Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Philly Just Might Be Seinfeld on Crack

While watching the new season of one of my favorite shows in recent years with a friend and breaking down our love for it, we stumbled upon an interesting conclusion. The FX show It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia is a modern Seinfeld; one for our generation. Asking what both shows are about could return one-word responses of 'nothing', not-to-mention the striking similarities between the unconventional behavior and convictions (or-lack-there-of) held by the four principle characters of either show.

Both of these shows exemplify some of the strongest characterizations in comedy history. First, you have the de facto central star Jerry Seinfeld and Dennis Reynolds. As suave, privileged and narcissistic, as they are ultimately hopeless when it comes to romance. When it comes to George and Charlie, these two are neurotic beings defined by inferiority complexes. Mac is like Kramer with his eccentric 'goofball' personality and shallow humor, while managing to be surprisingly capable at times. Sweet Dee and Elaine are not just the girls completing their otherwise all-male groups, they often represent the shred of moral conscience if it exists at all. The tightness of their groups makes both gangs reliant on their close friends. Their personalities also come to mirror one another over time.

The adventures of both gangs are always self-serving and often bizare or pointless, yet endlessly entertaining. When it comes to interactions with other people, it's skewed views, egocentrism, and constant disregard for the well-being of other people or society at the source of the conflict. The result of which is frequently an uncomfortable and awkward situation. Although the characters are so absorbed with themselves they can never quite to this realization. It's the generational differences that overshadow the similarities of the two shows. Philly is raw, coarse, and entirely too obscene for network television or mainstream society for that matter. Basically it's Seinfeld on crack. If you're a fan of either of these shows and havent seen the other, check it out. I have a feeling you'll feel right at home.

1 comment:

Kris G. said...

I never really thought about it like this, but I think you're spot on. Always Sunny started out as a show about something - all of the early episodes focused on a current social or economic problem, but as the show got more and more popular, it turned into a more comedic approach. I guess you could say Seinfeld did the same after Larry David left after season 7.

Good comparison.