"Flowers For Charlie" is the eighth episode of the ninth season of It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia.a
When an experiment successfully multiplies Charlie's intellect and takes him away from the bar, the rest of the gang find themselves struggling to complete the menial 'Charlie Work ' that has kept the bar running for so long.
The gang are in a lab volunteering to be chosen for an intelligence experiment, only one subject may be selected and given $1000 dollars as compensation. The scientists are looking for someone with lack of intelligence.. cut to Charlie who is trying to kill the lab rats. The scientist offers Charlie a pill that can make him seven times smarter.
Charlie is selected for the experiment due to his lack of intelligence picking cheese.
Back at the bar, Charlie is trying to learn Mandarin and listen to Beethoven at the same time, he has already listened to 5 books on tape. Dennis feels Charlie is only feeling smarter because of the placebo effect. Frank thinks it's all bullshit.
In Charlie's apartment he is with the Scientist Tang-See, he wants to double his pill dosage to get a higher IQ as he feels his IQ is 175 already. He has been having side effects such as ringing in the ears, numb legs and aching all over. Frank walks in with Mongolian barbecue and Police Academy: Mission to Moscow, as its Gruesome Twosome Tuesday! Charlie says no as they are childish games and proceeds to mock Frank in 'Mandarin'.
Dennis and Mac are in Paddy's on the hunt for rats with glue traps, Dee suggests a solution by using ultrasonic rodent repellent which emits a high-pitched sound that obliterates their teeny rat eardrums. Dee puts the repellent in the hole and gets stuck on the glue trap as she has man hands. Mac goes to get Gasoline to dissolve the glue - he sniffs it to make sure it is gasoline as Charlie likes to keep glue in canisters. Dee and Dennis then check if its gasoline too, therefore all getting high. The rat gets out and runs away, Dee remains trapped.
Charlie meets the waitress in a restaurant while he is reading War and Peace and smoking a pipe. Frank has paid her $500 dollars to be there to try and get the old Charlie back. Charlie explains he has new interests, quickly loosing focus in what the waitress has to say along with a ringing in his ears.
Frank is at the bar upset that none of this would be happening if Charlie wasn't in the experiment and wants to drag him back to the sewer where he belongs as he is the foundation, he tries to get the gang to find Charlie but they want huff gas,
2 Days later at the lab, Charlie arrives in a wheelchair as he has grown quite 'weary', and lectures the class on his new invention.: A Technology that allows Cats to talk to Spiders! The head Scientist announces that the intelligence experiment was a complete failure, as self- confidence instilled by a placebo 'intelligence pill' did not make Charlie smarter, but instead he has had a sharp uptick in arrogance. Tang-Lee reveals Charlie's 'mandarin' is complete Gibberish, and his side-effects were all in his mind. Charlie then has a revelation that he was suffering with the 'placebe effect' and throws his walking cane on the ground and says he feels better.
Charlie and Frank go back to the apartment to watch Police Academy.
- Charlie Day as Charlie Kelly
- Glenn Howerton as Dennis Reynolds
- Rob McElhenney as Mac
- Kaitlin Olson as Dee Reynolds
- Danny DeVito as Frank Reynolds
- Mary Elizabeth Ellis as Waitress
- Burn Gorman as Scientist
- Jimmy O. Yang as Tang See
- The title of the episode, along with its basic plot structure, is a reference to the short story turned novel Flowers for Algernon, in which a mentally challenged man receives an experimental procedure that (temporarily) makes him a genius.
- Some similarities with the novel 'Flowers for Algernon' include:
- Both characters are named Charlie, with their occupations being janitors
- Both of them are stumped by a rat maze
- Both understand and refuse to perform demeaning work
- Both Charlies end up losing interest in their love interests as they get smarter
- When they are at the peak of their intelligence, they start carrying out experiments
- This episode has a reunion of sorts with Charlie Day and Burn Gorman who both starred in the 2013 blockbuster, Pacific Rim that was directed by Sunny guest star Guillermo del Toro.
- Almost all of Charlie's Mandarin is gibberish, improvised by Charlie Day.
- This episode is dedicated to Jim Fuller who passed away in September of 2013. Jim worked on a few episodes of It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia and was also an assistant director on the hit show Glee.
- This episode was written by David Benioff and D.B. Weiss, the creators of Game of Thrones. Both of them will go on to guest star in the Season 12 episode "The Gang Goes to a Water Park".
- Antonín Dvořák's Cello Concerto in B minor plays in the background of the beginning of the episode when the scientists first talk with Charlie.
- This episode has a lab rat named "Armitage Shanks", which is the name of a common British manufacturer of bathroom fixtures and plumbing supplies.
- This episode contains yet another reference to Mac's homosexuality (as well as his true feelings for Dennis): the scene in which Dennis puts on some seductive music in order to lure the rat, but they both just end up dancing suggestively at each other, especially Mac who tries to get closer to Dennis.
- Despite the end of the episode revealing that the drug Charlie had been taking to become smart was a placebo, Charlie does in fact display some increased and unexplained knowledge during the episode. It's possible he is just repeating back things he heard on his audio books, but regardless, it suggests Charlie may have a capacity for learning greater than his or the gang's expectations. For example:
- Charlie's definition of the placebo effect is accurate.
- He wishes the Gang "bonne chance" catching the rat.
- Charlie is aware of the famous line from Shakespeare's Hamlet and remarks that he agrees with Shakespeare on the subject of brevity ("brevity is the soul of wit").
- However it should be noted that the phrase was mostly used as an ironic statement within the actual play, seeing as Polonius's (The character who delivers the line) character was rarely brief in his statements. Polonius has a habit of paying attention to his appearance and tends to think himself more witty than he actually is. In this sense Charlie can be shown to only have a surface level knowledge of Shakespeare's work, and to not actually understand the eccentricities of the character depicted.
- Charlie's comment about, "the physical level, the metaphysical level, the 'pataphysical level" is a reference to the philosophy of metaphysics. Whereas physics is the study of how matter and energy interacts, metaphysics is the study of how humans interact with each other, including how they study matter and energy. However, 'pataphysics is an openly pseudoscientific discipline created by French writer Alfred Jarry to satirize the concept of metaphysics by arbitrarily creating a tertiary level.
- Charlie's Mandarin contains more "reasonable words" than would be expected from someone entirely making it up - for example, the word "什么" is clearly heard at least once.
- Charlie alludes to the the fable of "The Scorpion and the Frog"
- Apparently, Charlie's concept of looking smart is to do a British accent, button the cuffs on his tattered army jacket, and utilize a wicker wheelchair and a cane.
- Mac carries the rat-bashing stick that The Gang made for Charlie as a present in the episode "Charlie Kelly: King of the Rats".
- Mac mentions that Charlie sometimes replaces gasoline cans in the bar with alcohol. This is a direct extension of the previous episode "The Gang Gets Quarantined", where Charlie mentions he replaces bleach jugs in the bar with alcohol.
- Charlie's 'Badnew' tattoo is clearly visible when he meets with the Waitress "Dennis and Dee Get a New Dad".
- Charlie will recall the events of this episode in The Gang Does a Clip Show, claiming he sometimes thinks in "Mandarin" (still just gibberish).
|—||“You see, I just realized that I have two ears, so it's a waste to only listen to one thing.”|
|“Let me get this straight, you just realized that you have two ears?”||—|
|—||“You must excuse me. I've grown quite weary.”|
|—||“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!”||—|
|Season 9 Episodes|
|1. "The Gang Broke Dee"
2. "Gun Fever Too: Still Hot"
3. "The Gang Tries Desperately to Win an Award"
4. "Mac and Dennis Buy a Timeshare"
5. "Mac Day"
|6. "The Gang Saves the Day"|
7. "The Gang Gets Quarantined"
8. "Flowers for Charlie"
9. "The Gang Makes Lethal Weapon 6"
10. "The Gang Squashes Their Beefs