Quick Take: It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, "Frank's Pretty Woman"
“I went from a tiny twink to the muscle-bound freak you see before you.” – Mac
Review: It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, "Frank's Pretty Woman"
(S0701) Going into the summer, there was some speculation that the seventh of season of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia (premiering tonight) would be the show’s last. Then in early August, it was announced that Sunny would be back for at least two additional seasons, with an option for a tenth.
But that feeling of finality kind of lingers over the first few episodes of the new season. You get the feeling that the Gang (the real-life one, not just their fictional counterparts) wanted to go all-in this year. But would the show be bigger and better?
Well it’s definitely bigger. Literally. Rob McElhenney packed on a much-publicized 50 pounds between seasons in a bizarre bit of comedic method acting. He didn’t do it because there was a specific need for Mac to gain so much weight. He just thought it would be funny. Nobody is going to say McElhenney is the DeNiro of FX, but you have to respect the dedication. The weight gain is given the most attention in the season premiere, “Frank’s Pretty Woman,” but even then it’s a somewhat minor subplot to the main thread (more on that in a bit).
In the following three episodes I have seen, Fat Mac’s fatness is almost an afterthought. Just something the rest of the Gang makes fun of from time to time, but not holding any particular meaning to the overall mythology of the show. And before you say a show like Sunny doesn’t have a particularly deep mythology, “Frank’s Pretty Woman” features call-backs to Dennis’ junkyard cat that was born in a pan of gasoline (Agent Jack Bauer) and the fake Donovan McNabb seen in “The Gang Gets Invincible.” You have to pay attention, folks.
Really, what it comes down to is humor for humor’s sake. Fat Mac’s fatness is funny. Period. The rest of the episode is funny, but maybe not as inspired as I had hoped it would be. The main storyline concern’s Frank’s plans to propose to his girlfriend, an “incredibly crass” prostitute named Roxy. Between Mac’s weight gain and Frank’s whore-love, Dennis is worried that the Gang’s untarnished reputation will be tarnished.
Dee suggests that they “Pretty Woman” Roxy, making her into a hooker-with-a-heart-of-gold instead of a hooker-with-a-rock-of-crack. But after spending a day with Roxy, Dee comes around to Roxy’s surprisingly luxurious lifestyle. Most of it involves making big money rubbing the feet of faux-golf superstars, drinking schnapps, and smoking rock after rock of crack. Dennis, meanwhile, works to prove to Mac that his current eating-Mexican-food-out-of-a-garbage-bag lifestyle is going to lead to an early grave. But a trip to the doctor for a variety of general tests shows that Dennis isn’t as healthy as he thought either, with much of his current condition due to majorly under eating. But it could be worse because at least he hasn’t developed adult on-set diabetes (“diabitt-ess”) like Mac has. With a little bit of insulin, though, Mac and Dennis are able to bond over their mutual love of chimichangas.
Finally, we have Frank and Charlie. Charlie is concerned that Roxy would only marry Frank for his money when he believes there’s a woman out there who would love Frank just for who he is (which an incredulous Dee believes is impossible). In a Prince and the Pauper-esque scheme, Charlie sets up a date for Frank, but intends to trick the woman into thinking Charlie is the millionaire she will be out on the town with and Frank would be the lowly limo driver with a great personality.
Midway through the date, Charlie planned to feign illness and then suggest that the woman finish the date with Frank with whom she would (obviously) fall madly in love. Problems arise when Charlie’s plan to cough up a bit of blood quickly develops into him projectile vomiting gallons of fake blood after swallowing a bunch of blood capsules. The date gets soaked, runs away and never has the chance to get to know Frank other than his passing mention of finding eggs and crabs under the bridge.
But the truth is, Frank really loves Roxy. And the rest of the Gang realizes you can’t fight love. Dee brings Roxy back to Frank’s place, where he gets down on one knee and offers to keep paying her as long as she stops banging other dudes. Her response: heart attack. With a dead hooker on their living room floor, Charlie covered in (fake) blood and Dee with some crack in her system (she couldn’t resist), the Gang concludes that the best plan of action is to just dump her body in the hallway.
Which they do, with Roy Orbison’s “Pretty Woman” playing in the background. Probably the best shot in the whole episode was the last one that held on Roxy’s body lying motionless in the hallway just as the credits rolled. Of the four episodes I’ve seen, “Frank’s Pretty Woman” is the weakest. That’s not to say it isn’t great, it is. Just know if you end up somewhat disappointed by this episode, it only gets better. And bigger. Because Mac keeps eating.
Lingering thoughts about "Frank's Pretty Woman":