It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia – Season 16 Episode 7 Recap & Review

The Gang Goes Bowling

Episode 7 of It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia Season 16 begins at Paddy’s Bar. Dee needs money from the cash register to cover her expenses at a supposedly fancy place she is going to with her friends. This prompts various questions from the gang about where she is going and what she is hiding under her long coat. Before Mac rips off the coat at Dennis’s request, she takes it off herself and reveals a bowling shirt.

Dee says bowling is her thing and she was keeping it secret because she didn’t want to get the guys involved. After telling them she is leaving so they can hang out with their “ding-dongs,” we realize they have all been engaging in some hand activities, despite their denial to Dee. 

After Dee leaves, Dennis tells the others they have better things to do than go bowling. But guess where they end up? The episode title gives it away!

We then cut to Dee at the bowling alley with Gail ‘the snail,’ Artemis, and ‘Waitress.’ They don’t really want Dee to be there but as they are a member short for their team the ‘Frigid Bitches,’ they need her to make up numbers. 

Moments later, the rest of the gang arrives and they challenge the women to a competition. When the men go to the counter to sign up for the league, they are unhappy to realize Liam and Ryan McPoyle are the managers of the bowling alley. 

Frank tries to order cheesy fries at the counter. While they do serve cheese and fries, Liam tells Frank that combining them is strictly prohibited because of a story too horrible to tell (this ties into a story told later). 

The guys announce their name to the Frigid Bitches.’ They have named themselves the ‘Hanging Monster Dong Lucky Strike Chilli Cheese Fryers.’ The women, understandably, think the guys’ team name is stupid.

Dennis takes the opportunity to mock Dee by telling her team about her bowling past. She used to be good at the sport apparently but when Dennis said the word “gutterball” in her ear, she would roll the ball in the…well…you know where! 

The game begins with Mac vs. Gail. Mac knocks down more pins than Gail who tells the women her “cooter” is hot for her opponent. Dee tells her she is probably hot down there because of a yeast infection.

Next up is Frank vs. Artemis. They flirt, causing Dennis to respond by saying “This is why men and women can’t compete because they are too sexually charged.” Artemis gets a perfect strike while Frank’s ball rolls slowly down the lane. Frank also gets a strike but the women complain because his dodgy move should never have caused the pins to fall. 

Charlie and Waitress are up next. As usual, Charlie irritates her, resulting in her ball going into the gutter.

Dennis and Dee take their turn. Dee misses the pins because Dennis uses the word “gutterball” just before her roll. He, on the other hand, gets a strike. On their next turn, he says “gutterball” again, resulting in another miss. 

Dennis cites the women’s lack of points as another reason why women can’t compete with men. He also blames their losses on women being “devious and destructive,” always reverting to their tendency to turn on each other. When he walks away cackling, Dee comes up with a plan to help her team in their battle against the men – mental manipulation.

The plan begins with Gail taking a jab at Mac about his lack of finesse in spinning the ball. She is using reverse psychology to force Mac to attempt a ball spin, something Dennis warns him about. Mac still wants to prove he has finesse and spins the ball anyway, resulting in a gutterball. 

Charlie then falls victim to the manipulative Waitress who causes him to get a gutterball too. We then cut to an extended scene of Dee continuously getting a gutterball because of Dennis uttering the word during her turns. 

Despite their mind games, the women fail to get many points. Dennis takes delight in this and asserts his male dominance. This causes Waitress to challenge him to a test of strength on a punchbag. Waitress scores highly by kicking it. Dennis then summons the “fact that I am a man” and scores a lot of points. He attributes this to his “genetic gifts.” However, it turns out that his powerful punch also caused him to break every single bone is his hand, leaving him unable to bowl. 

After screaming in pain, Dennis asks Ryan to bowl for him. The McPoyle brother refuses due to a moment from his past that is “too horrible to tell.” He gives in and tells his story anyway, which takes place during his practice for the state semifinals. He was on the way to the “perfect game” when Liam offered him some chilli cheese fries. When Ryan reached for them, he forgot his other hand was in the ball return lane. His hand then became injured when his ball returned. In truth, it wasn’t that bad an injury – he only got a bruise – but it still stopped him from bowling.

Ryan agrees to bowl for Dennis, despite his past trauma. Liam then steps in for Dee, who has fake injured her knee. He steps up to bowl but takes a weird turn and throws the ball at his brother, damaging his hand. This means Dee has to roll the ball. When she sees Dennis’s face on the pins, all reciting the word “gutterball,” she gets angry and knocks one of the cackling pins down, causing an unexpected win. 

Jubilant, Dee turns around but only Waitress is left as the others have all left. Frank is off somewhere having sex with Artemis and the other men have gone to a Sixers game. Waitress is less than enthusiastic about Dee’s win as she “doesn’t give a s**t about women’s sports.”

The Episode Review

Episode 7 is hardly a return to form for the show but it’s better than most other episodes in this season. There are some funny moments, particularly during the bowling game when the men and women use various tactics to cause their opponents to fail. Of course, not every tactic works but it’s still fun seeing them trying to outwit one another. 

It was also good to see the return of several characters from previous seasons. The McPolands are their usual weird and creepy selves, Artemis is still deluded about her abilities to act (though she pulls off a couple of strikes while in character), and Waitress is as cynical as ever. The writing lets them down a little as they don’t make a strong impact on the episode overall but fans of the series will still be glad to see they have been included within this season. 

Dennis is on form in this episode, once again asserting his masculinity and dominance over the women. His sexism has always been a regular part of the show and it’s on full display here. This does have consequences for him, as it always does, so the episode is consistent with what we have seen before. Also familiar is his demoralization of Dee, which doesn’t become wearing as she still gives as good as she can get. The scene at the end, when she tries to mow down the Dennis-faced pins is a particular highlight of this episode, perfectly encapsulating her anger towards him.

With only one episode to go,  it is hoped the series finale will be funnier than the rest of this season’s episodes. None have struck comedy gold so far, which is a shame considering the series’ heritage. 

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You can read our full Season 16 review of It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia here
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