When you talk about television success stories, It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia is not likely to be among the first shows that you mention. Whether or not you've heard of it, there is no denying the fact that the trio that got it started struck gold. Charlie Day, Glenn Howerton, and Rob McElhenney shot a pilot for $200 and shopped it around. FX picked it up and they were off. The show found decent success on the cable network, as well as some critical success. Of course, I wasn't so sure about it at first. Rewatching it on DVD for the first time since it originally aired, I have found it to be a much more enjoyable experience.
I have seen the show described as "Seinfeld on crack." That is a pretty accurate description, if you cross it with the setting of Cheers, the single-camera look of Arrested Development, and some decidedly non-PC dialogue. It is about a group of friends doing nothing, or rather the situations find them and much comedy ensues. Charlie (Charlie Day), Mac (Rob McElhenney), and Dennis (Glenn Howerton) are a group of friends from high school who have never grown up. Together with Dennis' sister, Dee (Kaitlin Olson), they run an Irish bar in sunny Philly. The bar never seems to do much business, unless the story calls for it, that is.
When I first saw it, it was paired up with Starved on FX Thursday nights. (I think it was Thursday, maybe it was Tuesday? Doesn't matter.) Starved was the lead-in, and it was not all that good (save for the hilarious enema gone wrong scene). The lackluster lead-in didn't do our Sunny friends any good, yet it was the one to survive to see a second season while Starved has become nothing but a bad memory.
Season one ran seven episodes and aired in August and September of 2005. The episodes all had a slacker's work ethic and a rather cynical attitude. My first impression was that it was being edgy for the sake of being edgy. Watching again, I find a show that had a spot on tone and some fantastic dialogue and goofy characters. The first season brought up issues of racism, abortion, underage drinking, and guns. Generally the four will split to both sides of the issue while never really taking a side. The show presented a sort of heightened reality that feels genuine, yet not really. The dim-witted gang all have faulty brain-to-mouth translators, meaning that whatever comes to mind they say without thinking of the consequences.