A look back at… ‘It’s Always Sunny: The Gang Makes Lethal Weapon 6’
With ‘Lethal Weapon 6,’ the gang attempts their own sequel with mixed results.
It’s rare the sequel that surpasses the original, and the cardinal sin of sequels would be the dreaded re-hash. There is a difference between adding onto a previous adventure that uses esoteric callbacks to prior episodes, and pulling a Hangover II by doing a bloated, stale retelling of a familiar story. Unfortunately, “The Gang Makes Lethal Weapon 6” does more of the latter, and not enough of the former.
You won’t find a bigger supporter of Lethal Weapon 5 than me. You have to imagine my excitement when I heard about Lethal Weapon 6. There’s a lot to live up to in LW5, and perhaps I was setting myself up for a disappointment by also having my usual high expectations of Always Sunny. There’s plenty to enjoy about Lethal Weapon 6; however, not only does it not live up to it’s predecessor, but the episode itself is one this season’s weaker efforts.
The Lethal Weapon 5 portion of “Sweet Dee: Shaping America’s Youth” makes up a little less than a third of the whole episode’s running time. The Lethal Weapon 5 screening at Paddy’s acted as the climax to the episode. This “less is more” approach has worked well in the past for the gang’s home movies including, Project Badass, Kitten Mittens, and the news in “Frank Sets Sweet Dee on Fire .”
With Lethal Weapon 6, the show within the show is the main episode arc, with the gang periodically interrupting their tale for comment. This structure has worked well with “Who Got Dee Pregnant,” “The World Series Defense,” and “The Gang Cracks the Liberty Bell.” This same structure didn’t work so well for “Frank’s Brother.” I never got too invested in Frank’s relationship with his brother, and similarly, I don’t much care what happens to Riggs, Murtaugh, or Chief Lazarus in this sixth outing.
During Lethal Weapon 5, there are constant cutaways to Paddy’s, where the movie’s being screened. Mac and Dennis comment on Dennis’ Murtaugh voice, Dee’s students’ reactions to Frank’s sex scene, and Richie the Juggalo trying to camcord a bootleg copy of the screening are what make Lethal Weapon 5 a much more fun, engaging experience than it’s sequel. I felt like I was in Paddy’s with the gang, while I was watching LW5.
Alas, almost four hundred words later, let’s discuss “The Gang Makes Lethal Weapon 6″…
The episode starts off in the world of Lethal Weapon 6, as Chief Lazarus is raised form the dead by an Indian shaman lady. It’s reveled that the Mac, Charlie, and Dennis are in a bank, showing the film to a bank woman in an attempt to solicit $40 million to finish LW6. I really do enjoy this bit, where the gang arrogantly makes a presentation to no avail, none a better example than when they try to get a loan for gasoline in “The Gang Solves the Gas Crisis.”
“Why don’t you decide. Which one of us do you want to take you in the back, and bang you?” -Mac
Meanwhile, Mac has chosen to play Murtuagh in not just blackface, but also in blackbody. Mac just wants to do the part justice and even goes all out out for blackchesthair. The gang lets Sweet Dee in on the fun this time around, and she gets to play Murtaugh’s daughter — two blackfaces are more offensive than one — who’s engaged to Riggs. I like this reference to the original Lethal Weapon where Murtaugh’s teenage daughter wants to bang Riggs, much to the chagrin of Murtaugh.
Artemis pops up as the minister at Riggs’ wedding, and I enjoyed Charlie’s green shirt disappearing in front of the green screen (a subtle Greenman reference). The best segment is their pitch to the young, hip dot com manager. The explanation and subsequent fast forwarding through all of Mac’s exposition, and the disclaimer about the Chinese bugs that Charlie and Frank procured gives the scene some subtext, rather than merely Lethal Weapon parody. This segment also featured a classic moment where Charlie is confused as to which character is Riggs and which is Murtaugh.
Riggs and Murtaugh play volleyball at the gym with some beefcakes. Dennis looks extra pale and flabby next to those real hunks. Then, the two partners shower off after the volleyball match. Much like the hedge fund manager, I was distracted by the seemingly gay male porno that was taking place. Also, showing Mac’s dark makeup begin to wash off in the shower seemed liked the usual unintentional bad editing. And then boom! The character switch! Dennis told the hedge fund manager that we, the audience, would expect it. I’ll admit it caught me by surprise, making the character switch seem fresh.
I love the gang’s crappy editing on their DIY movies, just like I love how they always shit on Dee. They let her play a stripper, but once she begins to disrobe, a big breasted woman is edited into her place. Sweet Dee may be a big ugly bird, but Jesus H. Christ, Kaitlin Olsen is too fine. I wouldn’t have minded a Dee Reynolds stripper routine, not one bit. I also liked that Mac brakes character, when he avoids trying to kiss Dee, as Riggs and Murtaugh’s daughter’s at their wedding.
The real MVP of this episode is a cameo appearance by Frank’s toe knife from “Mac and Dennis Break Up.” While Frank’s giving himself a pedicure, he offers to fund the rest of the film under the one condition that the gang wants to avoid at any cost. Frank wants to be filmed in a full penetration sex scene as Chief Lazarus. It has got to be full penetration; that’s the rub. Like in “Mac and Charlie Write a Movie,” and Mac will need to write an entire page of exposition to explain it.
The episode ends back where it started, with the gang soliciting money from the same bank manager form the beginning. Somehow, they filmed Frank’s full penetration scene, then decided to leave it in their cut, and still need the financing that that scene was supposed to fund.
“The Gang Makes Lethal Weapon 6” is an ambitious effort that made me laugh more than once, but it didn’t land as a whole story. Lethal Weapon 5 is a hilarious and clever sketch, where as Lethal Weapon 6 is a fully formed yet mediocre story. Even though this isn’t my favorite Always Sunny installment, the gang has been hitting it out of the park on such a consistent basis lately that I’m entirely confident that next week’s “The Gang Squashes Their Beefs” will be back to top form. I mean David Ortiz, World Series MVP, still missed 31% of the time. Big Papi wishes he could hit with the same consistency as Always Sunny. He’s no Chase Utley, that’s for sure.
Oh, and I think this episode should still win an award.