Quick Take: It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, "Mac's Mom Burns Her House Down"
"Mrs. Mac has a unique and earthy fragrance." - Dennis
Review: It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, "Mac's Mom Burns Her House Down"
(S0606) Among the many things that make It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia one of the best comedies on television is its frequent use of entertaining supporting characters. Sunny often gets compared to Seinfeld, another show that used characters like Bania and Whatley and Newman to mold its universe into a vast, interesting world. Sunny's minor characters, for the most part, have shown a natural progression from their first appearances to the Gang-influenced beasts they are now. The Waitress went from a dismissive do-gooder to an extreme alcoholic to a recovering alcoholic, always looking to avoid being embarrassed by Charlie. Rickety Cricket went from a priest to a sad homeless man to an awful, awful homeless man. The Lawyer went from cynical to more cynical. But all of these progressions make sense in terms of the Sunny universe..
The characterization of Charlie's mom, on the other hand, makes no sense. She started out timid and generally unaware (see: "Charlie Gets Molested"). Suddenly, she turns on a dime to be relatively cold-hearted and cynical in season 2 (see: "Mac Bangs Dennis' Mom"). Flash forward a couple seasons and she's as raging an alcoholic as The Waitress used to be (see: "The Waitress is Getting Married"). And now, with, "Mac's Mom Burns Her House Down," she randomly has an intense case of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (or O.C. Disorder..."Don't call it that.").
But you have to give credit to Lynne Marie Stewart: she takes each "version" of Bonnie Kelly and makes them work. Her interactions with new roommate Mrs. Mac (Sandy Martin) in "Mac's Mom Burns Her House Down" were the highlight of the great episode, my favorite of the season so far.
The catalyst of this new living arrangement is, not surprisingly, the accidental burning down of Mrs. Mac's house when she falls asleep with a lit cigarette. Mac (Rob McElhenney) immediately assumes that his mother will move in with him and Dennis (Glenn Howerton), something that Dennis is none to happy about. Meanwhile, Charlie (Charlie Day) is having his own mommy issues as she is constantly calling him to feed her various OCD-related needs (i.e. vacuuming the ceiling). Dennis, being the sociopathic "fixer" that he is, comes to the conclusion that both problems could be solved by simply moving Mrs. Mac into Mrs. Kelly's house.
At first, things go expectedly terribly. Mrs. Mac is too harsh (to put it mildly) and Mrs. Kelly is too obsessed with talking to Charlie when he wants her to talk to Mrs. Mac instead. Neither woman is happy with the situation and Mac and Charlie's hopes that their mothers will soon be acting like The Golden Girls are quickly crushed. But in a show where logical character progression isn't a priority, neither is logical plot progression. After one night of conflict, suddenly the Mac/Kelly household becomes a place of peace and compromise. The unintended side effect, though, is that after Mrs. Kelly reveals her various eccentricities (such as doing everything in threes to "so Charlie doesn't die"), Charlie and Mac begin to follow suit.
The B-Story also dealt with the theme of taking care of one's parents. Frank (Danny DeVito) becomes concerned that neither Dennis or Dee (Kaitlin Olson) will take care of him when he is too old and sick to do it himself. He begins trying to prove his worth to Dee by doing her laundry and making smoothies but grows tired of this quickly. Enter Dennis "The Fixer" who convinces Frank to take things one step further and literally make Dee sick so she absolutely needs Frank's care (Dennis, of course, is passing the buck onto Dee here). But the sickened Dee turns into a Mr. Magoo-like sleep walker and Frank and Dennis tie her to the bed to keep her safe. And leave her there as the episode ends (which causes her to miss a Josh Groban concert where his apparently really horny).
All in all, "Mac's Mom Burns Her House Down" should go down among the funniest Sunny episodes the show has aired. It's all in the details and the details here were spectacular.