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The Greatest Line Deliveries From 'It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia'

By Petr Navovy | TV | April 3, 2024 |

By Petr Navovy | TV | April 3, 2024 |


This list has been gestating in the background, sub-surface processes in my mind for a long, long time. I love It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia more than I can say, and the sheer volume of quality combined with crippling indecision between often equally matched selections has delayed it and delayed it, but in the end I just had to say ‘f**k it’, and put out a version of it before it killed me. And, look, it’s gonna have a lot of Dennis. There’s no getting away from that. He is, after all, the best TV performance of the 21st century. It was difficult enough to cut this list down to just the entries below. It was even more difficult cutting down the list of Dennis entries. It is what it is.

But that’s enough preamble, let’s get right into this, you jabronis.

‘Cat in the wall, eh?’
In which Charlie Day provides one of the most quotable lines of one of the most quotable shows there is.

‘You haven’t thought of the smell, you bitch!
In which Glenn Howerton takes the insult and recurring joke to another dimension, layering levels of contempt and cracking the fragile mask of sanity that Dennis wears to fit into society.

‘Ohhh! Botched toe!’
Poetry. Pure poetry.

‘I’m not allowed!’
Suddenly and disproportionately vulnerable and obstinate Dennis is amazing Dennis.

‘I’ve grown quite wheary!’
Frank’s reaction completes it, but Charlie’s rogue ‘h’ in the pronunciation of ‘weary’ deserves a medal.

‘Look at me when you’re talking to me!’
The transition from incandescent rage to chipper astounds every single time.

‘Jesus, Frank!’
When Sunny brought Danny DeVito to the cast in season two, an already inspired opening run shot off into the stratosphere. For a show that elevates ranting and raging to an art form, he was a natural fit.

‘Idiots! Savages! Idiots!’
Speaking of raging as an art form. I remember watching this scene back not that long ago after the episode had aired. I’d been making my way through the show, falling in love with it quicker than probably any other, but this was one of the moments that really hammered home that I was watching something really special unfold.

‘Goddammmit, Dutch!’
No comment necessary.

‘And live forever with yooou!?

‘Everybody, get a weapon!’
Nobody shrieks better than Glenn Howerton. Nobody.

‘It is Phil?!’
A line and delivery so deranged, off the wall, and perplexing, that it borders on Dadaism. Incredible. Sadly I could only find a TikTok link and embed:

@laurenrewatches It IS phil?!! #alwayssunnyinphiladelphia #iasip #fyp #alwayssunny #glennhowerton #dennisreynolds #itsalwayssunnyinphiladelphia ♬ original sound - Lauren rewatches always sunny

‘We’re the same age!’
Even as the show has dipped in quality in its last three or so seasons, with Dennis losing some of the more balanced tones that he used to contain, you can always count on an amazing Howerton delivery. It’s like any record with Michael Schenker on it—it doesn’t matter if the song isn’t good, you can bet there’ll be an amazing guitar solo.

‘Stop, Chorlah!’
I couldn’t possibly count the amount of times I say this out loud in response to events in my life.

‘I’m gonna smash it!’
Kaitlin Olson’s Dee Reynolds is a masterclass of physical comedy. So much so that it occasionally overshadows her brilliant line readings. Nowhere is this brilliance more evident than here.

‘News flash asshole!’
What an episode. What a micro-monologue.

What is there left to say about one of Dennis’ most iconic moments? A display of cartoonish impotent rage like this might have been handled well by other actors, but the moment at the end, when the steam runs out and the character is left with nothing to show for it? Sublime.

‘Tools! I have to have my tools!’
The fact that the cast actually eventually managed to make it through this scene beggars belief.

‘I think I’ve been poisoned by my constituents!’
Again, poetry.

‘Carol! Carol!’
To watch It’s Always Sunny is to feast on a rich buffet of iconic, quotable moments and indelible imagery. Charlie’s mailroom rant may well be the most indelible of them all.

‘Good day to youse.’
A low key favorite of mine, and hats off to the guys who play the gangsters here.

‘Then we’re gonna throw your toys in the trash!’
Really it’s any and every single time Danne DeVito lets us hear his gloriously indulgent enunciation of the word ‘trash’ on the show, but there’s something about his gleeful lobbing of it at these kids that makes it sing.

‘Nah, not anymore’
Almost every line Da Maniac (RIP Roddy Piper) delivered in his appearances on the show would be worthy of inclusion on this list, but his dark, loaded response to the Gang asking him if he has any kids had to take the crown.

Similarly, pretty much every line reading of Keegan Michael Key’s in the season ten classic, ‘The Gang Goes On Family Fight’ could have qualified, but there’s something about his pitch-perfect reaction to Charlie’s answering with ‘Nightman’ to the question of what people are afraid of that takes the cake for me. I couldn’t find an actual clip of that specific line, but as I said, it could be basically any line of Key’s, so this video will do:

‘Rock, flag, and eaaaaagle!’
A moment of improvisational Charlie Day genius so perfect it deserves to be quoted in full:

I’m gonna rise up, I’m gonna kick a little ass, gonna kick some ass in the USA, gonna climb a mountain, gonna sew a flag, gonna fly on an Eagle, I’m gonna kick some butt, I’m gonna drive a big truck, I’m gonna rule this world, gonna kick some ass, gonna rise up, kick a little ass, ROCK, FLAG AND EAGLE!

‘We cannot have you around us, screwing things up!’
Dennis slipping into shrill WASP mode is one of the underrated pleasures of watching Sunny.

‘Burp! Belch!’
This entire sequence of Frank belching and acting as a mini beer volcano belongs in the Louvre.

‘He called us nerds, Gary, nerds!’
It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia doesn’t just have some of the best recurring side characters on television (see next two entries), it also has some of the greatest one-offs too. I can’t find a video embed of this line unfortunately, but the union guys in the second season episode ‘The Gang Runs for Office’ remain one of my favorite one-off characters on a show full of amazing ones.

“He called us nerds, Gary. Nerds.”
byu/Sprinkaru inIASIP

‘You gotta take em off, son!’
Did somebody say, ‘best recurring side characters’?

‘Oh hit me with your best shot, you stupid bit*h!
Special shout out to Artemis, pound for pound one of the best-written TV characters ever.

‘Because Dennis is a bastard man!’
What a masterful bit of editing, acting, and writing; the building excitement on Dennis’ purpling face followed by the gleeful explosion—it doesn’t get any better than this.

‘Because of the the implication’ [jaw clench]
No matter how meme’d this moment gets, no matter how quoted, it remains transcendent, and the most well-deployed tactical jaw clench of all time belongs in a museum.