Arts & Entertainment

Review: ‘Sunny in Philadelphia’ tackles the 24-hour news cycle

So far, season 12 of “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” has done a great job of creating funny, yet clever episodes. But this week’s “Wolf Cola: A Public Relations Nightmare” takes the cake on relevancy by addressing the 24-hour news cycle.

Because of social media and the instant reactions it allows the public, bad press for a company can travel and tarnish their reputation within a day’s time. “Sunny” showcases this by bringing back Frank’s Wolf Cola, a subdivision of his empire, Frank’s Liquids — I know, I gagged, too. What started out as a bogus money laundering soda company has now become the official drink of terrorist group Boko Haram, with which Frank sadly — and hilariously — confused with Boca Rotan. The gang is appalled at this revelation, with Dee rightfully asking “How do you confuse a city in Florida with a terrorist organization in Africa?”

Media outcry immediately occurs on the Philadelphia news, causing ever-knowing Dennis to take charge of public perception of Wolf Cola and its relationships with terrorist organizations. According to Dennis, Wolf Cola has 24 hours to address their public relations mishap before their reputation is tarnished forever. Consequently, Dennis literally goes to Bed Bath & Beyond and buys a huge countdown clock to make it extra obvious to the audience that the 24-hour news cycle could make or break Wolf Cola. The idiocy of the clock is addressed by Dee, who is immediately thrown aside because of her womanly nature.

Once securing a spot on a Philadelphia news channel, the Reynold’s family discusses their strategies. Dee wants to apologize, Frank wants to “soften Boko Haram’s brand” and Dennis wants to manipulate the crap out of the public. Each opinion serves as a representation of how actual companies handle PR mishaps. A recent example is the Pepsi commercial featuring model Kendall Jenner, which was pulled from the air after being accused of trivializing the Black Lives Matter movement. Pepsi took to social media and PR statements officially apologizing for their mistake, something Dennis says a company should never do: “You never apologize. We’re just here to take responsibility, but for nothing specific. All that matters is that consumers believe their voices are being heard.”

Once Wolf Cola makes its debut on Philadelphia news, social media becomes a huge part of their relationship with the public. While being interviewed, tweets pertaining to Wolf Cola run on the bottom of the screen — a detail that felt hysterically real. “Sunny’s” commentary on social media’s influence on news is spot on. It reminded me of watching E! and using its bottom newsreel to know the latest celebrity gossip — my point being that it is completely pointless. As Dennis puts it after the threesome fails Wolf Cola’s first interview, “Now social media will come down on you with the fury of a middle-aged man who has accomplished nothing.” “Sunny” makes an excellent point here, as well. Social media is too quick to post nasty comments towards others because of the shield that is their computer screen.

The best, most pertinent example of social media torment “Sunny” gives its viewers is the Dee. After the threesome’s first appearance on the news, Dee is absolutely demolished by the Twitter-sphere. Besides being referred to as numerous derogatory slurs, Dee tells the Reynolds men that “pretty much everybody wantin’ to rape me.” The fact that this happens to women on social media is disheartening to our new-millennium culture. Social media misogyny is a poignant problem most women in today’s world face, and kudos to “Sunny” for showing just how horrifyingly hurtful it can be.

Being the stubborn, yet wonderful feminist that is Dee Reynolds, she takes another crack at a news appearance. Only this time, she’s got a new angle — transforming herself into a sexless, powerful woman donning a Hillary Clinton haircut and pantsuit. “Sunny” does a great job at getting Dee’s hopes up, only to crush her dreams with a single comment from her evil twin brother, who tells her “Dee, women hate other women in power.” This detail is sad and honestly sucks because it holds a lot of truth. “Sunny” itself has been ridiculed for the nature of Dee’s character, who acts similar as the male character that surround her. When the male portion of the gang sleeps around and cusses up a storm, it’s funny. But when a woman does the same, she is suddenly unappealing. Therefore, it is always refreshing to be reminded of this show’s feminist outlook on feminine characters on television — they write Dee without making her male-dependent or frail, proving “Sunny” could care less about outdated patriarchal opinions.

Another portion of the episode worth mentioning is the sub plot of Charlie and Mac’s product Fight Milk (which is sadly under parent company Frank’s Liquids). With Fight Milk being a long-running joke consistent viewers will love, it was fun to watch the two men run around UFC training facilities advertising their product after learning the drink is popular with certain fighters. Why, you ask? Because Fight Milk is made of “just crow eggs and some of the crow fecal matter,” it causes fighters to puke and crap until every ounce of liquid leaves their bodies, ultimately helping them make weight before competitions. Go and watch the episode’s locker room scene where we are blessed with a overly graphical visual of two UFC fighters sickness — one is literally violently defecating in the bathroom while simultaneously throwing up with the door open — while holding a conversation with Charlie and Mac.

As all good things come to an end, naturally Charlie and Mac distributed new Fight Milk’s pumped with human growth hormone to the UFC fighters. This lands Fight Milk on the terrifying 24-hour news cycle the Reynolds family has been tirelessly resetting their countdown clock to race out of. The Wolf Cola team jumps for joy with Dennis realizing “If you give it enough time, something new will come along to replace people’s old outrage with new outrage.”

Except since Fight Milk is associated with Frank’s Fluids, the gang lands back to square one in the most satisfying, never-ending nightmare that can be the 24-hour news cycle.


Kelsie Abram

Kelsie is a senior at UWT and is the current Editor-in-Chief of the Tacoma Ledger. She is double majoring in creative writing and film studies, and has fiction published in the Tahoma West literary arts journal. In her spare time, she enjoys stage managing local Tacoma theater productions and working as a barista at Volcano Coffee in Puyallup.