their own skins and rush out through the duct-taped front door as fast as possible.  Meanwhile, Charlie has taken nineteenth-century offense at the lawyer dissing his skills, and based on an illustration in an old book that Dennis describes as "two trannies shooting at each other," challenges the lawyer to a duel … before backing out hastily when his opponent enthusiastically agrees.

Time to merge those stories, Frank suggests.  So everyone hightails it over to the yuppie mansion where Dee has been ingratiating herself with the childless couple who foolishly decided to go outside the agency to find a surrogate.  "Any history of mental illness?" they ask tentatively.  "Well, my brother's a dick, if that counts!" Dee responds brightly.  She goes from trying to upsell the couple on the number of kids ("You want to do an Octo-Mom thing?  You wanna outdo that bitch?  'Cause I'll have that conversation!") to demanding a loaner swimsuit for a dip in their backyard pool, lest her "tubes get all tangled up."

Of course that all comes crashing down when Hugh and Vic, now posing as the homosexual couple who have a prior claim on Dee's surrogate womb, Frank on the run from the lawyer who caught him injuring the children by having them tear out copper pipes with their bare hands, and Charlie fearing for his life, all clamber over the backyard fence (Charlie and Frank ignoring the gate) to ruin Dee's chances of wealth.  You think these crazy people are going to listen to some mere homeowners demanding that they get out?  Nope, the stories merge with everyone diving into the pool for a game of chicken.

Just one episode and we're out, because FX has big super-secret plans to show some cartoon show with nudity.  That's a good thing, because with Sunny you want to be left wanting more.

Grade: B+

Stray observations:

- I'm gracefully (I hope) stepping away from Sunny coverage week in and week out.  After two years on the beat, I think I've said all I can say about the show and its style of comedy.  It's my hope that there will still be coverage on the TV Club, but your host for said coverage has yet to be determined.  Maybe if you all reach consensus on who ought to do it, we can bully them into it.  I recommend rhythmic, irresistible chanting of their name.

- At least one immortal line in this episode, from the cold open: "It's just that bird law in this country is not governed by reason."

- Frank knows the first rule of flipping a house.  "You gotta look for shit on the walls, 'cause the people moving out just smear feces all over the walls."

- Dennis, wishing he's chosen Dee's storyline: "It's been like forever since I swam in a pool!"

- Frank to the kids: "We're gonna go paint your room a color that's not stupid. Then we're going to throw your toys in the trash."

- Homosexual Hugh: "I'm a power bottom." Homosexual Vic: "Only because I generate so much power from the top."

- "Let's say you've learned your lesson now; I've learned a little lesson."

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