What the World is Watching

It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia

 ItsAlwaysSunnyLogo“The Gang Wrestles for the Troops”
Season 5, Episode 7

It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia has been able to consistently find unique ways to have their group of drunken underachieving sociopaths exploit topics from the mundane to the taboo. Pro wrestling falls somewhere in between those two. Okay, maybe it’s not taboo (at least not since the Attitude Era) but when you mix in a healthy dose of jingoism and xenophobia you’re bound to rub some people the wrong way. Even Rusev and Lana’s schtick has made it into the mainstream news coverage. It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia not only skewered the forever trite storyline of good vs. evil in the form of warlike foreign policy, but also lampooned the depressing, all-too-real, downward spiral most pro wrestlers’ lives take when they’re no longer headlining sold-out arenas.

IMG_2088The gang is at the pub watching a YouTube video of Hulk Hogan wrestling Nikolai Volkoff. Which is a good start to any episode involving pro wrestling, especially when it evokes talk about Hulk Hogan’s “seizure-like state” of Hulkamania, his “hotdog skin”, and his “china doll” silky hair. God only knows how many times WWF 80’s heels could’ve made fun of The Hulkster’s hair had it not been specifically written into his contract that absolutely no one could make mention of it, or the lack of it. Between arguing whether or not it’s fake with Frank Reynolds, the guys brainstorm on doing something special for the U.S. troops and decide to honor them in the most patriotic of ways: a rasslin’ show.

IMG_2092Like most jackasses who decide to put on their own wrestling show with no experience whatsoever, Dennis, Charlie and Mac ignore the “Don’t Try This At Home” warnings and reason that they can take part in the matches. They channel the 3-man team spirit of the Fabulous Freebirds and dub themselves the Birds of War. Much like the Fabulous Freebirds, they even compose their own music and design their own flashy costumes. Their pro grappling dreams quickly fade away when they meet Da Maniac, played by “Rowdy” Roddy Piper, and doing his best impression of Mickey Rourke playing an old battered, and penniless, wrestler. Da Maniac insists on wrestling a more hardcore style and the guys come to the conclusion that perhaps its best to leave the wrestling to Da Maniac and use their talents and feathered costumes to be the show’s hype men.

By the way, Roddy Piper does all too well in this role that I’m sure hits close to home. Maybe not necessarily his home, as he’s most likely one of the better off wrestlers from the Golden Age of the 80’s, but definitely within his neighborhood which houses guys like Greg “The Hammer” Valentine. The fact that he’s wearing the leather jacket Adrian Adonis gave him, which he’s been contractually obligated to wear in every TV appearance ever since, helps drive the point home that he’s got little else in this world besides that leather jacket.

IMG_2103Yet the guys are jaw-droppingly surprised when Da Maniac gives them his rates: $30 for  weekdays and $50 for the weekends. What a steal! And another depressingly sad truth about how retired pro wrestlers will do just about anything if it means a few extra bucks in their pockets. And a chance to relive their glory days in some shape or form.

The guys bring on one of their most hated rivals, the one-time minister now homeless crackhead, Cricket, to join in on the fun as their topical foreign menace: The Talibum. Another nod and wink to professional wrestling’s custom of hiring wrestlers with different cultural backgrounds to portray other ethnic characters. And this is a very slow nod and acknowledged wink considering Cricket is a white redheaded dude.

Frank also wants in on the fun as his wrestling alter ego, The Trashman. If you’re assuming a much better version of Duke “The Dumpster” Droese, you’re correct. Frank even shows them his garbage can filled with crap that he also happens to eat out of. So it’s more of a hybrid character consisting of some parts Duke Droese and equal parts Tommy Dreamer during that horrible “I’ll eat the grossest shit imaginable” gimmick.

IMG_2111The day of the show, Da Maniac is hauled away by the cops for accumulating a crapload of unpaid parking tickets. Not for killing his children, as we might’ve been led to believe, or any other crime that one would associate with a wrestler named Da Maniac. No, it turns out he was more of a deadbeat than he was a maniac. Highlighting once more that the most successful wrestlers are the ones that portray gimmicks that are close to who they are in real life.

The guys then have no other choice but to wrestle Cricket in a 3-on-1 handicap match. Once the wrestling show finally starts, the audience is treated to the pageantry of Dennis, Mac, and Charlie’s song and dance routine. Unfortunately, the Stomp, Clap, Stomp-Stomp, Clap, doesn’t catch on with the audience and the meticulously written lyrics that clarify how they’re both birds and men fall on deaf ears.

IMG_2117In textbook heel fashion, Cricket takes out Dee while she’s in the middle of singing The National Anthem Seal’s Kiss From a Rose. Mind you, with a steel chair to the face. Instant heat! Frank ends up officiating the match which sees Cricket take complete control from the start, blowing sand in everyone’s face. Well, except for Mac who doesn’t care for sand in his eyes and bails. Which you don’t see a lot of babyfaces do during wrestling matches. With all hope seemingly lost, The Talibum plays to the crowd until he takes a flying trashcan to the jugular. Frank Reynolds in all his glory, and mini Andre the Giant singlet, stands tall having reverted to his Trashman gimmick. While a helpless Cricket suffers and bleeds profusely, as is often the case when he deals with the gang from Paddy’s Pub.

The Trashman slowly raises his hands in victory as the crowd loses their shit and he mutters those magical words to himself: “I knew this shit wasn’t fake.” Me and you both, Frank. Me and you both.


7 thoughts on “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia”

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