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DVD Review: It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia – “A Very Sunny Christmas”

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It's Always In Sunny In Philadelphia is a series that runs on the FX network and follows the misadventures of Mac, Dennis, Charlie, Dee, and Frank, collectively known as “the gang.” The show premiered in 2005 and while it was funny, it didn’t really start to click until the second season when Danny DeVito joined the cast as Frank.

The members of the gang are miserable individuals who run a run-down bar called Paddy's Pub in Philadelphia. They are always hatching schemes to get ahead in life while avoiding the necessary hard work involved. Things always start off strong with a scheme, but quickly fall apart and the gang can easily stab each other in the back as well as revel in each other’s misery. The show is funny and un-PC and I look forward to each episode to watch how sick and twisted the show can get.

The series is currently is in its fifth season, with a guarantee of at least seven. The show has never done a Christmas episode, and since that time of year is supposed to be about kindness to others, it would be a perfect playground for the series. "A Very Sunny Christmas" was originally supposed to be the season finale, but because of its content they decided to release it as a direct-to-DVD special.

It’s Christmas time and the gang are their usual miserable selves, but even more so because of all the bad memories they have of Christmas. Dennis (Glenn Howerton) and Dee (Kaitlin Olson) are mad at their step-dad Frank (Danny DeVito) because as children he would buy gifts that they would want, but then keep them for himself. Twenty years later he’s still doing it and Dennis and Dee have had enough. They hatch a scheme to “Christmas Carol Frank’s ass” to get back at him.

Then there’s Charlie (Charlie Day) and Mac (Rob McElhenney), who are also trying to exorcise their own childhood memories of Christmas. They come to realize how dysfunctional their childhoods were, as Mac comes to discover that his family's tradition of going to other people’s homes and taking their gifts (which was the explanation he was given as to why there were never any gifts at his house) was just stealing. It finally dawns on Charlie that the tradition of a Santa coming to his house with a present and then “spending time with his mom” was just his mom being a prostitute.

Dennis and Dee’s scheme goes awry when Frank hijacks the “Scrooging” and does it his own way. Things aren’t good for Mac and Charlie either as Mac tries to give back some of the gifts he took 20 years ago and the victims are less than willing to forgive him. So he and Charlie go to the mall to get new gifts and Charlie attacks the mall Santa, thinking he's one of his mom’s former customers.

The special is very funny and even includes a “Rankin/Bass” type of sequence. Rankin/Bass Productions did the old Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and Frosty the Snowman stop-motion animation specials of the 1960s and this sequence is an episode highlight.

The special runs 43 minutes so it’s basically a double length episode with a bigger budget, more profanity, and on the downside there’s Danny DeVito’s naked butt on the screen.

The extras include a few deleted scenes of young Mac and Charlie, an under 10-minute behind the scenes featurette which could have been a bit longer, and a sing-along. It would have been nice to have commentary since this episode is a bit different than anything the series has done before. It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia: "A Very Sunny Christmas" is definitely worth your viewing time, but if you balk at the price, rent it or put it in your Netflix or Blockbuster queue.

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