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'It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia' Recap: The D.E.N.N.I.S. System

Becky Broderick Becky Broderick
11/20/2009 12:43pm EST
It's Always Sunny In PhiladelphiaAlthough this week's Sunny didn't have quite the number of laughs as it did last week, when we discovered that Dennis is helpless without Mac, the episode was a nice little showcase for Glenn Howerton to remind us of the Dennis we all know and love, er, loathe.

After receiving an angry voicemail message from yet another of his sexual victims, Dennis attempts to prove to the gang that the girl is actually still crazy about him by explaining The D.E.N.N.I.S. System, his "fool-proof system for getting any chick's undying love."

The D.E.N.N.I.S. System sure did sound familiar, and I'm certain there are plenty of men out there using it. The basic steps to the system are:

Demonstrate value
Engage physically
Nurture dependence
Neglect emotionally
Inspire hope
Separate entirely

Of course, as with anything these guys do, it's not quite as simple as it seems. The 1st step is usually a lie (in his example, since his target is a pharmacist, Dennis fills a prescription for his fake, dying grandmother) and the 2nd step is only accomplished through complex trickery. And it's at step 3 where his reliance on Mac turns up again. When Dennis brings his prey home, Mac (donning "smart guy" glasses and reading a book) refuses to leave the living room couch (ostensibly because there is a black widow spider in his room), forcing Dennis to move the date to his bedroom, where he easily seals the deal.

So, we re-learn what we basically already knew - Dennis cons women into sleeping with him, toys with their heads for a bit, and then drops them like hot potatoes. But we also learn that Dennis takes it to a more sinister place than most men would. Especially in the 3rd step, in which he makes threatening prank calls to his women so that he can be there for them when they freak out, thus nurturing dependence. (Dennis calling his latest victim from a pay phone, rasping, "Welcome to HELL!" in his best devil voice was one of the episode's high points.)

After all the cat and mouse, Dennis unleashes the one-two punch of the final steps. This is where he shows up at the woman's house, proclaims his love, bangs her one last time, and then "slinks out into the night, never to be seen again." And to make sure the "relationship" goes out with a bang, Dennis breaks out the "Top Gun" sex, complete with '80s power ballad, blue light, and lots of silhouetted tongue action.

Dee tries to burst her brother's bubble by explaining the effect his system actually has on women: "You're not winning their hearts; you're torturing them!" But Dennis promises that he'll have Angry Voicemail Girl back by the end of the day. He also warns Dee that her ridiculously nice and compliant new boyfriend (the soldier from the wrestling episode) is probably just "Dennis-ing" her. (This is the one part of the plot that falls flat.)

Keeping the story from becoming too one-note was an examination of how The D.E.N.N.I.S. System affected the rest of the gang. When Dennis heads to the pharmacy to woo back his girl, he runs into Mac, who reveals that he's long been running his own system - Move in After Completion, a more scientific-sounding way of saying that Mac likes sloppy seconds. And who likes sloppy thirds? Well, Frank, of course, who also shows up at the pharmacy, hoping to skip ahead in the sexual food chain by impressing the pharmacist with his "Magnum condoms and a wad of hundreds."

Image © FX

Obviously, Charlie can't be bothered with anyone's table scraps, as his heart still belongs to The Waitress. His bastardization of The D.E.N.N.I.S. System begins by frequently breaking into her apartment to shove hair into her garbage disposal, so that he can break in again to fix it. For some reason, The Waitress doesn't see Charlie as the hero he was trying to portray, and she kicks him out. However, Charlie did find out one important piece of info - The Waitress has a second job at the fair.

Dennis takes everyone to the fair, where he thinks he will find the solution to everyone's problems. He has Mac bring the pharmacist there so she can meet his "grandma," some poor old wheelchair-bound lady who enjoys talking about her family's history of lesbianism. The girl isn't buying the act to begin with, but things only get worse when Frank, pretends to be a doctor and inexplicably announces that Dennis has "the HIV."

Unable to prove his value to The Waitress at the fast pitch game, Charlie gets a carnie to attempt to stab her so that he can swoop in and save her. However, he ends up stabbing Dee with a key after she tries flirting with him to make her boyfriend jealous. As usual, everyone ends up alone and Dennis is positively livid over the gang's misuse of his system.

Grade: B

Becky Broderick
"The Pop Eye @ Starpulse" is a column written by native Pittsburgher and current New Yorker, Becky Broderick. You may contact Becky directly at beckeyeam@gmail.com, or check out her other ramblings on The Pop Eye.

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