FXX gets its game face on tonight with the launch of new seasons of three hit shows: It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, The League and late-night talker Totally Biased With W. Kamau Bell, which is going from weekly to nightly.
It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia (10pm)
Whether the average viewer knows it or not, Season 9 can be quite problematic for a TV show. Roseanne’s lottery fever dream. The Facts of Life without Mrs. Garrett. Scrubs: Med School. Even the best ideas just eventually run out of steam. That’s why it’s so fun to report that It’s Always Sunny Season 9 hasn’t lost a step since we first met the gang at Paddy’s Pub.
It’s all the more surprising that the show about five miscreants running a dive bar in Philadelphia has stayed so consistent given the rising profile of its stars, especially Charlie Day, who can now pop up in summer blockbusters like Pacific Rim with no one crying foul. Rob McElhenney, Glenn Howerton and Kaitlin Olson probably should be bigger stars, but hopefully their time will come after Sunny goes off into the … you know. Then there’s Danny DeVito, who at one point seemed a bit big time for a low-rent comedy show on a fledgling cable network, but now is an integral part of the madness.
McElhenney was well aware of how shows reach a point of lameness, or jump the shark if you will, as time goes on. The cast keeps getting blonder, more tan and thinner. Just like in real life, right? So he purposely went the other direction a few seasons back, gaining up to 50 pounds for no other reason than that it was funny. He’s since gotten back to his fighting weight, and It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia hasn’t looked back, finding plenty of other ways for its characters to insult each other while the world humiliates them.
The trio of episodes up for review included the hilarious “The Gang Broke Dee,” where Sweet Dee’s depression leads the gang to try and cheer her up by making her perform at an open-mic comedy club and giving her some fake applause. But something funny happens when the audience seems to be digging it for real, as Dee transforms herself into an odd mix of Maria Bamford and Steven Wright.
The League (10:30)
Jayma Mays has always been a cutie, but stand her next to Paul Scheer and she reaches supernova hotness. Mays plays Andre’s fiancee who has a very sensitive allergy to a certain male bodily fluid, a fact that seems to bother the grateful Andre not at all. He’s really getting into this wedding thing, but does feel a little torn when trying to decide whom should be the best man.
Here’s another show that has somehow managed to keep its cast together even as many of them have gone on to star, write, even direct indie movies (Katie Aselton, Mark Duplass) and have their own unspeakably awful shows on Comedy Central (Nick Kroll).
Totally Biased With W. Kamau Bell (at Ague. 10)
After a successful debut on FX (who would’ve picked the upstart Bell to last longer than Russell Brand?), the unapologetically liberal comedian Bell takes his late-night show over to FXX where it will run five nights and feature Bell’s take on politics, race, culture, religion and sex.
Photo: (It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, The League) Credit: Patrick McElhenney/FX;