A couple of days ago a friend checked in with me to tell me he was revisiting the first season of It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia and how the tone of the show felt so weird. The characters are silly but not over the top which makes the show feel slow. I knew exactly what he was talking about because I discovered that show around Season 3. The first episode I saw was the newest at the time so when I jumped back to start watching from the beginning it was totally clear how much the show had grown.
I've always thought that this happens as the actors and writers live with the characters enough to give them real life. It's Always Sunny... was not the show that brought this to light but it is the show that started my three season rule for comedy. First, I won't watch a show unless it's at least three seasons into the series. Second, if the show doesn't win me over by season three, then I give up on it forever.
This is why I was excited to see the introductory episode to season three. Though I still love season one and two, I probably say that I only kind of liked these seasons if I didn't have an already established connection to the show. Either way, I love seeing the progress as it grows, so these opening episodes are always exciting.
Not are these episode always exciting, more often than not, they're a little bit of a letdown but not necessarily to a fault, as I'm aware they're just coming off of vacation. I always gave them this slack because the first episodes more about finding the changes. It's fun to see all the new sets and who graduated from Featuring to being a Not Ready For Prime Time Player.
So, the So-So comment in the subtitle wasn't really a surprise to me. There were a couple stumbles, the sketches ran long, and there were far too many musical performances, but all of that said it was a pretty fun show and with that I give you...
The Wicker Breakdown:
First, An Oval Office was a sketch where Carter is saying goodbye to one of his cabinet members when it's revealed that no one knows who he is it becomes a fake ad for National Express and everyone knows his name on the credit card. They most have crowbarred in the "Live from New York..." because I can't even think of how it would fit in there.
Steve Martin then opens the show with one of his silly routines. I liked this one better than most of his routines because he used more words than crazy body movements to get to the jokes. This must be because he was also promoting his album Let Get Small.
Royal Deluxe III was a repeat of the ad of the kid getting circumcised in the back of the car to show how smooth the ride was.
This was followed by the introduction of the Two Wild And Crazy Guys sketch which was the first new addition of a regular routine of the season. They pretty much just fail at picking up on Gilda and Laraine without getting the clue the girls aren't into them.
Jackson Brown performs Running On Empty.
The news now has a very fancy set, and everyone in the cast is involved it in. It runs more like a real evening news show with multiple anchors each with their own area of expertise. Jane and Aykroyd head the new, Laraine doing special reports, Murray Reviewing Weather, Morris on sports and Belushi and Gilda on editorials with a weird weather segment with video from Central Park when it was a horrible area.
Next was a horrible sketch called Mike McMack Defense Attorney. I know the whole point of the sketch is to show how awful this attorney was, but the joke is based on him blaming the victim of rape using her civil rights activism as proof that she actually wanted it. Garrett Morris is found innocent because of the case that was built (which adds more racism into the mix), and the attorney tries to hook up with the victim, but at least they don't have her give in to him. The sketch even makes a twist where they're about to save the sketch by making a statement, but nope, it ended as if this were no big deal in a failed attempt to make the point through irony.
This was followed by a confession sketch where Garrett Morris admits to cheating on his wife with a married woman. The priest uses a computer to communicate with Rome to calculate the punishments. Morris then confesses to potentially killing the husband and now has hitmen out to kill him. This is when the priest offers to book him a flight out of town after the computer tells him he is innocent through God's eyes.
Next was a replay of Lorne Michaels sketch where he ups the ante for the Beatles to appear on the show. They don't treat it like a repeat which is stupid because if you follow the storyline of the offer, this check has already been given to George Harris from when he appeared on Eric Idle's first episode.
Great Moments in Rock was a segment where Laraine explains how she ended up with Roy Orbison's glasses. We then flash back to the night of the gift and Belushi is playing Orbison. The most significant part of the joke is that there are two things to know about Roy, he doesn't move when he sings, and he likes to wear dark glasses. Laraine is lured out of the recording studio with the glasses. Belushi Orbison then puts on a new pair and sings Pretty Woman, and he is so stiff as he sings Billy Murray has to keep him from falling over.
Franken and Davis then do a great routine where they play out what a Mr. America Pageant would look like.
Jackson Brown then returned to perform The Pretender.
Next was a fake commercial for a Japanese watch called Kaomega III which is so complicated that it takes two people to use it. The tagline is, "It's like asking a stranger for the time."
Finally, Steve Martin says his goodnights.
If you read the above breakdown, you can see some of the flaws, but again I wouldn't say this was a bad episode. With that said, here are my favorite sketches of the night. First, I loved the Mr. America Pageant sketch because it's a great example of satire done well and I like when Franken accidentally bashes Bill Murray's had as he shows off his tackle dummy skills. Next, I liked seeing Garrett Morris give a confession to the priest with the computer because it's always interesting to see the state of technology. Finally, I was a fan of Two Wild and Crazy guys, but unfortunately, I liked the feeling of nostalgia that it triggered over the humor in the sketch but I'm hoping that will change when they return in the future.