Seinfeld, Cheers, Friends, 30 Rock... these are just a few comedy sitcoms that broke 100 episodes and went down as legendary TV shows. But there's another 30-minute comedy, It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, that's remained on air for 11 years and sprinted past the 100-episode mark that isn't held in the same regard as the aforementioned shows. And that's a crime. This show about a group of people who own a bar in South Philadephia is the modern heir to Seinfeld, with its morally bankrupt characters and bold, willfully offensive storytelling. For more than a decade, EPs (and stars) Robert McElhenney, Glenn Howerton, and Charlie Day have churned out episodes flooding with humor, indelible scenes, and low-key biting commentary. And as the show begins its twelfth season tonight—with a thirteenth and fourteenth already in the works—Philly's finest are showing no signs of stopping.
It's time we better appreciate a show that's been this good since day one, so we put together a ranking of every episode it has ever aired—all 124 of them. The rankings are based on the amount of solid jokes each episode contains, but also on each episode's level of inventiveness and ability to create iconic moments. Every episode of Always Sunny is worth your time—and you can stream them all on Netflix or Hulu—but some are better than others. Press play on this song, and let's begin.
124. "The Gang Broke Dee" (Season 9, Episode 1)
The abuse of Kaitlin Olsen's character, Sweet Dee, is a seasons-spanning occurrence in Always Sunny, and it's a comedic well that's surprisingly fruitful. But this episode, in which Dee hits rock bottom only to find out—thanks to the guys—that things can get way, way worse, is just kind of overkill.
123. "Charlie Goes America All Over Everybody's Ass" (Season 2, Episode 9)
Always Sunny mostly spent its first two seasons trying to figure out how to be its best self. The show toyed with characters branching out away from Paddy's Pub, while Danny DeVito's Frank was still seasons away from peaking as an ultimate degenerate. Episode 9 of the second season is one where Always Sunny is still trying to see what works, and while you can't deny Liam McPoyle's "You get fork-stabbed line!" after he, well, fork-stabs Charlie, the episode overall is somewhat unsatisfying.
122. "Gun Fever" (Season 1, Episode 4)
"Gun Fever" borders on having an interesting conversation about guns in America, but never quite gets there. The twisted plot in its place makes for a fun watch, but that's it.
121. "Charlie's Mom Has Cancer" (Season 8, Episode 6)
The episodes focusing on Charlie's unsettlingly weird mother vary in success, and if you ask me, P. Diddy's cameo as Dr. Jinx here is the show's most distracting cameo to date.
120. "The Gang Spies Like U.S." (Season 10, Episode 5)
While the paranoia that courses through the gang as they spy on each other is entertaining, and seeing Sweet Dee hurt herself in various ways while working in a fish factory can never not be good, the punchline of the episode—that everyone in the gang is really just trying to watch Asian creampie porn—doesn't land. It's the sort of sophomoric humor that would've hit in 2006, but Season 10? Nah.
119. "The Gang Gets Extreme: Home Makeover Edition" (Season 4, Episode 12)
Yes, it's incredible that Charlie has an obsession with Ty Pennington. But an episode in which the gang takes over, and subsequently destroys, the house of a Mexican immigrant family? Nope, too dark. Shut it down.
118. "Dennis Gets Divorced" (Season 6, Episode 2)
Dennis' split from Maureen Ponderosa is plot point that Always Sunny would take better advantage of later down the road. The initial episode though, a sequel to the premiere of Season 6, "Mac Fights Gay Marriage," is really just an episode where everyone in the gang loses, and loses hard. That's usually a winning recipe for this show, but the real-life stakes of divorce make this one hard to truly enjoy. Maureen Ponderosa's reenactment of this scene from Fear is incredible though.
117. "The Gang Exploits a Miracle" (Season 2, Episode 7)
This episode deserves props for turning Charlie into an evangelical preacher ("Am I gay for God? You betcha!") and introducing Matthew "Rickety Cricket" Mara, a character who has gone through an astonishingly destructive transformation over the seasons because of the gang. "The Gang Explits a Miracle" starts Cricket on his path from clean-cut priest to street rat.
116. "Mac's Mom Burns Down Her House" (Season 6, Episode 6)
Like I said, the returns on episodes focusing on Charlie's mom (and in this case, Mac's mom) vary. Aside from getting further explanations for why Mac and Charlie are such dysfunctional people, this episode's main plot doesn't really go anywhere. Nor does its B-plot, about Frank jacking Dee up with drowsy meds so that he can care for her, in the hope that she'll repay the favor when he gets old.
115. "Ass Kickers United: Mac and Charlie Join a Cult" (Season 10, Episode 10)
Dennis starting a cult-like newsletter that preys on Mac's body issues all because Dennis was annoyed with Mac eating his Thin Mints is vintage Dennis. The episode doesn't transcend its premise though, and ends up mostly being a collection of very odd, tentatively connected scenes. Dax Shepard is randomly in it though!
114. "The Aluminum Monster vs. Fatty Magoo" (Season 3, Episode 5)
Here's another episode that introduced ideas and characters that'd be better utilized down the road. This one mostly, however, is a conduit to highlight Dennis' vanity—to the point that he puts on way too much makeup, stuffs his chest, and squeezes into an ill-fitting dress because he believes he's the perfect model. If that's your thing, cool. It's not really mine.
113. "Dennis and Dee's Mom Is Dead" (Season 3, Episode 3)
When Dennis and Dee's mom dies, we see the gang really go off the wall, but in a way that doesn't quite work. Frank and Dee's ill-forged con to steal the inheritance isn't funny enough to cover up the offensiveness. And while seeing the guys once again brush up against the homoeroticism of their personalities is never a bad thing, this episode just doesn't stand out.
112. "Frank's Brother" (Season 7, Episode 5)
In a vacuum, "Frank's Brother" is a great episode of Always Sunny. There are some great flashback scenes starring a young Frank, he falls in love with a girl named "Shadynasty" (pronounced "sha-dynasty" rather than "shady-nasty"), and there's a great, sly recurring where a black character keeps getting arrested for crimes he didn't commit. But it just really bothers me that this brother of Frank's falls out of the sky—never mentioned before or again in Always Sunny. It makes the episode feel cheap, and while that may be putting too much thought into a show like this one, SO BE IT.
111. "The Gang Reignites the Rivalry" (Season 5, Episode 12)
The Season 5 finale is responsible for one of Always Sunny's most iconic phrases: "Flipadelphia." You can find it on t-shirts. But this story of the gang reigniting a flip cup rivalry with a group of more mature, well-off guys just doesn't do it for me. It's mostly flat. It does feature one of Always Sunny's best themes though: the gang giving up on their schemes before they come to a logical conclusion.
110. "Mac Is a Serial Killer" (Season 3, Episode 10)
No, Mac is not a serial killer—he's just dating a transgender woman. That the rest of the gang interprets Mac's secretive behavior to mean he's slaughtering women—while Charlie puts on his lawyer pants for the first time after seeing one too many Law & Order episodes—makes for a pretty solid episode. But that's about all you can say about the episode.
109. "The Gang Goes to Hell" (Season 11, Episode 9)
Taken as a whole, the two-part finale of Season 11 is darkly humorous and sharply insightful, but the second half of the finale does most of the heavy lifting. Here in part one, the gang tries to better themselves while on a Christian cruise organized by Mac. Because this is Always Sunny, no one actually confronts their vices, instead giving into them once more. It's a decent episode and setup for part two of the finale, but it mostly feels like a retread.
108. "Hundred Dollar Baby" (Season 2, Episode 5)
Maybe if I enjoyed Million Dollar Baby, which this episode riffs on, I'd enjoy this episode more? Seeing Dee and Charlie all 'roided out keeps this episode from being a total dud.
107. "Psycho Pete Returns" (Season 10, Episode 3)
At the end of Season 7, we're informed that Psycho Pete is one of Mac and Charlie's high school buddies (he completed their misfit gang, "The Freight Train") whose nickname was pretty literal—he apparently murdered and ate his family. This episode three seasons later finds the gang trying to get rid of Psycho Pete—for obvious reasons—after he returns to Philly from a mental institution. It has its moments—and Pete's true backstory is a funny reveal—but all in all, this one is probably the worst result of when Always Sunny digs into the lore of seasons' past.
106. "Mac Kills His Dad" (Season 10, Episode 7)
The triangular drama between Mac, Charlie, and Mac's dad is one of the best plotlines to pop up season-to-season on Always Sunny. Which makes it weird that this episode, as of now the conclusion to that storyline, just isn't that funny. It's true what they say: the journey is more important than the destination.
105. "The Gang Cracks the Liberty Bell" (Season 4, Episode 11)
This episode, in which the gang are facsimiles of themselves in Revolutionary War times, is definitely Always Sunny's most gimmicky to date. Some memorable moments, however, such as Mac lisping a terrible British accent through wooden teeth, keep it from being totally terrible.
104. "Being Frank" (Season 11, Episode 6)
Another gimmick episode, in which everything happens through the eyes of Frank Reynolds. It's a funny idea, with some funny results, but it doesn't have the legs to last 30 minutes.
103. "Dee Gives Birth" (Season 6, Episode 12)
This episode doesn't stack up to most of the rest of this list in terms of humor and memorable moments, but it does deserve credit for being the most genuinely heartfelt episode of the series. In it, as Dee goes into labor, the rest of the gang tries to figure out who the baby's father is before deciding that they could be better surrogate parents. It's an episode that shows that underneath the group's profound awfulness, there is some shred of heart. And the scene in which Dee emerges from the ER, glowing, with a baby in her arms, is truly sweet (made even sweeter by the fact that the episode is a tribute to Axel Lee McElhenney, Rob and Kaitlin Olson's first child together).
102. "McPoyle vs. Ponderosa: The Trial of the Century" (Season 11, Episode 7)
Any episode featuring the McPoyles and Charlie pretending to be a lawyer should be a winner, but this one just doesn't reach its high expectations.
101. "Charlie Gets Crippled" (Season 2, Episode 1)
Danny DeVito's first episode on the show. For that, this episode deserves credit, because Always Sunny truly did reach another level once Frank was thrown into the mix. Obviously though, things were rocky at first, and initially casting Frank as a straight-laced jerk didn't pan out too well. Charlie's impression of a Vietnam vet at a strip club, though? Much better.
100. "Charlie Has Cancer" (Season 1, Episode 4)
A weirdly dour, outlier of an episode for Always Sunny, the fourth installment of the series did at least effectively establish who these characters are. Dennis is self-serving, Charlie is hopelessly inept (and yeah, stupid), and Mac is so far in the closet he can't see his way out (this is the first episode featuring the trans character Mac would later date). It's not a crazy funny episode, but it does have value.
99. "The Gang Gives Back" (Season 2, Episode 6)
After dabbling in some domestic terrorism, the gang is sentenced to some community service; coaching youth basketball, specifically. It goes as well as expected: one kid's only wearing flip-flops, Frank bets on the game with a bunch of Vietnamese guys, and Charlie gets blackout drunk and is a horrendous referee. Not a bad episode!
98. "Mac Fights Gay Marriage" (Season 6, Episode 1)
Well, not gay marriage exactly—to be clearer, Mac finds out his former girlfriend, now fully transitioned, is dating a man who's not him, and he loses it. The episode hilariously highlights Mac's struggle with, and denial of, his sexuality, and the other storylines are enjoyable as well. Dennis makes an obviously terrible mistake and gets married, while Frank and Charlie resolve to get gay married so that they can enjoy the civil benefits.
97. "The Gang Misses the Boat" (Season 10, Episode 6)
As the seasons have gone on, Always Sunny has acknowledged its long life, addressing both the mortality and the immovable nature of its characters. After the gang literally misses a boat, they each ruminate on how they've figuratively missed the boat. The beauty is not in how they change—or how funny or unfunny it is to see them try to change—but in how they conclude to stay the same by episode's end.
96. "Charlie and Dee Find Love" (Season 8, Episode 4)
This story about a couple of rich kids (one played by Alexandra Daddario!) taking interest in Charlie and Dee is pretty solid. But what I like most about this episode is that Charlie resoundingly wins.
95. "The Gang Finds a Dumpster Baby" (Season 3, Episode 1)
Everyone splinters off after finding a baby in the trash heap behind Paddy’s Pub: Frank and Charlie become dumpster divers so avid they have to become homeless, Mac and Dee try to turn said dumpster baby into a Gerber Baby, and Dennis gets revenge after being punked by a hippie. A solid, middle of the road Always Sunny episode.
94. "The Gang Sells Out" (Season 3, Episode 7)
The best part of this episode is probably when the gang is reacting to an offer made on Paddy’s and Charlie doesn't know the word “wooed.” "I see what you're saying; I could go for some wood," he says. Jokes about the character’s illiteracy will never not be funny.
93. "America’s Next Top Paddy’s Billboard Contest" (Season 4, Episode 3)
The Always Sunny guys have fun riffing on ANTM (and The Bachelor, later in the episode) as Dennis and a group of models compete to get their face on a billboard. It's always fun seeing the show take on Dennis’ vanity, but what really stands out in this episode are Charlie and Dee’s attempts to make a YouTube hit. Greenman makes an appearance, and the fact that Dee’s depressing video diary is what goes viral speaks to our twisted online preferences.
92. "The Storm of the Century" (Season 7, Episode 6)
It's a great idea for an episode, with a setting that most Northeasterners know well: a supermarket the day before a much-hyped hurricane. The episode’s commentary on how the media latches onto controversy and relies on fear for ratings is sharp, and this one reaches a pretty satisfying conclusion.
91. "Charlie: King of the Rats" (Season 6, Episode 10)
Charlie likes Charlie Work (his janitorial duties that border on inhumane), but a man can only murder so many rats before it gets to him. The gang tries to cheer him up in this episode, evaluating their selfishness and cynicism in the process. It's an overall decent episode, but it has two great Charlie moments: when he builds a Trojan Horse/ remote control car that looks like a rat, and when he refuses to throw out his *bag* of spaghetti when Dee brings him to the movies and a spa.
90. "Dennis Looks Like a Registered Sex Offender" (Season 3, Episode 11)
Leave it to Always Sunny to put some fat makeup on Glenn Howerton and make a whole episode out of it. The pure absurdity of the premise makes this episode enjoyable. A B-story about Charlie going to great lengths to get Frank back after he moves in with his “bang maid,” Charlie’s mom, is a nice bonus.
89. "Paddy’s Pub: The Worst Bar in America" (Season 4, Episode 8)
Here's an episode that takes on the gang’s incredibly warped perception of the world. When a critic writes a very truthful review of Paddy’s, Charlie kidnaps him. Of course. The episode has a nice momentum after the kidnapping, and everyone in the gang (except for Frank, who is inexplicably absent) is at their worst.
88. "Mac and Charlie Write a Movie" (Season 5, Episode 11)
Did you know M. Night Shyamalan was from Philly? I did not, until Always Sunny made an episode teasing the director’s perpetual strive for movie twists. The episode’s side plot of Dennis, Dee, and Frank on a movie set flops, but the scenes where Mac and Charlie work on their screenplay—about a detective played by Dolph Lundgren who can smell crime—are full of laughs.
87. "The Gang Desperately Tries to Win an Award" (Season 9, Episode 3)
This one feels like a spiritual sibling to “Worst Bar in America,” as the gang tirelessly seeks approval from a world they've openly given the finger. What makes this one a little better is seeing the gang try to turn Paddy’s into a TGI Fridays-esque spot, an endeavor that ends with Mac choking out Dee, and Charlie huffing spray paint and singing a song about spiders.
86. "Chardee MacDennis 2: Electric Boogaloo" (Season 11, Episode 1)
The original “Chardee MacDennis,” where the gang plays a vicious board game they invented themselves, is a legendary episode. The sequel, which infuses some elements from Saw, doesn't match up.
85. "Mac and Charlie Die: Part Two" (Season 4, Episode 6)
Think of this like the last act of a Christmas Carol. After faking their deaths in part one of this episode, Charlie and Mac—and the viewers—get to see how the rest of the group lives without them. Dennis moves on quickly, and to European kinks; Frank loses it and makes a makeshift doll of Charlie; and Dee is so forgotten that she has to join up with Mac and Charlie and fake her own death. "Part Two" doesn't have the laughs that "Part One" does, but there's not a ton to complain about.
84. "The Gang Group Dates" (Season 10, Episode 2)
Basically, this is what happens when the gang discovers a dating app similar to Bumble. Dennis and Dee fall prey to the anxieties caused by the app's rating system—Dennis, obviously, especially loses it—but Charlie, Mac, and Frank's group dates elevate the episode. Frank carries a whistle, cancelling the dates at the first sign of destruction. It takes a lot of tries before Charlie can go a full date without mentioning rats or The Waitress, but the montage of failed dates is amazing comedy.
83. "The Gang Finds a Dead Guy" (Season 1, Episode 6)
I don't care too much for the main plot of this episode—though the cold open is incredible ("That bitch is dead"). The better part of it is Charlie connecting with Dee and Dennis' grandfather, who is very much a Nazi.
82. "Dennis and Dee Get a New Dad" (Season 2, Episode 10)
This is why I love Always Sunny. Danny DeVito joined the show merely because he wanted to, and on the fly, the writers made him Dennis and Dee's dad. That's how it was for all of Season 2, and it was... fine. And then Always Sunny, once again on the fly, released Frank from his fatherly ties, retconning a back story about Dennis and Dee's mom having an affair and twins out of wedlock. It takes balls to be that absurd and self-irreverent. This episode has so many big drops—the biggest of all being the kicker that Frank may actually be Charlie's dad.
81. "The Waitress Is Getting Married" (Season 5, Episode 5)
The two things you need to know about this episode? After Charlie finds out a guy is marrying The Waitress, he puts a bunch of bees into a box, "pops a quick H on it so you know it's filled with hornets," and gives it to the groom. Also, Charlie goes on a blind date, and in trying to explain to the girl that he's a philanthropist, says, "I'm a full-on rapist."
80. "Frank Reynolds' Little Beauties" (Season 7, Episode 3)
See if you can follow this plot: Frank invests in a beauty pageant business and fears that he's under investigation for pedophilia, so the gang puts on a pageant to prove everything's legit. As it goes any time the gang puts on a show, it's a mess. Frank hilariously has a funeral director do his makeup, while the guys produce a misguided dance number about patriotism starring an effeminate boy. The episode goes to great lengths to point out the ridiculousness of pageants, and mostly succeeds.
79. "The Great Recession" (Season 5, Episode 3)
Ever topical, Always Sunny dropped this episode right after the housing crisis decimated the American economy. The recession hit everyone in the United States, including Frank, who repeatedly tries to hang himself in this episode, only to be repeatedly unsuccessful. This is smack dab in the middle of Frank's descent into nihilism, and shows the insane potential of that character becoming unhinged.
78. "Mac and Dennis Buy a Timeshare" (Season 9, Episode 4)
Speaking of unhinged, this episode is likely best known for being the one where Frank spends the entire 30 minutes in a playground coil. The other members of the gang, meanwhile, fall prey to various business schemes. All of that stuff is somewhat entertaining (shout out the return of Roddy Piper), but Frank in the coil is by far the highlight. Which is a compliment and a criticism.
77. "Mac and Dennis: Manhunters" (Season 4, Episode 1)
In which Mac and Dennis get on their Most Dangerous Game shit. Obviously their target is Rickety Cricket, who's much tougher to catch than they expect. Elsewhere, Frank teams up with Cricket while insisting that his life is the plot of multiple Rambo movies, a joke that keeps giving. And even better, Dee and Charlie almost become cannibals to satisfy their insatiable hunger after eating what they believe is human meat. The truth? They just ate a raccoon that was riddled with tape worms.
76. "Mac's Big Break" (Season 6, Episode 4)
This episode doesn't have any huge moments to remember, but I absolutely love the hockey training montage featuring Charlie and Mac. And Frank being so enamored with Dennis and Dee's "jib jab," as he calls it, is oddly endearing. The sideplot that unfurls from that, in which the trio make a podcast, is also pretty good stuff.
75. "The Gang Gets a New Member" (Season 6, Episode 8)
Way back in high school, there was once a fourth member of the gang: Schmitty (played by Jason Sudeikis). Schmitty returns and is re-initiated into the group before questioning everything—like, why does Dennis order everyone's lunch?—and getting kicked out once again. It's a hit or miss episode, but it's most noteworthy for driving Charlie to become a high school janitor, a storyline that has huge payoffs in the following episode.
74. "Frank Falls Out the Window" (Season 11, Episode 2)
When Frank falls out the window, his memory erases nine seasons of TV and he goes back to being the Frank we first saw in "Charlie Gets Crippled." It's a pretty clever, self-referential episode. But the funniest part of the episode has to be its title.
73. "The Gang Dances Their Asses Off" (Season 3, Episode 15)
Charlie, who again cannot read, accidentally signs Paddy's Pub up for a dance contest and puts the bar itself up for the grand prize. The gang is at their most conniving here, feeding each other brownies laced with cold medicine and enlisting Rickety Cricket to pull some Tonya Harding-style sabotage. It's not a stunning episode, but it's a solid way to end the show's third season.
72. "Mac and Dennis Break Up" (Season 5, Episode 9)
Though the gang pairs off in different ways episode to episode, Always Sunny acknowledges that certain characters are more tied than others. Roommates Mac and Dennis, for example, have a particularly co-dependent relationship, which is destroyed in this episode. The schism sends ripples throughout the group—Dennis disturbs Dee with a desperate need to watch The Transporter with someone, while Mac annoys Frank by insisting he throw out his toe knife. It's always interesting when Sunny focuses on the politics and inner working of the group, which this episode does so expertly. It also features Charlie sending multiple cats into Dee's apartment wall in order to rescue one cat, which is pretty cool too.
71. "Charlie Rules the World" (Season 8, Episode 8)
Like I said before, I love when Charlie wins. He wins big here, as the gang becomes obsessively immersed in an online game similar to FarmVille. Just as good is witnessing how the characters' true personalities are reflected in their online avatars.
70. "Sweet Dee Gets Audited" (Season 7, Episode 4)
Aside from an excellent cold open—Dee proclaiming, "You guys better all eat a dick, because Sweet Dee beat the system" before the episode title flashes on the screen—this episode has some hilarious scenes. Such as the gang enacting a democratic voting system to decide matters in the bar (that quickly comes crashing down at the first hint of discord), and Charlie and Mac dumping out a sun-melted dead dog from a child-sized coffin. Don't ask why, just watch the episode.
69. "The Gang Saves the Day" (Season 9, Episode 6)
This episode has an amusing premise: after the gang finds themselves smack dab in the middle of a convenience mart stick-up, each character imagines how they'd heroically solve the conflict. With a setup like that, this episode could be legendary. The problem is that certain characters imagined stories are better than others. Dee and Frank's are the strongest, if you ask me.
68. "The Gang Gets Trapped" (Season 7, Episode 9)
The premise for this episode—the gang breaks into a home in search of a valuable artifact—is so unbelievably random and stupid, it could sink the whole thing. But it's also jam-packed with amazing gags—Charlie incessantly trying to eat some of Mac's chips, the homeowners being so oblivious to the gang's very obvious presence—that save it.
67. "Charlie Catches a Leprechaun" (Season 11, Episode 8)
Dennis introduces the Paddy Wagon, a bar on wheels that people mistake for Uber and that more so ends up functioning like a moving prison. Back at the bar, Charlies, yes, catches a leprechaun. Or at least a little person dressed as a leprechaun. One of Season 11's strongest efforts, this episode at once teases the absurdity of modern, app-driven small businesses, while also finding time to turn Charlie's scenes with the captured leprechaun into a riff on Reservoir Dogs.
66. "The Gang Recycles Their Trash" (Season 8, Episode 2)
The gang does more than recycle trash in this episode—they recycle an entire plot line. Step-for-step, this episode is an almost exact replica of Season 4's "The Gang Solves the Gas Crisis." That makes it a rewarding watch for people who are keyed into the series' history, but meta inventiveness aside, the original episode packs more punch.
65. "The Gang Goes to Hell: Part Two" (Season 11, Episode 10)
As we said above, this part of the Season 11 finale is sharply funny, self-aware, and insightful. Trapped in the brig of the Christian cruise ship, which begins to flood, the gang is forced to face each other and themselves. It's maybe the most honest the characters get in the entirety of the series—Mac even admits his homosexuality. This could function as an extremely satisfying series finale, but it's almost more fitting that Always Sunny is immediately undoing the progress made in the episode (and the deaths of its characters) by having at least three more seasons.
64. "The ANTI-Social Network" (Season 11, Episode 10)
Inspired by the documentary Catfish, "The ANTI-Social Network" explores the brave new world of online interaction. The funny thing is that the momentum of this plot is lit because a man shushes the gang at a bar. The episode's riffing on Catfish is a solid story with an even more solid conclusion.
63. "Charlie Wants an Abortion" (Season 1, Episode 2)
Charlie's struggle with a misbehaving child that is allegedly his gives this episode its title, but the main thrust centers on Mac and Dennis, who take sides in the Pro-Life/Pro-Choice debate based solely on which stance gives them a better chance to get laid. Mac's stanning for the Pro-Life side, at the behest of actress Autumn Reeser (who played Taylor Townsend in The O.C.) is truly a sight to behold. It's amazing that an episode this strong was only the second one Always Sunny ever aired.
62. "Dennis and Dee Go on Welfare" (Season 2, Episode 3)
After Frank, still Dennis and Dee's father at the time, takes ownership of Paddy's, the siblings quit the bar and gladly accept unemployment benefits. When those run out, they try to continue their reliance on state-funded support, but there's one problem: to get welfare, they need to be convincingly addicted to crack. Dennis and Dee going from drinking forties and singing "Just a Friend" on a stoop to buying "one rock of crack" for $200 to being full-on addicted crack is quite the television arc.
61. "Mac & Dennis Move to the Suburbs" (Season 11, Episode 5)
Another episode that plays on the concept of the gang getting older, but not more mature. Moving out of the city might be a natural step in life for many, but that is not exactly what happens here. Mac and Dennis are both completely out of place in the 'burbs, but resolve to stay there because they bet Frank they could hack it. They most definitely cannot though: their stay in the suburbs is capped off by Mac feeding Dennis dog meat.
60. "The Gang Gets Whacked: Part Two" (Season 3, Episode 13)
In a reverse situation of what happened with "The Gang Goes to Hell," the first part of this two-parter is much stronger than the second. But the second does have its moments, like Mac being called "Pussyhands" by a bunch of mobsters.
59. "Frank Sets Sweet Dee on Fire" (Season 3, Episode 8)
This story of Dennis trying to make Dee famous solely by turning her into a drunk club girl and Mac, Charlie, and Frank making a news show for public access is an early-season favorite. It does end with the incredible images of Dee being set on fire and Dennis dancing in a diaper, but is also bolstered by the recurring joke of Mac uncontrollably sweating while on camera, and Dancing Guy, a public access staple who is as entrancing as he is weird.
58. "Dee Made a Smut Film" (Season 11, Episode 4)
The episode that begins with Dee making a porno with Richard Grieco turns into a shockingly sophisticated argument about what makes art, art. Frank sends up the world of high art, while Rickety Cricket returns to introduce his collection of paintings...which all depict the dog orgies he's been involved in.
57. "Frank Retires" (Season 10, Episode 9)
Another episode where someone in the gang approaches a normal event of normal life—only for it to go completely left. Frank's retirement spurs a conniving battle for the bar's inheritance; Game of Thrones-level deception is enacted. And we're reminded that in a game of deceptive calculation, no one will ever best Dennis Reynolds.
56. "The Gang Solves the North Korea Situation" (Season 3, Episode 6)
Here, Paddy's Pub goes head to head with a Korean restaurant with a fire microbrew. Somewhere in the middle of that, the 12-year-old daughter of the owner of the Korean restaurant runs away to Charlie's apartment and the two fall in love. (Yes, it makes too much sense that Charlie's perfect match is a child.) This episode has a great kicker, and it's also responsible for introducing the duster, Mac's absurd, black trenchcoat, so give it some credit.
55. "The Gang Gets Stranded in the Woods" (Season 6, Episode 11)
After Frank crashes his car on the way to an Atlantic City benefit dinner attended by Chase Utley and Ryan Howard of the Phillies, the gang goes two different ways. Frank, Mac and Dee scour the woods for food, finding only a rabbit they can't bring themselves to kill and a rabies-riddled bird. Dennis and Charlie fare much better, hitching a ride with a very sexually interested truck driver before eventually making their way to the benefit dinner. Their scenes—totally obliterated drunk—with Utley and Howard are phenomenal, and the irony that fills the episode makes it a good one.
54. "Mac's Banging the Waitress" (Season 4, Episode 4)
What a hilariously winding episode. Charlie finds out The Waitress has a new boyfriend; that boyfriend is Mac, who is having sex with her to get revenge on Charlie after Charlie bashed up Mac's "Project Badass" tapes; but Charlie wasn't destroying those tapes, he was bashing the sex tape Frank and The Waitress made. This narrative pretzel, that plays out like a soap opera, is executed pretty well, and we also get the treat of seeing a VERY drunk Charlie try to use motor skills.
53. "The High School Reunion Part Two: The Gang's Revenge" (Season 7, Episode 13)
I can't separate the parts of this two-episode finale, so move to the next line for analysis.
52. "The High School Reunion" (Season 7, Episode 12)
"The High School Reunion" adds so much rich history to the gang's backstories, while also amending and editing things from the past we assumed to be true. Mac's full name is finally revealed in the show's "Cosmo Kramer" moment—it's Ronald MacDonald, of course. We find out who these people really were, free from the unreliable narration they provided for seven seasons. To hammer home just how far off the gang's perception is from the truth, this two-parter ends with a solid rendition of George Michael's "Freedom;" the audience is privy to the professional-seeming version the gang sees, and the horrendously embarrassing version everyone else sees.
51. "Dennis Reynolds: An Erotic Life" (Season 4, Episode 9)
I don't love this episode's plot that lands Dennis in an insane asylum with Sinbad and Matchbox Twenty's Rob Thomas—some really do. I do, however, adore how Charlie and Dee decide to switch places in this episode, a gimmick that yields endlessly funny results.
50. "The Gang Squashes Their Beefs" (Season 9, Episode 10)
This is a later-season episode that actually takes stock of the waste the gang has laid over the years. The consequences of every awful thing they've ever done finally start weighing down on them. They can't go to Wawa, they can't rent movies, they can't even live comfortably in their apartments. This episode, where former characters are rounded up, has similar vibes to Seinfeld's series finale. It's funnier though.
49. "The Gang Dines Out" (Season 8, Episode 9)
This is an example of Always Sunny nailing a bottle episode. The entire episode takes place in an Italian restaurant, and the drama is centered on a cross-restaurant feud between Mac and Dennis and Charlie and Frank. Each faction toys with the other in hilariously inventive ways (i.e. sending a bottle of red wine and a lone wine glass to a table of two white wine drinkers), turning a simple night out into an absolute disaster.
48. "How Mac Got Fat" (Season 7, Episode 10)
Before Season 7, Rob McElhenney gained nearly 50 pounds, merely because they thought it'd be funny on the show. It was, especially because the show didn't care to explain Mac's weight gain until the end of the season. This episode, in which Mac tells a priest the extremely stupid story that led to him "packing on mass," adds to the joke, rather than rendering it meaningless.
47. "The Gang Wrestles for the Troops" (Season 5, Episode 7)
One only needs to look at the final scene of this episode—Cricket bleeding out from the neck, Dee suffering from a broken nose, the guys crying through the sand blown into their eyes, and Frank, in the middle of it all, standing hands raised in victory—to know why it's a good one.
46. "The Gang Solves the Gas Crisis" (Season 4, Episode 2)
With gas prices soaring, the gang devises a scheme to sell the stuff door-to-door. It's one of the dumbest plans the gang has through the series, which is a compliment. You've also gotta love how the gang fashions themselves as an A Team, with Charlie as the wild card, a recurring joke that has a sneaky good payoff at episode's end.
45. "The Gang Gets Held Hostage" (Season 3, Episode 4)
One of the best episodes featuring the McPoyles, in this one the brothers (with mute sister Margaret in tow) storm Paddy's Pub with shotguns and occupy the place. It's a thrilling, silly, physical half-hour full of disgusting McPoyle humor. The episode's climax on the roof of Paddy's is one of the series' most rewatchable scenes.
44. "Charlie Got Molested" (Season 1, Episode 7)
Speaking of the McPoyles, this episode introduced them. It also gave us our first hints at Mac's problems with his own sexuality, as he struggles to comes to terms with why he wasn't chosen to be molested by his elementary school gym teacher.
43. "Pop-Pop: The Final Solution" (Season 8, Episode 1)
Picking up the Nazi grandfather thread left by "The Gang Finds a Dead Guy," this Season 8 opener spices it up by suggesting that Dennis and Dee's Pop-Pop is in possession of an original Hitler painting—the German Shepherd painting you can see hanging in Charlie's apartment through the seasons. Mac and Charlie try to hunt down the painting in a storyline that plays like a bad treasure-hunting movie; Charlie ends up with braces, which is incredible. Meanwhile, Dennis and Dee make their decision to euthanize their grandpa by first playing out the circumstances with a dog. These are really, really bad people.
42. "Paddy's Pub: Home of the Original Kitten Mittens" (Season 5, Episode 8)
As we get lower and lower on this list, it's going to be very hard to differentiate between very good and great episodes. This episode, which features an all-time cold open in Charlie's "Kitton Mittons" commercial, DickTowel.com, and an equally funny commercial advertising a shot-gun, is very good. But there are greater.
41. "The Gang Runs for Office" (Season 2, Episode 8)
Season 2 is without a doubt the most uneven season of Always Sunny, but it has some gems. This episode is one of them, commenting on the corruptibility of democracy, sending up All the President's Men, and dropping one of the best Charlie-is-illiterate jokes in series history. The speech he writes for Dennis' campaign is all hits.
40. "The Gang Gets Invincible" (Season 3, Episode 2)
The introduction of Greenman. That's why this episode deserves credit.
39. "Mac Day" (Season 9, Episode 5)
The gang's reluctant tolerance of Mac is a great series-long joke, and this episode puts that struggle front and center, as they're forced to do everything he wants for his "day." Seann William Scott makes a solid cameo as Country Mac, a version of Mac who actually walks the walk in every way Mac can't. He's openly gay, he's actually a badass, and he beats up karate masters. This episode doesn't impact the rest of the series in any way, but it's a welcome deviation.
38. "Gun Fever Too: Still Too Hot" (Season 9, Episode 2)
A much better version of the gun-centric episode that aired in Season 1. "Gun Fever Too" dives head first into the discussion, placing the gang on opposite sides and sending them out into the world. What happens next is what makes Always Sunny such a slyly smart show. In trying to prove their points, both factions of the gang actually end up on the other side of the debate. It's a statement that these matters don't have easy resolutions, and most of the time, are grounded in emotion rather than logic.
37/36. "A Very Sunny Christmas" (Season 5, Episode 13)
A special, hour-long Sunny episode, this one makes a funny comment on how everyone treats the holidays. For the gang, the holiday traditions they hold so dear are revealed to just be masks over the seriously messed up crap that defined their childhoods. Mac's tradition of going house-to-house for presents turns out to be a euphemism for his family's repeated holiday felonies. And while Charlie thinks he remembers a string of Santas visiting his house, what really happened was a bunch of guys came over his house every Christmas and had sex with his mom. The episode makes you look a little closer at your own traditions. It's also hilarious, especially when Charlie blacks out on a mall Santa, yelling, "Did you fuck my mom?!"
35. "The Gang Beats Boggs" (Season 10, Episode 1)
Hall of Fame baseball player Wade Boggs claims that he used to pound over 50 beers on cross-country flights. With that in mind, the gang boards a plane and tries to break his record. It's a premise that's too good to fail, and the show has some fun teasing Major League Baseball's handling of the steroids era.
34. "The Gang Buys a Boat" (Season 6, Episode 3)
From top-to-bottom, a great episode that studies the gang's group dynamics. Dee dancing like one of those inflatable things you see at a used car lot is what puts it over the top.
33. "The Gang Goes on Family Fight" (Season 10, Episode 8)
I so wish Always Sunny was able to get the rights to Family Feud and actually have Steve Harvey make a cameo, but calling the game show Family Fight and having Keegan-Michael Key host it is almost as good. The episode is a pitch perfect spoof of Feud, and Dennis' struggle to maintain his composure in the face of a buzzer that points out his wrong answers is a highlight.
32. "The Gang Gets Whacked: Part One" (Season 3, Episode 12)
After picking up a shipment of cocaine from a mob truck, the gang is forced to make money in some extreme ways. "Part One" is one of the most tightly written episodes of the early seasons, it's perfectly zany, and every character is on their A-game.
31. "The Gang Gets Racist" (Season 1, Episode 1)
The series premiere is this high because it truly does to an excellent job establishing the show's tone, style, and characters. It's not the funniest or most revolutionary, but it lays the groundwork so well for everything that would follow.
30. "The Gang Gets Quarantined" (Season 9, Episode 7)
With a flu bug sweeping Philly, the gang locks themselves in the bar, stops drinking, and quarantines themselves. Despite their efforts though, everyone gets sick. Watching each person's health devolve one by one is entertaining, but the episode's overall reveal—that they're not sick, they're just addicts suffering from alcohol withdrawal—is downright perfect.
29. "The Gang Makes Lethal Weapon 6" (Season 9, Episode 9)
The first Lethal Weapon-centric episode three seasons prior is better than this one, mostly because the humor is amplified by how out of left field the idea is. This one is still incredible though. We see "Lethal Weapon 6" as the gang shops the project to banks, startups, and hedge funds around the city—they're looking for outside funding because Frank won't pay for production unless he's given a gratuitous sex scene. The spoof is absurd in the best possible way. For example, Mac plays Murtagh in blackface, only to switch to Riggs halfway through.
28. "The Gang Exploits the Mortgage Crisis" (Season 5, Episode 1)
In this episode, the gang combines two schemes into one. On one side, you have Dee trying to become a surrogate mother. On the other, the guys are trying to flip houses. Both schemes have incredible moments, like Dee belly-flopping into a pool and Dennis and Mac's absurd turn as realtors Hugh Honey and Vic Vinegar.
27. "Mac and Charlie: White Trash" (Season 6, Episode 5)
After getting banned from a country club pool on the hottest day of the summer, Mac and Charlie retreat to a public pool that was closed when their friend Jamie Nelson drowned and seek to restore it. They subsequently trap themselves in the deep, empty pool, but the episode's final conclusion—that Mac and Charlie aren't the only members of the gang who are white trash—is the most satisfying part.
26. "Who Pooped the Bed?" (Season 4, Episode 7)
This ridiculous titled episode is ridiculous, but it's a hilarious riff on noir detective movies, featuring a star turn from the recurring character Artemis. The answer to the title's question is a good one too, which matters. And as if the episode didn't have enough, the B-story centers on Dee trying so hard to live a Sex in the City lifestyle that she pushes The Waitress back towards alcoholism (and runs head-first into a car door).
25. "The Gang Hits the Slopes" (Season 11, Episode 3)
My favorite episode of Always Sunny's most recent season. It's an all-out parody episode spoofing the teen movies of the '80s. It dismantles the genre's tropes and almost singlehandedly makes you realize that the sex scene in Revenge of the Nerds was actually a rape scene. It also features a sex scene starring Charlie that will having you crying with laughter. Just in terms of jokes, this episode might have the most.
24. "Mac Bangs Dennis' Mom" (Season 2, Episode 4)
This is one of the first episodes that reveals and taps into the inner workings of each character. It's a twisting tale of backstabbing and mom-banging—all orchestrated by the oft-underestimated Charlie—that culminates with one of Always Sunny's best closing scenes. The shot that zooms in on Charlie's angry, grief-stricken face as he hears The Waitress confess that she's just had sex with Frank, right before the credits roll, is perfect.
23. "The D.E.N.N.I.S. System" (Season 5, Episode 10)
I'll acknowledge that some might be higher on this episode than I am. And deservedly so: Dennis finally explaining the steps of emotional manipulation he goes through when courting a woman is compelling and funny stuff. As is each member of the gang coming up with their own systems (Frank's mostly consists of dropping a Magnum condom on the ground). I just don't think Dennis' creepy tendencies, and the suggestions that he may actually be a serial killer, are the funniest well that Always Sunny goes back to.
22. "The Maureen Ponderosa Wedding Massacre" (Season 8, Episode 3)
Put the McPoyles, Ponderosas, and Reynolds in one room, add bath salts, run it all through a horror movie template, and you get this. Liam and Ryan McPoyle are show-stoppers in this go-around, and parts of the episode are genuinely scary, which makes the humorous notes hit even harder.
21. "Frank's Back in Business" (Season 8, Episode 7)
When the company Frank founded needs to be saved from the brink of failure, they call in the Wart Hog, a great nickname for Frank. Seeing Frank go from gutter-guy to businessman with French cuffs and slicked back hair is an amazing sight gag. As Frank's assistant, Charlie struggles to understand how Frank's company functions. "What do we make?" Charlie asks. "Money," Frank responds. Across town, the rest of the gang finds a guy's wallet and Dennis takes Dee and Mac on a quest to "get off" through the art of wearing another man's skin. Both stories work to perfection.
20. "The World Series Defense" (Season 5, Episode 6)
This episode is a funny story—retold in a court deposition—about the gang encountering all sorts of chaos on the night the Phillies won the World Series in 2008. But what makes it a great episode is the hilarious way the writers of Always Sunny combated their inability to use MLB trademarks. Instead of trying to hide the flaw, the episode brashly calls attention to it, giving Major League Baseball the finger in the process. Just go watch the last minute of the episode.
19. "The Gang Gets Analyzed" (Season 8, Episode 5)
While so many Always Sunny episodes deftly examine the psyches of its main characters, this one cuts the crap and gets straight to work. Dee brings the gang to her therapist, and from there we see everyone mentally unfurl. Mac's body image issues rage, Frank gets "unzipped," and Dee's need for approval hits an all-time high. The funny thing is, this all happens because the gang can't decide who should do the dishes.
18. "Thunder Gun Express" (Season 7, Episode 11)
When the gang's trip to see a totally badass movie (in which the main character "hangs dong") is derailed, the gang become action heroes in their own right in their quests to make it to the theater. The episode has so many incredible moments: the twist ending, Charlie showing Dee how to navigate sewers, everyone shouting across the theater until people give up their seats. My favorite though is when Frank hijacks a tour boat, and divulges Always Sunny's entire history to a group of Asian tourists. It's an amazingly bold move, having a character spew recaps of past episodes in an episode, but it works so well.
17. "The Gang Hits the Road" (Season 5, Episode 2)
Another episode filled to the brim with memorable moments, what elevates this episode is the statement it makes. These are doomed to be stuck in Philadelphia forever—no matter how hard they try to get out.
16. "The Gang Goes Jihad" (Season 2, Episode 2)
In my opinion, one of the first great episodes of Always Sunny. The gang is completely inept in a battle against a Jewish landowner, resorting to flaming bags of poop as terror tactics. They go so far to actually make a "Jihad Tape," a development that acted as a salvo for people just tuning into Always Sunny. This show was going to be irreverent and offensive, and you're going to love it.
15. "Bums: Making a Mess All Over the City" (Season 3, Episode 14)
Even though this episode features an invincible cat called Agent Jack Bauer and a side-plot in which Dennis and Frank use a cop car to get an endless supply of hot dogs, this episode belongs to Charlie. Initially part of Dennis and Frank's scheme, Charlie goes rogue, fashioning himself into a Serpico-like character. He tapes an '80s-era recorder to his chest, spouts endlessly about "crooked cops!" and in his coup de grace, blows open a city-wide conspiracy "4 the Mare."
14. "Mac and Charlie Die: Part One" (Season 4, Episode 5)
After Mac's dad is released from prison (in one of the show's best cold opens ever), Mac and Charlie scramble, deciding it'd be best to fake their deaths. The success of the episode stems from the lengths they go to to accomplish this. They steal and crash Dee's car, which leaves Mac very concussed and very interested in wedding dresses, they light it up with a pistol, and they fill it with Charlie's teeth, which come out all too easy. The episode has so much forward thrust; it's a thrillingly entertaining ride packaged in Always Sunny distinct voice.
13. "Dee Reynolds: Shaping America's Youth" (Season 6, Episode 9)
Charlie becoming a mentor to a young Juggalo? That's all very well and good. But this episode really takes off when Dee brings her theater class to Paddy's for a screening. She thinks the guys are putting on Othello, but they're really screening Lethal Weapon 5. As I mentioned before, the Lethal Weapon spoofs in Always Sunny are both funny, but this one, the first, is so transcendent because it comes plop in the middle of an episode. Everything seems to be playing normally, and all of the sudden you're in the middle of a really bad Lethal Weapon reboot. How many other shows could pull that off?
12. "The Gang Goes to the Jersey Shore" (Season 7, Episode 2)
OK. Now we're getting into the territory where each of these remaining episodes are unassailable. Honestly, it's mostly gonna come down to personal preference from here out. Always Sunny's "Jersey Shore" episode, made in response to the craze surrounding MTV's Jersey Shore, is so, so good. The episode shows the Shore for what it really is, a trash heap. And it introduced "Rum Ham" into the cultural lexicon. Rum Ham! I'm sorry, Rum Ham!
11. "Underage Drinking: A National Concern" (Season 1, Episode 3)
When the gang finds out their bar has been targeted by high school students, they don't shut it down. They let it happen, with the idea that by keeping an eye on it, they can control the damage of underage drinking. The decision isn't made out of a sense of duty, though, as it is because everyone in the gang wants to go back to high school. How each character reverts to who they were back then is hilarious, and the episode allows you to learn so much about these characters, in just the third episode of the series.
10. "Sweet Dee's Dating a Retarded Person" (Season 3, Episode 9)
Yes, the main plot of this episode in which Dee wavers between whether or not her boyfriend is mentally challenged is hilarious. But let's acknowledge this episode for the right reason: it birthed Dayman. The scene immediately prior to the birth of Dayman, in which Charlie is locked in the dark of his apartment huffing paint, is silly funny—and then the clouds part to give us maybe the most iconic moment in Always Sunny history.
9. "The Gang Gives Frank an Intervention" (Season 5, Episode 4)
Nihilistic, mess-of-a-human Frank is my favorite Frank, and he's peak here. The episode begins with him smoking a joint at his brother-in-law's funeral, which leads to the rest of the gang deciding he needs help. Not because Frank's life is in danger, but because he's being annoying (and not playing "Nightcrawlers" with Charlie as much as he used to). DeVito's physical comedy in this episode is unparalleled. The episode also introduced "wine in a can," an idea so novel that I bet most people try it after seeing Always Sunny.
8. "Who Got Dee Pregnant?" (Season 6, Episode 7)
Maybe the best written episode of the series. The guys gather round and recount a night in which they all "browned out," piecing together their stories in order to determine who got Dee pregnant. It's a great episode, not only because each character's retelling is hilarious, but because the experience it shows—figuring what happened after a night of heavy drinking—is such a funny, universal occurrence.
7. "Flowers for Charlie" (Season 9, Episode 8)
Charlie takes an intelligence pill and becomes a genius. Well, not really. The pill is actually just a placebo. Seeing Charlie have the upper hand on his friends is a welcome change, and the drastic nature of his transformation is a sight to behold. The episode very wisely keeps the truth of Charlie's situation hidden, which makes the climactic reveal that much funnier.
6. "Frank's Pretty Woman" (Season 7, Episode 1)
Alanna Ubach, the actress who plays the prostitute Frank falls in love with, gives the best one-off performance Always Sunny has ever seen. She moves through the episode with a rasp, calling the gang "baby dicks" and proclaiming how "this jacket is tighter than dick skin!" "That woman is incredibly crass!" Dennis protests, but I love it so much. Also, Charlie, posing as a denim magnate, pukes blood all over a blind date in what may be the show's most laugh out loud funny scene. Season 7 saw Always Sunny take things to a new level, and this episode kicked off that run.
5. "Charlie Work" (Season 10, Episode 4)
This is probably the most technically impressive episode of the series. After the health department drops by suddenly for an inspection, Charlie scrambles and navigates several obstacles posed by the gang to make sure Paddy's passes. Directed by Matt Shakman, who is set to direct a couple Game of Thrones episodes next season, "Charlie Work" is presented as one continuous shot. You can spot the patches if you're looking for them, but the episode's structure still gives the episode an amazing, forward movement that's intoxicating. It's a truly inspired episode of Always Sunny.
4. "Sweet Dee Has a Heart Attack" (Season 4, Episode 10)
From the beginning of the episode—during which Frank is ripping massive bong hits with one of his legs on the bar—to end, "Sweet Dee Has a Heart Attack" is an all-time great episode. Dennis and Dee's quest to get healthy after her heart attack humorously and obviously ends with them taking a bunch of short cuts, and Frank loads up on so many pills that he ends up in the mental institution from One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (which DeVito costarred in). But the centerpiece of the episode is Mac and Charlie's foray into the corporate world as mailroom workers. Mac tries to simply take over a higher-ups job (because that's what the dude does in the 1987 film The Secret to My Success), while Charlie loses his mind in the mailroom, leading to the best monologue in Always Sunny history.
3. "Reynolds vs. Reynolds: The Cereal Defense" (Season 8, Episode 10)
This one's wildly underrated, IMO. The episode's storyline kicks off after Frank rear ends Dennis while he's eating a bowl of cereal in his car. Who should be held responsible for the damage, which was contained to the interior of Dennis' car? The gang holds an actual trial in the bar to find out. For me, what thrusts this very good premise into the upper echelon is the way the original argument devolves into a discussion on the validity evolution. Mac's argument, with visual helpers, that "science is a liar...sometimes" is legendary.
2. "The Nightman Cometh" (Season 4, Episode 13)
The one where Charlie writes a musical. This one deserves to be so high because it helped the show and its stars brush up against the mainstream. They actually toured this thing. The musical itself, based on Charlie's "Dayman" chronicles, is vintage Charlie—batshit, nonsensical, and ludicrously hilarious.
1. "Chardee MacDennis: The Game of Games" (Season 7, Episode 7)
Bereft of any schemes for once, the gang resurrects a self-made board game they used to play growing up. The game is brutal as hell, flush with heavy drinking, emotional battery, physical challenges, and no mercy gamesmanship. Watching the game play out, with first-time player Frank asking all the questions we need answered, is the most you'll have watching Always Sunny. And built into this hilarious bottle episode is an actually clever underdog story. It's inventive, inviting, and most of all, really funny.