IT’S ALWAYS SUNNY 11×02 Debriefing: The gang goes time-traveling!

IT'S ALWAYS SUNNY IN PHILADELPHIA -- "Frank Falls Out The Window" -- Episode 1102 (Airs Wednesday, January 13, 10:00 pm e/p) Pictured: (l-r) Kaitlin Olson as Dee, Glenn Howerton as Dennis, Rob McElhenney as Mac, Charlie Day as Charlie. CR: Patrick McElhenney/FX

Okay, maybe not really, but this week on Sunny, a fortuitous event leads Frank and his children to stroll down memory lane. Which means Dee, Dennis, Mac and Charlie want to right the wrongs of the past decade — not by becoming better people, naturally, but by conning Frank out of the money he squandered once he re-entered their lives. Of course!

Frank and Charlie are sharing a traditional meal of Rum Ham (!) and grilled Charlies, but that gastronomical decadence (ahem) forces Frank to sit with his rear end outside of their fire escape to send the, um, fumes elsewhere. This being Frank, though, he ends up falling out the window, and from then on we are all transported on a journey back through time to 2006, when George W. Bush was the president (but not the real president — that was Dick Cheney), phones weren’t smart, and the Reynolds twins were still crackheads.

IT'S ALWAYS SUNNY IN PHILADELPHIA -- "Frank Falls Out The Window" -- Episode 1102 (Airs Wednesday, January 13, 10:00 pm e/p) Pictured: (l-r) Charlie Day as Charlie, Kaitlin Olson as Dee, Glenn Howerton as Dennis. CR: Patrick McElhenney/FX

IT’S ALWAYS SUNNY IN PHILADELPHIA — “Frank Falls Out The Window” — Episode 1102 (Airs Wednesday, January 13, 10:00 pm e/p) Pictured: (l-r) Charlie Day as Charlie, Kaitlin Olson as Dee, Glenn Howerton as Dennis. CR: Patrick McElhenney/FX

Frank enters the bar with big news for his kids, and is only mildly confused when Dee and Dennis already know their mom is dead and that he divorced her. Once Charlie arrives — and points out the disgusting gash on the back of Frank’s head (Kaitlin Olson’s reaction is comedy gold), the gang puts the pieces together, and realize Frank’s memory loss has erased the last ten years, and this might be their chance to change history. No, not to remove Frank from living in squalor, but rather to take all his money and kick him out.

The trick, Dennis reveals, is not to repeat the mistakes of their past; so instead of Mac and Charlie taking Frank out to strip clubs like in the old days, Dennis and Dee decide they need to “reconnect” with their father so he ends up writing them that check. Dee suggests they do the “Wyclef Jean” thing and set up a “charity,” in order to use all the funds for themselves. For maybe the first time in Sunny’s history, Dennis actually approves of her plan!

IT'S ALWAYS SUNNY IN PHILADELPHIA -- "Frank Falls Out The Window" -- Episode 1102 (Airs Wednesday, January 13, 10:00 pm e/p) Pictured: (l-r) Glenn Howerton as Dennis, Kaitlin Olson as Dee, Danny DeVito as Frank. CR: Patrick McElhenney/FX

IT’S ALWAYS SUNNY IN PHILADELPHIA — “Frank Falls Out The Window” — Episode 1102 (Airs Wednesday, January 13, 10:00 pm e/p) Pictured: (l-r) Glenn Howerton as Dennis, Kaitlin Olson as Dee, Danny DeVito as Frank. CR: Patrick McElhenney/FX

The twins take Frank out to Cucino’s for dinner, which impresses Frank, but also triggers the first of what will be many flashbacks for him, which are befuddling at first. He brushes them off, and instead admits he was a terrible father to them, while also blaming their mother for that fact. (You win some, you lose some.) Why, he’s even supportive of their 2006-era dreams! Dennis still wants to be a vet, and Dee thinks she has a shot at Broadway, and he encourages them to keep at it, because they’re still young enough to do it. “You don’t want to be almost 40 working at a bar!” Talk about awk-ward!

Frank eschews all the trappings of luxury, and intends to give his money away to charity, as his kids predicted, and they set up their con, by pretending to be involved with a charity for the “Haiti disaster,” which surprises Frank because he didn’t know the country was in trouble. (Looks like they should have fact-checked when the earthquake happened.) This leads into their next fumble: while looking up Wikipedia on her iPhone, Frank is amazed at what it can do, and Dee blurts out that she invented it — which he thinks she should market. Not one to be outdone, Dennis brings out his smartphone, which he claims he invented, and Frank couldn’t be a prouder dad. Uh-oh.

IT'S ALWAYS SUNNY IN PHILADELPHIA -- "Frank Falls Out The Window" -- Episode 1102 (Airs Wednesday, January 13, 10:00 pm e/p) Pictured: (center) Danny DeVito as Frank. CR: Patrick McElhenney/FX

IT’S ALWAYS SUNNY IN PHILADELPHIA — “Frank Falls Out The Window” — Episode 1102 (Airs Wednesday, January 13, 10:00 pm e/p) Pictured: (center) Danny DeVito as Frank. CR: Patrick McElhenney/FX

Meanwhile, Mac is trying to show Charlie what life will be like without Frank, by bringing him to a strip club. (Charlie: “Why do you you want to bang [the strippers]? Oh right, because it’s 2006 and you’re still into women. Huh, crazy.”) Much to Mac’s dismay, Charlie already invited Frank along, and soon history begins repeating itself, with him inviting said strippers back to Charlie’s apartment in a case of déjà vu. (Apparently this is where it all went wrong the first time.)

Inexplicably, as always, Frank finds Charlie’s roach-motel home charming, and when one of the women finds Frank’s, er, “Charlie’s” toenail knife (ew) under the pillow, Frank experiences yet another flashback. Yet, like the first time, he locks Mac and Charlie out of the apartment in order to sleep with the strippers, and the guys once more get a taste of their own medicine.

IT'S ALWAYS SUNNY IN PHILADELPHIA -- "Frank Falls Out The Window" -- Episode 1102 (Airs Wednesday, January 13, 10:00 pm e/p) Pictured: Kaitlin Olson as Dee, Glenn Howerton as Dennis. CR: Patrick McElhenney/FX

IT’S ALWAYS SUNNY IN PHILADELPHIA — “Frank Falls Out The Window” — Episode 1102 (Airs Wednesday, January 13, 10:00 pm e/p) Pictured: Kaitlin Olson as Dee, Glenn Howerton as Dennis. CR: Patrick McElhenney/FX

Dennis and Dee are preemptively celebrating with a lobster dinner of their own, when Dennis decides it’s time for a little real talk in anticipation of their apparent do-over. He tells Dee that her acting career is over and she should give it up, while she accuses him of only wanting to be a veterinarian so he can keep the animal skins (can you saw “ew!”) and of going bald. This is classic Dennis and Dee, and they quickly calm themselves down to keep their eyes on their prize, with a bottle of wine. (Is that a hint of vaguely incestuous attraction I detect once again?)

However, because this is is Sunny and they are the world’s biggest screw-ups, the siblings awake the next morning to find they did not complete their plan, but instead got so drunk they then decided to smoke crack. As one does. (“No, Dennis, I don’t have more crack. No one in the history of crack has ever woken up in the morning with more crack.”) Dee suggests that maybe they can use Frank’s money, once they get it, to put themselves through rehab, but in the meantime, Dennis has an idea of where they can get cash fast: the welfare office!

IT'S ALWAYS SUNNY IN PHILADELPHIA -- "Frank Falls Out The Window" -- Episode 1102 (Airs Wednesday, January 13, 10:00 pm e/p) Pictured: (l-r) Aisha Hinds as Welfare Case Worker, Kaitlin Olson as Dee, Glenn Howerton as Dennis. CR: Patrick McElhenney/FX

IT’S ALWAYS SUNNY IN PHILADELPHIA — “Frank Falls Out The Window” — Episode 1102 (Airs Wednesday, January 13, 10:00 pm e/p) Pictured: (l-r) Aisha Hinds as Welfare Case Worker, Kaitlin Olson as Dee, Glenn Howerton as Dennis. CR: Patrick McElhenney/FX

Unsurprisingly, it isn’t as fruitful as they’d like, as the clerk isn’t buying his “recovered crack addict” and “donkey-brained sister” excuse. While filling out forms, they run into Mac and Charlie in the waiting room, because apparently the welfare office is as popular a hangout as Starbucks. Mac and Charlie are at the “welfare store” to find a new roommate for Charlie, because they don’t want Frank to fall back into his old habits. (“You guys are back on crack, Frank brought strippers back to my place, and we’re all bumping into each other at the welfare store, and I’m the only one who thinks it’s 2006?”)

The faults in the Reynolds’ plan begin to deepen, as Frank calls the twins to meet him at his financial manager’s office to write the check, but when they arrive, he discovers his money guy died years ago. When his replacement doesn’t believe that Dennis and Dee invented their smartphones, he storms out, and Frank then chooses to write a check to the schemers “for [their] future.” They’re ecstatic, but their manic behavior also triggers yet another memory about his crackhead progeny. The plot thickens!

IT'S ALWAYS SUNNY IN PHILADELPHIA -- "Frank Falls Out The Window" -- Episode 1102 (Airs Wednesday, January 13, 10:00 pm e/p) Pictured: (l-r) Danny DeVito as Frank, Mary Elizabeth Ellis as Waitress. CR: Patrick McElhenney/FX

IT’S ALWAYS SUNNY IN PHILADELPHIA — “Frank Falls Out The Window” — Episode 1102 (Airs Wednesday, January 13, 10:00 pm e/p) Pictured: (l-r) Danny DeVito as Frank, Mary Elizabeth Ellis as Waitress.
CR: Patrick McElhenney/FX

While Charlie and Mac interview potential roommates, Frank announces his intention to move in, because he had the best night of his life with them. (Besides, he understands Charlie’s use of cat food despite not having any cats.) The plan is almost foiled by The Waitress, who Mac invited for an interview; Charlie accepts, until she realizes that he meant as a roommate, instead of subletting the apartment, and she balks. When Charlie tries to throw her out the window “time portal,” Frank sneaks a bite out of the rum ham which started it all, and he finally comes to back to 2016. Nice try, guys!

At the same time, Dee and Dennis go to cash the check Frank gave him before it all goes to pot, but the chickens come home to roost, because the check is dated 2006 — so it’s expired and voided. Better luck next time, guys!

IT'S ALWAYS SUNNY IN PHILADELPHIA -- "Frank Falls Out The Window" -- Episode 1102 (Airs Wednesday, January 13, 10:00 pm e/p) Pictured: (l-r) Charlie Day as Charlie, Kaitlin Olson as Dee, Rob McElhenney as Mac, Glenn Howerton as Dennis. CR: Patrick McElhenney/FX

IT’S ALWAYS SUNNY IN PHILADELPHIA — “Frank Falls Out The Window” — Episode 1102 (Airs Wednesday, January 13, 10:00 pm e/p) Pictured: (l-r) Charlie Day as Charlie, Kaitlin Olson as Dee, Rob McElhenney as Mac, Glenn Howerton as Dennis. CR: Patrick McElhenney/FX

All in all, this was an episode so full of callbacks, it was hard to know where to look! From the Rum Ham, to what looks like the junkyard cat when Frank falls out the window, to Dee and Dennis’ addictions, Charlie’s predilections and Mac’s closeted sexuality, this definitely was a treat for long-time fans. I’m not surprised it was written by David Hornsby (aka Rickety Cricket), and so far I’m quite enjoying how self-referential this season is already.

How about you guys? Did you stroll down memory lane with the gang, too?

Nels

Nels knew how to operate a TV remote control before she knew how to talk. As a result, she has spent an inordinate amount of time pretending she actually lives on a soundstage. When she isn’t watching whichever show is currently capturing her heart, she is writing about how said show is currently capturing her heart. She loves pie.

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