It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia is an American sitcom created by Rob McElhenney, which premiered on FXX in 2005. It follows the lives of four friends, Mac, Dennis, Charlie, and Dee, as they run an Irish pub in Philadelphia. Over the course of its 20 seasons, the show has had many memorable episodes, but not all of them have been well received by viewers. In this article, we'll take a look at the worst episodes of It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, as ranked by viewers. From season-long plot arcs that failed to deliver to one-off episodes that just miss the mark, we'll be exploring the worst of the worst.
Written by Sophie and last updated on Feb 26, 2024.
PS: The following content contains spoilers!
PPS: I will admit that parts of this page was written with the help of AI - it makes my work so much easier to not start from a blank page!
Mac Bangs Dennis' Mom is one of the most outrageous episodes of It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, as the gang gets tangled in a web of convoluted schemes and ever-escalating chaos. In pursuit of revenge, Barbara hooks up with Mac to make Frank jealous, leading to a series of increasingly ridiculous attempts by Dennis to get out of "Charlie Work". From Mac's puppy-dog crush on Mrs. Reynolds to Dennis' failed attempt to charm the waitress, to Dee participating in the scheme and Charlie's surprisingly effective plan, this episode has it all. It's a wild ride that perfectly captures the ridiculousness of the show's characters, and their horribleness is what makes it so hilarious. Whether you're looking for a good laugh or a wild ride, Mac Bangs Dennis' Mom is one of the best episodes of It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia.
The episode was rated 8,12 from 1104 votes.
The episode Dee Reynolds: Shaping America's Youth from the show It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia is an unexpected and hilarious left turn for the already demented show. In the episode, Dee takes a job as a substitute teacher and motivates her students to take a field trip to see the Gang's take on the Lethal Weapon series: Lethal Weapon 5. Meanwhile, Charlie is trying to mentor a young Juggalo, and Mac, Dennis, and Frank have an extended debate about the appropriateness of blackface. All the storylines come together in one glorious bit of ridiculousness with the Gang's homemade attempt at Lethal Weapon 5.
The episode also touches on the issue of blackface. This has been a controversial topic recently, especially with the 'blackface' ban hammer being applied without considering context. This has raised the question of why a movie like White Chicks is allowed to still be shown, which features white-facing, yet any use of black face is an instant no-no. This can't be a double-standard, and history should not dictate that white face is okay, yet black face is not.
The episode was rated 8,12 from 774 votes.
Traffic problems as a result of the President's visit to Philadelphia makes it difficult for the gang to see the summer's biggest film, "Thunder Gun Express". This episode of It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia is highly praised for its structure and comedy with the gang starting out united in their quest to see the movie and then gradually dropping off one by one. Even Frank, who seems to have become a script burden, has a great montage on a boat and the conclusion that is perfectly in tune with the gang. Mac continues to be a great character while an addition of Elena to the episode earns it a plus .5. The way the characters had to be creative and roam through sewers, debate removing clothes to avoid sewage waves, and eventually reunite at the movie is superb. Frank's use of his one phone call to call in a bomb threat and spoil his friends from watching the movie as revenge is the perfect button for this episode.
The episode was rated 8,13 from 762 votes.
In the It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia episode "The Gang Solves the Gas Crisis," Charlie, Mac, and Dennis come up with a plan to take advantage of the rising gas prices and buy excess amounts now to sell in the future and profit. Meanwhile, Dee and Frank try to get ahold of the family fortune from Bruce, who intends to give it to a Muslim cultural center. The episode's hilarious antics and absurd situations make it one of the funniest ever.
The three guys have a great dynamic and their plans to hoard gas has a ridiculous, troll quality. There's also a nice irony in Frank trying to make Bruce look like a terrorist, only to be the one using waterboarding and driving around in a van full of accelerant. The comic-existential humor of the poor random guy who has terrible things continually happen to his car and property due to the gang's idiocy is also a highlight. All of these elements come together in a well-constructed and highly entertaining episode!
The episode was rated 8,14 from 945 votes.
Mac and Dennis' move to the suburbs for cheaper rent in the episode "Mac & Dennis Move to the Suburbs" of "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia" is an absurdly hilarious half hour of television that perfectly captures the dynamic between two of the show's most iconic characters. The two deranged city mice struggle to adjust to life in the suburbs, which leads to some hilarious moments, like Mac only making mac and cheese, and Dennis Jr. getting put into it. As the episode progresses, the two slowly unravel, much like the episode of SpongeBob SquarePants where SpongeBob and Patrick raise a baby scallop. The episode is full of great gags and Montages that build up to a perfect crescendo, with Dennis eventually hallucinating and stripping and making dragon yells at his neighbors. The episode also contains an interesting riff on The Shining, as well as a side plot involving Frank's bet and Dee's side action. This episode is widely considered to be one of the series' best episodes, and it definitely lives up to its reputation. It is sure to keep viewers laughing for the entire half hour.
The episode was rated 8,15 from 1514 votes.
The Gang Dines Out is a classic episode of It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia. Each member of The Gang has something to celebrate at Guigino's, Philly's finest eatery, and the in-fighting begins when Mac and Dennis' private dinner is interrupted by an unexpected sighting of Frank and Charlie. Dee also turns up at a table for one, and the "one-ups-manship" between the different pairings of the Gang members soars to new heights. The dialogue is great, capturing the kind of squabbles and awkward moments of actual relationships, while also maintaining the ridiculousness of the Gang's antics. The peak of the episode is when Mac and Dennis each expect the other to pay tribute, while Charlie and Frank try to just have a nice evening. Things culminate with a waiter spilling spaghetti and Dee tying his shoelaces together, reminding us that even though they get at each other's throats from time to time, The Gang always sticks together. Overall, this is a great example of what makes It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia so great.
The episode was rated 8,15 from 816 votes.
The gang from It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia takes on a challenge to win an award for best bar in this episode. They try to give the patrons what they think they want in order to please them and be recognized for their years of service in the bar industry.
The episode is a great example of the show's meta-comic fun and its commentary on the hierarchy and conventions of TV comedy. It even takes jabs at its own place in the landscape and its inability to do anything that would please Emmy voters. The gang's attempts to recreate sitcom tropes and conventions predictably turn out disastrously. Frank and Artemis try their hand at avant garde comedies like Louie and Wilfred, Mac's attempt at wacky banter takes an overly sexual turn, and Dee gets caked with makeup and put in the brightest light imaginable. Charlie's Paddy's Pub song is a hilarious highlight as well as his emergence from a sewer singing an eff-you song with a chorus of spitting. It's no wonder why this episode is a fan favorite.
The episode was rated 8,16 from 1010 votes.
The episode Reynolds vs. Reynolds: The Cereal Defense from the show It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia is a hilarious send up of the absurd lengths to which The Gang will take any issue. Frank and Dennis present their cases to the rest of The Gang, and the case quickly escalates from who is to blame for the car crash, to a debate on evolution, and ultimately to a physical challenge. As the episode progresses, it becomes clear that this is everything we love about the show, from their arguments over minutiae to their deranged escalation of everything.
Kaitlin Olson's performance as Dee is especially noteworthy in this episode. Her portrayal of Dee often lacks the same level of dynamism and energy as the other characters, but here she truly shines. She is the perfect foil to the others and the episode is all the better for it. The episode was an excellent way to close out the season, with lots of good laughs and a brilliant madness that made the season a real highlight.
The episode was rated 8,17 from 851 votes.
The gang takes a trip to a local waterpark in the episode of It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia titled "The Gang Goes to a Water Park." Dennis takes on a protégé while Frank and Charlie are determined to ride every ride. Mac and Dee, meanwhile, get stuck in a tube slide. This episode has been praised by fans as one of the funniest and most fun episodes in television history. The characters' misadventures in the waterpark as they attempt to complete their goals is a classic example of why this show is so beloved. Whether it be Dennis' attempts to mentor his protégé, Frank and Charlie's determination to ride every ride, or Mac and Dee's ill-fated venture down the tube slide, this episode is pure Always Sunny.
The episode was rated 8,19 from 2110 votes.
Dee and Dennis take the gang to their favorite childhood vacation spot, the Jersey Shore, but soon find out that things aren't quite what they remember. As Dee and Dennis experience the seedy side of the shore, Mac, Frank and Charlie have the best night of their lives. From Frank and Mac's fixation on "rum ham" to Charlie having a magical evening with The Waitress, the gang experiences a series of comedic contrasts. The episode culminates in a hilarious sequence of events, including Dee and Dennis freaking out and Mac and Frank partying with the "gym, tan, laundry" set. This episode is sure to bring endless laughs with its perfect soundtrack and unexpected swerves.
The episode was rated 8,21 from 890 votes.
The episode "The D.E.N.N.I.S. System" of the show It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia is one of the most popular and highly rated episodes. In this episode, Dennis reveals his foolproof system for seducing any woman to the rest of the gang. The setup is cleverly done, with Dennis explaining his sociopathic method to seduce women. This serves as the basis for the episode and to firmly establish the depths of the terribleness of everyone involved.
The middle portion of the episode is full of hilarious moments, as the rest of The Gang misapplies the lessons and reveals their own methods. From Dee’s attempts to flirt with the carny, to Mac trying to do speed pitch and failing in his own schemes, it's a great display of how things come together but go completely wrong. The climax of the episode is when all of the characters end up in a ten-car pile-up, which is pure chaos.
This episode is truly a great example of the show firing on all cylinders, finding something for everyone to do, and bringing the laughs. It's full of misogynistic jokes, but at the same time it's entertaining and funny. It's obvious that the D.E.N.N.I.S. system works on any female, making it the perfect example of how the show It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia is genius.
The episode was rated 8,22 from 887 votes.
The episode Chardee MacDennis: The Game of Games from the show It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia is one of the most beloved episodes of the show. In this episode, the gang is playing a board game of their own creation and the escalating Calvin Ball-like insanity of this made up mishmash of games, drinking, and derangement is delightful. The game has a How I Met Your Mother vibe of group in-jokes and quirks being magnified in the vein of competition, but with the ribald, boundary-pushing qualities that It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia brings to the table.
The episode is full of hilarious moments like when Charlie's illiterate ramblings are used as trivia questions, Mac trying to flip the board, or Dee drunkenly rambling about the emotional abuse part of the game. The episode also has a great rhythm to it, with Charlie and Mac starting out losing terribly, Frank turning the tide for them, and then they lose via a coin flip anyway. It's the perfect deflating ending to an episode full of escalating insanity. This episode is way up there on the list of fan favourites and has earned a 9.0/10 review rating.
The episode was rated 8,25 from 908 votes.
It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia: A Very Sunny Christmas is an irreverent holiday comedy that follows Dennis and Dee as they teach their stingy dad Frank a lesson. Meanwhile, Mac and Charlie reflect on their childhood Christmases and realize that they weren't as joyous as they remembered. The writing is witty and the holiday cheer is palpable. There's a lot of laughs to be had, especially in the part where Dennis and Dee try to give Frank an *A Christmas Carol* experience and Mac and Charlie's realization about their childhood Christmases. However, some of the vulgarity and raunchiness may be off-putting to some viewers. Ultimately, it’s a merry and hilarious comedy that is sure to bring a smile to viewers’ faces.
The episode was rated 8,27 from 775 votes.
The Nightman Cometh episode of It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia is widely regarded as one of the best episodes of the show, with a rating of 9.1/10. It follows the gang as they help Charlie put together a rock opera based on his song "Nightman". Charlie turns into a high-strung theater director, as he attempts to win the love of the waitress. The episode features everyone in the gang, with Dennis wanting to be the lead and Mac wanting to get reactions from his cat-eye, karate-filled performance.
The musical performance is hilarious and features some great patter between Dee and Dennis. There is also the classic moment between Charlie and Deandra, which left me in stitches. It is a great way to close out Season 4 and is definitely one of the best episodes from the show.
The episode was rated 8,51 from 949 votes.
The episode "Charlie Work" from the show It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia is an incredibly ambitious and creative episode that successfully pulled off a daring venture. The episode follows Charlie, who is usually taken for granted and demeaned by the rest of the gang, as he is notified that the health inspector will be arriving that day and goes into overdrive to keep the bar running. Meanwhile, the rest of the gang tries to exploit a flaw in the air-miles reward system.
The episode is a tour-de-force, and is full of incredible little setups and payoffs, as well as imitating the style of the movie Birdman. It is clear that the show is able to keep everything moving in sync as needed, making it an impressive and creative episode that is highly praised by viewers. The episode is so popular that it has even solidified It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia as one of the viewers' favourite sitcoms. It is no wonder that viewers are surprised that the rating for this episode isn't higher.
The episode was rated 8,68 from 1119 votes.
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