I’m Really Into It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia. It’s one of my top 5 favorite shows of all time. For the past decade it has been one of the most provocative, hilarious shows on television and it rarely gets the credit it deserves. Even though I love the show, I have to admit that every time a new season is about to premiere, I get nervous. I always wonder if this is going to be the season it starts to fall off, quits being fresh, or makes me think that possibly that should have ended it the season before. After watching the Season 12 premiere, I can take a deep breath. I loved it.
The Gang Turns Black uses many of the same tactics the show has refined over the years and it continues to work. To a casual viewer of it may seem that in this episode they are jumping on the musical bandwagon, but those of us who watch the show know that music has been a vital part of the formula, and Charlie Day (and Charlie Kelly) is a musical genius. The episode weaves Quantum Leap, The Wiz and racism in America perfectly – what other show could do that?!?
I grew up a fan of The Wiz because my cousin had a copy on VHS and we LOVED Michael Jackson and Diana Ross’ version of Wizard of Oz. It just so happens that he was in town when we watched this episode last night which made it really special. It starts off with the gang watching the musical (thanks to Old Black Guy) only to get shocked and all five of them turn black. Then they try to find out what the meaning is. Dee suggests that since they could only see the new versions of themselves in the mirror, it must be a Quantum Leap thing. And so begins hilarious social commentary on racism in our society.
No other show is able to do what Sunny does. Southpark may come close, but it is easier to have horrendous characters that are cartoons. And the characters, as abhorrent as they always are, do have a deep discussion on race. The Gang decides to split up into groups and try to find out the rules for when you “just turned black and can’t switch back,” and see what it is like to be on the other side. I think a few quotes will best describe the episode:
Mac: “I mean, we did have a black president before the orange one.”
Frank: “So what? Doesn’t mean I want to watch Orlando Bloom in Boyz n the Hood.”
Charlie: “I don’t think we should make wild assumptions about black people based on what they have in their pockets.”
Mac: “Oh, right, that’s the lesson we have to learn: that black people will ruin your credit.”
Dennis & Mac: “We’re church blacks!”
Mac: “Well maybe that’s the lesson we have to learn. If you are an upstanding member of society than the police will treat you with respect.”
Scott Bakula: “Ziggy if you hear me take me far, far from here. Leap me to ’89 that was a better year. I miss my old Camaro and my mansion in Van Nuys. Wish I still hung with Nash Bridges and played poker with The Fall Guy.”
Charlie: “Maybe that’s the lesson here. Things are not always that clear. We have a lot in common, but too much it is fear.” Then he is shot by the police.
This group continues to churn out creative material and I am excited for what the rest of the season has in store.