TV favorites return for new seasons: It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia

FX’s hit comedy, , returned to the small screen last Thursday for the fifth season of what has to be one of the funniest shows on TV.

For the uninitiated, follows a group of ne’er-do-wells who run a bar in – you guessed it – Philadelphia. Dennis and Dee are the two self-centered siblings, Frank is their irresponsible father, Mac is the tough guy and Charlie is, well, Charlie.

They all bring their own special brand of stupidity to the table, whether it is Frank’s terrible get rich quick schemes, or Charlie’s constant reassurance through his actions that he may, in fact, be mentally handicapped. The important thing to remember is that they are all morally vacant, and watching them flounder their way through the terrible situations they get themselves into often leads to hilarity.

This season premiered with “The Gang Exploits the Mortgage Crisis.” Frank buys a foreclosed house, and Dennis and Mac are determined to help him resell it for more money. The only catch is the previous residents of the house are still living there, and their lawyer informs the gang that the family still has time to vacate. So while Charlie decides to challenge this lawyer to a battle of legal wits (and later a duel), Dennis and Mac start preparing their “good cop/bad cop” real estate team of Hugh Honey and Vic Vinegar. Meanwhile, Dee is attempting to become a surrogate mother, but she is unknowingly giving the couple every reason why she is the wrong choice.

Plot-wise, this round of disasters is pretty tame for the gang. Considering the misadventures they have had in the past, there is nothing too shocking in this season’s opener, but that’s not to say that it isn’t funny.

It still has plenty of the how-could-you-be-so-dumb and how-could-you-be-so-self-absorbed humor.

Dennis and Mac are great as the Hugh Honey and Vic Vinegar duo, and Frank (played by Danny DeVito) is just as surly as ever. As always though, the real star is Charlie, whose idiocy simply knows no bounds.

His insistence on winning the case against the lawyer (Brian Unger as a great cameo) is fantastic in both its ridiculousness and its execution.

However, the episode will not go down in history as one of the best. While it’s a solid opening to the show’s fifth season, it doesn’t hold up to the likes of highly irreverent and offensive episodes like “Sweet Dee is Dating a Retarded Person.”

What’s important is that the actors are still so committed to their characters that it almost doesn’t matter what the plot is. The characters are so morally reprehensible that you don’t care what happens to them. And that’s a good thing. Here’s to hoping the gang continues to make horrible decisions, doing anything and everything to help themselves while subsequently destroying their lives.