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DVD Review: It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia – Season 3

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If you like watching people trip on acid, get it on with trannies, try their hand at selling drugs, and whoring themselves out to avoid the mob, all while occasionally impersonating cops…well, let's be honest here, we all like that. Therefore, Season 3 of It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia is more than likely for you.

Trying to explain what It's Always Sunny… is almost as productive as trying to explain a joke. If you're seriously trying to dissect it, then you've missed the point entirely. It's simply about self-absorbed people who hang out at a bar (I almost said they worked there, but the working part hasn't quite happened yet). And that's it. It's not really about their back story, or an over-arching plot, or even their goals or aspirations. It's all about dangling candy in front of a child, and every week the candy is a little bit different. Watch them scurry after it!

Okay, it's a little more than that, because it's actually a very clever show about non-clever people. Imagine if the cast of Arrested Development weren't quite so nice and civil, and then agitate them with a cattle prod. That's more or less what happens here. In fact, Danny Devito's role as the father is easily half as paternal as George Bluth, if you can imagine such a thing. The writing is dry, rapid-fire, completely offensive, and downright hilarious.

Season 3 is, in some ways, the first full season of the show. Both seasons 1 and 2 were on the truncated side, so it was interesting to see if the wit of the gang would hold up for the long haul. And it does. Because as soon as they find a dumpster baby and try to figure out the best way to exploit him for their own gain, you realize that they're right at home. All 15 episodes are here – or 14 if you count the two-part "The Gang Gets Whacked" episodes as one, but that's just crazy talk, because they split it up for a reason: to milk it into two episodes.

The three discs of the set are housed in two slim-line amaray cases inside a standard box. The video and 5.1 surround audio are presented well, or as well as the original. After all, they didn't suddenly jump into HD and 7.1 THX surround. It's pretty much what you saw on television, only put in a box.

Bonus features are both scant and only mildly interesting. There are two episode commentary tracks featuring the three main guys, but although they offer a little insight into the show, they're mainly just the three of them hanging out. You hope for the utterly ridiculous, but they only reach the level of your standard commentary tracks. There are also a couple of behind-the-scenes featurettes that are interesting and mildly amusing, but are probably only good for a single viewing. And then of course the token gag reel.

The bonus features are overall disappointing, because you would think that with the pace of the show, there would be several deleted scenes that simply had to be cut out for the sake of time. But no such luck here. Surprisingly, the most interesting bonus feature is a six-minute loop of "Dancing Guy", the cable access show of an old guy dancing in front of green-screened locales, courtesy of the "Frank Sets Sweet Dee On Fire" episode. It's so surreal that it's hypnotic. Seriously, it's difficult to look away.

In the end, though, it's simply about the shows. And Season 3 is just as strong as the first two seasons, and remains one of the more cleverly written sitcoms in recent memory. So stop on in to Paddy's Pub, where everyone might just know your name, but even if they do they couldn't really give a shit.

And yes, Frank is always carrying a gun. So look out.

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About David R Perry