This week on "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia,” the gang introduces us to Chardee MacDennis. Although that sounds like a character from some terrible young adult fiction series, it’s not. It’s a game. Actually, to quote Charlie, “it’s not just a game, it’s a war.”  

It seems that once upon a time, the gang created their own board game – a game that is once again being dusted off as an antidote to mind-numbing boredom. I immediately love this idea because I remember back to when I was a kid and how my friends and I would occasionally attempt to create the “best game ever” and fail miserably. Everyone did that, right? Those games were always ridiculously random, convoluted and ultimately no fun because young minds aren’t the best at planning. But the Sunny gang…well, they’re good at planning. Er, scheming. And best of all they’re adults, so any game they concoct can and should include a lot of drinking.

Still, Chardee MacDennis is by no means easy to follow, as Frank finds out when he joins Charlie and Mac’s team. (The board is literally a board, the game pieces are Barbie dolls and action figures, and the whole thing is basically a mish-mash of existing board games .) In short, the game is a drunken race through three levels – Mind, Body and Spirit – each with its own set of challenges (trivia/puzzles, pain/endurance, emotional battery) and required form of alcohol (wine, beer, hard liquor). Game time is only 15 minutes long, but can be dragged out due to time outs and/or injury stoppages. The winning team gets to smash the losing team’s game pieces, which doesn’t seem like much but is obviously very gratifying to Dennis and Dee, the reigning champs.

There is an extensive rule book, which Dennis glosses over in favor of letting Frank learn as he goes. Frank costs his team when he breaks two of the biggies (don’t ask any questions, don’t curse) and when he draws the Go to Jail card, which requires him to sit in a dog kennel until he eats all the ingredients that go into a cake. However, Frank’s time in “jail” turns out to be a blessing when, after Dennis throws beer in his face, he discovers that Dennis and Dee have been drinking water the whole time – a discovery that allows Mac, Charlie and Frank to jump up a level. The game ends in a tie, a problem with a lazy solution according to the rule book: flip a coin.  Of course, Fate is just as much of a cruel bitch as either of the Reynolds kids, and in the end, poor Mac and Charlie have to watch their already mangled game pieces get stomped again.  The end.

Yes, the episode ended rather abruptly, which felt rather unsatisfying at first. Was I expecting the underdog to actually win? Maybe. Did I forget what show I was watching for a second? Apparently. But once I remembered, the ending made total sense. And it’s real. Dennis and Dee are exactly the kind of a-holes who will always come out on top, no matter how badly everyone wants them to lose. It kind of makes me wonder why Dennis spends so much time joining in with the guys to belittle and torment Dee, and why she spends so much time trying to one-up him. They’re so much stronger together. Well, except for that time they got hooked on crack.  

Grade: B

Random Thoughts:

• Both FOX and DIRECTV (which I have) are greedy scumbags. Work this sh!t out, people.

• Based on the game's name, doesn't it make more sense that the teams would have been Charlie/Dee, Mac/Dennis? But I guess Chardee MacDennis rolls off the tongue better than Charmac Dendee.

• Prefacing the pre-game “Gentlemen…suck my dick” (Dennis’ version of “Let’s get ready to rumble”) and insane Maori war dances with a tasteful wine and cheese reception was brilliant.

• I loved that the board had to be nailed down to prevent Mac from flipping it over. Yay! Get rid of fat Mac. Bring back angry rage-a-holic Mac!

• So, Dennis thinks that Chumbawamba is the greatest band in the world. I wonder who’s his favorite solo artist? It’s gotta be either Rick Astley or Steve Winwood, right?

• Not sure which was funnier – Charlie not realizing that the poorly worded trivia question was clearly written by him (“Dennis is a-hole. Why Charlie hate?”) or Dennis uncontrollably shaking and nearly turning blue to keep from blurting out the answer (“Because Dennis is a bastard man!”).

• Best quotes:

Charlie: "I’m not gonna play any game in which I’m not getting annihilated."

Dennis: “If only the answer was ribs!”

Charlie and Mac: "No puzzles, no puzzles, no puzzles, no puzzles!"

Charlie and Mac: "Cheese and crepes!”