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Television PopWrapped | Television

There's 'Flowers for Charlie' In This Week's It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia

PopWrapped | PopWrapped Author


10/24/2013 9:32 pm
PopWrapped | Television
There's 'Flowers for Charlie' In This Week's It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia
Media Courtesy of FXX

Chelsea Workman-Jernigan

Staff Writer

This week’s episode of It’s Always Sunny is probably one of the most anticipated episodes of the season. Over the summer, it was announced that Game of Thrones writers/executive producers D.B. Weiss and David Benioff would be writing an episode loosely based on the novel Flowers for Algernon that would be titled “Flowers for Charlie”. For those who haven’t read the novel, the main character, whose name is Charlie Gordon, becomes the first human to undergo surgery to enhance his intelligence. A previous surgery had been successful on a rat, Algernon. Charlie [Gordon] has an IQ of 68 and works as a janitor at a factory. I won’t spoil the rest of the novel – I beg you to read it, it’s one of the best pieces of literature – but I’m sure fans of Charlie Kelly can already see the similarities between the novel’s main protagonist and our beloved Charlie. Another surprise in store for us was this week’s guest star, Burn Gorman. That’s right – Hermann Gottlieb (Burn Gorman) and Newton Geiszler (Charlie Day) have been reunited! Last season, Pacific Rim’s director, Guillermo del Toro, guest-starred on Sunny, and this season we got another one of the film’s stars to guest-star! We start this week’s episode with Dee, Dennis and Mac standing around, waiting to be picked for an experiment. They believe that the smartest person there will be paid to undergo an experiment, but as the Scientist (like the Waitress, Burn Gorman’s character doesn’t have a name) informs them, they must find someone to volunteer for their experiment, preferably someone with lesser intelligence. The Scientist and his assistant, Tang (Jimmy Ouyang), walk over to Charlie, who tries to grab a piece of cheese, despite it being rigged to shock whoever touches it. Why does Charlie want the cheese that keeps shocking it? He doesn’t know; he just wants it! And with that, the perfect specimen for this experiment has been found. Soon after Charlie begins taking his “smart” pills, he comes back to Paddy’s Pub wearing two sets of earphones. Charlie has just discovered he’s got two ears – that’s right, he just discovered he’s got two ears – so he’s decided to listen to double the amount of tapes to help increase his intelligence. Dennis isn’t impressed with Charlie, deeming that anyone could listen to audiotapes all day, but Charlie surprises him when he goes into detail about the Placebo Effect. We later see Charlie and Tang play a round of chess, casually talking in Mandarin throughout the game. Charlie has decided to start learning Mandarin, and he’s picked it up rather quickly. The side-effects of these pills are really starting to affect Charlie. The ringing in his ears becomes louder, and he’s in more pain. While he’s trying to ignore his pain, Frank begins to read Mandarin from his new beginner’s guide. He’s not happy that Charlie is becoming smart, but he’s still there to keep an eye out for his friend. Soon we see Charlie sitting in a very modern restaurant, a book wide open in front of him and a wooden pipe hanging from his mouth. The Waitress soon appears, but not willingly. No, Charlie’s increased intelligence doesn’t initially sway her. She’s taken a $500 bribe from Frank to go on a date from Charlie, in hopes that he’ll stay away from his new science buddies. The Waitress displays the usual displeasure at the man whom she’s had several restraining orders against, but seems surprised when he explains that he’s there to really listen to her, and to get to know her more. Unfortunately, as she begins going on about her horrible boss and how she wants to open a nail salon, Charlie’s headache re-emerges. His headache increases as she goes on about her life, throwing in the word “like” every other two or three words. The Scientist and Tang bring Charlie back to the lab, to show the experiment’s results to fellow scientists, as well as the rest of the Gang. A nurse wheels Charlie out in a very old-fashioned, wooden wheelchair. Charlie begins talking about his experiment, but does so in a British accent. In fact, with the way he is talking and walking (he’s also using a cane), one might think his actions are similar to those of Hermann Gottlieb from Pacific Rim. Charlie’s experiment describes how spiders and cats now have the ability to talk to one another! While the experiment initially shocks the group of scientists, the Scientist and Tang have their own shocking revelation – Charlie’s intelligence never increased! The Mandarin Chinese he learned? Well, that was all a bunch of gibberish. The side-effects he got from those pills? They were all made up! Him learning about the Placebo Effect? Well, we’ve seen in previous episodes that Charlie can remember what he’s heard or seen, so him “knowing” the Placebo Effect was just him remembering what he heard on a tape. Before the Gang leaves, Mac and Charlie (respectively) make a couple of statements about the entire experiment: “You stupid science bitches couldn’t even make my friends more smarter!” “Hey, you’re right. Stupid science bitch couldn’t even make I more smarter!” Never change, Charlie Kelly. The “B” story disappointed me. There could have been so much more interaction with Charlie’s “smartness”, but instead, we see Dee, Dennis, and Mac attempting to do “Charlie Work”. Charlie refused to do any of that because of his newfound intelligence. Basically, their attempt to catch a rat goes wrong rather quickly, so they sit around, huffing gas and watching “cat and mouse” cartoons. While I loved this episode, I still felt a bit disappointed. Unfortunately, I set myself up for this disappointment because I set my expectations extremely high for this episode. I wanted so much more out of this episode than we were given, but, for what actually happened, I’m really pleased with the outside. This was the first time showrunners Rob McElhenney, Glenn Howerton, and Charlie Day allowed a guest-writer (on in this case, writers) for an episode, and D.B. Weiss and David Benioff did an amazing job writing this episode. They captured each of the characters perfectly, and something like this isn’t an unexpected event for the world of Sunny. See you all next week when the Gang makes Lethal Weapon 6!


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