TV show: It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia -- OK to watch?

This show is scandalous, irreverent, blasphemous, vulgar, and trivializes immorality and sin. It is also explicitly and egregiously offensive towards the Catholic Church many, many times in multiple episodes over it’s many seasons (along with offending countless other groups and individuals).

I also find it hilarious and cannot seem to give it up and I am struggling with whether I should stop watching it (especially on Sundays).

There was only one other thread on this topic so I wanted to start another on the topic of art and media and how a devout Catholic is supposed to navigate our TV and movie-driven culture.

I will say that depicting something is not the same as promoting it (Jersey Shore does far more to promote sin than Sunny). I will also say that, while I am tempted to subscribe to the belief that “when art does not lead one into then it is permissible,” I am searching for a more objective standard to go by and wonder what that would look like.

Also, let’s remember that the show is deeply sarcastic, depicting characters who are all afflicted with myriad delusions and who choose to live debased lives and conduct themselves in debaucherous, gluttonous ways. It’s sarcastic because the writers and actors are not on a mission to convince you to live the same way as these characters. In fact, the beliefs the characters have about how “great” they are and the resultant crazy behavior never profits them, and they always find themselves worse off in the end. And we laugh at their misadventure!

I will say that when they offend the real presence and the clergy in the episode where Charlie’s mom fakes having cancer, I fast forward (Hulu). Other episodes that joke about clergy sexual abuse are also unpalatable.

I do not like their atheistic, relativistic take on things but I choose to ignore that part because if I didn’t then 99% of TV shows may become unwatchable. Spotting relativism and atheism is my specialty as I used to be a die hard atheist!

This topic deserves serious thought and consideration and I hope people avoid platitudes or sweeping generalizations. There has to be a middle ground between throwing away all my screens (TV, phone, iPad) and giving in totally and not filtering any of the shows or movies I consume.

I don’t like it.

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I can’t really help you, as the “if it doesn’t lead me into sin then it’s permissible” standard works fine for me, and I also have less than zero interest in this particular show. I watched one or two clips because some of my friends think the show is very funny, and I just thought it was a stupid waste of my time. Not because they were mocking religion or Catholicism but because the show was boring and unfunny to me.


“Dayman…fighter of the Nightman…”

Personally, I think it’s fine, provided you’re a mature adult who can bear in mind it’s just a comedy show and not a model for your own behavior. I wouldn’t let kids watch it, obviously, but as long as it’s not leading you to imitate the characters at all then knock yourself out. I mean, it’s about three dirtbag friends who run a dive bar in Philly. I don’t think any reasonable person is looking at it as a source of moral insight.


Love it, and have zero moral qualms about enjoying it. :woman_shrugging:

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You absolutely nail what this show is all about. I have watched it now and then, and maybe I’ve just missed those episodes, but I’ve never seen anything whatsoever that denigrates the Catholic Faith.

I view IASIP much as I view Seinfeld — as a “Caucasian minstrel show” of sorts, that lampoons what happens when people attempt to live their lives utterly uninformed by divine grace, and just care about nobody except themselves. In fact, I’ve heard IASIP described as “Seinfeld on crack”. The IASIP characters come across as vaguely culturally Catholic — it’s an Irish-themed pub in Philadelphia, after all — whereas Seinfeld is kinda-sorta New York Jewish, even though George and Elaine are Catholic (Italian and Hungarian respectively), and Kramer’s religion and cultural background are vague. (All four characters are Jewish in real life.) IASIP might be better described as what would happen if Seinfeld and Cheers had a baby who went over to the dark side when he grew up.

It’s a hoot of a show, though definitely not for kids. I’d watch it without scruple and skip the episodes that treat Catholicism irreverently. And anything starring Danny DeVito is going to be good on general principles.

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I always took dayman/nightman as a Nietzschean Appllo/Dionysus duality. But because dayman “fights” nightman, it is a departure from the strict dualistic amorality Nietzsche gave privelege to and advocated as his “revaluation of all values.”

Appllo and Dionysus are, ideally in Nietzsche’s schema, simply two sides of the same coin, not adversaries. This is Nietzsche’s desire: that an organic change take place in Western society that sees “good & evil” become “good & bad.”

Of course, this contributed to unspeakable evil by the 1930’s and 40’s. In that, I once again understand that small, well-intentioned things can result in great evil.

That may explain why it didn’t interest me when I tried to watch.

I’ve never found New York humor funny (well, except for that one show in a Jewish bakery [deli?] twenty or thirty years ago.)

The very idea that Dany DeVito could be boring and not worth watching was novel . . .

I do, but then again, MAD Magazine was my “bible” growing up. I read The New York Times when I was a teenager and thought New York Jewish culture was about the coolest thing in the universe. There was a synagogue near my junior high school and I would walk by it, I so wanted to visit it sometime.

Scary to think of how things might have turned out. Like the Jimi Hendrix Pepsi commercial, “whew, that was a close one!”.

Mazel tov!

I definitely don’t think of Sunny as Seinfeld anything. I hated Seinfeld. I also was never a fan of Danny DeVito and the fact that he joined the cast early on kept me from ever watching. I got past that within one episode, though. None of the characters are “likeable” in a classic sense. That’s what the show is all about.

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