"Charlie Rules the World" is the eighth episode of the eighth season of It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia.
After slipping into an unhealthy obsession with computer games, The Gang wrestles to define the difference between the real and the virtual worlds.
10:30 AM, On a Tuesday, Philadelphia, PA
Mac and Frank are watching a reality show, "Real Housewives" on a TV at Paddy's Pub. They're trying, anyway; the picture flutters and breaks up as Charlie jiggles wires on the obviously pirated cable link. Dennis asks them why they are watching "that crap" and tells them they should go out dancing. The others want to stay in and keep watching the show, however. Dee shows up, looking terrible. She admits she hasn't been able to shower for a few days, because she's been "gaming like a loon." She says she's been playing an online game for days, and asks Charlie if he would run her avatar for her while she runs some errands. Frank, Mac, and Dennis order him to stay at Paddy's and keep the illegal cable hookup going, but Charlie, tired of their bossiness and the constant electric shocks he is getting, leaves with Dee.
At Dee's apartment, she explains the game, called "TechPocalypse", a game in which you try to rebuild the world after the apocalypse, to Charlie, and tells him her character's name, ZingingCutie23. Charlie asks if the name means that Dee is pretending to be 23 years old, which she denies. Charlie notices that he, along with the rest of the Gang, are in the game, as servant characters to Dee's character. Charlie immediately tells Dee that he thinks she is playing the game to "lord over" the rest of The Gang, and it's kind of pathetic. However, he agrees to watch over Dee's characters, because he needs the five bucks Dee offered him.
Frank, Dennis, and Mac have indeed gone out dancing, but they're the only people in the bar, which is obviously not a dance club, who are dancing. Dennis still tells them that this is experiencing real life, as opposed to watching reality TV or playing video games. Dennis swears that other people will follow their lead and start to dance. They go to the bar to get some shots. Someone sitting at the bar,apparently playing TechPocalypse, recognizes them as part of Dee's "tribe" in the game. When the Gang sees this, Mac and Frank are greatly offended, but Dennis tells them they shouldn't care about it since it's just a video game. Dennis tries to get the party started, but Frank and Mac are obviously bothered.
Dee returns from her shopping trip, to find that Charlie has made some radical changes indeed, and now she is doing much better in the game. Charlie tells her that she was just wasting her virtual money on stuff she doesn't need, like she does in real life. Dee denies this, but her case is not helped when she reveals she's gotten her nails "painted like Flo-Jo's", for no apparent reason other than "it's funny". Dee asks Charlie to team up with her because he's so much better at the game, and Charlie agrees. This will require her character and Charlie to get "married", and "consummate" their relationship—Dee is quick to inform Charlie this is purely in-game, and does not require them to have sex in real life.
Frank and Mac begin playing TechPocalypse themselves. Mac is attacking every other character he sees, but keeps losing (we see his avatar, a freakishly huge muscle man, get its head blown off by someone calling herself "SoccerMom1"). Frank's character is called "SweetPeaches69" and Frank describes her as "a gorgeous girl with big cans" (and, horrifyingly, Frank's head), and he says that his character gets what she wants by banging other characters. Dennis mocks them for playing the game, saying that they are both playing characters that are completely unlike them. Mac says that he knows a way to help Dennis understand the game.
Mac shows Dennis one of his sex tapes. In the sex tape, Dennis is giving a woman a haircut in his room, which leads, eventually, to them banging (or to be more precise, Dennis making the woman go down on him.) Mac asks Dennis how the tape makes him feel, and Dennis says that it arouses him. Mac says that's like the game: though there's no woman actually in the room, the virtual experience of watching the tape is arousing him. Dennis points out that the difference is that the sex in the sex tape really occurred, but Frank asks how we know that anything is real: "We could be in a turtle's dream in outer space." Dennis continues to insist that he's having real experiences, not just playing a game like they are.
In TechPocalypse, Charlie is making deals with other players, forming alliances, while Dee sits around buying useless objects. Charlie goes off to the bedroom to make a deal with "QueenOfThrones", and Dee is messaged by "SweetPeaches69"—Frank, who, unfortunately, has his webcam on. Frank tells her he is getting a lot of gifts, both virtually and in real life—by guys he is banging in the game. Frank says that he is having a party for his online friends.
Charlie invites "QueenOfThrones" to meet at Paddy's. Dee comes in, slamming the computer shut, upset that Frank is doing so much better in the game than they are. Charlie tells Dee he can get her followers and gifts—but she can't interrupt him. Mac shows up to talk to him, and Charlie tells him he heard that Mac smashed his computer due to how badly he was doing in the game. Mac asks Charlie to team up, and Charlie asks Mac to watch his character—and Dee—while he goes out to meet "QueenOfThrones."
Dennis is walking through a mall, asking someone—anyone—to "experience" him. He sees a sensory deprivation tank there, which he gets into. He has visions in the tank of what is going on with the game and the rest of the Gang, leading finally to a vision of another version of himself, who cuts his hair and speaks with a British accent. Dennis talks to British Dennis about what "reality" is, British-Dennis tells him that "you create your own reality" and that it's all his choice -- "it's your universe, and you are God." The vision ends with British Dennis making Dennis go down on him, just like the woman in the sex tape.
"QueenOfThrones" shows up at the bar, bringing Charlie a cheesesteak. She seems to like him, and tells him he's a nice guy. Charlie, however, presents her with a box of spiders, and Charlie informs her that while they are there, his followers are ravaging her land and killing her followers. She throws her drink on him and storms out of the bar, with Charlie screaming at her that now he has the power.
Mac and Dee show up at Frank's party, greatly overdressed in comparison to the fairly geeky guests at the party. Frank and the other guests mock them. Charlie comes in, demanding Dee's phone so he can get back online. However, Dee tells him that she wants a divorce, and she has slept with Mac to "humiliate" him, to get back at him for going to see "QueenOfThrones". Charlie informs Dee of what his true motive was, and then he starts freaking out, screaming about people conspiring against him. He kicks the party guests out, and then makes an offer to Frank, Dee, and Mac: he'll let their characters live if Frank and Mac give him their shares of Paddy's Pub, and Dee does all the Charlie Work from now on. Dennis enters, speaking in a bad British accent (not nearly as good as British Dennis'), telling them that the game has gone on long enough. He tells them that while Charlie is a king, he is a god, and he has "decided their realties"—that is, he deleted all their characters, taking advantage of the fact that they all use "paddyspub" for their passwords for everything: "Sometimes, things just sort of have to end."
In the vast reaches of outer space, a giant turtle dreams of five idiots who run a dive bar in Philadelphia.
- Charlie Day as Charlie Kelly
- Glenn Howerton as Dennis Reynolds
- Rob McElhenney as Mac
- Kaitlin Olson as Dee Reynolds
- Danny DeVito as Frank Reynolds
- Cheryl Lynn Bowers as Queen of Thrones
- Erik Hoffstad as Dude
- Kat Purgal as Danielle
- Symba as Vanessa
- Sara Finley as Dana
- Alternate title of this episode are "The Gang Goes Virtual".
- Initially, this episode was supposed to be the seventh in the season - below, there's even a promo with the date "November 29".
- The turtle flying through space at the end of the episode could be a reference to the Great A'Tuin in the Discworld series of books.
- In this episode, Dee has extremely long and colorful fingernails - like "Flo-Jo".
- Sweet Dee seems to have some serious addictive tendencies: earlier in the series she was hooked by crack ("Dennis and Dee Go on Welfare") [along with Dennis], steroids ("Hundred Dollar Baby") and cocaine ("The Gang Gets Whacked (Part 2)") [in both cases, with Charlie].
- Mac complains about the amount of preamble in Dennis' sex tape, however the progression of the song playing in the background shows that they only had to fast-forward through about a minute of footage to get to the sex.
- Oscar's Wine Bar & Bistro where Dennis, Frank and Mac go for drinks is not in Philadelphia, or even the United States. The exterior is filmed in Lancaster, England.
- Until this episode, video games were seen on the show only twice: in the beginning of 02x03 Mac and Charlie are playing something at Paddy's, and later, in Season Six, Duncan played a strange FPS in his apartment. ("Charlie Kelly: King of the Rats")
- The situation at Frank's party reverses the situation of the party Mac and Dee attended at the Taft mansion in Charlie and Dee Find Love—there, they were vastly underdressed for the party, and they were shunned into joining a group of geeks and were mocked. Here, they are badly overdressed, and they are there to be mocked by the geeks.
- Mac's declaration that "I'm calling a lot of people 'Bozo' now" from The Gang Hits the Road is still true, as he calls the guy at the bar who brings their TechPocalypse characters to their attention "bozo".
- The shot of Dennis puking at the wine bar is a callback to him puking on the amusement park ride in "The Gang Goes to the Jersey Shore." (This continues a running theme in Season 8 of callbacks to previous episodes.)
- At the beginning of the episode Charlie says: "Who knows, I might even rule the world one day." Dennis responds stating: "Rule the world huh? Yeah, if that happens I'll blow myself." Later in the episode, once Charlie has become the largest tribe in the game, Dennis has a sensory deprivation vision where he blows a British version of himself.
- When Mac and Charlie talk about the latter meeting "QueenOfThrones", Mac asks to be set up with any fat, ugly, or sick friends she may have, saying he's "into that". Charlie offhandedly mentions "women...or men-whatever you're into..", Mac shrugs, a nod to his homosexuality.
- Charlie says to Dee that he changed her name to "zingingCutie44". But later on in the episode Dee's laptop screen shows "zingingCutie23". She must've changed it back after she made Charlie her king.
|Season 8 Episodes|
|1. "Pop-Pop: The Final Solution"
2. "The Gang Recycles Their Trash"
3. "The Maureen Ponderosa Wedding Massacre"
4. "Charlie and Dee Find Love"
5. "The Gang Gets Analyzed"
|6. "Charlie's Mom Has Cancer"|
7. "Frank's Back in Business"
8. "Charlie Rules the World"
9. "The Gang Dines Out"
10. "Reynolds vs. Reynolds: The Cereal Defense"