I'm a sucker for hyperbole, but I also realize how ridiculous my exaggeration can be. That's why I hate myself for thinking "The Gang Gets Analyzed" was one of the greatest episodes of It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia.
The only problem is I'm hung up on its timing. Why would they pick Season 8 to unveil this gem?
This is a case study in character study. When I took creative writing classes in college, one of the more tried-and-true devices for indoctrinating your audience to your cast of characters was the therapist scene. It was an easy way to peel back the onion and dig deep into the essence of an individual.
I got the feeling that this episode would've been the perfect way to introduce The Gang in season 1. But then I think it was a product of the process. No way could they have realistically pulled off something this elaborate in the beginning because they didn't really know how far the characters could go.
The folks we saw this past week were the culmination of years of experiences. It's tough to say who stole the show. Mac lead off with a strong performance, but then Charlie brought the insanity while Frank got lost in his memories. Not to mention, the casting choice for the therapist: Kerri Kenney-Silver. She's primarily known for playing wacky characters with an entire set quirks and idiosyncrasies, yet here she was incredibly reserved, portraying the straight woman.
That's not to say Dennis and Dee missed the mark - we finally got to the root of Dee's complex (daddy issues, struggling with acceptance) while Dennis continued to be the magician, fooling us into believing that he's the clear-minded, rational one when he's still hampered with a child-like obsession with large breasts.
All in all, it intrigues me to see where The Gang takes us next. How do you top a trip down the rabbit hole? They've come so far and built up these personas to such tangible, multi-layered beings that any more depth would seem too over-the-top; however, despite being in its eighth season (when most characters have run their course), The Gang still has a lot of room for growth and development. And I'm not afraid to end with hyperbole - it's not an overstatement to say The Gang has enough issues to hash out for another 8 seasons.
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