Season 13 of It's Always Sunny is the least funny season but features the show's best ever episode
One scene in the new season of It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia almost reduced us to tears, but not tears of laughter.
Mac, Dennis, Frank, Charlie and Dee are five of the most despicable characters we have ever seen on our television screens. They are properly terrible, and we love them for it.
We could list off any number of terrible things that each member of the gang has done, but come on, how long do you have?
There must be some sort of weird thing in our brains that draws us towards the gang, despite the fact that they are so nasty. None of them ever show any level of sympathy, empathy or guilt. Most of the time they seem to hate each other, and even when they are getting along, they are constantly on the verge of killing each other.
And perhaps the funniest thing about them is that at no point do any of them show any sign of wanting to change.
That was until now.
Season 13 of It's Always Sunny decided to try and do something the show hasn't done yet - the characters actually try to change for the better.
They attend a session to try and improve their behaviour regarding the #MeToo movement, they have a debate about what bathroom certain people should use (including trans people), and they address Mac's sexuality in an incredible piece of television.
There are some laughs throughout the entire season - as you would expect from what might be the funniest television show of the past 15 years - but it's nowhere near as funny as previous seasons. Not even close.
The episode where the gang attend a sexual harassment campaign is hilarious from start to finish, but the two Superbowl episodes are boring throughout, and you'd be doing well to get a laugh out of them.
There is also an episode where the main female characters do a reboot of the Wade Boggs challenge that the gang tried in Season 10, and although this is a good idea for an episode, it does kind of stink of them running out of ideas.
And there's a clip show... Granted, they do put their own spin on it, with the gang remembering things that actually never happened, but at the end of the day, it is still a clip show. Would they have done a clip show in Season Six? Nope.
Dennis doesn't appear in five of the season's episodes as actor Glen Howerton wanted to work on other projects, and the show really suffered as a result. As amazing as Dennis is as a character, we can't help but feel as though if any of the main characters were to leave the show for a considerable period of time, the whole thing would suffer. And it does.
The dynamic that has been built over 12 seasons needs every member of the gang on the screen for the show to prosper, which fans of the show will learn this season without Dennis.
But as underwhelming as this season was, it will forever be remembered for one scene in particular. One scene that is nothing short of a masterpiece.
In an episode where Mac is struggling to understand his gay pride, Frank is constantly stuffing newspaper and thrash up his nose to stop it from bleeding (he's bottling up something in an unhealthy way, when he would be better off dealing it with in a healthy way, just like Mac has done with his sexuality for years).
After a few slightly amusing scenes that show Frank taking Mac to a number of gay bars to try and help him find his gay pride, Mac realises that he knows exactly what he has to do. He has to convey the message to his dad, who is a criminal in jail.
When he initially went to his dad, he got scared and ended up telling his father that he was going to have a child, to his father's delight.
All of this is a build up to the final scene, where Mac tells his dad that he is gay, and than performs a breathtakingly good dance to try and explain his feelings. And when we say that it's a scene that will go down in television history, we really mean it.
Have a look for yourself here; you don't need to be fan of dancing to understand just how powerful this performance is.
Clip via Rotten Tomatoes TV
This scene alone reminds you that It's Always Sunny is more than just a TV show that lives to shock you with genius writing and incredible delivery from the cast, and that it can occasionally be an extraordinary piece of art.
Rob McElhenney and Danny DeVito's performances throughout this seven-minute scene are as good as we have ever seen in any television series ever, and it will be what we always think of whenever someone brings up Season 13 of the show.
In Season 9 we saw an episode of the show titled 'The Gang Desperately Tries to Win an Award", in a tongue-in-cheek jab at the Emmys for overlooking the series for so long. They consider trying to turn Paddy's into a "black bar", before pointing out that "black bars don't win awards", a line that was music to the ears of fans of The Wire, which was also constantly overlooked by the Emmys.
Now, four seasons later, the gang have tried even harder to win an award, and it would be an absolute travesty if they don't.
Season 13 of It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia is available to watch on Netflix now.