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It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia Review: “The Gang Dines Out” (Season 8, Episode 9)

We've all experienced the uncomfortable situation of going out to eat and spotting other friends at the restaurant. Do you go talk to them? Do you have to join them if you do despite wanting to follow your plans of eating who you came with? Do they feel bad that you didn't invite them, and wait a second... why didn't they invite you? Yeah, it's awkward all around, but it's a situation that most of us have found a way to deal with and have a minimal amount of discomfort in the progress. The Gang Dines Out shows that the characters on It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia, have never had to deal with that situation before.

We’ve all experienced the uncomfortable situation of going out to eat and spotting other friends at the restaurant. Do you go talk to them? Do you have to join them if you do despite wanting to follow your plans of eating who you came with? Do they feel bad that you didn’t invite them, and wait a second… why didn’t they invite you? Yeah, it’s awkward all around, but it’s a situation that most of us have found a way to deal with and have a minimal amount of discomfort in the progress. The Gang Dines Out shows that the characters on It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphiahave never had to deal with that situation before.

It makes sense that they would be so uncomfortable. After all, when was the last time the Gang was split up without there being a reason for it? They’re the most co-dependent group of friends on TV, so any separation is enough to cause great discomfort, or even a missing-person’s report.

The reason for their separation in this episode wasn’t any big fight between friends; it was as simple as the various members of the group going their own ways for one night, except they’re so mentally intertwined that their own ways end up being the same restaurant. Mac and Dennis go out to a nice dinner every month, Charlie and Frank are celebrating their anniversary of living together, and Dee… well Dee has a coupon.

Mac and Dennis are sitting down enjoying their meal when they notice Frank and Charlie walk in, despite neither of the first two extending the invite to their other friends. Charlie informs the hostess that it’s their anniversary, and then Frank gives a bit of motivation for a nice table by copping a feel with a 5-dollar bill.

Frank and Dennis are opposed to joining groups, but it’s hard for them to keep Mac and Charlie from gravitating together. Charlie thinks it’s awkward that they aren’t at least going to say hi, and Mac agrees. Both of them keep pestering the point throughout the entire episode, and the resistance by the dominate member of each duo gets more and more definite, until an all-out prank war erupts.

This isn’t a prank war in the same style as The Gang Reignites The Rivalry; it’s much more subtle, with passive-aggressive attempts at showing just how little each duo cares about the other. First, Dennis sends Frank and Charlie a glass of red wine, which Charlie sees as a nice gesture, but Frank realizes that one glass of wine between two people is not nice at all. Frank fires back by sending them a bottle of the most expensive wine in the restaurant, and making sure that the waiter tells them just how expensive it is. Mac thinks this is a kind thing for Frank to do, but Dennis responds by pouring the wine out.

Frank also informs Charlie that his friends don’t care about him as much as they claim, or else they wouldn’t have made him be a janitor. This hits home with Charlie, who must have never before realized that being an equal partner in a bar and doing janitorial work is the short end of the stick when compared with bar tending and managing security.

In a rare moment of vulnerability, Mac reveals that he is upset about how Dennis is always putting him down. He threatens to leave if Dennis won’t say one nice thing. Dennis’ compliment of choice? “Your hair looks small.” Dennis then begins what may be an actually heartfelt compliment, but he’s only on the part where he’s talking about hooking up with some girl on a trampoline back in a high school party when he is interrupted.

The interruption is Charlie standing up and gathering the attention of the whole restaurant to give a toast. He goes on about how a soldier sitting at a nearby table is a real hero, because he wouldn’t make his friend be a janitor, and anyone who doesn’t have sambuca held to the soldier should rot in hell. His toast is received with scattered, awkward applause.

Dennis’ toast is on an entirely new level. He uses it as an opportunity to pay Mac an incredibly roundabout compliment, in which he basically says he had the confidence to do an epic dive and go down on Crissy Orlando on the trampoline because of Mac being there. Mac of course thinks this was about the soldier, and encourages Dennis to go on with his compliment after the toast.

The final straw in the prank war? Frank gets the waiter to turn up the AC since Mac and Dennis are sitting beneath an air vent. This gets everyone mad, and a brawl is about to begin, with Frank wielding a lobster claw, Dennis a fire extinguisher, and Charlie holding a bowl of hot soup. Right before they fight, the waiter falls and spaghetti hits him, all because Dee tied his shoelaces together.

The entire time Dee has been at the restaurant, hiding from the rest of the Gang since she was eating there alone. Her part of the episode wasn’t all that funny, but it was very typical Dee in which she’s a total jerk to the waiter, and tries to get someone to join her table so she won’t look like she’s alone.

The rest of the Gang hasn’t seen Dee the whole time, and they’re reunited by their joy at seeing the waiter fall. They go off to eat together as if the whole awkward evening had never happened, setting them right back to where they were before the episode, just as nearly every week does on this show.

This episode does confirm one major character development. Mac is gay. It’s official. Or at least bi-sexual. This season his interest in men grown from simple admiration over body mass to full on sexual desire. He directly copies the super-erotic Dennis’ action with the waitress, but Mac does it with a man. Thankfully, it was the back pocket, and not the front, or this episode would have had an entirely different focus. I will not be surprised in the slightest if next season we get a Mac Comes Out episode, or even Mac Bangs A Dude. 

The subtle humor and the slow build-up throughout the episode are great, and the conclusion, where none of the characters have really changed in the slightest, is classic It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia.

As much as I enjoyed this episode, there weren’t any moment that I’ll be laughing about for weeks, and the plot wasn’t all the original. That handled it in an effective way though, making for an enjoyable, though not incredible episode. It speaks great volumes to the quality of season 8 that this episode was possibly the worst of the season, and still was thoroughly enjoyable from start to finish.


Other Random Notes

  • Mac says he’s excited to see a waiter pour spaghetti sauce all over himself within the first thirty seconds, and his wish comes true at the end.
  • Frank’s toupee was hardly mentioned other than briefly in Dennis’ toast.
  • “I’m not with her, there’s some shit going down right now.” “No it’s okay, I’m fine. Do you want to split an appetizer?”
  • You need to compliment someone you have nothing nice to say about? Just tell them their hair looks small.
  • Dee used to date a troop, he was “crazy about jean shorts.”
  • Wind Beneath My Wings – Dennis Reynolds
  • Dennis talking about hooking up on the trampoline and what he licked in front of an entire restaurant of people was great. “It was pretty good. It was alright. It wasn’t great”
  • Mac assumed Dennis didn’t want his wobbly chair fixed with a book of matches for fear that the chair would catch on fire. You have to love how his mind works.
  • The highlight of the episode was the awkward, 20 second staredown between Mac and Charlie. Absolutely hilarious.

Be sure to check back next week for a review on the next episode of It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia.

About the author

Alexander Lowe