Catching Up With The Gang: An “It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia” Recap

With The Office returning with an hourlong episode last night on NBC, and two new episodes of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia airing on FX, I watched so much TV last night that my left eye has been twitching all morning. Then again, that may be the result of the stress caused by watching my beloved Cubs send Steve Trachsel to the mound yesterday in a critical game against Florida. The Cubs disappointed but It’s Always Sunny didn’t.

The first episode, “The Aluminum Monster vs. Fatty McGoo,” featured go-to guest star Judy Greer — who you might remember as the bearded lady from My Name Is Earl — as Dee’s former friend/nemesis Ingrid Nelson. It seems Ingrid, who was known in high school as Fatty McGoo, has slimmed down and opened her own clothing store after being inspired by Dee’s own claims that one day she’d become a famous fashion designer. After all, if “the Aluminum Monster” — as Dee was known in her back brace days — could do it, why couldn’t Fatty McGoo?

Dee decides to one-up the former Fatty, and make good on her high-school boasts. She convinces Charlie to sew her dress design since she, as Charlie puts it, sews like “her hands have been smashed by hammers.” Dennis, out to prove he’s still a winner and that he hasn’t peaked, decides to design a dress of his own and sell it to Ingrid.

Dennis and Dee’s entrance into the fashion world inspires Frank and Mac to open up a sweat shop staffed with Eastern European women who smell like sausage. All the while, Frank mentors Mac in the art of manipulation, with lessons in employee relations such as: “You’ve got to rant and rave and yell at people — then they learn they place.” Of course, when Mac tries to put into practice what he’s learned, Dee only tells him that his breath “smells like an old-lady fart passing through an onion.”

Dee never completes her design, while Dennis tries repeatedly to force his on Ingrid — because winners “don’t listen to words like ‘do’ or ‘don’t’ or ‘stop.'” They do, however, think they look good in own their ultra-slutty dress designs, as Dennis proves when he shows up at Ingrid’s store in drag because he’s convinced his model wasn’t attractive enough to do the dress justice.

In “The Gang Solves the North Korea Situation,” a new bar — owned by an androgynous and dictator-like Korean named Mr. Kim — threatens Paddy’s status as the last stop on the annual pub crawl that accounts for the gang’s most profitable day of the year. Concerned about the draw of the new bar’s karaoke contest and enriched microbrew, Dennis and Charlie go on a recognizance mission where they meet up with a disgruntled employee named Sun-Li. Charlie quickly defeats Dennis in a battle for Sun-Li’s affections despite the fact that she saw Charlie eat a Hot Pocket out of the garbage. We later find out, after Charlie and Sun-Li get engaged, that she is Kim’s daughter … and only 12 years old. Ultimately, both bars lose out on pub crawl day because Kim shuts down his bar to search for his missing daughter, and the only participant in Paddy’s wet t-shirt contest ends up being Frank.

The rest of the episode was filled with some pretty great moments, like Charlie mistaking a “private” sign for a “pirate” sign, and wondering out loud if a pirate actually lived in Kim’s bar. And Mac describing his new leather duster — which he thinks makes him look like Lorenzo Lamas — as being “like a jacket, only it’s longer, thicker and far more badass.” And Mac, Dee and Frank taking on the roles of Simon, Paula and Randy during tryouts for their pub crawl talent show. I could go on and on.

Both episodes were strong and, more importantly, both continued this season’s trend of Dennis appearing shirtless. Dude just like to pop his shirt off. Sure, he’s the only one who finds it sexy, but it’s always funny. And that’s all we ever ask. Here’s looking forward to two more episodes next week.