Season 6: Event driven plots make the season a little more "wacky" than I would have liked
Once they got the bugs out of their system in the first season, Always Sunny has been remarkably consistent across 4 consecutive seasons funny, imaginative, inventive and amoral. At some point though some slippage was bound to happen and it is in the sixth season where it does. The basic approach is the same though the gang hang out in their bar and get involved in schemes and plots, although often most of their energy is spent on avoiding responsibility or screwing up someone else to their benefit. This to me is where the majority of the laughs come from, the incredibly amoral and self-centred approach to life that the lead five characters and the way that there doesn't seem to be a "normal" character to provide balance (as they tried to do with Dee in the first season).
Normally the show does a great job of balancing the absurdist scenarios with this very specific trait of having these terrible terrible characters doing terrible things but in season 6 I felt it did slip a little bit. It must be said that it is still funny and that I did still enjoy the majority of the season, just that it was not as good as before. I think the most noticeable shift is that the majority of the episodes are driven by events rather than the characters. It is a minor thing perhaps but at its best the scenarios are only really needed to create a frame within which the character be themselves thus the scenarios always play out the same since the motivations and actions are the same. This I find funniest because it is a sort of hyper-realism in a way.
The difference with the plot here being mostly events driven is that the characters exist within the plots rather than the plots existing behind the characters. So we have lots of episodes where specific events happen, those events play out and then those events end the gang buy a boat is one, the gang getting lost in the woods is another; basically the events are the episode and the characters are just there. Of course they are still the same selfish people but it is a little less effective when the plots are not driven by these qualities. The end result is that the show feels a lot more "wacky" than it has done before; the wacky things happening to these wacky people are still pretty funny but ultimately the tone of the humour has slightly shifted from being this amoral thing to this adult wackiness and it is not as good for it.
The cast are all still great though and I continue to love Danny De Vito for the work he does on this; his character is great and he throws himself into it. The lead four are equally strong I still think Olson doesn't get the best material but Day, Howerton and McElhenney are brilliant fun.
Overall the slight shift in approach in writing has had effects and I don't think season 6 was as strong as previous seasons. I still found it funny but too often it was a wacky humour which just is as strong as they can be. Not a bad season by any means but just a slight dip from the usual.
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