We Review It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia SN12 EP05 – “Making Dennis Reynolds a Murderer”

Maureen Ponderosa, the ex-wife of Dennis Reynolds (Glenn Howerton) has been murdered. How do we find out? Through a documentary-style episode that satirizes the Netflix series Making a Murderer.

The whole episode (or at least 95% of it) is done in that style. Even the normal It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia credits have been skipped over to create the illusion that this is one of those documentary style shows. Even without seeing a single episode of Making a Murderer, I still have a feel for those style of shows and this is a dead-on spoof – the lighting, the cinematography, the music, the stock footage. Everything is done to a T.

This is a continuation of the Maureen Ponderosa story which started all the way back in the season 6 two-parter Mac Fights Gay Marriage and Dennis Gets Divorced, and continued as recently as the previous season’s McPoyle vs. Ponderosa: The Trial of the Century.

It is impressive that a story arc has changed this way – with Maureen just being a regular character slowly transforming, literally trying to turn herself into a cat. With so many resources – from Netflix to simply checking online – there seem to be few excuses for newcomers to not understand what’s happening. However, even newcomers who know nothing about the show may still find humor in some of the jokes about Maureen’s cat transformation.

Not only does this episode work as a spoof, it has plenty of hilarious moments from the regulars.

Some of the funniest parts center around Frank Reynolds (Danny DeVito) accidentally revealing some of the awful things he did at sweatshops. Dee Reynolds (Kaitlin Olson) is once again trying to use the show to advance her acting career. She agrees to give her side of the story only if the producers let her play Maureen in a funny re-enactment.

Dennis is funny in his attempt to prove himself innocent under the circumstances. Mac (Rob McElhenney) is obsessed with the idea that he’s a Mystery Science 3000 style humorist who does great Austin Powers and Borat impressions. Charlie Kelly (Charlie Day) is hilariously subdued from taking tranquilizers.

This episode is good but not perfect. There are one or two jokes about the style parody that feel like they’ve been done before. There’s also a joke here and there about the people on the show trying to make Dennis look guilty that also have a “been-there, done that” feeling.

Also, there is a temptation to gripe about a major character being killed off and Dennis being accused of murder all being in a vacuum of this one episode. However, there is an ending scene that reconciles these issues.

Gimmick episodes like this can be a gamble, but this episode is a winner.

The Good
  • - Spot on spoof of Making a Murderer - All characters are on their game - Great continuation of a long-running story - Should be funny even to people unfamiliar with references
The Bad
  • - A few of the parodies felt like stuff we've seen before.

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