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  • Writer's pictureHannah Pearson

The Gang Acknowledges the Pandemic: “A Year in Review” Review


Spoilers For: ASIP S15.1

Start prepping your Rum Ham and throw on some Kitten Mittens because the Always Sunny gang is back for a historic 15th season and our Paddy’s Pub posse is letting you know that no, 2020 wasn’t all a dream.

On the first day of Christmas, our true loves gave to us episode 1 entitled “2020: A Year in Review.” We find out just what our incorrigible,lovable, rapscallions have been up to while we were all downloading Zoom. Dennis and Mac’s attempt to break into the country music leads them to a virtuous quest to help Philly voters settle once and for all who is the better athlete: Donovan McNabb or Rocky Balboa. Their good intentions paved the road to Hell–waiting for the votes to be tallied for the Presidential election. Meanwhile, Frank starts up a side hustle ala Goodfellas and inadvertently becomes Rudy Giuliani’s Fairy Godmother. Too bad Giuliani missed midnight and turned into a motor oil pumpkin on national TV before our eyes.

And lastly, our Wonder Twins: Dee and Charlie, used the power of their rings of stupidity combined to create the wardrobe for the most iconic traitors of the insurrection on January 6th.

By the standards that ASIP set for itself, the episode is a solid B. It’s no “Mac & Dennis Move to the Suburbs” but compared to 99% of television out there it’s a brilliant symphony. Peeking at the setlist and seeing things like “The Gang Buys a Roller Rink” and “Replaces Dee with a Monkey,” there’s no reason to lose sleep at night worrying if after fifteen years the show has lost some of the magic. The kids are alright. I mean they're a bunch of miscreant alcoholics with zero shame . . . but they’re alright.

While the premiere wasn’t a total banger, it did do something that many shows haven’t– that’s say “hey 2020 we see you.” Yes, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia and the pandemic is real.

Sure, some shows weaved it into their universe, Grey’s Anatomy yelled STAT then used it for an entire season’s storyline, but countless shows have glossed over the mask-wearing elephant in the room. Ted Lasso, Insecure, Curb Your Enthusiasm, and others may have dropped a line or joke about the collective agony we endured but they seem to want to ignore it like a Kennedy sister.


Did no one want to revise prewritten scripts to involve the biggest worldwide event of our lifetime? Sure, television is an escape from reality, and maybe Emily having to leave Paris because of lockdowns would have been too big of how you say–la bummer. But at the same time, are we just supposed to believe the collective parallel universe of all television exists without Fauci and everyone suddenly singing sea shanties?

Sorry, folks but the oracle Tommy Westphall says no pandemic.

It’s like when a huge celebrity guest stars and you wonder if that means all that actors’ other work doesn’t exist in that world. Jessica Day can cry to Taylor Swift in New Girl but she can’t notice her sitting in the audience of her best friend’s wedding. Sorry, that’s Elaine. I mean Becky. Whatever.

Then again if every show did make the Covid-19 a season regular then it would probably reek of pandering or throw a log on everyone’s derealization wildfire. We all wondered last year how our favorite imaginary friends in the talking box were going to handle the black swan year. We’re learning now with each season premiere what timeline they’ve elected. The gang opted for the darkest timeline. Our own.

And it doesn’t appear that Sunny is going to keep recapping the apocalypse. Episode 2 moves on quickly to stir the pot of Wokeness with the making of Lethal Weapon 7. Frankly, I don’t think that anyone who watches wants to spend too long reminiscing about last year. The Always Sunny fanbase is not the trauma porn type (just the regular porn type), but it is nice to remember that the magic of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia is that the gang can make anything funny. That special gift seems to be immune to cancellation, and praise Jesus, because, for many real-life human disasters (such as Moi), comedy is the only effective cure for pain.

May the gang take us to seasons 16, 17, and beyond and help us laugh through every global disaster headed our way.

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