Always the beer-soaked, vomit-stained bridesmaid but never the bride, FXX’s gloriously grody sitcom It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia is back for a 10th (!) season of mayhem. And over its 10 criminally overlooked years—its pair of Emmy nods have come for “Outstanding Stunt Coordination”—Rob McElhenney’s series has cemented its status as the white-trash Seinfeld, a no-holds-barred and city-centric assault on social mores and the bounds of political correctness.
And if you basked in the glow of Kristen Wiig’s woozy, mile high I’m read-ay to par-tayyy! class warfare gambit in Bridesmaids, you’ll love Always Sunny’s season premiere.
The show’s season opener is set aboard a cross-country airplane flight to Los Angeles. The gang has sprung for these airline tickets with a goal in mind: to break former Red Sox slugger Wade Boggs’s drinking record.
“The man’s a legend,” says Charlie. “He drank 50 beers on a cross-country flight and then absolutely destroyed the Seattle Mariners the next day, OK? That’s why we’re doing this—to honor his memory. Rest in peace, Wade.”
Well, Boggs isn’t dead, and Charlie’s math is about as shoddy as his grammar. Legend has it the Hall of Fame third baseman was such a prolific guzzler of Miller Lites that he’d regularly crush six-packs in the clubhouse in a matter of minutes. But when you got him on a plane, he’d really let loose. Rumor has it that as a New York Yankee late in his career, during his team’s cross-country flights from New York to Seattle, Boggs would regularly take down 50 beers in the air, and that number once ballooned to as high as 64.
On the season premiere, the gang, as is their wont, inflates that number to 70, making their target 71 beers, and are all sporting white T-shirts with their tallies marked on them. A trashed Sweet Dee jumps ahead of the pack with 29 beers consumed to Charlie’s 13, Dennis’s 10, and Frank’s eight. Mac, meanwhile, is busy inflating his already gargantuan ego by acting as the self-described “commissioner” of the proceedings, distributing beer, officiating, and hijacking the flight’s public announcement system. His first order of business is to confiscate Dee’s greenies (baseball slang for amphetamines), which she’s popped after prematurely passing out, accusing “Big Bird” of taking PEDs and violating the “integrity” of the game.
Meanwhile, Danny DeVito’s disheveled Frank is vying to become the first member of the “Air Sex Society,” since he apparently has no knowledge of the “Mile-High Club.” Dennis, sensing an opportunity to flex his Narcissus-level ego, bets that he’ll seal the deal first—leading to a hilarious fantasy sequence set to Grieg’s piece “In the Hall of the Mountain King” wherein Dennis, in diabolical D.E.N.N.I.S. System fashion, narrates why the woman in seat 44G makes for the perfect mile-high prey.
“Furthermore, if she was standing you’d notice she has no panty line, giving me five extra seconds to enter her swiftly before she knows that I am not the answer to her problems,” he creepily utters.
An obliterated Dee gets the gang cut off after taking over the intercom, calling herself “Boss Hogg” (from The Dukes of Hazzard) and calling everyone sitting in shock in their seats “bitches” for not matching her 40-beer total.
But have no fear: Mac has stowed 100 beers in a checked bag. “Now, according to movies like Executive Decision and Passenger 57, there is a secret hatch on every plane that allows me to travel freely throughout the aircraft,” he says.
There are myriad other pleasures to be had here, from Dennis having sex with a tattooed girl in the cargo hold to spite Frank (the gal gets attached and claims to be his girlfriend) to a chaotic Charlie who, after his 44th beer, begins hallucinating and has a vision of Boggs (played by the real Boggs), who urges him in his quest.
Viewers also get to witness a drunken DeVito chugging a beer in the middle of an airplane aisle before uttering “it’s so cold” and dropping down to a knee. As the beer begins dribbling out of his mouth—shades of Frank’s “intervention” episode—he says, grimacing and grabbing for the collar of his T-shirt, “There’s so many bubbles.” The scene is so damned hilarious that you can see McElhenney desperately trying not to crack up.
Some of the best Always Sunny episodes involve the gang’s gift for self-flagellation, whether it’s getting addicted to cocaine, eating raw game, popping steroids, or—of course—boozing their faces off, as in “Flipadelphia” or the aforementioned “Frank’s Intervention”/wine in a can episode. “The Gang Beats Boggs” is right up there. Yes, the gang is back, and even though the show’s reached extra innings, it hasn’t lost its considerable bite.
Oh, and as for Boggs’s drinking record? Well, Charlie claims that while they were filming his scenes, the slugger pulled him aside and claimed that he actually drank 107 beers in a single day—that is, if you include the car to the airport, the flight, baggage claim, and that evening’s festivities.