Most TV shows don’t last for nearly 10 seasons, much less barely-viewed broadcast network sitcoms that got shuffled to cable after one season, though a few have (and gone beyond) to varying degrees of success. Normally, with comedy series like “The Office” or “30 Rock” I would lament the shows’ still being on the air — proof that new series die so old, tired (relative) ratings stalwarts can lumber all the way to the bank.
But “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” is a different kind of series, one that even in an apparent weaker season six still contains more laughs per scene than some “comedies” have in their entire life spans (I don’t see a dip in quality, but I respect others’ opinions who do, thus the header title). To me, “Sunny” feels like it is still just getting warmed up and has unlimited potential to get even funnier, so news of FX signing on for two more seasons of the show, not counting the upcoming Fat Mac seventh, does not strike the same chord of creative bankruptcy that, say, Ashton Kutcher performing CPR on “Two and a Half Men” does.
In fact, the idea that “Sunny” could last at least ten seasons is probably akin to how many felt when “The Simpsons” reached it’s 10th season, myself included. The idea that even at 10 years old, Matt Groening’s cartoon still seemed young and spry and could last forever permeated much of the conversation when the voice cast first held out for more money. We were wrong about that, of course, which made the most recent cast strike very bittersweet, as no show can really last forever (not even soap operas), and if they do, they won’t always be good. But “It’s Always Sunny” shares that same level of hope for sustained quality of early-to-mid “Simpsons” episodes, so news of seasons eight and nine (and even possibly ten) are worth cheering for. For now, anyway.
Maybe the series’ frequent brilliance can be attributed to the shorter seasons of cable shows (which “Sunny” helped pioneer)? Maybe it’s because the lack of decently sized budgets (until recently) forced the gang to distill their comedy into a sitcom’s essence (people talking in a room) and actually craft jokes based on character and story? Maybe it’s merely like “Seinfeld” before it, a one-time bottling of comedic lightning that will light up television screens far longer than most. Either way, I’m just happy that the sun won’t be setting on “Philadelphia” any time soon.
How can anyone be against more from the geniuses behind Lethal Weapon 5?
In short: It’s (still) gold, Jerry! Gold!
Rob Payne also writes the indie comic The Unstoppable Force, co-hosts the internet radio show We’re Not Fanboys, and follows almost the entire cast of “Community” on the Twiter @RobOfWar. Really, he just wants to see how long Charlie Kelly can possibly survive before accidentally killing himself, and possibly the entire gang.