It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia Season 16 Review – A less than satisfactory return for the gang from Paddy’s Pub

Season 16


Episode Guide

Episode 1 -| Review Score – 2.5/5
Episode 2 -| Review Score –2.5/5
Episode 3 -| Review Score – 2.5/5
Episode 4 -| Review Score – 1.5/5
Episode 5 -| Review Score – 2.5/5
Episode 6 -| Review Score – 2.5/5
Episode 7 -| Review Score – 2.5/5
Episode 8 -| Review Score – 3/5


Beginning in 2005, It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia is (at the time of writing) the longest-running comedy show in American history, with each subsequent season featuring the ‘gang’ at Paddy’s Pub getting into increasingly more uncomfortable and outlandish scrapes. 

At one time, the show was one of the funniest comedy series on television but this sixteenth season proves that even the best things in life don’t always age well. Long-term fans will want to tune in anyway but the sharp wit the show is known for has been blunted this time around and the storylines don’t offer much in the way of character arcs for the show’s less-than-lovely protagonists. 

Of course, one must appreciate how hard it must be for the creative team to surpass what has come before. With this many seasons, it’s only logical to suppose good ideas will dry up sometime. But if it is difficult to keep the momentum going, perhaps the showrunners should have gone out on a high a couple of seasons ago instead of pressing ahead with a series that is running short on originality. 

The regular team of actors (who contribute to the writing) still make the show worth watching, however, even though it’s less fresh than it used to be. They are a delight to watch, even when they tread familiar ground, so there is still some fun to be had. It’s just a shame they aren’t given anything particularly funny to do as good actors can only do so much when the dialogue and scenarios they have been given are somewhat stale and uninspired.

In Episode 1: The Gang Inflates, the gang are inspired to come up with a new ‘get rich quick’ scheme after learning about inflation. The episode is rather predictable but there are some funny scenes with Mac who finds out he has a nut allergy after falling prey to an addiction to ‘Fancy Nuts.’ 

Episode 2: Frank Shoots Every Member Of The Gang, lives up to its title when Frank gets hold of a gun he mistakenly thinks is unloaded. The scenes with the gun are less involving than Mac and Charlie’s attempts to get their respective inheritances, which offer a handful of amusing scenarios. 

Rhea Perlman guest stars in Episode 3: The Gang Gets Cursed. She is good value as Dee’s vindictive neighbour in an episode that includes a few uncomfortable moments (including the discovery of a dead monkey) that won’t deter long-time series fans. 

Episode 4: Frank vs. Russia is the worst episode of the season. With jokes about molestation and anal beads, this will please those who like the ugliness of the show but will offend those who are rightfully put off by mentions of abuse and perverse behaviours. 

Bryan Cranston and Aaron Paul guest star as themselves in Episode 5: Celebrity Booze: The Ultimate Cash Grab, which sees them plugging their real-life alcohol brand. The gang meet with the actors, causing chaos to ensue when they forget their manners.

In Episode 6: Risk E. Rat’s Pizza Amusement Center, the gang cause mayhem when they get nostalgic and visit a play centre from their childhood. There are some interesting points to be made in this episode about political correctness and parental bubble-wrapping but laughs are in short supply. 

We don’t need to tell you what Episode 7: The Gang Goes Bowling is about as the clue is in the title. The McPoyle’s make a welcome return this episode, as does Dennis’s sexist streak when he asserts his male dominance over Dee’s female bowling team. 

The season finale, Episode 8: Dennis Takes a Mental Health Day is the best of the season, largely because our attention isn’t taken away from the central premise by lots of different plot points. The focus is on Dennis who becomes increasingly stressed when his attempts to relax are sabotaged by the people and technologies around him.

Most of the episodes in this season offer passable entertainment but big laughs are few and far between as is the social commentary. Old ideas are dredged up and repackaged, and fan-favourite side characters (such as Waitress and Cricket) are re-introduced without having a lot to do. As a consequence, Season 16  treads familiar ground without being particularly memorable, which may be a disappointment to some. 

There is a chance that Season 17, when it eventually arrives, will have more originality on display. But for now, we have been left with a batch of episodes that are mostly amusing to sit through but that fall short when compared to the best the series has had to offer during its 18-year run.

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  • Verdict - 6/10

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