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McPoyles

March 21, 2011

If you don’t know the black-hearted scum and villainy that is It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia, I urge you to watch at least the first season of the American cable sitcom. It features main characters who make the Seinfeld gang look like the Cleavers, but with grease. The cast, who are also the creators and writers, came up with a show about four young assholes who run a Philly bar together and scheme constantly, always making the wrong choice and watching things end badly, with plenty of filth and bad language. Later, Danny De Vito shows up and makes things worse.

Two recurring characters are the McPoyles, Ryan and Liam, greasy inbred twin brothers who knew the gang growing up. When we first meet the McPoyles, they have just had a shower together, and go on to discuss a scheme to accuse their high school coach of molestation (the coach was Mr. Belding, by the way, which was odd when he started swearing, because I couldn’t help but think it would make that chick from Showgirls blush). The McPoyles, usually in old bathrobes or, more memorably, dirty tighty whiteys, appear here and there throughout the show, sometimes with other members of their family, like their sister. Hmm. The sister.

Yeah, the McPoyle brothers, in the parlance of the show, bang each other. All the time. And sometimes other family members who are handy, too. It’s one of the oilier elements of an already oily show, but the performances of the actors (Jimmi Simpson and Nate Mooney) make the concept work. When every other character is despicable, you need someone who’s even lower.

I just watched a few episodes of Season 1 again, then turned on a western movie called Seraphim Falls, which I saw a few years ago. With Pierce Brosnan and Liam Neeson, it’s probably the most Irish western ever made. Brosnan plays the Jason Bourne of the old west, while Neeson plays the tracker looking for him.

The wonderfully dark and engaging film, a tense, violent chase across Nevada, also features tons of “hey it’s that guy” guys and, in a surprising and fun cameo, the McPoyles (Mooney and Simpson). They’re even grimier, but these ancestral McPoyle brothers, bank robbers, are at least a little more sensitive to the plight of Brosnan’s shot-up, banged-up, horseless and hatless hero. Or villain. Unlike It’s Always Sunny, it’s hard to tell in Seraphim Falls who the good guys are.

Especially with McPoyles.

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