It's been nine seasons of laughing as the Paddy's Pub gang on It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia takes on social issues like the mortgage crisis, kiddie pageants, surrogacy, and gay rights with their usual blend of ignorance, enthusiasm, and selfishness. If you thought nine years later the gang would be all grown up and ready to make some serious strides in their lives, you'd be wrong. But you'd also be interested in watching a different show from what Always Sunny has always passionately reliably and delivered.
Season nine kicks off with an episode entitled "The Gang Broke Dee" that puts Kaitlin Olson front and center where the underrated comedienne belongs. Dee starts down and depressed about the way her life has turned out and with the guys always ragging on her, and for once this seemingly inspires them to take action and rally around her-- dare we say for her?
Of course not. Weren't you paying attention when we said that they were the same old gang?
"The Gang Broke Dee" takes Dee on an emotional journey as she thinks she is getting lifted up by unexpected supporters that range from Dennis (Glenn Howerton), who also displays a remarkable bout of real affection and humanity, to Mac (Rob McElhenney). Her friends decide to build her self-esteem, not only by trying to make her successful in a stand-up career but also in finding her a suitable man. She may start face-down in a cake, but she is quickly thrust on stage and in a real spotlight as her self-deprecating state is perfect for the comedy she claims to want to perform. The season picks up a great thread that way and actually does allow for a bit of growth as Dee conquers the hurdle of her stress gagging... even if only temporarily and only because she's so depressed she just doesn't even care anymore.
As aforementioned, Olson is fearless and truly gets to shine in "The Gang Broke Dee"-- both as the messy, downtrodden Dee who mumbles her way through her initial set and then as the fast-track to success Dee who is being flown across the country to be a guest on a hot talk show. She plays each moment with such earnesty, which allows the audience to immerse themselves completely in her journey, rather than address the nagging suspicion at the back of any diehard fan's mind that something may not be quite right-- because things can't ever go completely well for a character like Dee, right!?
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