Season 8 of It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia was something special. It seemed every episode was better than the last, and the show was funnier, raunchier, and, perhaps most strikingly, more self-aware than ever before. That self-awareness was absolutely hilarious in nearly every instance. Almost every television comedy has tried to make jokes about itself through the years, with the result usually ending up somewhere less than excellent. With Season 8 of Sunny, there was even a whole episode with recycled jokes from previous episodes. And it was all brilliant. So to say Season 9 has some high standards to live up to would be a major understatement.
Just as with the early episodes from the prior season, The Gang Broke Dee was written by the brilliant comedy trio of Glenn Howerton, Charlie Day and Rob McElhenney. The episodes where these three take on the writing duties are usually some of my favorite, so that was another thing bumping those expectations closer and closer to the height of a jet over Philly.
The episode kicks off with Dee drinking and smoking, looking even more run-down than she usually does. It turns out she’s depressed that her life well, sucks, and she’s decided to give up. This leads to the rest of the Gang actually feeling bad, since they think it’s because their years of badgering away at her self-esteem have finally broken her.
To fix this, Charlie, Frank, and Mac decide to get her a gig at a comedy club, while Dennis opts for finding her a below average man to settle down with. While Dennis’ attempts don’t have much success, the comedy club plan actually works, as by some stroke of fate the crowd finds Dee funny. That one success leads to her meeting a manager, whom she promptly sleeps with and gains more gigs. Each show she does leads to a bigger following, until she is contacted by a more prestigious manager to go out to LA and do a bit on Conan that night, all while Dennis is perplexed at her new-found success.
Before everyone can get too excited for Dee, the ending of the episode throws a wrench into all her plans. I don’t want to spoil it in case you’re reading this review before watching, but just know the ending is great. It’s vintage Sunny, showing all the things the Gang is about, plus ending the way every single other episode ends. After all, when the formula works, why change it?