By Andrew Martinez Cabrera
It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia is the epitome of what a comedy show should be. It’s rare for a show to be consistently funny for 16 years. Sunny embodies the absurdist aspects of American culture and politics and delivers 21-minute episodes deconstructing such events such as the gas crisis, poverty, and in this instance, a flu outbreak in Philly.
Unlike the very weird productions that came out during quarantine, such as the Michael Bay produced film Songbird and the Freeform miniseries Love in the Time of Corona (which sounds like a bad SNL digital short), Sunny captures the March 2020 time period perfectly.
The episode starts with Frank (Danny DeVito) warning the gang of a flu outbreak that’s taking a toll on Philly. The rest of the dysfunctional gang (Charlie Day, Rob McElhenney, Glenn Howerton, and Kaitlin Olson) immediately dismiss his concerns upon hearing them: “We’re not gonna die of the flu because we’re young and vital, you are old and feeble.” The only reason they quarantine is to preserve their vocal cords for a concert, so they lock themselves in their bar.
As the days go on, each member of the gang occupies a certain mindset during early quarantine. Charlie, the lovable bar janitor, believes that they’re simply playing quarantine and treats it like a game. Dennis and Dee, the narcissistic pair of twins, make contact with the outside world by smuggling in food, which results in them being locked in the bathroom for “a quarantine inside a quarantine.” Mac, the bar’s “bodyguard”, hides the fact that he’s experiencing symptoms after his hazmat suit is breached while shopping (you read that correctly) and only confesses once he’s locked with the rest of the gang.
And then there’s Frank, the deranged trash man who is able to fund all of the gang’s schemes. Frank is the ultimate neat freak, reminding me of the people who constantly started to realize their own filth before we were sent home for school for two weeks and then never came back. Frank constantly sanitizes his hands, then his arms, and then his head, removing all the hair on his body as “that’s what carries the disease” until finally, he’s found on the floor, covered in hand sanitizer, only wanting to “be pure.”
The episode ends with the gang realizing they bonded over a difficult experience that brought them closer together, much like how the real pandemic was the friends we made along the way.