The Enduring Appeal of It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia

After 10 seasons and 114 episodes, It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia turns ten years old this week. For a sitcom that follows the exploits of a group of depraved, horrible people, this is quite an achievement. Most descriptions fail to highlight what makes it such a smart and funny show, and had I been told that it’s about the offensive behaviour of a group of relatively wealthy white bar-owners, I would have never started watching. There’s an attention to detail that means these characters can be believable as human beings, even when they’re taking part in bizarre schemes motivated by outrageous beliefs. Every storyline is put into motion by each character’s egotism, greed and ignorance, and in return their failure to succeed or grow in any significant way becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. Their unity is never solid – any of them would quickly drop another for personal gain, but they tend to realise that they need each other, simply because no one else will have them. While they rarely are adequately punished for their misdeeds, we see the destruction left in their wake. It’s a compelling indictment of those whose privilege allows them to operate on their own terms, and oppress anyone that they have power over, out of some misguided sense that they are the ones being wronged. It’s Always Sunny accomplishes the difficult task of making a show about awful people who never really change and have it still feel fresh ten years on.

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