It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia Thursdays, 10pm, FX
Captive audience: Fans of dark, tasteless, crass, offensive, shameless, uncomfortable, crude humor—and Philadelphians. Also, people who can’t wait to wear a Greenman outfit this Halloween!
Moment of truth: Leave it to TV’s longest-running, most politically incorrect sitcom (next to its West Coast counterpart Curb Your Enthusiasm, of course) to start off its eighth season with an episode mostly about Hitler (again!). Yes, the incompetent, hopelessly amoral gang from Paddy’s Pub are back to do more wrong shit that’ll have you giggling uncontrollably. Apparently, this season will be about the show openly admitting it’s running out of ideas, as more Der Fuhrer jokes are mined in the opener, and old bits and plotlines literally get recycled in a future episode. But, damn it, it’s still funny.
Emmy or phlegmmy: Emmy. (C.D.L.)
Nashville Wednesdays, 10pm, ABC
Captive audience: Country-music lovers, nighttime-soap diehards, those six people who actually saw Country Strong.
Moment of truth: Callie Khouri, the screenwriter who won an Oscar for her female-solidarity adventure Thelma & Louise, goes into bitchfest mode with this new show she’s created. The never-unemployed Connie Britton (Friday Night Lights, American Horror Story) stars as an aging, on-the-decline country singer who finds herself having to contend with a manipulative Taylor Swift-like ingenue (Hayden Panettiere), who’s not averse to climbing in and out of beds in order to climb the charts. It has the potential to be serial drama the way it’s supposed to be: catty, cutthroat and compulsively watchable.
Emmy or phlegmmy: Emmy. (C.D.L.)
Rittenhouse Square Rebels: The Trailer
By Lorie Maher (Abbott Press)
In summary: Never mind the book—the two YouTube trailers for Lorie Maher’s adolescent-coming-of-age-in-Philly novel are themselves some of the best entertainment we’ve had this week. Maher’s high-pitched sales pitch, delivered in the greatest deadpan since Jim Halpert, is a work of rhetorical art.
Akin to: Former Daily Show correspondent Kristen Schaal delivering a school report on a topic she’s been up all night cramming for.
Recommendation: Watch the trailers. If you can refrain from buying the book to figure out if Maher’s serious, you’re stronger-willed than us. (Stephen H. Segal)
Alpha Girls Premiere Screening Wednesday, Oct. 3, The Trocadero
Overall vibe: A full house at the Troc, as hundreds of friends and fans came out to hug and high-five filmmakers Tony Trov and Johnny Zito at the debut of their sorority-sisters horror flick, Alpha Girls.
Most memorable moment: Alpha Girls opens with a truly frightening scene in the basement of a sorority house circa the late 1800s. The gore/gross/yuck factor was powerful enough to make even lifetime horror fans close their eyes. Honorable mention: There are not one, not two, but three surprise twists in the last 20 minutes.
Scene stealer: Beautiful Philadelphia locations, strong acting and fantastic editing make the film; Ron Jeremy as a Catholic priest steals it. (Leah Cevoli)
This Is The Week That Is: The Election Special
Thurs., Oct. 4, Plays and Players Theatre
Overall vibe: Good ol’ fashioned political satire wrapped up in a clever and wonderfully theatric taco.
Most memorable moment: It’s hard to say, given that the two-hour show is chock-full of great zingers. From the first presidential debate to the competitive equestrian sport of dressage, the 1812 Productions gang tackled it all. The return of Jennifer Childs’ character, Patsy from South Philly, was also a big hit with the audience.
Scene stealer: Writer, performer and uncanny Michelle Obama lookalike Aimé Donna Kelly. (Nicole Finkbiner)