Review: ‘The Gang Group Dates’ to Predictably Awful Results on ‘It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia’

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Last week, the gang from Paddy’s Pub tested themselves against the mythological drinking endurance of Wade Boggs, Hall of Fame 3rd baseman. The episode illustrated that the team behind It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia hadn’t lost a step in their depraved hilarity. This week, the gang ventures into the world of online dating. As with practically everything on Always Sunny, the gang begins this venture in earnest before devolving into spiral of their own delusions. The Gang Group Dates is another funny episode early in the going of Always Sunny’s 10th season, though it isn’t quite as solid as last week’s episode.

After Dee (Kaitlin Olson) finds a boyfriend using a group dating website Bunchers, Dennis (Glenn Howerton), Mac (Rob McElhenney), Charlie (Charlie Day), and Frank (Danny DeVito) decide to give group dating a try. Hosting a Bunchers group date at Paddy’s, Dennis tries to coach Charlie and Mac on how to use the D.E.N.N.I.S. system. Dennis’ attempts to coach Charlie and Mac goes as well as could be expected. During the event, though, Dee discovers that her boyfriend wasn’t as committed as she thought since he’s there to participate in another group date. Dejected, Dee goes onto another site Raters, where women rate men on attractiveness. After discovering himself given a numerical rating of 1, Dennis splits from the group in an attempt to boost his rating. Meanwhile, Frank joins Charlie and Mac in trying to successfully close the deal on a group date. As Dennis is having an existential crisis over his low rating, Dee has started a system of her own where she sleeps with men and proceeds to give them a lower rating. This, in the warped mind of Dee, is an act empowerment. Since this is Always Sunny, none of the harebrained schemes follow through as expected.

The Gang Group Dates highlights that the longevity of the series is playing into the strengths of the writers. With each character thoroughly established over the previous decade, it’s easy to place the characters in situations that play to the characters’ quirks and egos. In this particular episode, the narcissism of Dennis and Dee’s misunderstanding of female empowerment intersect into the main story of the episode. It works so well because Dee is basing her entire notion of female empowerment on Dennis’ own self-absorbed nature. As the show reminds us again and again, these characters don’t operate under anything resembling normal or civilized behavior, so Dee’s attempts to hurt people in a manner that hurts Dennis could only backfire. While Charlie, Mac, and Frank’s quest for a successful group date is an entertaining subplot, the episode’s focus on the competing egos of Dee and Dennis is at the heart of the episode.

It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia has always worked well when placing its egocentric characters in a reality based situation. It’s funny, 10 years later and these characters haven’t ever evolved. They’re not supposed to. The world is constantly changing around them, but within their own little bubble of solipsism and alcoholic depravity the gang is blind to change. That’s a key reason why Always Sunny can enter its 10th season and still crack us up.

It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia airs Wednesdays at 10pm on FX and is streaming through the FX Now app

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