In the 3rd episode of the 9th season of It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia "The Gang Tries Desperately to Win an Award" for the best bar. While the show is not particularly famous for referencing events related to the show's production (or at least this never occurred to me, in contrast to, say, Arrested Development's repeated meta-jokes), I wonder if this is a deliberate allusion to the reluctance of the show itself to win an award.

In order to "play the game" they try to bribe their way into an award and later check out the previous award winner, a bar full of "loud fake colors without subtlety", one black friend that "no-one is acknkowledging is black", where every cute punchline of the staff is accompanied with laughter and "aww!"s from the customers and where a bell tells you when to drink. It is hard to see that not in relation to the good old family-friendly and laugh-track featuring sitcoms which are "cute, but not funny, though", once one is on this line of thinking. Then there's also the "best song" that Charlie wrote for the bar, giving a weird Randy Newman impression (Monk anyone?) and Frank's tries to go into a different direction by trying to make it "edgier" inspired by a burlesque bar with "martinis and period costumes" (an allusion to all the nostalgia shows around?).

But I'm not sure if this is all just a simple first thought taking control of the interpretation. Likewise I don't really have much of an overview of e.g. the Emmy's palette of award winners. Is there any external evidence that this was in fact the intended interpretation or have there been any particular production-related events inspiring this episode, apart from the ongoing fact that the show doesn't win awards? And as a side question if true, what show was the "bar that just opened last year right down the street and won a ton of awards" then be alluding to (maybe one right on the same channel/time slot)?

  • 1
    Louie is what always comes to mind. Same network, yet still received praise and nominations.
    – user40136
    Aug 17, 2016 at 4:34

1 Answer 1


There's other theories similar to this that suggest the same thing.. and the crew at the end doesn't win for inexplicable reasons.. although it doesn't help that they "sent their entry form in covered in feces and racist jokes" which could be relating to the show...I think it doesn't help the show that they have a lot of low brow humor such as racist jokes..episodes entirely about pooping the bed, rape, manipulating women, hookers.. I think it's a little much for the Emmys or the Hollywood foreign press. Kind of like workaholics, the shows a little too vulgar. Imagine a writer for modern family going against sunny, and the Emmys showing a clip of the dumpster baby episode versus a family coming together? Part of the shows allure is that it initially sold to fox for what cost the crew between 85 and 180 dollars. The show didn't go into HD I think until season 5 and the cameras are shaky, a lot of the comedy is improvised.. this probably doesn't help either.I think the writers are very funny but maybe clever and funny doesn't pass as metaphors, irony, artsy, dramatic, or classy.

  • all of this is an interesting thought, but it doesn't really have anything concrete to back it up (interviews, references, citations) so not really the type of answer we're looking for.
    – Luciano
    May 15, 2020 at 15:22
  • It's pretty obvious, they also say it on the DVD commentary.
    – Ace Cabbie
    May 16, 2020 at 22:45
  • 6
    "they also say it on the DVD commentary" — that would actually be a useful answer to the question. Jul 22, 2021 at 13:10

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