Updated: Sep 3
Seinfeld was something of a Watergate moment for comedic television shows when it first hit the cable airwaves all the way back in 1989. While most other shows around that time were about attractive lifeguards somehow solving crimes or a certain animated middle-American family’s weekly adventures, Seinfeld was talking about the hard-hitting topics like the versatile uses for a deli slicer or the best alternative to Christmas we’ll never get.
Now as you may know Seinfeld as a series is over. Yes, I know, I know it’s upsetting that we don’t get to see Jerry, Elaine, Kramer, George and Uncle Leo anymore. Before all the emotion overwhelms you again, I do have some important news for all you guys… it’s not 1998 anymore. I know it’s hard to hear but Seinfeld’s been over for twenty years now.
Fear not, however, because I’ve got a show that fits snugly into the niche that Seinfeld left in the television landscape with a simple change in location from New York to Philadelphia and the crudeness dialled up past the point of absurdity. Yes, we’re talking about the Paddy’s Pub crew – Dennis, Dee, Mac, Charlie and Frank and the show revolving around their increasingly degenerate behaviour.
If you’re out of the loop about this show and are looking for something like Seinfeld that isn’t scared to go to darker and more depraved places, strap in because it’s time for One Hour impressions.
For those of you that haven’t seen this show, it kicked off in August 2005 with a group of friends – Dennis (Glenn Howerton), his sister Sweet Dee (Kaitlin Olson), the god-fearing bible quoting Mac (Rob McElhenney) and the truly bizarre rat king himself Charlie (Charlie Day) as they run Paddy’s Pub in Philadelphia.
The first season of the show was a fun ride and cemented some of the show’s classic running jokes – Charlie’s pursuit of a hapless waitress, simply known as The Waitress (Mary Elizabeth Ellis), Dennis’ sociopathic tendencies and Mac’s questionable relationship with his religion and his sexuality.
However, while this was all a fun ride there seemed to be this last piece of the puzzle stopping the show from reaching the stratosphere of comedy… enter the Trash Man, The Warthog, and the man with the monster dong – Frank Reynolds (played beautifully by the one and only Danny Devito).
From his introduction, at the start of season two, the show has done gangbusters, with the show being announced for its sixteenth, seventeenth and eighteenth seasons at the end of December 2020.
Now, full disclosure here, I’m only up to about season 8 of the show at this stage having missed out on it when it first started airing. That being said, there are way too many episodes that deserve to be included in this list but I’ve paired it down to my absolute favourites so far.
S02 E09: “Charlie Goes America All Over Everybody’s Ass”
Airing all the way back in August 2006, we’ve got Charlie Kelly becoming an anti-smoking crusader after Dennis blows smoke into his face. His push to ban smoking in the bar divides the bar with Charlie and Dee taking their crusade out to the streets of Philadelphia with Denis, Mac and Frank converting the bar into a utopia for nihilism, implementing an “anything goes” policy for the bar.
Before long, everything’s gone off the rails. Charlie can’t get anyone to listen to his calls for smoking bans and Paddy’s “anything goes” policy goes awry as Frank invites a bunch of Vietnamese gamblers. Their heavy smoking and behaviour drive a bunch of business from Paddy’s causing Dennis and Mac to cancel the policy.
This is the first real episode we get to see Frank’s deviant nature impacting the rest of the group around him and a real sign of things to come.
S05 E07: “The Gang Wrestles for The Troops”
Who doesn’t love wrestling? It’s flamboyant and fun entertainment that you can just switch your brain off and watch uninhibited. This episode is a complete dismantling of wrestling entertainment in spectacular fashion. Charlie convinces the group to put on a wrestling show for the returning troops and they jump on it.
Dennis, Mac and Charlie attend a local amateur wrestling show and hire one of the wrestlers - Da’Maniac (Rowdy Roddy Piper) and plan to fight him under the alias “The Birds of War” until they realise he might be a real maniac. Fearing serious injury, the gang recruit Rickety Cricket (David Hornsby) under the alias “The Talibum”.
On the night of the fight, Da’Maniac is arrested for unpaid parking tickets and the gang decides to fight Cricket themselves. Turns out Cricket is here to fight dirty, throwing sand, taking cheap shots and everything in between. Denis and Charlie get hit with pocket sand and Mac just runs away… all seems lost for the gang.
However, every match has its hero and this day it’s Frank Reynolds aka The Trashman. I love this episode having only watched wrestling with mates and enjoying the spectacle of it while also knowing it’s all bullshit.
S07 E11: “Thunder Gun Express”
The summer’s biggest film is here and the gang is pumped that Dennis got the last four tickets to go see it at the local cinema however, the streets are gridlocked thanks to President Obama’s visit to the city. The gang’s got a half hour to get to the theatre so they pile into Dennis’ Land Rover but the gang bails to go on foot after sitting in the gridlock.
The rest of the gang run to catch up to a trolley and make it except for Frank who can’t run fast enough so is left behind. The madness continues with Charlie, Mac and Dee trying to get into the sewers after the road they need to get down is closed to the public. However, Mac isn’t able to fit into the sewer as he’s too fat.
Shenanigans continue until the gang minus Frank finally make it to the theatre and settle down to watch the show. They never get the chance as Frank calls in a bomb threat to the theatre, cancelling the showing.
This gave me some real Seinfeld vibes while still retaining its own twisted sense of humour.
S04 E13: “The Nightman Cometh”
This episode deserves a special mention just for how much fun it is to see a Charlie Kelly written and produced musical go off the rails due to the selfishness of the rest of the gang. I'm not going to elaborate on this anymore cause this one you really have to watch for yourself.
It’s given us some memorable lines such as having to “pay the troll toll to get into this boy’s hole” and a song about a master of karate and friendship for everyone…
It’s just fucking great.
What’s your favourite Always Sunny in Philadelphia episode? Which one of the gang does the most damage to people around them? Let me know down below.
Enjoyed the blog post? Make sure to subscribe so you know as soon as each new one drops. You also get monthly newsletters from yours truly.
If you're looking for something else to read in the downtime, check out my short stories!
You can also check out my Couch Soup content here.