I once put on fifty pounds by accident, and it wasn't funny. Not at all. So let's all take a second to slap our fat fingers together in appreciation of how Rob McElhenney busted his gut so that we can bust ours. Comedy is a funny—literally!—thing. A comedian can spend years cultivating an intellectual joke, observational humorists break down everyday embarrassments like a science, but sometimes the simplicity of a man getting fat is all you need.
Mac put on fifty pounds between seasons of It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, and his new gravitational pull yanked laughs out of me every time he appeared on-screen last night. Just look at his face! But it's not just the sight of a fat guy, it's specifically that it's body-builder wannabe Mac who underwent the transformation. Spending months on the couch eating chimichangas for a simple sight gag is a physical commitment that illustrates just how devoted McElhenney is to making It's Always Sunny... the funniest it can be. And it's that kind of across-the-board effort that's apparent as Season 7 begins to return to its glory days.
Reviewing sitcoms in words is tough, and honestly, a pain in the ass. The true barometer of a comedy's quality is simple: How much did you laugh? Well, "Frank's Pretty Woman" made me laugh harder at a TV show than I have in a long time. Every scene was strong, and I particularly enjoyed Mac and Dennis' doctor visit, Dee and the crack whore's shopping trip, and Charlie's fake date as a fake millionaire, which culminated in this:
Overall it was a hilarious episode and a good sign that It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia knows it really has to deliver this season.
Archer also returned last night for the first of a three-episode special adventure, and there's nothing new to report: The animated superspy comedy is always staking its claim not only for best animated superspy comedy, but for best comedy in general. But a three-part assignment featuring the guest voices of Patrick Warburton (who is FANTASTIC) and David Cross that’s loosely based on Heart of Darkness and therefore Apocalypse Now? Yes please. Just the thought of Archer as a Pirate King is awesome.
The show's strength is not only in its rapid-fire pacing, but in the quality of its jokes. In-episode callbacks (the re-use of "ruse" just kept getting funnier), ridiculousness that can only come from a cartoon (Archer's holding his breath and shooting a shark in the face), and discreet sight gags (I love that Ray eats sushi and sake in the employee lunchroom) are classic Archer. And that's just the way I like it.
Rip Riley: "What the hell did you put in the sink?"
Archer kicks out the door, knocking Riley out cold.
Archer: "A ruse! You big dumb idiot! And also a bunch of shaving cream and toilet paper. Just because."
One last Sunny tidbit: Kaitlin Olsen, who's routinely been robbed of a well-deserved Emmy nomination, has one of the best faces on TV. She emotes like no one else.
Follow TV.com writer Tim Surette on Twitter: @TimAtTVDotCom