'It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia': A beautiful, meta takedown of awards-baiting BS
It's a common story: the fantastic, influential TV show or movie that never got its due with any sort of official award. Genius director Stanley Kubrick went to his grave with zero Oscars to his name.The Wire, almost universally considered the Best Drama on TV Ever, was never nominated for more than a few writing Emmys, if that. What does it matter, ultimately? The opinion of some obscure voting body changes nothing about what we saw or didn't see (the latter so often the case with the Oscar lineup) -- the product is what it is, hardware or none.
But, like, everyone still wants to WIN something. People who make television are human, and therefore competitive. No one would prefer to not be acknowledged. Even if you're bird-flipping, glue-huffing It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia.
The "Philly's Best Bar" award has been doled out every year for a long time, and in none of those years has Paddy's Pub ever been recognized. Why?, everyone wonders. Is it because they're too weird and moody? Because they cultivate hostile, borderline inhospitable environment for their patrons? Because their janitor spends all his time, when he's not stalking a local waitress, clubbing rats to death? Probably all of those things, which is why the gang decides the only way to put themselves in awards contention is to clean up their image a little bit.
A tour of more publicly acknowledged local bars brings them to Sudz, a brightly lit happy hour mecca where smiling patrons eagerly line up for tropical drinks and the wait staff are all not-so-secretly in love with each other. Did I forget that Top 40 tunes from Taylor Swift blast from the radio, making everyone feel at ease? It's your favorite sitcom on television, filled with immensely likable characters. It is the opposite of Paddy's Pub. It's also bursting with people.
Desperate to at least contend for the "Best Bar" award, the gang sets out to make Paddy's a more agreeable, lighthearted experience for their patrons. That means better (read: oppressive) lighting; a "will they/won't they" romance for Mac and Dee, even though they hate each other. Playful bar banter like they experienced at Sudz. Rather than do things the way they always have, why not take a page from more successful bars that seem to know how to keep and build a following?
Ultimately, of course, Paddy's can never be more than the more-challenging shithole it always has been, which becomes apparent to everyone at the event when Mac chokes Dee. Or when Charlie escapes from the basement, covered in glue. Or when everyone finds Frank in the office, Artemis behind him shoving a bottle up his ass. Paddy's isn't exactly for everyone! But it's home -- our weird, awards-less home -- and it means something to all the deviants and social maladjusts who have been hitting it up for years. "Go f*ck yourselves!" Charlie scream-sang at everyone in the bar, with their judging and high-horsery. And the same could be lobbed at the Emmys, who have consistently ignored one of the most consistently funny shows on television. But who cares!