It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia Review: "Charlie Rules the World" (Episode 8.08)
In the past, I’ve said that while everyone compares It’s Always Sunny to Seinfeld with a more heightened level of douchebaggery, It’s Always Sunny is actually more akin to an animated show, where there are no real-world repercussions and at the end of the episode, everything restarts. In “Charlie Rules the World,” It’s Always Sunny almost becomes South Park-like, with Dennis quickly becoming the group’s Cartman, capable of murder and destroying any good that may come to the group.
Oh, and this might all be part of a turtle’s dream in space while Lionel Richie sings “All Night Long.”
Dee and Charlie have become enraptured with a game called Techpocalypse, which seems to combine aspects of World of Warcraft and Farmville. Turns out, Charlie is pretty good at it, quickly becoming the game’s most popular player, receiving real-world gifts and turning Dee into his groveling queen/real-life assistant and energy ball-maker.
Dee has turned everyone in her real world into characters. Instead of getting upset, Frank and Mac become sucked in as well, with Frank hooking in the game for fish and Mac running into fights only to get his face instantly blasted off by guns.
The only person not into Techpocalypse is Dennis, who doesn’t understand how these four can invest themselves in fake realities. But his obsession takes him even further than the other four, as a trip into a sensory deprivation tank allows Dennis to meet a British version of himself, one who tells him that he is the god of his own universe. He can create his own reality. Then Regular Dennis is forced to fellate British Dennis, because as Dennis said earlier, if Charlie ever rules the world, Dennis will blow himself.
Dennis deletes all of The Gang’s characters, because sometimes things just end, as we are then transported to see the turtle in space who may or may not be creating all of this in a dream.
This is the one of the few times that The Gang has been successful with one of their endeavors, showing that maybe Charlie should be the de facto leader instead of Dennis. While Dennis claims he deleted the characters because he thought the game was stupid, it also seems likely that he would do this because Charlie has stolen the power from him. Regardless of how everyone sees themselves, as Charlie believes himself to be the king, Dennis will always believe himself to be the god of this group.
While very little changes for The Gang, it looks like when the ninth season begins, the five might be very different from how they were at the beginning of this season—at least hopefully. Throughout this season, the show has been teasing an evolution of these characters. It’s been not-so-subtly hinted at that Mac is actually gay, Charlie is becoming angrier and more of a bully (at least in this episode it makes sense), and that Dennis has most likely become a serial killer/rapist. It just seems like the logical next step, and the weirder It’s Always Sunny gets, the more everyone wins.
“Charlie Rules the World” isn’t actually a laugh-out-loud episode, but it is enjoyable. It’s Always Sunny has always been weird (remember when Dennis hallucinated Sinbad and Rob Thomas in an insane asylum?), but this episode takes it in a direction we rarely see. Also, whenever It’s Always Sunny parodies some fad like they did with Facebook last year, even when it’s as late to the game as this one is, it always feels poorly informed.
“Charlie Rules the World” is merely an OK episode of It’s Always Sunny. If this becomes the final piece of the puzzle of these characters changing (mostly Dennis), it could be worth it, but if it doesn’t, it will only be remembered for that weird space turtle. But hopefully it’s just the beginning of things getting very, very weird.