IT’S ALWAYS SUNNY 11×03 Debriefing: Forget it, Charlie, it’s Party Mountain

IT'S ALWAYS SUNNY IN PHILADELPHIA -- "The Gang Hits The Slopes" -- Episode 1103 (Airs Wednesday, January 20, 10:00 pm e/p) Pictured: (l-r) Glenn Howerton as Dennis, Danny DeVito as Frank, Charlie Day as Charlie. CR: Patrick McElhenney/FX

There isn’t much that hasn’t done in eleven seasons, but this week, Sunny manages to find a new one: the gang goes skiing! In a hilarious send-up of every 80s movie ever, Dennis, Dee, Mac and Charlie head to Party Mountain, but they’ve all got different missions on this hill.

It’s time to shred, dudes!

Strangely enough, Charlie seems to be the only one to notice that they’re living an 80s cliché on the hill; he doesn’t understand the “mountain rules” everyone keeps talking about, because it all seems like a bunch of crap to him. (You know that when Charlie Kelly is your voice of reason, you’re in trouble.)

Predictably, Dennis and Dee can freestyle down the Poconos slopes like the rich kids they are, while Mac appears to be applying his, um, kung fu prowess to his skiing style, complete with his leather overcoat. Charlie, of course, doesn’t know how to ski at all, especially not when he has to use beer bottles as poles. That’s the show in a nutshell, folks. (Charlie’s skiing attempt reminds me of the last time I went skiing…)

IT'S ALWAYS SUNNY IN PHILADELPHIA -- "The Gang Hits The Slopes" -- Episode 1103 (Airs Wednesday, January 20, 10:00 pm e/p) Pictured: (l-r) Kaitlin Olson as Dee, Rob McElhenney as Mac, Glenn Howerton as Dennis. CR: Patrick McElhenney/FX

IT’S ALWAYS SUNNY IN PHILADELPHIA — “The Gang Hits The Slopes” — Episode 1103 (Airs Wednesday, January 20, 10:00 pm e/p) Pictured: (l-r) Kaitlin Olson as Dee, Rob McElhenney as Mac, Glenn Howerton as Dennis. CR: Patrick McElhenney/FX

Complete with a narrator tracking the gang’s every move over the resort’s PA system, we learn that the “big race” is happening this weekend, one which Dennis intends to win. (Of course he does.) Pro shop clerk Drisko (Dean Cameron), who used to be they party king on this hill before it was gentrified, tells the gang that this is going to be the last showdown, because the mountain is about to be bought out by rich yuppy scum. Cue said scum pulling up in a limo — it’s none other than Frank! Talk about a plot twist!

While Dennis is initially upset his dad is going to scuttle his chance at future glory by taking over Party Mountain, once Frank reveals he’s buying it to turn it into an exclusive millionaires-only playground, Dennis quickly defects to his side. Other than competition, there’s nothing Dennis Reynolds loves more than money and women.

IT'S ALWAYS SUNNY IN PHILADELPHIA -- "The Gang Hits The Slopes" -- Episode 1103 (Airs Wednesday, January 20, 10:00 pm e/p) Pictured: Danny DeVito as Frank. CR: Patrick McElhenney/FX

IT’S ALWAYS SUNNY IN PHILADELPHIA — “The Gang Hits The Slopes” — Episode 1103 (Airs Wednesday, January 20, 10:00 pm e/p) Pictured: Danny DeVito as Frank. CR: Patrick McElhenney/FX

Dee and Mac are enraged, because they just want to keep partying like they did here back in the day (even though these guys probably weren’t even old enough to be able to do that at Party Mountain in its heyday!), so they go off to rage. Charlie wonders who he’s supposed to follow this time, and Dennis’ speech about chasing excellence sways him over to their dark side. (Also, Dee and Mac couldn’t care less about who Charlie picks. Aw, Charlie.)

Off the partiers go to find Drisko at Babe Manor, but the mess they find at his apartment is not from an epic kegger the night before, but just his everyday squalor as he struggles to make rent by recycling beer cans. Dee and Mac can work with this, though, and convince the three roommates (with their own Cricket!) to throw a bash like the good old days. They can still save this mountain, guys!

IT'S ALWAYS SUNNY IN PHILADELPHIA -- "The Gang Hits The Slopes" -- Episode 1103 (Airs Wednesday, January 20, 10:00 pm e/p) Pictured: (l-r) Kevin Farley as Turkey, Rob McElhenney as Mac, Kaitlin Olson as Dee, Dean Cameron as Drisko. CR: Patrick McElhenney/FX

IT’S ALWAYS SUNNY IN PHILADELPHIA — “The Gang Hits The Slopes” — Episode 1103 (Airs Wednesday, January 20, 10:00 pm e/p) Pictured: (l-r) Kevin Farley as Turkey, Rob McElhenney as Mac, Kaitlin Olson as Dee, Dean Cameron as Drisko.
CR: Patrick McElhenney/FX

Meanwhile, Frank shows Dennis and Charlie his model for the swanky resort, then brings out an actual model, Tatiana, to sway Dennis. (His “seductive” speech has to be one of the creepiest things he’s ever uttered, and that’s saying a lot.) When they’re interrupted by some loud music (“Footloose,” obviously), they head off to break up the party. Frank and Drisko have some beef going back to, you guessed it, the 80s, and Frank lost to him the last time they had a match-up. This time, Frank volunteers Dennis as his tribute, which he happily accepts, because he’d never pass up the chance to feel superior. Besides, he really likes the spandex ski suits.

Charlie isn’t so convinced though. He thinks Dennis’ training plan is crazy, and that everybody is making way too big a deal out of a two-day vacation. (Again: it’s disturbing how rational Charlie is in this episode! Are we in bizarro world?) He’s out — all he wants to do is drink beer and eat snow. How very meta of you, Charlie! Dennis is angry, but I think his team of nearly-identical racers, who just happened to show up, soothe his fury a little.

IT'S ALWAYS SUNNY IN PHILADELPHIA -- "The Gang Hits The Slopes" -- Episode 1103 (Airs Wednesday, January 20, 10:00 pm e/p) Pictured: Glenn Howerton as Dennis, Charlie Day as Charlie. CR: Patrick McElhenney/FX

IT’S ALWAYS SUNNY IN PHILADELPHIA — “The Gang Hits The Slopes” — Episode 1103 (Airs Wednesday, January 20, 10:00 pm e/p) Pictured: Glenn Howerton as Dennis, Charlie Day as Charlie.
CR: Patrick McElhenney/FX

The party at Babe Manor is no more, but Mac and Dee are still convinced that Drisko is their key to a good time on the mountain, and follow him in his bid to start a prank war with the other Reynoldses, which Charlie hopes to join too. Only, Drisko’s idea of pranking is to sexually harass women, and the gang realize he’s clearly Not Cool anymore, and head off on their own in search of the Party Mountain of their dreams.

While Mac and Dee continue their quest for the ultimate rager, Charlie is still seeking answers to what mountain rules are all about. He stumbles across Tatiana alone in her jacuzzi (of course), and she invites him in. An invitation he accepts, naturally — fully clothed. (Oh Charlie, you are too beautiful for this world sometimes.) What follows is every pubescent boy’s fantasy, a night of passion rocking out to “Jesse’s Girl,” because, the ‘80s. Apparently a sex marathon with a Bulgarian model is all it took to explain the mountain to Mr. Kelly!

IT'S ALWAYS SUNNY IN PHILADELPHIA -- "The Gang Hits The Slopes" -- Episode 1103 (Airs Wednesday, January 20, 10:00 pm e/p) Pictured: (l-r) Danny DeVito as Frank, Glenn Howerton as Dennis. CR: Patrick McElhenney/FX

IT’S ALWAYS SUNNY IN PHILADELPHIA — “The Gang Hits The Slopes” — Episode 1103 (Airs Wednesday, January 20, 10:00 pm e/p) Pictured: (l-r) Danny DeVito as Frank, Glenn Howerton as Dennis.
CR: Patrick McElhenney/FX

For you see, there is a hiccup at the Big Race. Just as Dennis and Drisko are facing off, the latter is taken into custody for a gamut of sexual assault charges. Though Dee and Mac wonder if he’s been framed by Frank so Dennis can win by forfeit, it’s pretty obvious Drisko really is that disgusting of a creep. The event is all but over when Charlie announces that he will race “for the people,” despite the fact that he, y’know, can’t ski to save his life. It matters not, for Tatiana’s loving was all it took for him to be one with the mountain, or something.

Well, that’s what he tells himself, but it’s obvious once they leave the gate that there was no miraculous learning-by-osmosis effect. Dennis is still shredding, Charlie is still a terrible skier. When all hope seems lost, though, Dennis gets overconfident and falls on an aerial move, breaking both his ankles. Huzzah, will this be Charlie’s big moment to coast (slowly) to the finish line?!

IT'S ALWAYS SUNNY IN PHILADELPHIA -- "The Gang Hits The Slopes" -- Episode 1103 (Airs Wednesday, January 20, 10:00 pm e/p) Pictured: Charlie Day as Charlie. CR: Patrick McElhenney/FX

IT’S ALWAYS SUNNY IN PHILADELPHIA — “The Gang Hits The Slopes” — Episode 1103 (Airs Wednesday, January 20, 10:00 pm e/p) Pictured: Charlie Day as Charlie. CR: Patrick McElhenney/FX

Er, no. Remember what I said about Charlie being awful? Even with bum legs and howling in agony, Dennis still manages to crawl to the finish line before Charlie arrives on his two feet. Yet, it turns out the whole race was for naught: Frank never actually intended to buy the resort, but his fear-mongering was a distraction so that people wouldn’t notice his true plan — to frak the mountain! This whole time they were worrying about who would bring the cool back to the hill, Frank was digging into it to usurp all the natural resources he could muster. Forget it, kids, it’s Party Mountain.

With that, it’s time for the gang to return to their natural habitat in Philly, because all this did was remind them that they aren’t really fans of nature to begin with. Still, nobody is too sure just how that narrator got to know them so well, but some mysteries are just inexplicable. “I guess some things really are different on the mountain,” muses Charlie, and I think on that we can all agree. (Like how Charlie is suddenly self-aware, for starters.)

IT'S ALWAYS SUNNY IN PHILADELPHIA -- "The Gang Hits The Slopes" -- Episode 1103 (Airs Wednesday, January 20, 10:00 pm e/p) Pictured: (l-r) Glenn Howerton as Dennis, Charlie Day as Charlie. CR: Patrick McElhenney/FX

IT’S ALWAYS SUNNY IN PHILADELPHIA — “The Gang Hits The Slopes” — Episode 1103 (Airs Wednesday, January 20, 10:00 pm e/p) Pictured: (l-r) Glenn Howerton as Dennis, Charlie Day as Charlie.
CR: Patrick McElhenney/FX

I’m such an easy-going fan of Sunny that I’m almost always entertained by whatever they put out, but my favorite episodes tend to be the ones in which they spoof pop culture, and “The Gang Hits The Slopes” falls nicely into that category. It kind of felt like their various attempts at satirizing Lethal Weapon, only without them being aware that they were in a movie. From the eye-burning neon parkas, to maniacal laughs, to evil yuppies, and the never-ending quest for “cool,” the show lambasted pretty much every 80s-era film cliché, to hilarious effect.

While Paddy’s is definitely the gang’s home, it’s fun to see the characters out of their element, and in this case, actually exposed to the elements, since it’s such a contrast to their routine. Charlie’s meta-ness was definitely the highlight for me — maybe the fresh air really is the secret to his success, after all these years? I’m impressed that the show is still finding new heights eleven seasons in, and while I can’t wait to get everyone back to the bar, I’m glad we all got this two-day break. Sometimes you just gotta roll with it, guys.

(Plus, I’ve had “Jesse’s Girl” stuck in my head for three days, so there’s that.)

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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