IT’S ALWAYS SUNNY IN PHILADELPHIA (2005—present) is a television comedy notable for its glib take on controversial topics.
12/01/09 | Television

It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia

by Robert Swartwood

Ryan says he’s hungry for a Cheesesteak. He asks me if I want one too. Sure, I say, why not. We take Ryan’s car. I figure we’ll head down to Bubba’s, or the Thirsty Dog, but Ryan drives us toward the highway. I ask where we’re going. For Cheesesteaks, he says. I ask where. Philly, he says. I ask why. He says, Because I’m hungry for an authentic Philly Cheesesteak. I remind him that Philadelphia is two hours away. He shrugs and says so what. We drive. By the time we reach Philadelphia it’s raining. The windshield wipers screech back and forth. I ask Ryan if he knows where he’s going. He doesn’t answer. Finally he stops at a gas station. He runs inside, runs back out. I ask him if he asked for directions. He just gives me the finger. We drive. Twenty or thirty blocks later we park along the street. We get out and run through the rain toward the bright neon sign that says Geno’s Steaks. Even in the rain there are people lined up. We wait behind these black girls who keep talking about some guy named Sonny. One of the girls goes on and on about how Sonny is so fine, says she’d let Sonny do nasty things to her. Ryan murmurs how he wishes he was Sonny. One of the girls turns and gives us a dirty look. Ryan just smiles. We work our way down the line. The rain doesn’t let up. Finally we get to the window and order our Cheesesteaks. We pay our money and pick them up and go to one of the tables. Ryan takes a bite of his Cheesesteak. He chews it. He makes a face, shakes his head. Sucks, he says. I take a bite of my own. I tell him mine doesn’t taste so bad. He says let’s go try Pat’s King of Steaks. We leave our Cheesesteaks and hurry through the rain to Pat’s. There’s a line here too. We stand behind these black guys who talk about some girl named Cassandra. One of the guys says he doesn’t think she’s a virgin. Another guy says he heard she fucked four guys at the same time. Ryan asks the guys if any of them is named Sonny. The guys turn, give him hard looks. One of them steps up real close to us. He says, What’d you say, motherfucker? Ryan doesn’t say anything. The guy says, Yeah, that’s what I thought. He steps away, returns to his friends. They keep looking back at us. We move forward in line. The rain still hasn’t let up. Finally we make it to the front. We order and pay and walk away with our Cheesesteaks. All the tables are full and we’re forced to stand. Ryan takes a bite of his. He chews it and then makes a face and shakes his head. This one sucks too, he says. I take a bite of my own. I don’t think it tastes half bad. In fact, I think it tastes just like the one at Geno’s. Ryan throws his in the garbage can. He stalks out into the rain. I toss mine too and follow him. We head back to the car. We find the driver’s-side window smashed. Pebbles of glass are everywhere. Ryan’s seat is soaked. I ask if they took anything. Ryan says fuck, there was nothing to take. We get in. Ryan doesn’t start the car. He just sits there, staring at the steering wheel. I just wanted a goddamned Cheesesteak, he says. He turns the ignition. We pull out into the street. It takes us an hour before we find the highway. It rains the entire way home. The wipers keep screeching back and forth. I try counting how many times they screech but lose track after one hundred and twelve.