The Sunny gang proves that their extended FX contract was well worth it, as they give us some truly epic moments in this new thirteen-episode set. Each character gets their moment to shine, and it’s just about the funniest thing on television.
Kaitlin Olson outshines the boys in this fourth season, giving us some of the funniest moments of the year. Subtle and seemingly unaffected by what she is forced to do on-screen; Olson has given herself over to one of the more tragic female characters in any American sitcom to date. Where the heck is her Emmy? And the show's finale is classic American television at its finest. They don't just rape and pillage a funny idea, the push it to new and fantastic levels.
There just aren't enough special features on this disc. And some people will find the Poo-bed episode a little too crass and unmanaged even for the Sunny gang. Which, to me, makes it even funnier. It's not their best moment, but it certainly sums up the series as a hole, as these guys seem to be sh*tting in the bed of classic sitcom storytelling.
Its Always Sunny in Philadelphia is now in its fourth year, and the show has only gotten better. It truly reached its apex in season three, with the entire series congealing as a wholly entity not to be f*cked with. Mac, Sweet Dee, Charlie, and Dennis have all found their own proper footing, and it's hard too root for any of them. Or pick a single one as a favorite, as they are all given many moments to shine and wallow in their self-made filth. This crazy gang brings a much-needed whacked out sense of extremist humor to our otherwise totalitarian airwaves, and their shenanigans hearken back to such true classics as Seinfeld and Cheers. Only with a more twisted bent. Danny DeVito, with his hair growing more and more out of control with each ensuing episode, is a fantastic cherry on top of this sh*t sundae, and he turns in some career best work. He even goes as far as to parody his own role in One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest. While Charlie "Charlie" Day, Rob "Mac" McElhenney, and Glenn "Dennis" Howerton continue to thrust forward at hyper speed, wearing their characters like a fist thrusting punch line, its Kaitlin Olson, the lone female of the group, that is the true break out star of season four. She has crafted one of the most empathetic sad sacks on television, and each new indignity forced upon her creates something unique in the realm of serialized television. She is hilarious, and unapologetically so. As with past seasons, the gang attempts to tackle hot bed issues of the moment, kicking things off with the gas crisis. In "The Gang Solves the Gas Crisis", the boys figure out their place in the universe, offering up Charlie as the wild card, which leads to one of the best climaxes of the series. Other adventures include Sweet Dee and Charlie getting hooked on human meat, a revenge plot that has Mac banging Charlie's crush "The Waitress" (played by the great Mary Elizabeth Ellis), Charlie and Mac faking their own death, and Dennis writing an erotic tell-all that eventually lands him in the loony bin with comedian Sinbad and Matchbox Twenty frontman Rob Thomas. The weirdest episode, which has been called one of the worst by some of the show's biggest fans, is "Who pooped the Bed?" This mystery of sorts is exactly what it sounds like. Frank (DeVito) and Charlie have found a turd between them on the bed in the morning (you'll know why they sleep together if you've seen past episodes). Artemis (Artemis Pebdani), Dee's friend, takes to solving the case, which involves some pretty juvenile scenarios. The crowning jewel of this set is "The Nightman Cometh", which takes the popular song from season three and turns it into a live stage show complete with Sweet Dee as a fairly princess and DeVito as a toll-collecting troll. Charlie has concocted this miserable masterpiece of hilarity for one sole purpose. To propose to "The Waitress". Which goes over as well as you'd think it would. It certainly is a great way to cap off the season.
There are only three special features here. Too bad there aren't more. Some behind the scenes footage would have been nice, or the gang's reception at Comic Con. Maybe an audio commentary or two from some of the secondary characters on the show? It would have been great to hear David "Rickety Cricket" Hornsby's take on "The Gang Crack's the Liberty Bell", as he spends the entire episode getting spat on by his cast mates. There is one moment where Charlie spits right into the poor man's mouth, and you can tell it isn't scripted. What we do get is a blooper reel, which is far too short and not quite as funny as one would hope. We get the full-length "The Nightman Cometh" live show the gang did at the Troubadour, which offers some new songs along with scenes that were deleted from the broadcast version of the show. Finally, we have an all-new mini-episode featurette called "Dennis Reynolds: An Erotic Life". Dennis takes some of the excerpts from his "sexy" memoir and re-enacts them in a Masterpiece Theater type setting. It's as funny as it is disturbing, and almost makes up for the lack of more traditional special features. Which, I guess, might have been kind of boring anyway.
All thirteen episodes are presented in their full-frame 1.33:1 aspect ratio. On three discs. In color. The entire set runs for a total of 227 minutes.
Each episode is presented in English Dolby Digital Surround. It is closed captioned for the hearing impaired, with subtitles in English, French, Spanish, and Portuguese.
The front cover replicates the original promo art used when season four was launched on FX last fall. We get the traditional Sunny yellow background with a bull sh*tting out the heads of Dee, Dennis, Charlie, Mac, and Frank. It is quite iconic, but might confuse costumers as to which season they are picking up, since they all look the same. The back cover gives us a cast shot from "The Nightman Cometh" along with a nice, crazy shot of Danny DeVito. The yellow and black is pretty strong, and could attract audience members that don't know what they are in for.
THE FINAL WORD
Not the best season, not the worst season, this set is definitely worth picking up simply because it contains some signature episodes that will go down as Sunny's best. If you are a fan, you probably already own it. If you're new to this crazy universe, you might want to try one of the earlier seasons first. Then you'll know if this is worth your time. It's an acquired taste, but the fact that it's sold out across the city means quite a few people have acquired a taste for it. Sunny in Philadelphia Season 4? It's kind of like human meat. And it will give you worms.