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It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia Season 5 Blu-ray Review

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The Film

Over five seasons Paddy’s Pub – the central backdrop of this hilarious cable series - has been described as the worst bar in Philadelphia. And it is safe to say that the five main characters of the F/X show It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia might just be among the worst human beings ever (fictional or otherwise). The members of this extremely self-centered and self-indulgent gang come up with stupid schemes, lack common decency and generally make things worse instead of better.

Creator Rob McElhenney, along with his producing partners in crime Glenn Howerton and Charlie Day, who also play the main triumvirate of troublemakers, have hit their stride creatively with season five, with outlandish episodes featuring “kitten mittens,” “wrestling for the troops” and a road trip to nowhere. The writing, by McElhenney, Howerton and Day, is sharp as ever — possibly honed after their stage version of a season four episode last year. Along with the quick wit of Danny DeVito and Kaitlin Olson, the gang gets into messes and leaves a general path of destruction everywhere they go. The series was dubbed by F/X as “Seinfeld on crack” and it is as addictive as ever.

The Picture

A quick teaser at the beginning of the disc has Glenn Howerton and Charlie Day noting that season five was filmed in standard definition. The picture is thus not nearly as clear as many current TV series, but the show is now presented on F/X in the 1.78:1 widescreen format, as it is here on Blu-ray Disc.  The first three seasons were framed for and presented in the old 1.33:1 format of bygone days. The Blu-ray actually makes the episodes look a bit better than when these were broadcast last fall. This is a show with a lot of subtle sight gags, and the disc helps these to stand out more clearly than they did in the original broadcast.

092110 0641 ItsAlwaysSu1 Its Always Sunny in Philadelphia Season 5 Blu ray Review

The Sound

As a comedy series shot with a single camera and no laugh track, Sunny is especially dialog heavy, and the DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack more than handles the job. The cast does an excellent job with their delivery, and while the stories are completely outlandish, it is really the dialog that makes the show. While audio gags are occasionally used, there is little use of any discrete sound to the rear channels, but again this one is about the acting and what is being said more than how it actually sounds. Unlike the gang, the sound is really about subtlety and clean delivery, and to that end it does the job.

The Extras

The gang didn’t try to pull any schemes when it came to the extras. In fact, this disc is loaded with some nice bonus material, including the aforementioned Blu-ray introduction with Howerton and Day. There are audio commentaries on select episodes, deleted and extended scenes and a blooper reel – the latter is actually less funny than the show (but does anyone really care about bloopers?). In addition, the two-disc set contains an original “The Gang’s Dating Profiles” featurette, a “Kitten Mittens Endless Loop” segment and a “23,793 Photos in 5 Minutes – Schwep Dreams Sequences Montage.” It is enough to make a rainy day seem a bit sunnier.

Final Thoughts

The series is a “love it or hate it” kind of thing, and much in the vein of series such as South Park or Family Guy whether the crude humor goes too far is all subjective. Season five actually has fewer truly all-time classic episodes than perhaps season two, but none of the twelve are really stinkers either, and each has some truly great moments. This is a credit to the cast as well as directors Randall Einhorn and Fred Savage (yes, that Fred Savage). The show is witty, clever and enjoyable – and it looks pretty good on Blu-ray. The gang would no doubt be pleased.

Click here to download Season 5 DVD