CAUTION: THIS LIST CONTAINS SPOILERS. INTENDED FOR UP-TO-DATE PHILADELPHIA FANS ONLY!!!
As I said on my "Best Lost Deaths" list, I don't usually write about television shows on this blog. But much like Lost, It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia has become an obsession of mine. I love every episode of this show and even narrowing it down to 25 wasn't easy. Quite simply, my choices are based on the episodes that made me laugh the most and hardest - usually the Charlie moments. Here's what I came up with (feel free to comment if you agree/disagree):
25) "The Gang Gives Frank An Intervention"
Frank is going off the deep end, so the gang decides to intervene by trapping and verbally attacking him. This episode introduced us to wine in a can, and Gail the Snail. There isn't enough salt in the world...
24) "Dennis Reynolds: An Erotic Life"
In hopes of publishing his memoirs, Dennis sets out to re-enact his greatest exploits. He ends up trapped in rehab with a very angry Sinbad and Rob Thomas (Matchbox 20). Meanwhile, Charlie and Dee decide to swap lives - she learns to eat cat food, and he learns the hardships of being a struggling actor. The Laff House scene still makes me hurt from laughing every time I see it.
23) "The Nightman Cometh"
The one-and-only musical episode that inspired a live stage play. Charlie writes a musical based on his life using the "Dayman/Nightman" concept from a previous episode. Dennis plays a boy who loves a coffee waitress but is troubled by a cat-like ninja and a troll. I ranked this popular episode so low because it's not as funny as the others, but it's epic and the songs are great.
22) "Dennis and Dee's Mom is Dead"
Frank and Dee sink to new depths to get back their money, but more importantly, Charlie, Mac, and Dennis try to make new friends. Two words - dick flyer. I also love the depressed Spanish guy Charlie befriends.
21) "Paddy's Pub: Home of the Original Kitten Mittens"
"Are your cats making TOO MUCH NOISE??" In this episode, the Paddys gang gets into merchandising. Not only did this episode give us Charlie's titular invention, but it also introduced the Dick Towel! And of course...egg!
20) "Charlie Gets Crippled"
This episode marked Danny DeVito's entrance into the show. Charlie gets run-over by a van and ends up in a wheelchair. When Frank moves into his apartment and steals his strippers, Charlie turns to impersonating a Nam vet. Needless to say, the result is hilarious. Meanwhile, Mac, Dee, and Dennis pretend to be crippled to gain pity and attention.
19) "Mac Bangs Dennis' Mom"
To get out of doing work, Dennis threatens to bang the Waitress if Charlie doesn't agree to take his old job back. So when Charlie finds out that Dennis' mom wants to bang Mac, Charlie uses it to his advantage and manages to turn the Waitress against Dennis. Charlie hilariously manipulates everyone in this episode - though his plan tragically backfires in the end.
18) "Charlie Has Cancer"
This episode re-created the unaired pilot. Believing Charlie to have cancer, Mac and Dennis set out to get him laid, even going so far as to bribe the Waitress. Meanwhile, Mac fools around with a tranny. The Rick Astley montage is fantastic.
17) "Sweet Dee Has a Heart Attack"
Sweet Dee has a brush with death, while Charlie and Mac get a new job in order to get health insurance. The highlight is Charlie's descent into madness in the mailroom. "CAAAAROL!! CAAAAROL!!"
16) "The Waitress is Getting Married"
After finding out the Waitress is getting married, Mac and Dennis attempt to get Charlie back on the dating scene. Ghouls, magnets, and milk-steak. And your finest jellybeans, raw. Two singular scenes that make this episode fantastic.
15) "The Gang Dances Their Asses Off"
When Charlie accidentally puts Paddys up as a prize in a dance marathon, the gang must enter the contest to win back their own bar. They back-stab the hell out of each other in this fun episode. I love Mac's fight-dancing, Charlie's 8th-grade choreography, and the delightful presence of both Cricket AND Waitress!
14) "Sweet Dee is Dating a Retarded Person"
Dennis and Dee argue over whether or not Dee's rapper boyfriend is a retard, while the rest of the gang attempts to form a band. "I'm Holland Oats, you're Peter Gabriel." In this episode, Charlie writes Nightman. As a result, Charlie is tossed from the band and from the ashes, a new hero is born - Dayman. Ah-AHHHH-ahh!
13) "The Gang Finds a Dead Guy"
Mac and Dennis fight over the grieving grandaughter of a man who died in their bar. Meanwhile, Charlie agrees to accompany Dee to a nursing home to visit her grandpa. Dee's absolute disgust with the elderly + Charlie in a Nazi uniform = GOLD!
12) "Mac is a Serial Killer"
When a serial killer is on the loose in Philly, the gang assumes it must be Mac, who's been acting strangely. Highlights: Charlie playing lawyer, and Frank desperately wanting to torture someone with a chainsaw. The ending is great. "I'll allow it."
11) "Hundred Dollar Baby"
While Dee learns to defend herself in all the wrong ways, Mac and Dennis train Charlie to be an underground fighter. Dee is especially funny in this episode. Watching her and Charlie go through roid rage is epic hilarity. "I will eat your babies!"
10) "The Gang Solves the North Korea Situation"
When a Korean bar threatens to take away their business during a pub crawl, the gang attempts to infiltrate the Koreans and steal their microbrew recipe. I don't know about you, but I love a good Kim Jong-Il joke. This episode also gives us the duster and a door that may or may not be marked "private" :)
9) "Dennis and Dee Go on Welfare"
A great example of just how depraved this show can get. Frank hires "welfare slaves" to run the bar; meanwhile, Dennis and Dee get addicted to crack in their efforts to get on welfare. This is one of those classic episodes you watch and think, "Are they really doing this??"
8) "The Gang Goes Jihad"
The gang is being evicted by an Israeli man who bought the land underneath Paddys. When lawyers cannot help them, the gang takes matters into their own hands and they make a Jihad tape. Charlie's final line in this episode remains one of my all-time favorites.
7) "Charlie Got Molested"
Everyone thinks Charlie was molested by his old gym teacher (Mr. Belding cameo FTW!) after a lawsuit claims some other students were molested. This episode introduced some of the greatest secondary Sunny characters - the McPoyle brothers and Charlie's Uncle Jack.
6) "The Gang Gets Invincible"
Mac, Dee, and Dennis try out for the Philadelphia Eagles. Meanwhile, Frank trips on acid and Charlie busts out the infamous Green Man suit in its first appearance. The McPoyle's make another hilarious appearance here, as well. "What is THAT a jar of?"
5) "Charlie Goes America All Over Everyone's Ass"
Mac and Dennis turn Paddys into a no-rules Mardi Gras environment, which backfires terribly on them. Meanwhile, Charlie turns into an aggressive USA patriot. "ROCK, FLAG AND EEEEAAAGLE!" One of the show's funniest moments ever - and it was totally improvised.
4) "The Gang Solves the Gas Crisis"
The gang devises an ingenious plan to buy oil, store it, and sell it later at a higher price. When the bank turns them down for a business loan, they fill some drums with gasoline and ride it around in Frank's "rape van." This episode introduced Charlie as the wildcard, and as a southern oilman. "We'd love to fill you up, if you'd be so inclined as to let us!"
3) "The Gang Gets Held Hostage"
The McPoyle's hold the gang hostage inside Paddys. Meanwhile, Frank is lost inside the ventilation system. The gang is forced to dress like McPoyles and destroy the bar. Dee gets Stockholm Sydrome. Many awesome Die Hard references. "Ryan - stab somebody!"
2) "Frank Sets Sweet Dee on Fire"
While Dennis tries to make Dee famous as a drunk clubwhore, Charlie, Mac, and Frank set out to make their own news for public access television. My favorite moments: Charlie's freak-out over the tape; the many times Dee gets set on fire while trying to rescue kittens; and of course, dancing guy.
1) "Mac and Dennis: Manhunters"
Frank mixes his life up with Rambo; Mac and Dennis hunt Cricket for sport; Charlie and Dee think they are becoming cannibals. Three of the funniest scenarios ever in one great episode. Dee eating her sub like a giant bird (see above) is one of the funniest things Kaitlin Olson has ever done - kills me every time.