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'It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia' Recap: 'Thunder Gun Express'

Becky Broderick Becky Broderick
December 2nd, 2011 12:54pm EST

Sorry for the delay with today's recap, folks. I was having some Internet problems. I blame Obama.

This week, "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia” tries a theme episode – the action-movie-within-an-action-movie, “Thunder Gun Express” – with mixed results. Although there are some funny moments, it never reaches the level of the brilliant “Community” theme episodes, against which all theme episodes must now be measured.  Compared to its own attempts at themes or gimmicks, this installment of “Sunny” is certainly better than “Frank’s Brother” or “The Gang Cracks the Liberty Bell,” but not nearly as well done as “The Gang Gets Held Hostage” or even the vaguely “JFK”-ish “Who Pooped the Bed?”

Kaitlin Olson in

The basic plot of “Thunder Gun Express” is pretty simple: the gang (minus Frank) has tickets to the greatest action flick ever, “Thunder Gun.” Despite having only 24 minutes and no help from Agent Jack Bauer (the man or the cat), everyone is determined to get there on time – even Frank, who’s decided to buy a ticket from a scalper. However, the trip hits a snag when Obama’s presence in Philly causes traffic jams and street closures all over town. With Dennis stuck in traffic, everyone bails out in the hopes of finding a quicker way to the theater. Unlike Thunder Gun, who never leaves a man behind, the gang just can’t manage to stick together. Charlie, Dee and Mac all hop a trolley, leaving the much-slower and fuming Frank on the side of the tracks.  Charlie and Dee take a shortcut through the sewer, leaving a too-fat-to-fit Mac to fend for himself. And Charlie eventually takes off on his own when Dee’s shoe gets caught in a sewer grate. After an unsuccessful motorcycle theft, Mac finds his way back to Dennis (now with the hot Latina he rear-ended…no, not like that) and traffic finally starts moving. Everyone makes it to the theater in time for the movie, except for Frank, who was arrested after stealing a riverboat. Frank uses his one phone call to make a bomb threat against the theater, causing it to shut down just as “Thunder Gun” is about to start.

There were things that I loved about this episode, and things I absolutely hated. So, let me try to break this down good/bad/ugly-style for y’all. 

The good: Mac. Fatty’s on a roll, what with the hilarious, Mac-centric episode last week and now pretty much owning this week’s episode. And he did it in a pretty subtle way. From his coining of the catchphrase, “We’ll come back for yooouuuu!” to claiming that his muscles prevented him from crawling into the sewer to his insistence of wearing a motorcycle helmet to the movie – everything he did was classic Mac. And my favorite part of the whole episode was him grumbling, “Sh!tty bike,” after he failed at trying to ride the motorcycle. 

I felt a little indifferent about Dee and Charlie this time around, and didn’t really buy that Dee would ever willingly go into the sewer let alone show up in public covered in raw sewage (even for a hunky action hero hanging dong), but they’re usually always enjoyable to watch, so I’ll stick them here in the “good” category. And Kaitlin Olson’s jaw-unhinging scream (pictured above) when faced with the wall of “water” was pretty fantastic.

The bad: Dennis. I hate to put Dennis in this category because he’s been so awesome lately, but I thought the Dennis-is-a-sexual-predator thing was pushed a bit beyond a believable limit. I mean, it’s one thing for Dennis to videotape all of his sexual conquests, but now we discover that he also audio tapes them? And not just the sex, but the whole boring pre-sex conversation? And that he carries these tapes around with him in his car so he can pop them in whenever he wants? Come on. I think he’d rather listen to some Steve Winwood CDs. Sure, this storyline provided some nice callbacks to “The D.E.N.N.I.S System” and “Underage Drinking: A National Concern,” but it was just kind of lame…even if Dennis got a hand job out of the deal.

The ugly: Frank. I almost couldn’t believe it when Frank, having stolen the tour boat, started regaling the passengers with stories from his life. It was like a half-assed version of a clip show. As I mentioned above, there were some fun, subtle callbacks in this episode (including a reminder that Dee has huge clown feet), which just made Frank’s barrage of “remember the time” references seem even more forced.  Although I did laugh out loud when he announced, “One of the things I like doing most is banging whores.” He should have just talked about how much he likes banging whores for the whole tour.

Grade: B- 

Random Thoughts:

• I got a chuckle out of the idea that Obama was screwing up everyone’s day, because he did it to me once. When I was living in NYC, I was supposed to meet some friends over on Governor’s Island, to watch Prince Harry play polo. But when I got to the ferry, they shut it down because Barack and Michelle were coming to town for a “date night” and they had to land their helicopter there. So, basically Barack Obama ruined my chances of marrying some royal ugly dude. 

• Best  quotes:

“It looked like a button in a fur coat.” – Dee (in reference to seeing Mac’s dong)

“Look at Queen Dee, who’s too good to get naked with her buddy all of a sudden!” – Charlie

“He thunder-gunned the sh!t out of us!” – Mac 

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