"The Gang Tries Desperately To Win An Award" is the third episode of the ninth season of It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia.
Tired of failing to be recognized for their years of service in the bar industry, the gang changes their ways to give the patrons what they think they want.
2:30 PM on a Friday
Dennis, Dee, Mac and Charlie are arguing over the latter’s lack of sanitation protection when Frank walks in and announces the Annual Bar Association Award, which the rest of the gang deems stupid, yet they express concern over the fact that their bar has never been nominated, believing they deserve the same kind of recognition as the other bars, and start to get upset about it. They decide to play the game, while still claiming they don’t care about it.
The gang visits the Restaurant Bar Association Office where Frank tries to seduce the Rep into nominating their bar. However, the rest of the gang take a disliking to him and try to spit on him, but Frank detours them and asks how to get on the ballot, to which the Rep replies it only costs $10 and they’ve sent them forms over the years, only to have them returned covered in “fecal matter, urine and racial slurs,” which the gang claims is just their sense of humor. Frank insists they’re playing for real this time and attempts to pay the fee, but gets splattered in the face by a paintball when he opens the case, a prank that the others were planning to pull on the Rep as part of their “humor.”
Once the gang leaves the office, they discuss their sense of humor and realize that it doesn’t appeal to the Restaurant and Bar industry. Charlie insists on writing a song for the bar to help them stand out from the others, but the others don’t agree to it. Charlie heads back to the bar to write the song, regardless, while the rest go to check out the completion. They visit a bar called Sudz, which won the Best Bar Award, and are immediately put off by the colorful lights, loud atmosphere and pop songs. Frank goes to give a care package to the manager, and Mac, Dennis and Dee go to the bar where they meet bartender, Greg, whose cheerful demeanor, black friend/co-worker and romantic banter with fellow bartender, Amanda, gets on their nerves. They’re also put off by the “Sudz” alert that tells everyone when to drink, but, after trying their “Blue Hole” cocktail, they begin to warm up to the place. Frank’s plan to woo the manager fails, as the latter has been to Paddy’s and doesn’t consider it a friendly environment. He and the others plan to host an industry night at their bar for the associates and show them who they are, though agree to soften their rough edges.
Back at Paddy’s, the gang try to incorporate what they’ve seen at Sudz into thier bar, but Frank comes in with a new idea; to make everything darker and edgier based on a Burlesque bar/ strip joint he and Artemis went to the other night, which has also won awards. Dennis also mentions a bar that opened just down the street from them, which already won a ton of awards, meaning their location isn’t the issue. Frank questions if *they* are the issue, but the others immediately deny it. Charlie then announces he just finished the song for the bar and play it for the gang, which turns out to be surprisingly tasteful, and they seem to enjoy it. However, Frank ends up locking him in the basement to prevent him from playing it at opening night.
The gang dresses Paddy’s in tropical colored lights and decor similar to Sudz and play light-hearted fun pop music to a full house, which the Rep and execs attend. They also invite Z to serve as their black friend, though are nervous that his gangster vibe will not gel well with the customers. When a customer asks for a drink, Mac fumbles in his comedic banter and makes it sound like they ejaculate in the drinks. Frank sets up a burlesque room in the office, and Dennis goes to help, while having Mac and Dee do a “will they or won’t they” moment, which turns ugly when Dee ends up insulting Mac’s mother, causing the latter to choke her in anger. Suddenly, Charlie, high on spray paint, climbs up out of the floor and prepares to play his song, much to the other’s dismay. Z then brings in his other friends, with a similar gangster vibe, so the gang decides to show the execs their burlesque room, only to stumble into an awkward situation between Frank and Artemis in which a bottle got stuck up Frank’s rear end. Charlie announces his song to the bar, and the gang, having run out of ideas, believes it’ll lighten the mood, but it ends up being in bad taste, ending with Charlie telling everyone to “go f*ck yourselves.” He begins spitting at the customers, and the rest quickly join in, spitting most of the customers, including the execs, out of the bar. After everyone leaves, the gang realize the problem *is* them, but they don’t need an award or any outside validation, as they’re happy just the way they are, though they are still disappointed at not winning an award.
- Charlie Day as Charlie Kelly
- Glenn Howerton as Dennis Reynolds
- Rob McElhenney as Mac
- Kaitlin Olson as Dee Reynolds
- Danny DeVito as Frank Reynolds
- Roger Bart as Rep
- Oscar Nunez as Sudz Manager
- Chad L. Coleman as Z
- Artemis Pebdani as Artemis
- Ryan Gaul as Greg
- Burl Moseley as Maxwell
- Whitney Hoy as Amanda
- Jean St. James as Customer
- In an appearance on the Opie & Anthony Show on Sirius XM (link), Charlie Day spoke about this episode, saying it was a metaphor for the show's lack of Emmy nominations.
- After Z shows up at the bar, The Gang worries about him bringing in too many black customers, because "Black bars don't win awards." Chad Coleman, who plays Z, was a cast member on the legendary show "The Wire", which, like Sunny, was largely ignored by the Emmys (it got two nominations for writing in its entire run, winning neither.) It has long been speculated that a big reason for The Wire's snubbing was its largely black cast and its inner-city setting.
- Frank's report that the manager says that Paddy's "is just a lot of people yelling over each other" echoes a criticism that has been leveled at this show.
- The bell that they ring in SUDZ is representative of the common laugh track, heavily exploited in most sitcoms. When Mac exclaims, "I'll drink when I'm godamn good and thirsty!", shows his dislike of the forced laughter that a lot of shows exploit.
- The Gang wonders if their location is responsible for their lack of awards, but then they note that "that new bar down the street" has gotten many awards. This is probably a reference to either the show "Louie", or "American Horror Story" which also air on FX and have quite a few Emmy nominations and a few wins.
- At SUDZ, and later, Paddy's, the lightning is much brighter and even around the frame, mirroring the light and color pattern designed for traditional sitcoms.
- Sunny has received an Emmy nomination before, in 2013. It was nominated again in 2014, after the episode aired. The nominations were both in the category of "Outstanding Stunt Coordination for a Comedy Series or a Variety Program." (Source)
- Alternate takes on Charlie's song. Lyrics of the alternate takes on the season 9 DVD may not be posted online at all.
- Danny DeVito has won an Emmy: in 1981 for Best Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series, as Louie De Palma in "Taxi". He has been nominated for an Oscar, for Best Picture in 2001 as a producer of the movie "Erin Brockovich."
- Mac had his orgasm with Dennis' mom in the episode "Mac Bangs Dennis' Mom". Judging from that episode, Barbara didn't, however.
- Frank first showed off the idea of an egg with the Paddy's logo in the episode "Paddy's Pub: Home of the Original Kitten Mittens." As in that episode, the egg was broken when he tried to give it to someone else.
|—||“So, guys, I got us banter cards. Mac, you're gonna welcome the customer in, then I'm gonna execute with a quip. Let's give it a shot.”|
|“Hey, I'm Mac. Welcome to Paddy's Pub. I would like to recommend to first-timers our signature blended drink, Caribbean Paradise. People say it's better than an orgasm.”||—|
|—||“Not that he's ever had one!”|
|“I've had orgasms! I've had tons of orgasms! I've had one with your mom, dude! I will strangle you! I'll stick my goddamn thumb through your eye!”||—|
|—||“You pu... you put me in the basement with spray cans. I got high.”|
|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