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Still from It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, “The Gang Broke Dee” (Season 9, Episode 1, 2013.)

After watching It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, I can always say to myself, “Well, at least I am not that terrible.” The main characters of the show exhibit a wide range of offensive flaws such as alcoholism, gluttony, racism, sexism, homophobia, greed, deceit, ignorance, and much more. What other sitcom has a brother and sister duo smoke crack in order to get on welfare so they can pursue their other dreams? Interestingly, I believe that the unpleasantness of the main characters are intrinsic to the hilarity of the show.

As a viewer, the best part about the show is that I am not rooting for any specific character. I watch to see the gang’s adventure, not to see what the characters are supposed to learn at the end. In my opinion, there is no moral to the shows. In fact, the shows are completely devoid of morality. There is nothing to figure out, which makes the show an easy watch. The characters facilitate this ease and the humor with all the absurd mischief they get in. In one episode the gang is trying to figure out who got Dee pregnant, and in the next the character Frank shows up drunk to his brother-in-law’s funeral, so he can have sex with his sister-in-law. They are all terrible. In turn, I feel better about myself. The show’s sense of humor is definitely offensive, demeaning, and crude. Because of this, the humor is not for everyone. But I view their antics as a form of escapism, as the characters defy social conventions and do as they please. They are the antithesis to the show Friends for me. I enjoy the fact that I do not feel obligated or manipulated into liking any of the characters. They are not likable, which, ironically, is why I like some of them. Even though these characters are hyperboles of negative human characteristics, they seem more real to me. I feel as if some sitcom characters try to be too likable or quirky and I appreciate the bluntness of these characters.

Also, if a character is unlikeable, they can still be relatable. In “The Gang Broke Dee,” Dee eventually reaches a tipping point in the emotionally battery she receives from her friends. She refuses to shower, self-deprecates herself, eats a whole chocolate cake out of the trash, and then proceeds to get exceedingly drunk. While the average individual would not go to such extents to emphasize their unhappiness, everyone has had a terrible week that makes them want to quit on life. In addition, one can live vicariously through Dee’s self-destruction and feel empowered that they have not succumbed that severely to daily pressures. In the end, I am always surprised and never disappointed at the new scenarios the writers are capable of creating.


Andrew Guido

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11 Responses to Filth-adelphia

  1. mediaphiles says:

    I think its interesting that you like unlikeable characters. It is unusual as it would make sense to like the characters that embody good characteristics and one would be adverse to the characters that are bad. I enjoyed your parallelism to Friends and I like the statement you made about Friends liking one character over the other.- Laya Mohan

  2. mediaphiles says:

    I think it is interesting how you talk about the possibility for a viewer to not relate to Dee’s struggles but rather see them and feel better about their own self for not being able to relate to her destruction. I think this concept can relate to how we sometimes pick a funny show to watch when we are sad or a slow show to watch when we want to calm down and relax. Often when we have struggles in something such as school, it brings a sense of relief to see that you are not alone when you walk into the library and see many others with the same struggle and I think that relates to how people may feel when they see Dee’s meltdown in this episode.

  3. mediaphiles says:

    I have a weird time in my mind, reconciling unlikeable characters as likeable, because they are so unlikeable. Is it possible that they are “unlikeable” because they do not share the same value structure that we do, and that is where we find the humor? –Serena Daya

  4. marymdalton says:

    I do the same thing in terms of watching something and comparing myself (whew! my life is so much better than that character’s). Useful strategy!

  5. mediaphiles says:

    I have never watched a show where there was nothing to ponder farther about until I came across this show. I agree with you and find it fascinating yet frustrating to watch a show and not have a plot that extends itself. Instead, it seems to go episode by episode outlined with humor.

    Meghan Murphy

  6. mediaphiles says:

    This is a very good thought. I like the easy watch. Sometimes, I want to take a moment to turn off my brain and just watch some good old-fashioned antics. There is nothing too complex to think about and I don’t have to scratch my head every time asking, “what just happened”? The simplicity of the show is what makes this gang of morally impaired people so lovable!

    -Shelby Halliman

  7. mediaphiles says:

    Everything you said about this show relates to my post about the show “Archer”. Everything about it is crude, so it is not for everyone, but the hilarity is a type of escapism. Defying social conventions is hilarious to watch because few of us have the guts to do it ourselves.

    -turner arrington

  8. mediaphiles says:

    I’ve never watched It’s Always Sunny but I’ve heard such good things about it. It’s funny how shows, especially sitcoms, can demonstrate how much worse a situation could be. I like how you compared this to Friends–who wasn’t rooting for Ross and Rachel? I often find myself way too invested in a show when I’m rooting for a specific character, and so I am curious to see how much I like It’s Always Sunny.

    – Ziba

  9. mediaphiles says:

    I totally agree with you about It’s Always Sunny being the antithesis of Friends. When I watch Friends I envy their laid-back lifestyle in New York City and definitely feel like it’s a far cry from my own life. When I watch It’s Always Sunny I laugh at their ridiculous antics and feel better about myself after each episode. I love that you titled this post “Filth-adelphia” because so often when I watch this show I just think of how gross their living space is and the gross journeys they go on through sewers or Dee’s breakdown.

    Arianna Gershon

  10. mediaphiles says:

    Like Titus Andromedon said in an episode of Kimmy Schmidt: Everyone loves a tragedy. It makes people feel good for feeling bad for another person, and fell even better that it did not happen to them! -Karly Morgan

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