It’s Always Sunny – Season 1 Episodes Ranked and Reviewed

I’ve ranked and reviewed all the episodes of a couple of shows now, but I was always hesitant to do it for Sunny; it’s my favourite comedy show of all time, but there are so many episodes nowadays across all the seasons that it put me off even starting. But then I realised something – I’m no Jabroni! The best time to start is now! So I guzzled up all my Fight Milk and started work on this colossal project.

One of the reasons I never really fancied starting was this season in particular – Season 1 isn’t great in the slightest. It’s not abysmal, far from it, but there’s nothing to write home about, and I wouldn’t be surprised if most people couldn’t make it past the first few episodes. I didn’t particularly want to review these episodes either, but I’ll have to if I want to get to the prime cuts of Sunny later on. So, how would I rank the episodes in Season 1?

You can check out some of my related lists below:

7 – Charlie Wants an Abortion

Rating: D+

The main complaint from all of these early episodes is that the writers don’t capitalise on the insane premises as much as I know they could do, and I think the worst offender from the debut season has to be “Charlie Wants an Abortion”.

Childbirth and abortion are some heavy themes to tackle in a comedy show, and maybe that’s why this episode is one of the least funny in the show’s run. Charlie has a couple of good moments with the brat kid, but they’re few and far between.

Also – this whole season gets minus points for lack of Frank (obviously) and also for relegating Dee to a boring “good conscience” role.

6 – Gun Fever

Rating: C-

A premise so good yet underused that they did it again eight years later, the topic of gun control and gun violence in the USA was always going to come up on this show.

My favourite moment is when Charlie gets the titular “Gun Fever” when firing the gun, it’s a hilarious scene made ten times better by Charlie Day’s facial expressions. The final twist is so painfully obvious though, and that almost ruined the episode for me.

I’ll use this time to mention – all the characters feel undercooked this season and the actors don’t quite know what to do just yet, but Charlie Day was on it from day 1 and continues to be a star player even to this day.

5 – Underage Drinking: A National Concern

Rating: C-

It’s quite impressive in hindsight just how many hard-hitting episode premises they managed to cram into the first season, so it’s just a shame none of them ever live up to their true potential.

There are some nice twists and turns along the way, but everyone is acting so out of character compared to what they’ll turn into that it just makes for a strange repeat viewing.

4 – Charlie Got Molested

Rating: C

For some strange reason, I remember this episode being far funnier than it was when I re-watched it. There are certainly some hilarious moments – the McPoyles are always a disturbing joy, and Mac’s desire to get molested is admittedly quite in character, but everything else is far too heavy-handed and not properly executed.

It does introduce a lot of key characters though: the aforementioned McPoyles are some of my favourites, Mrs Kelly is completely insane, and Uncle Jack is hilariously depraved straight away.

3 – The Gang Gets Racist

Rating: C+

The episode that started it all, and it’s … fine.

I love how it doesn’t hold back, and even the cold open has enough insanity and outrage to draw you in. The funny moments are sadly few and far between, but when they hit (like Mac saying “See! You ARE all related!”) the jokes land well.

2 – Charlie Has Cancer

Rating: C+

This was actually the very first episode the creators ever came up with and filmed, and it’s no surprise the execs at FX were so impressed – this is far more aligned with what the show would end up being, with questionable character motives and hilarious shenanigans.

It’s still not perfect, and the show isn’t still quite ready to commit to the depravity of the situation, but it’s a good step in the right direction.

1 – The Gang Finds a Dead Guy

Rating: B-

This was the biggest surprise on my Sunny re-watch, as I completely forgot just how insane and ridiculous this episode’s premise was.

There are three fantastic plots in this one: Mac and Dennis pretending to know a dead guy to seduce his granddaughter, Dee actually having a rare funny scene in this season when she visits the retirement home, and especially Charlie finding and trying to find a use for the old Nazi uniform.

“The Gang Finds a Dead Guy” was proof that these guys knew how to write and produce a funny show, and they would only improve their craft as the seasons went on.

Season Rating: C-

Not a great first season, but I’d argue that pretty much every sitcom’s pilot season is below par – in this case, it’s especially frustrating when you know just how good it can get.

Let’s look at the stats for the season:

  • 1 B (14%)
  • 5 C (71%)
  • 1 D (14%)

Pretty average across the board, but the only way is up. Until then, check out my latest blog posts below:

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