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IT'S ALWAYS SUNNY IN PHILADELPHIA: Ranking the Seasons From Worst to First

Michael Giordano & Maj Canton - November 20, 2019

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IT'S ALWAYS SUNNY IN PHILADELPHIA has been airing on the FX networks for an historic fourteen seasons. For its Season 14 premiere on September 25th, the series tied the record for longest-running live-action comedy series, set by OZZIE AND HARRIET in the 1950s and '60s. SUNNY follows a group of friends (Mac, Dennis, Charlie, Dee, and later, Frank) who run a bar in Philadelphia and the hijinx and ridiculous situations that come as a result of their various schemes. The show has been pitched as “SEINFELD on speed” and, after fourteen seasons of increasingly weird and wild mayhem, it's hard to argue that point.

 

With this many seasons, the series has produced many milestones. Frank and Dee were *this* close to committing incest for some money. Dennis loves the implication of having female company on a boat. Charlie's ongoing saga with the Waitress. The Gang has almost died several times. We've seen Frank naked more times than needed. The list goes on and on because we've watched every episode of the series multiple times. This is why we feel confidant ranking the SUNNY seasons, in honor of the Gang tying the record for longest running live-action comedy series.

 


 


FROM WORST TO FIRST...

 

 


 

 

Seasons 1 & 2


The seasons that started it all are just so different from the SUNNY we now know and love. WE remember instantly enjoying what the Gang first had to offer but these episodes are from a time too long ago to hold up. A good number of long-running jokes are formed here but it's best to just skim through the episode descriptions and move on. Highlight episodes: "Gun Fever" and "The Gang Runs for Office," because campaign manager Charlie (and his illiteracy) is fun.

 


 

Season 13


You can feel the Gang figuring out new kinds of chemistry as they figure out how to keep the laughs coming. Sometimes it's a struggle. Highlights: The two Superbowl episodes are great, especially for Eagles' fans, and Mac's gay dance at the prison in "Mac Finds His Pride" was as unexpected as it was beautiful. Also, glad the gals of SUNNY got their own episode with "The Gang Beats Boggs: Ladies Reboot."

 


 

 

Seasons 10 & 12


These seasons are comfortably in the middle of the second renaissance of the series. The late-stage Gang hijinks pushes them into stories way outside the bar or into the lives of side characters, and Seasons 10 and 12 represent the somewhat weaker forays into that territory. Highlights: "Making Dennis Reynolds A Murderer" because, and "The Gang Goes to a Water Park" is great just for the scene where Frank goes down a dry slide. "Charlie Work" is definitely the best, but "The Gang Goes on Family Fight" is pretty fun, too.

 


 

 

Seasons 11 & 9


These seasons are the better parts of the second renaissance. The Gang was really committed to weird stories and ideas while also mining long-running material for more laughs. We're starting to get into some real quality SUNNY here. Highlights: "The Gang Saves the Day," "The Gang Gets Quarantined," and "Mac Day" for Sean William Scott. " The Gang Hits the Slopes," "Being Frank," and the Season 11 two-part finale are great.

 


 

 

Seasons 8 & 7


The Gang is really going strong in these two seasons. Not quite having to push the limits of weird storytelling that will come later, they go hard on the classic type of hijinks that made them so great. It will be hard not to just list episodes that are really fun. Anyway, here are some episodes that are really fun: "The Gang Goes to the Jersey Shore," "Chardee MacDennis: Game of Games," come on. "The ANTI-Social Network," and "The High School Reunion" two-parter.

 


 

Season 3


By Season 3, the deep and damaged psychological issues of the Gang are starting to flower. Dennis and Dee really move into their Reynolds-style narcissism, with Frank's descent into low class living their counterpoint. Charlie's vastly skewed perception of the world takes shape, as does his stunning illiteracy. And Mac, well, Mac is really bossy. Highlights: "The Gang Gets Invincible," "Mac Is a Serial Killer," "The Gang Gets Whacked" two-parter (and a good day to yoos), and "The Gang Dances Their Asses Off."

 


 

Season 6


Season 6 is the tail end of the first SUNNY renaissance. The season has consistently great episodes throughout and its weaker ones are still good. There are gems all over the place here, including the first reveal of the Gang's take on LETHAL WEAPON. Highlights: Start with "The Gang Buys a Boat" and watch to the end of the season.

 


 

Season 5


Season 5 is the more pristine version of Season 6. All but maybe two episodes are really great with a plethora of memorable moments – perfectly capped off by “IDIOTS IDIOTS IDIOTS” in the finale. What we're watching in Season 5 is a group of seasoned pros doing what they do best: act like absolute maniacs. Highlights: just watch the whole season.

 


 

Season 4


And we finally have it. This is the BEST season of SUNNY, hands down. Everyone's on their game, they're in harmony, and it's all really god damn funny. Every episode is memorable; every episode will have you busting your gut with laughter. But we have to be honest with you: the single most driving factor in our decision is "The Nightman Cometh" episode. Our absolute favorite moment of this entire series is when Charlie descends from the rafters, dressed in his dapper Day Man suit, singing his secretly planned marriage proposal to the woman he has been chasing since the first episode of the series. When he holds his final note and then YAWNS – that's when we lost it the first time when we saw that. And we must've watched it twenty times in a row right after that. So yeah, Season 4 is the best.