The Best ‘It’s Always Sunny’ Episodes From the Show’s 15 (!) Season Run

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Somehow It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia is now the longest-running live-action comedy show in American TV history. The show first aired in 2005, yet I still think of it as a “new” show. Maybe because it still seems to be fresh and innovative—and completely different from almost anything else on television. The five main characters—Charlie, Sweet Dee, Frank, Dennis, and Mac—are not loveable, yet we can’t get enough of their toxic, chaotic energy. And while you shouldn’t want to emulate them, they still can be relatable. Plus, they have some of the most meme-able moments of any show on the air.

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With 15 seasons under its belt (and more on the way), the show has only improved with age. Some episodes (like most of season one) are maybe not ones you want to watch repeatedly, but many have held up and continue to be hilarious. Let’s go over some of the best episodes that the Gang has given us through the years.

“Sweet Dee Has a Heart Attack” (Season 4, Episode 10)

Charlie from It's always sunny makes a murder wall
(FX)

This is the episode where the conspiracy Charlie meme was born. After Dee has a heart attack, the Gang got inspired to do something about their health. Of course, Dennis and Dee make questionable decisions, while Charlie and Mac start working office jobs to get health insurance. Things deteriorate from there. I think anyone who has worked in an office can attest that rows of cubicles and fluorescent lighting are not good for the human psyche.

“The Nightman Cometh” (Season 4, Episode 13)

A still from the Nightman Cometh in Always Sunny, Cast on stage (FX)
(FX)

Charlie wrote a full rock opera based on a song he performed in season three of the series. Dee played the princess. Dennis fought to be the hero, Dayman. While Mac played the villain, Nightman. And Frank was the troll, who kept mispronouncing the line “if you want to get into this boy’s soul” to something much more obscene. It all came out to be pure, disastrous magic.

“Chardee MacDennis: The Game of Games” (Season 7, Episode 7)

Dennis and Mac explain Chardee MacDennis with charts in the bar.
(FX)

The Gang made their own board game, and it is just as bonkers as you would expect. The game consists of three levels. The first is mind, with trivia and puzzles. The second is body, which is mainly trials of pain and endurance. And the last is spirit, where they basically try to crush each other’s spirits. Plus, there are copious amounts of drinking and property destruction. It’s a great time.

“The Gang Gets Quarantined” (Season 9, Episode 7)

Mac in it's always sunny in a space suit
(FX)

When a flu epidemic arrives in Philadelphia, the Gang locks themselves in the bar. Frank then decides the rest of the group has become infected and slowly locks them all in the bathroom as their “symptoms” worsened. And Frank covers his entire body with hand sanitizer. This episode used to just be funny, but during the COVID-19 pandemic, I came to understand Frank’s choices.

“McPoyle vs. Ponderosa: The Trial of the Century” (Season 11, Episode 7)

Charlie and witness in It's Always Sunny
(FX)

Honestly, this episode is like the greatest hits playlist of It’s Always Sunny. There are so many callbacks to past seasons, you need to be a fan to get some references. But it all works together so perfectly. During a court case, the McPoyles, the Gang, and Maureen Ponderosa weave together the terrible events of the McPoyle/Ponderosa wedding disaster. But with a normal judge and regular lawyers watching in horror. And Charlie finally gets to flex his bird-law knowledge.

“Mac Finds His Pride” (Season 13, Episode 10)

rob mcelhenney, kylie shea it's always sunny in philadelphia
(FX)

Throughout the series, Ronald “Mac” McDonald struggles to come to terms with his sexuality. In this episode, he tried to figure out “what kind of gay” he was. Though there are laughs, the real memorable moment comes from the scene where Mac comes out to his father. Not only is it unexpectedly serious and moving, but it is also one of the most beautiful moments I have ever seen on TV.

“2020: A Year in Review” (Season 15, Episode 1)

Mac and Dennis singing at trump rally in It's Always Sunny
(FX)

There are many really great moments in season 15. Two of my favorites include Dennis denying he has COVID-19 when he obviously has it and Charlie’s emotional moment on the mountain. But the first episode connects the Gang to all the major, horrendous events of 2020. It only makes sense that this group had their hands in the madness we have been experiencing. Thanks a lot, Gang.

(featured image: FX)


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D.R. Medlen
D.R. Medlen (she/her) is a pop culture staff writer at The Mary Sue. After finishing her BA in History, she finally pursued her lifelong dream of being a full-time writer in 2019. She expertly fangirls over Marvel, Star Wars, and historical fantasy novels (the spicier the better). When she's not writing or reading, she lives that hobbit-core life in California with her spouse, offspring, and animal familiars.