At some point this year, the cult FX sitcom "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia," now in its fifth season, crossed over into my personal pantheon: It was, I realized, one of my favorite TV shows of all time. In its early days, the show seemed like it might be just another edgy variant of the Seinfeldian standard, in that it followed the misadventures of a group of misfit friends -- as on "Seinfeld," three guys and a gal. (The crew, which run a Philly dive bar called Paddy's Pub, grew by one when Danny DeVito joined the cast in the second season.) But over the years it's boldly gone where no sitcom has gone before, with jaw-droppingly un-PC plots and a sort of ad hoc insanity that hinges on "Sunny's" willingness to make its main characters cartoonishly, hilariously unsympathetic: selfish, scheming, delusional and just all-around awful. And, yet, somehow endearing! (Comedy Central got the "Sunny" religion this year and signed a deal with the show's creators to begin airing reruns next summer, so expect the cult to grow exponentially in 2010.)
"It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia: A Very Sunny Christmas," a new extended episode that never aired on TV but instead went straight to DVD, is, true to form, completely demented. It's only 43 minutes long, but in a couple spots it left me with tears of laughter streaming down my face -- and at one point I think I might have actually audibly gasped at a particularly shocking plot twist.
"A Very Sunny Christmas" is my pick for the Most Awesomely Offensive and Hilarious Christmas Special Ever. Maybe you want one of the two copies I'm giving away in my random drawing? See the details below.
P.S. Stay tuned: There are nine more days of picks (and 18 more giveaways) to come.
THE FINE PRINT: To enter the random drawing for one of two copies of "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia: A Very Sunny Christmas" on DVD in this informal Media Guy's Pop Pick giveaway, send me an e-mail with "Sunny Christmas" in the subject line on or before December 31 (the cut-off is 12 midnight EST). You must have a valid U.S. mailing address and be 18 or older.
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Simon Dumenco is the "Media Guy" media columnist for Advertising Age. You can follow him on Twitter @simondumenco