Charlie Kelly has always been known as one of the least-intelligent characters on television. The jokes about his illiteracy and failure to understand the world have been some of the funniest It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia cranks out, and they’ve been flying at us ever since season 1. But how would the Gang, and the show, change if Charlie wasn’t at the bottom of the IQ charts? What if there was a way for him to be more than just average, but actually become a genius? Well that’s what the show explores with Flowers For Charly, I mean, Flowers For Charlie.
The episode begins in a science classroom, where the Gang has gathered to be part of an experiment in human intelligence (it also pays $1,000, which is why they’re there.) It turns out the scientists aren’t looking for the smartest person there, but rather the least intelligent, which means it’s a no-brainer that Charlie is selected. They give Charlie pills that increase his intelligence exponentially, until finally Charlie is listening to Mandarin language tapes and classical music while siding with Shakespeare as he reads War and Peace. Very atypical behavior for a man who doesn’t even own a toothbrush.
This is another episode that throws a twist in at the end, meaning at this rate season 9 may well be remembered as the season of twists. As usual, I won’t go into too many details regarding the specifics of the twist, but this one was fairly predictable. I will say the fact the characters address what everyone was thinking made it seem a little less likely, but there are definitely clues throughout that keep things smart and will make this episode even more enjoyable the second time around.
I’ve written a few times this season about how the jokes seem to have drifted away from Charlie and onto the other characters. While everyone is funny in their own right, there isn’t any question that Charlie Kelly is the funniest character on It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia. This episode brings everything back to Charlie, with the other characters taking a very distant back seat. While I don’t like to see anyone take a back seat, and the balance of the characters is part of what makes the show so funny, if someone is going to be substantially at the forefront, it should be Charlie.