It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia Review: "The Maureen Ponderosa Wedding Massacre" (Episode 8.03)
All the way back in 2010, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia aired a Halloween episode that is arguably one of the show’s all-time best: “Who Got Dee Pregnant?” In that episode, The Gang found a brilliant formula in which they must recall what happened at a crazy Halloween party where they believe Dee was impregnated. It was a fascinating episode for It’s Always Sunny, filled with unreliable narrators and varying viewpoints. It was basically the show’s answer to Rashomon, just filled with more drinking and McPoyles. “The Maureen Ponderosa Wedding Massacre” isn’t nearly as daring, but it does include plenty of what made “Who Got Dee Pregnant?” one of the show’s best and for the second time already this season, the show allows itself to stray from the path most expected while having fun with nostalgia and callbacks.
Like last week’s “The Gang Recycles Their Trash,” “Maureen Ponderosa” will probably be a confusing half-hour for anyone tuning in to It’s Always Sunny for the first time, yet it’s incredible for longtime fans. For some undisclosed reason, Dennis’ ex-wife Maureen Ponderosa has fallen in love with Liam McPoyle. It’s a match made in It’s Always Sunny minor character hell. Dennis heads to the wedding to get Maureen and Liam to sign some papers so he won’t have to continue paying alimony for his short-lived marriage. Charlie and Mac have tagged along, and Ryan McPoyle has enlisted the help of Frank and Dee to crash the wedding. Also in the bridal party is Maureen’s brother Bill, another family member The Gang’s life has ruined. Frank is Bill’s AA sponsor, and Frank thinks Bill deserves a night where he can let loose, get drunk, do drugs, whatever. Bill’s earned it. After Dee sucks some bat venom out of Frank’s bald head for $200, The Gang heads into the terrifying wedding.
The entire story of the wedding is told through the viewpoint of the guys, who were the only people at the wedding uninvited and are now being detained by the police since the bride cannot be found. Charlie channels Quint from Jaws to tell the cops of the zombies that attacked the Ponderosa-McPoyle wedding. Of course, this couldn’t be the case, right?
Well, the wedding is even more horrific than one would think a McPoyle wedding might be. As Liam points out, the McPoyle bloodline had been pure for a thousand years, thanks to constant inbreeding that made them the rules of the country until syphilis and mongaloidism killed most of everyone off. A McPoyle wedding consists of somber cello music, McPoyle throwing up and body-slamming and a great cameo by Guillermo del Toro as a McPoyle who ate a baby before it ate him.
Turns out this isn’t the natural state of the McPoyle clan (but really, can it be that far off?) and that Bill Ponderosa has spiked the punchbowls full of milk with bath salts. Liam and Ryan reunite with what looks like an apologetic blow job. Finally Dennis sleeps with Maureen again, now that she has fixed her dead tooth and has gotten a boob job. Maureen bails the four guys out, leaving Dennis in a new type of horror.
Mac has a great meta moment for the episode—something the show has been great at handling lately—in which he discusses he and Charlie crashing Dee’s car once again. When a pissed-off Dee attacks and yells at them saying they’re going to pay for this, Mac states matter-of-factly, “No we won’t pay. We never do.”
But the best part of “Maureen Ponderosa’s Wedding Massacre” is that it’s a hell of a lot of fun. It’s Always Sunny revels in these types of theme episodes, and whenever they have to recall events that have ended horribly, there’s a brilliance to the varying angles and twists in the story. Plus, it’s been way too long since we’ve seen the McPoyles, and I personally almost forgot how incredibly horrifying they can be. “Maureen Ponderosa” is It’s Always Sunny going insane, even for them, and once again this season, having fun with the hilarious craziness and ridiculousness they can get into from week to week, without ever having to pay the consequences.