“It’s almost Christmas. Get into the spirit.”
Ever wonder what the kids of South Park might be like if they ever made it to adulthood? While I’ve not seen that many episodes of the FX series It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia, that was the first observation that came to mind. These are the South Park kids all grown up. They’re crude, raunchy, mean, and most importantly, they are as politically incorrect as ever. If you need an example, I can offer one right from this episode. The guys have a Christmas tradition that dates back to their childhood of throwing rocks at moving trains. An episode I caught a while back had two of the guys going to an abortion rally because they suspected that pro-choice chicks gotta be easy. Sound like anyone we know? If you love irreverent humor that’s not afraid to cross over the line, this F/X series has everything you’re looking for and without those silly construction paper animation limitations. These are real dudes.
The best way to introduce you to the world here is through the characters. The Philadelphia setting and all of the other trappings really don’t matter. You could put these characters any place, doing almost any jobs, and the series would pretty much be the same. The actors and some cleverly written dialog really make the show.
I would not advise that you introduce yourself to the show with this Christmas special. However, if you are already a fan, you’re going to like this short, but amusing show. Frank (DeVito) loves Christmas time. He buys himself the kind of gifts others really want and then rubs their noses in his wealth. But this year Dee (Olsen) and Dennis (Howerton) have a plan to get even. They locate Frank’s old business partner, whom Frank ripped off blind, and recruit him into a Dickens tale of Christmas spirit, which of course, backfires. Meanwhile Mac (McElhenney) and Charlie (Day) share memories of their childhood Christmas traditions, only to discover they weren’t as traditional as they thought. Depressed by their discoveries, they seek out a way to reclaim the Christmas spirit, which also backfires. Will a close call with the Grim Reaper change Frank? Check it out and see for yourself.
The special is presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.78:1. The 1080p image is brought to you through an AVC/MPEG-4 with an average bit rate of nearly 40 mbps. An introduction to the release warns you that the source material was not high definition, so you should lower your expectations. In reality, it’s not that bad at all and compares favorably to many high definition broadcasts. Colors are good, and detail is pretty much better than you’ve ever seen on this show.
The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track is pretty much what you might expect. It’s not going to win any awards, but it delivers the dialog. ‘Nuff said.
Deleted Scenes: (2:48) Three of them featuring young Charlie and Mac.
Behind The Scenes: (7:24) This one mostly demonstrates how much fun the cast and crew had making the show. DeVito looks like a hoot to work with.
Sunny Sing-A-Long: (3:13) The cast sings We Wish You A Merry Christmas.
It’s very much an episode plays like any episode of the series. Combine Dickens and DeVito and you know exactly what I’m driving at. It’s not like the series cries out for a high definition release, but it’s Christmas, and if you’re a fan, “You’re really going to want to see this. It’s your dream gift.”