In Praise of Sweet Dee
January 18, 2015 12:03 PM   Subscribe

"I think a lot of men are scared to act opposite a woman who is as funny as they are, and who will give them a run for their money for being the funniest person in that project,” he says. “And I think a lot of times she doesn’t get cast in things because she’s so funny, and I think that’s fucked up.”
Kaitlin Olson And The Perils Of Being A (Funny) Woman In Hollywood posted by The Gooch (35 comments total) 17 users marked this as a favorite
 
So why has Olson been overlooked by every award-giver and most critics? Probably for the same reason that the show itself doesn’t generally win awards (it’s only Emmy nominations have been for Outstanding Stunt Coordination for a Comedy Series or a Variety Program): It’s Always Sunny is gross, negative, trashy, and proud of it. And Olson’s performance is—brilliantly—all over the place: If you watch just one episode, you might think Olson can only play the wannabe actor, the drunken strumpet, the avenging bum-fighter, the Ponzi schemer, the weird dancer. You have to watch every week to see that she can do it all.


Both awards and bird law in this country are NOT governed by reason.
posted by hal_c_on at 12:29 PM on January 18, 2015 [9 favorites]


I haven't watched much Sunny because I have a hard time with the assholish personas, but Olson is undeniably talented. And she sounds really cool. Great article.
posted by Glinn at 12:50 PM on January 18, 2015 [3 favorites]


Pffft. She looks like a bird.
posted by ian1977 at 12:50 PM on January 18, 2015 [12 favorites]


Yeah, Sunny is relentlessly trashy and no thanks. Yet Archer can be similar, yet I hold it in high regard, worth multiple re-watchs.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 1:08 PM on January 18, 2015


Olson and all the actors on IASIP are great, it's just that the characters they play are horrible, horrible human beings. I can't help but think it's going to be one of those shows that everyone will say they love but only when it's long since off the air.
posted by tommasz at 1:13 PM on January 18, 2015


I will gladly say I love it right now.
posted by Lemurrhea at 1:26 PM on January 18, 2015 [35 favorites]


Yeah, I have no problem saying I love it. I have a hard time watching it sometimes, but it's a brilliant show and I love it.
posted by teponaztli at 1:33 PM on January 18, 2015 [7 favorites]


My husband loves IASIP, but I can't stand it. I will say, however, I agree with the assessments of Kaitlin Olson's talents.
posted by crush-onastick at 1:40 PM on January 18, 2015 [1 favorite]


Oh I love IASIP. I revel in their awfulness. I love that they always take the stupid idea and run with it and never come out on top. Its awful people being awful and I love it.

In small doses though.

The AV Club put it really well in the review for this season's opener

'What keeps this show from becoming mere yahoo spectacle is its gleeful knowledge that its five protagonists are, indeed, the pits. Even then, the constant recalibration of audience empathy is, in the best episodes, fiendishly designed to reel viewers back onto the precipice of thinking that Mac, Charlie, Dee, Dennis, and Frank might have some redeeming qualities—before reminding us all that none of the five possess, at bottom, anything like selflessness, love, or empathy. (Charlie comes closest, but mostly due to his status as the Gang’s designated human piñata.) So when the Gang makes someone else’s life miserable, it takes some of the squirm out of their actions because, of course that’s what happens to any actual human unfortunate enough to get sucked into their orbit. And when the Gang loses, which they almost always do, it takes the sting out of their humiliation because, of course we want to see them that way. The five actors are by now so attuned to both their characters and the show’s underlying philosophy that this tightrope balancing act has come to look easy. And even when, as tonight, they wobble a bit, they still come away as unscathed as ever. Which is to say, very scathed for regular people with souls and all, but right back in the sweet spot of squalid degradation where they live.'
posted by AzzaMcKazza at 1:54 PM on January 18, 2015 [8 favorites]


I love the show, and this was a really great interview. Charlie Day's random screaming really entertains me, and Kaitlin Olson is really talented and funny.
posted by banjo_and_the_pork at 2:09 PM on January 18, 2015


Surprised she was uncomfortable at the photo shoot. She should know BuzzFeed likes their ladies to pop.

(sorry that I never tagged them by character because there are some great ones of Dee, but if you are in the market for IASIP gifs, I made a pile of them a while back)
posted by 99_ at 2:25 PM on January 18, 2015 [2 favorites]


Sweet Dee carries many episodes of that show. And some of her best comedic moments are punctuated by the gang ignoring the content of her message and instead glibly dismissing her for superficial reasons (ie she looks like a bird). And yet she holds her own, she is by no means the 'good' one of the bunch. She is just as selfish and silly as the rest of them. The show is nasty and mean but never stupid.

Edit: changed know to no. Doh.
posted by ian1977 at 2:36 PM on January 18, 2015 [2 favorites]


We're playing Chardeemacdennis at the next meetup.
posted by spikeleemajortomdickandharryconnickjrmints at 2:59 PM on January 18, 2015 [6 favorites]


I would give things I shouldn't in order to have a good Charde Macdennis rule book and people who would be down to play. That's probably my favorite episode of the show.
posted by bolda at 3:09 PM on January 18, 2015 [2 favorites]


Dennis: Real women don't even look like that.
Dee: Hey, guys!
Dennis: That (*points to Dee*) is what real women look like.
Mac: Dee, are you sick?
Dee: No! I feel great. I haven't been able to shower in a couple days. I've been gaming like a loon.


Sweet Dee fo life. Later dickholes!
posted by Divine_Wino at 3:26 PM on January 18, 2015 [2 favorites]


I can't believe that show has been on for ten years. I thought that surely that would have gone to the depths by the end of the first season and limp on for one more. But no. It gets more horrible and magical each season.

As for the article. There are so many middling comedic male actors in terrible movies and shows each of them have writer's rooms full of male writers. There is room for more than just Megan Amram and Kristen Wigg.
posted by munchingzombie at 4:23 PM on January 18, 2015


See also the criminally under-used Anna Faris, who should be able to headline as many movies as she damn well pleases.

I agree that probably people will admit to liking this show... later on. It's just weird how good it's stayed, 9 freaking years and no decline. There's nothing for would-be critics to moan about, it's just, yeah, still great. Inconceivable.

I find myself even now wanting for some reason to find her character more sympathetic than the guys. Because that's how it works, right? But no, they resist the urge, they make her at least as bad as the rest of them, it's awesome.
posted by hap_hazard at 4:50 PM on January 18, 2015 [4 favorites]


I've had a sort of reverse love affair with the show. Started off loving it but got gradually less and less comfortable with their ease and willingness of turning to racial blackface (Olson included) for humor. I know the premise is to illustrate how horrible the characters are but it's shocking and offensive in a way to negatively color the entire show.
posted by Karaage at 6:13 PM on January 18, 2015


I started watching this a couple years ago. Love the show, but as folks have pointed out...small doses. My wife calls it the yelling show.
posted by snwod at 7:12 PM on January 18, 2015


Probably for the same reason that the show itself doesn’t generally win awards [...]

The episode about why Always Sunny has never gotten an Emmy or a larger audience ("The Gang Tries Desperately To Win An Award") by way of a best bar in Philadelphia competition is one of my favorite instances of subtext to ever appear on TV. The Big Bang Theory bar, the use of an actor from The Wire...
posted by Wandering Idiot at 7:51 PM on January 18, 2015 [10 favorites]


If you haven't seen the show, and you're curious about a place to start, here's a ranked list of (subjectively) the Top 25 Episodes!
posted by Greg Nog at 8:50 PM on January 18, 2015


Did you guys know that Dee and Mac are married in real life?

Also...Charlie and waitress.

Dennis...I'm guessing there's some slash stuff with Frank.
posted by hal_c_on at 9:11 PM on January 18, 2015 [1 favorite]


In a contest for funniest woman on TV, Kaitlin Olson wins in a LAAAAAANNNNNDSLIDE.
posted by emelenjr at 9:28 PM on January 18, 2015 [1 favorite]


Pffft. She looks like a bird.

Cut to Dee... pecking into her hot dog.

She really is an excellent physical comic.
posted by atoxyl at 9:29 PM on January 18, 2015 [1 favorite]


Anyone that can hold their own with Charlie and Frank? They deserve like...mega oscars.
posted by ian1977 at 9:38 PM on January 18, 2015


I've actually heard that the main reason why there are so many Sweet Dee/Charlie scenes is simply because she's the best at keeping a straight face when Charlie Day is improvising.

She really is massively underrated, though. Just… in general.
posted by DoctorFedora at 10:05 PM on January 18, 2015 [1 favorite]


Similarly, incidentally, Amy Poehler was always my favorite Upright Citizen, and I will watch pretty much anything that she is in. It certainly helps that, say, Parks & Recreation is also amazing, granted.
posted by DoctorFedora at 10:07 PM on January 18, 2015 [1 favorite]


God damn I love IASIP. So excited about the new season!
posted by flippant at 10:39 PM on January 18, 2015


I love IASIP in spite of, and because of, how absolutely awful it can be. I love the character of Sweet Dee for all the reasons mentioned - a woman in a role where she's just as terrible as the male characters and not just playing the straight for comedic value is fantastic. She's an incredibly great actress, from her voice to her facial expressions to the sheer range of her emotions on the screen.

My own sense of humour leans toward 'dark' and I think there's a bit of Sweet Dee inside me that just loves seeing itself on the screen. I love that the characters constantly try to redeem themselves before realizing that no, no, it's just easier to let the awful out. But, even outside of the awful humour, there are just so many hilarious moments on the show - like Sweet Dee dancing with the inflatable man on a boat. That wasn't remotely offensive and I laughed until I cried. Charlie and the Kitten Mittons. Rum ham and summer vacation. Charlie and Santa in the christmas special. So many good episodes of awfulness and awesomeness.

I'm always so reluctant to recommend the show to people because it can go one of two ways - either they laugh hysterically and high-five me for getting them hooked on something so hilarious OR they stare at the screen, unlaughing, and then give me side-eye for the next month while they realize what a terrible, terrible person I am. You can imagine which one is more likely to make us forever friends..

I agree with munchingzombie - it gets more horrible and magical each season. It's wonderful and I love that Kaitlin Olson is a big reason why.
posted by VioletU at 5:23 AM on January 19, 2015 [2 favorites]


It's just weird how good it's stayed, 9 freaking years and no decline. There's nothing for would-be critics to moan about, it's just, yeah, still great. Inconceivable.

Well I've heard people complain about how it gets more and more cartoonish. But I mean what else is it supposed to do? I honestly think it's gotten a little stale in the last couple seasons (there are still plenty of standout episodes) but I also think 7 is my absolute favorite, and that's, well, seven seasons in, which is pretty impressive.
posted by atoxyl at 11:08 AM on January 19, 2015


I really couldn't stand this show the first time I saw it, back when it first came out. It struck me as putting too much focus on being shocking without being funny, and I didn't watch it again for a long time because that's all I thought it was. But eventually, I dunno, maybe I just saw the right episode to get me into it, and now I've happily watched every episode from the beginning. Kaitlin Olson is great even when her character is being a hideous human being.

The episode that hooked me was season 6, episode 10. Charlie Kelly: King of Rats. It's still one of my favorites.
posted by bananana at 1:26 PM on January 19, 2015


Speaking of wonderful things related to It's Always Sunny
posted by DoctorFedora at 3:51 PM on January 19, 2015


I saw this article and so wanted to do a Kaitlin Olson post but I was too lazy. Thank you The Gooch for being much more productive than me!

I love love love Kaitlin Olson and have been telling everyone I know about her and the show (and all the guys too). It is so consistently tightly well written (ex: The Gang Hits the Road, Chardee McDennis) and hilarious (ex: Thundergun Express, The D.E.N.N.I.S. System), not to mention all the physical comedy (ex: The Gang Dances Their Asses Off, Frank Set Sweet Dee on Fire). It has gotten more outlandish in these later years, but I definitely feel it is in keeping with the characters.

If I was going to recommend the show to someone, I absolutely would tell them to start at the beginning. To start watching in its current state would probably be too far out there for most people's tastes, but after watching for 10 years, I can totally see that this is what those characters would progress to.

Regarding the interview, she has so many good quotes there but this is my favorite:
“He was like, ‘Look, we just don’t know how to write for a woman, but we’ll figure it out,’” Olson says. “And I was like, ‘Well then, don’t write for a woman. Just write — look at all these great funny characters you wrote. Just write one of those. I’ll make it female.’”
posted by LizBoBiz at 1:34 PM on January 20, 2015


I would give things I shouldn't in order to have a good Charde Macdennis rule book and people who would be down to play.

You can order the official game board.
posted by peeedro at 6:33 PM on January 21, 2015


You'll have to supply your own hammer and nails for that board, so your friend can't flip it over when they're losing.
posted by spikeleemajortomdickandharryconnickjrmints at 6:38 AM on January 22, 2015


« Older Deep in the Hundred Acre Wood   |   "Well, I dunno. You have a crazy-ass job, sir." Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments