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One of my favorite shows of all time is Its Always Sunny in Philadelphia which I actually came into pretty damn late into its run. I was always aware of its existence, but I never really had a reason to sit down and watch it until around 2013 when I was stuck in bed for like two days due to a minor surgery I had and I needed something to watch to kill the time. In an effort to fix that problem, I booted up Netflix, saw that it had like eight seasons, and figured why not? To this day, I rarely go a week (and usually no more than a single day) without putting it on in the background of whatever it is I’m trying to do at the time which is more often than not writing stuff for the site (I’m watching Mac’s Banging the Waitress as I’m typing this… though less likely to be watching it while you’re reading this). Sadly though for fans of Sunny, the latest season ended on a rather bittersweet note as it may in fact have been the final appearance of Glenn Howerton’s Dennis Reynolds who is STRONGLY considering leaving the show, despite it getting renewed for at least two more seasons. Now as much as I’d hate to see him go, I don’t necessarily begrudge him for doing so considering they’ve already done twelve AMAZING seasons, and I hope he has all the success in the world with what he plans to do next which looks to be a show with Patton Oswalt where he plays a disgruntled and malicious high school teacher. So what does this mean for fans of Sunny? I have no idea! Maybe they’ll hold out for him on the off chance this new show fails (the thirteen season has already been pushed back a year), or maybe they’ll try to solider on without him; hoping the remaining four members of the crew can somehow manage the burden of his absence. For me though, this is a perfect chance to do some fun speculation on possible replacements for Howerton to either fill the void he left or to possibly even turn the show into an entirely new direction. That is why I have listed my top five BRILLIANT ideas of who they should get to be the new fifth member of the crew, though unfortunately Schmitty is not one of them. The ranking is mostly in terms of how much I want to see this person (or even persons) show up in the series, but I TRIED to keep the list as practical as possible. As amazing as it would be to get Nicolas Cage, Scarlett Johansson, or Denzel Washington to be fifth member of the crew, I doubt they’ll be picking up Rob McElhenney’s calls anytime soon.
5) Topher Grace
Probably not the first name that comes to mind when trying to fill in an enormous gap on one of the most ingeniously crafted shows of all time, but hear me out! We all know he played nerdy Eric Foreman for a decade and that he wasn’t all that great in Spider-Man 3, but his filmography since then has been, if not STERLING, at least interesting. He’s REALLY good at playing slimy characters like in Predators and American Ultra which is more or less a requirement for a show like It’s Always Sunny, but what really makes him seem like a perfect fit is that he naturally exudes a sense of weakness and apathy in his performances which I know doesn’t sound like a complement but fits perfectly with the ethos of the show. Everyone in that bar, except maybe Frank, has no direction in their life and is living in a perpetual state of denial about everything around them with Mac thinking he’s tough, Charlie thinking he’s quirky instead of a creep, and Dee failing to understand why she’s never achieved her goals (fear of rejection keeps her from making a whole hearted effort at anything). Look at his performance in the recent Opening Night where his level headed cynicism is clearly a mask for his own insecurities and how the wackiness of everyone backstage continues to push him further and further over the edge. Now imagine it was the crew that was pushing his buttons the whole time! The guy seems to be getting regular work in films just outside the mainstream (his most recent role was in a Netflix movie) so I doubt he’s looking to tie himself down to a TV show, but that kind of character coupled with the horror show that is the crew at Paddy’s Pub could make for an interesting dynamic.
You know me! I can’t even look through my DVD collection without finding a way to turn it into something fun for the site! Almost everything I do is preceded by the question “how will I be able to turn this into an awesome post?” and lo and behold I have done it yet again! One of my favorite comedians is Christopher Titus and as luck would have it I’m going to be seeing him live in less than a week, so I figured now would be as good a time as any to take a look back at his career and how his work has been a great influence to me. I guess we should start this by answering the most basic question first. Who is Christopher Titus?
I love being from a screwed up family
Christopher Todd Titus was born in Castro Valley California in 1964 to Kenneth and Juanita Titus. Throughout Christopher’s childhood, he had to deal with his manic depressive, paranoid, schizophrenic mother who was in and out of his life as well as his mean alcoholic dad who did his best to raise him right but was dealing with demons of his own. Most of his life story is told to us from his first major stand-up special Norman Rockwell is Bleeding which he had performed for years before getting it adapted into a TV show on Fox in 2000 simply called Titus; though to be clear, the recording you can find of that special was done a few years after the TV show had ended. Whether or not all of the stories about his life are true is something that can be reasonably questioned as my cursory research produces little evidence outside of his own personal accounts for what he had to go through, and since a lot of his appeal (at least for me) is the frankness, sincerity, and openness with which he talks about rough subjects, the material NOT being true would certainly hurt that image (like when Robin Williams’s off the cuff delivery style is undercut by the fact that he would always tell the same stories on every talk show he did). Personally, I don’t have a reason to question him or what he went through, and on the off chance that he DOES stretch the truth for comedic effect (in a memorial to his father at the end of an episode of Titus, his father says that only ten percent of what we hear is the truth), I still feel his comedy fills a need and speaks to an audience that very few comics have been able to reach. Probably the comedian that comes the closest would be Marc Maron who had a similarly rough life (though mostly AFTER his childhood) and frequently bares his soul to the world through his stand-up routines and his WTF podcast, on which he did in fact interview Christopher (one of the show’s better episodes in my opinion). The first time I ever heard Christopher’s comedy was when Norman Rockwell is Bleeding had aired on Comedy Central’s Secret Stash* which was (or maybe still is, I have no idea) a block of time around midnight or one in the morning on the weekends that would show movies and stand-up specials with the bad language intact, not to mention Girls Gone Wild commercials. Needless to say that I watched Secret Stash A LOT when I was in middle school, and even managed to stumble upon some great comedians in the process. The one comedy special that stood out the most for me though was the aforementioned Christopher Titus special, and it’s honestly something I would put in the top ten if not top five comedy specials that have influenced me greatly, some of which include Denis Leary’s No Cure for Cancer, Bill Maher: The Decider (he hit his peak during the Bush years), George Carlin’s Life is Worth Losing, and Whoopi: Back to Broadway. Now by the time I had discovered him, it had been YEARS since he had established himself and also years after his television show. What happened with that exactly?