'Sunny' Comes Home

The gang gets the homecoming it deserves.

By Jeffrey Barg 
Add Comment Add Comment | Comments: 2 | Posted Sep. 18, 2009

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The green men dancing around outside the theater and lobby before the show? A nice touch, but pretty expected. The Tower Theater ushers whose customized T-shirts were emblazoned with the words “CHARLIE WORK” on the back?

Stroke. Of. Genius.

The cast of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia—Mac (Rob McElhenney), Dennis (Glenn Howerton), Charlie (Charlie Day), Dee (Kaitlin Olson), Artemis (Artemis Pebdani), the Waitress (Mary Elizabeth Ellis) and of course Frank Reynolds (Danny DeVito)—could’ve stood onstage picking their toes all night and the way-sold-out crowd would’ve cheered every second of it. In fact, only DeVito did that.

Essentially an expanded live-action version of last season’s brilliantly cracked-out finale, in which Charlie writes and stages a musical—The Nightman Cometh—in order to win the Waitress’ hand in marriage, last night’s Tower Theater homecoming found the cast relishing the bits that have become overnight cultural touchstones: “Ah-A!-Aaaaaaaaaaaaaa,” “You gotta pay the troll toll to get into the boy’s hole,” “a master of karate and friendship for everyone,” and so on. The plot details are convoluted, and frankly not all that important: The Nightman (originally supposed to be played by Dennis, until Mac takes over so he can show off his badass karate skills)—after paying the troll toll to Frank, the boy’s guardian—gently rapes Dennis’ little boy. Dee’s princess, who works in a coffee shop (just like Charlie’s muse, the Waitress), wants to make love to the little boy, but won’t do so until he becomes a man … the Dayman, specifically. After the Nightman creeps into the boy’s bed and mounts him from behind—still not a rape scene, Charlie insists—the boy becomes the Dayman, Ah-A!-Aaaaaaaaaaaaaa. Just like in the show, but insert thunderous cheering every couple seconds.

Onstage the cast was able to stretch the already absurdly sprawling premise to include a couple more songs (the Nightman’s new “It’s Nature, Shit Happens” being particularly memorable), a killer harmonica solo for Charlie while he proposes to the Waitress, and of course, lots and lots more badass karate. And the audience added elements as well: When the Waitress appeared in the Tower’s upper balcony to reject Charlie’s marriage proposal, she had to do so over the zealous crowd, imploring her to accept or, barring that, jump. (Needless to say—and thankfully for season five—she did neither.)

Speaking of season five, there’s reason to be excited. Though we missed last night’s season premiere (how was it? Tell us in the comments), we got a sneak peek at “The Gang Reignites the Rivalry”—a brilliant midseason episode involving flip-cup, body paint, poison and Frank’s skinny jeans—and a scene from the forthcoming DVD A Very Sunny Christmas, in which Charlie goes all Hannibal Lecter on a mall Santa. This is Sunny; yes, there’s lots of shouting.

Paradoxically, this cast of miscreants has done more to raise our city’s profile than anyone in a while. It doesn’t even matter that McElhenney is the only actual native Philadelphian on the show. The Nightman Cometh was a chance for our city to show the cast in person how much we appreciate that they’ve hitched the most brilliantly funny show since Arrested Development to our town, and that—Nightman, Dayman, whoever—they’re all superheroes to us.

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1. Beverly said... on Sep 18, 2009 at 05:00PM

“I love this show. I think the final scenes with Mac and Dennis were so funny. This cast will do anything and most of it is like real life and I think that's what we all relate to.

Keep going guys, you have my vote.

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2. Anonymous said... on Sep 20, 2009 at 06:51PM

“This is the best show ever. I'm pretty sure that Sweet Dee and Dennis write the blog popewatchnow.wordpress.com it's that offensive/awesome.”

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