BY LUKE WATHEN
Earlier this month, FXX announced that “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” had been renewed for three more seasons, guaranteeing that the show will live to see at least 14 seasons. What started off as a low-budget endeavor from a few unknown actors has cemented itself as a comedic powerhouse sure to go down in television history as one of the greatest sitcoms of all time.
What makes this so impressive is similar sitcoms with the same level of acclaim have not lasted as long. “Seinfeld” lasted for nine seasons, “Frasier” lasted for 11 and “Friends,” often regarded as the best sitcom ever, only lasted 10 seasons.
This naturally begs the question of what makes “It’s Always Sunny” work so well. It may be the style of humor, which has been compared to “Seinfeld,” or the casting of Danny DeVito as Frank Reynolds, a character whose introduction in season two saved the show from early cancellation.
While these aspects are quite important to the show, they are not the shows greatest strength.
The shows strength lies in its ever-changing character dynamic.
The main cast of the show consists of five characters: Dennis, Dee, Mac, Charlie and Frank, a group of “friends” that own a bar together. The show focuses on the group’s conniving schemes and comical misadventures, with the source of the humor being what awful people the characters are.
Even with the familiar sort of humor, the show manages to constantly stay fresh by regularly changing the character dynamic. While one episode may focus exclusively on Frank, another may focus on Mac and Charlie, or Dennis and Dee or any other combination of the characters.
This is the show’s greatest strength. While other shows fall victim to familiarity and fail to keep an audience, “It’s Always Sunny” manages to keep viewers guessing, never knowing what will happen next.
With eleven seasons under its belt and another three on their way, “It’s Always Sunny” has managed to not only survive but also thrive in the field of sitcoms. Because of its ever changing character dynamic, the show not only stays consistently fresh, but consistently good as well.