If you’re reading this, then you, like us, are probably huge fans of the exploits of Dennis, Dee, Mac, Charlie and Frank. This also likely means that you’ll have your very own list of favourite Always Sunny episodes, and given that there are currently 145 of them (and with a new season having just started), the following is probably going to make you as angry as this.
In fact, it caused such a big, unresolved argument in the office that we had to compile a list of 11 to keep everyone (sort of) happy.
11: The Gang Goes To A Water Park (Season 12, Episode 2)
What happens: The premise, as with all the best Always Sunny episodes, is simple (and in the title): the gang goes to a water park. It proves to be rich ground for comedy: Dennis is impressed by a child grifter, Mac and Dee get stuck in a slide (and are urinated on) and Frank works out a way to get him and Charlie to the front of the queues — by loudly declaring that he has AIDS. It goes well until he shears half of his back off going down a dry slide and fills the splash pool with blood.
What makes it stand out: It’s one of those episodes that perfectly illustrates each character’s individual awfulness.
Best line: “Kid, kid, kid, listen. Come here. Before you go, no matter how alluring it is, do not put your genitals or your butthole near the pool drain, you got it? In fact, cover your butthole!” – Mac
10: ‘Sweet Dee Has a Heart Attack’ (Season 4, Episode 10)
What happens: Poor Dee: hospitalised after a heart attack, none of the gang show any sympathy for her before she’s then turfed out of the hospital for not having any health insurance. She and Dennis then try and get fit in order to avoid getting sick again — which, of course, they fail miserably at. This jam-packed episode also sees Frank undergoing a One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest experience after he’s found wandering the streets having popped too many pills at the hospital.
What makes it stand out: Mac and Charlie’s unlikely foray into office work (part of a scheme that’ll help them claim health insurance) steals the show here, especially when the latter believes he’s stumbled on a “major company conspiracy”. The names Carol and Pepe Silvia have since entered into Always Sunny folklore thanks to Charlie’s magnificent rambling monologue which he delivers in an attempt to convince Mac that the office they work in “is a God damn ghost town”. Genius.
Best line: “There’s no Pepe Silvia? You’ve got to be kidding me, I’ve got boxes full of Pepe!” – Charlie
9: ‘The Gang Buys a Boat’ (Season 6, Episode 3)
What happens: What it says on the tin, really: the gang buys a boat. Obviously, it doesn’t go very well.
What makes it stand out: It’s a classic 21-minute burst of the riotous dysfunction which so often makes Always Sunny such an immensely enjoyable watch. From Charlie’s underwater discoveries (including the remnants of what he believes to be “a horse massacre”) to Dennis and Mac’s unsettling discussion about “the implication”, it’s a perfect stand-alone moment in Always Sunny history that you’ll find yourself returning to time and again.
Best line: “Lemme just see if I have this right here — and, please, correct me if I’m wrong — it seems like what you guys are looking for is some sort of, er, P Diddy-style shrimping vessel?” – Boat Salesperson
8: ‘The Gang Solves the Gas Crisis’ (Season 4, Episode 2)
What happens: There’s a gas crisis, and prices are on the rise — who you gonna call? Well, preferably not Mac, Dennis and Charlie, who attempt to profit from the huge demand for petrol by attempting to sell barrels of the stuff door-to-door.
What makes it stand out: It’s yet another magnificently madcap episode that’s based around a hare-brained scheme. ‘The Gang Solves the Gas Crisis’ builds steadily to a wild and hilarious conclusion which, as you can see above, ends with Charlie living up to his ‘Wildcard’ tag.
Best line: “Because I cut the brakes! Wildcard, bitches! Yeee-haaa!” – Charlie
7: ‘Chardee MacDennis: The Game of Games’ (Season 7, Episode 7)
What happens: Cards Against Humanity? Pah — give us Chardee MacDennis any day. The gang introduced us in season seven to their immensely fun and self-invented board game, which involves drinking (of course), shouting (of course) and locking contestants in dog kennels.
What makes it stand out: So good they brought the game back in season 11, ‘Chardee MacDennis’ brings our beloved five characters together in the bar as the cheat and con one other in an effort to be top dog – it’s Always Sunny at its purest.
Best line: “Because Dennis is a bastard man!” – Dennis (reading out Charlie’s answer, obviously)
6: ‘The Gang Beats Boggs’ (Season 10, Episode 1)
What happens: The gang do something that’s wholly inadvisable (again) by attempting to break the record for the most beers ever consumed on a cross-country commercial flight — which they believe is a title held by former baseball player Wade Boggs, who makes a cameo in the episode.
What makes it stand out: Naturally, things get very debauched very quickly on board the flight: Dee drinks herself to excess, Dennis attempts to join the mile-high club, and Frank drugs a frat boy in order to ensure that the gang gets first dibs on the plane’s dwindling beer supply. A hugely silly but hugely brilliant episode.
Best line: “I need an Advil, a roll of duct tape, a pack of peanuts, and four beers.” – Frank
5: ‘The D.E.N.N.I.S. System’ (Season 5, Episode 10)
What happens: Dennis tells the gang about his six-step method for dating (which, of course, is utterly abhorrent and oh so very Dennis) which sets into motion a desperate, deranged and ultimately shameful scramble between Dennis, Mac and Frank for the affections of poor pharmacist Caylee.
What makes it stand out: Possibly Dennis’ most-famous (or should we say infamous?) Always Sunny episode, ‘The D.E.N.N.I.S. System’ lays bare the character’s sleazy and sociopathic tendencies. The awkwardness subsides, thankfully, as the D.E.N.N.I.S. System spectacularly blows up in its creator’s face.
Best line: “Maybe I should just stick to stalking, maybe that’s my system.” – Charlie
4: ‘The Gang Goes to the Jersey Shore’ (Season 7, Episode 2)
What happens: Taking a trip away from their beloved home city, the gang head out to the Jersey Shore for some rest and relaxation… nah, just kidding. Dennis and Dee get involved in a traumatic and drug-fuelled robbery, Mac and Frank get stranded at sea on a tiny rubber dinghy, and Charlie finally woos The Waitress — until he later finds out that she’s been tripping on drugs the entire time.
What makes it stand out: No Philly, no party? Not at all: the gang run riot at the Jersey Shore, which, as we all know, has a bit of a reputation in the US for its connection to the reality show of the same name. Plus, rum ham (see above and below).
Best line: “RUM HAM! I’m sorry rum ham! I’m sorry!” – Frank
3: ‘The Nightman Cometh’ (Season 4, Episode 13)
What happens: Charlie’s latest scheme to woo The Waitress (who is played by Charlie Day’s real-life wife Mary Elizabeth Ellis) involves writing and performing a semi-autobiographical and complex rock opera that he somehow manages to rope all of the gang into being a part of — and it’s utterly brilliant.
What makes it stand out: The episode was such a roaring success that the cast took the musical on tour back in 2009 — here’s hoping they mark the tenth anniversary of ‘The Nightman Cometh’ with a similar set of live performances.
Best line: “I am going to smack everyone into tiny… little… pieces.” – Charlie
2: ‘Charlie Work’ (Season 10, Episode 4)
What happens: Paddy’s Pub gets its annual inspection from the health inspector, which Charlie – as the bar’s de facto janitor – takes very seriously. The rest of the gang? Not so much.
What makes it stand out: If ‘The D.E.N.N.I.S. System’ is its titular character’s most notable Always Sunny moment, then there’s a very good argument for ‘Charlie Work’ to be its eponymous character’s most outstanding episode. A frantic and thrilling watch, Charlie Day’s tour de force performance as his comic character is sensational – and special mention to the True Detective-inspired long shot in the middle of the episode, too.
Best line: “Where did the cover for the glory hole go?” – Charlie
1: ‘Mac & Dennis Move to the Suburbs’ (Season 11, Episode 5)
What happens: Dennis and Mac elect to move into a house in the suburbs of Philadelphia after making a bet with Frank, who labels the pair as “city scum”. Obviously, it doesn’t all go to plan.
What makes it stand out: The meltdown of the two characters — especially Dennis, whose increasingly manic moments of road rage are incredible to watch — as they are driven to insanity by the mundanity of the suburbs is such a joy to behold that you almost wish the gang would move to the outskirts of the city full-time. Although judging by the fate of the pair’s pet dog at the hands of Mac, it would probably be a pretty feral experience….
Best line: “Hey, hey, slow down! Children play here, you fat cow.” – Dennis