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"Bums: Making a Mess All Over the City" is the fourteenth episode of the third season of It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia.
Mac and Dee become vigilantes to solve the homeless problem. Meanwhile, after buying a junkyard police car to scare the homeless away from the bar, Frank and Dennis dress up in police costumes and begin to abuse the public while Charlie dresses as Serpico and tries to expose them.
10:15AM on a Monday
In a mercifully short cold opening, Dennis, Dee, and Mac look on in horror as a bum, apparently pleased to have an audience, rather vigorously masturbates behind a dumpster in the alley behind Paddy's.
They go back inside the bar to report what they've seen, and Charlie says he knows about the masturbating bum. Mac says "This whole god damn neighborhood is going to shit" and says they must do something about it. Charlie suggests getting a junkyard dog and chaining it up in the alley to scare off bums. Mac and Dee say that they should work on the larger problem of the neighborhood generally falling apart. Dennis, Charlie, and Frank prefer the junkyard dog idea.
Mac and Dee go to a meeting of a group called "Philadelphia Citizens for Justice". Mac asks if he is allowed to cut the sleeves off his uniforms, and if he wil be provided a weapon or he will have to buy his own and be reimbursed. The chairman of the group informs Mac that there are no uniforms, or no weapons: they are simply a neighborhood watch, and if they see trouble, they call the police. Mac is unimpressed: "The streets are flooded with the ejaculate of the homeless, and you people are counting on the police?" He and Dee decide to become vigilantes.
Dennis, Charlie, and Frank go to a junkyard, but don't see any junkyard dogs there. They are informed there is no junkyard dog, but they do have a cat. The junkyard owner assures them that it is a "tough cat" who is "indestructible." They soon see something more interesting: an old cop car. They decide to park the cop car in front of the bar to scare off bums. They also buy the cat.
Driving back to the bar in the cop car, Frank stops at a red light. Charlie and Dennis ask him why he's stopping, since they're in a cop car. Frank turns on the lights and siren and runs the red light.
At Dee's apartment, Mac is showing Dee a uniform he has created for them. It resembles the uniform of the Guardian Angels group: red beret, sleeveless black shirt, khaki pants. Dee thinks it looks silly, and that Mac looks like Rerun (from the show What's Happening!!). Mac shows his weapon: a mini-bat.
They go to confront the masturbating bum from behind Paddy's. The plan is that Dee will ask him to leave, while Mac will stand behind her looking intimidating. When Dee sees the bum smile at her, however, she flies into a rage, takes the bat from Mac, and proceeds to beat the shit out of the bum.
Frank and Dennis come into the bar wearing cop uniforms that they have rented, saying that you can't drive around in a cop car if you're not in a cop's uniform. They did not rent a uniform for Charlie, because, they say, having 3 cops in the same car makes no sense. Dennis announces that the junkyard cat, who he has named "Agent Jack Bauer", will ride with them. They do suggest that Charlie can ride in the back, pretending to be an undercover agent.
They take a ride in the cop car, stopping at a hot dog vendor. The hot dog vendor offers them free hot dogs, thinking they are real cops. When he asks why Charlie is in the back, Dennis says they "caught him diddling kids down at the playground." Charle takes this as the vendor not realizing he's supposed to be an undercover cop, so he decides to dress up like Serpico to make it clear.
Later, we see Charlie's "Serpico" outfit: a poncho, a fedora, shades, and a long fake beard. They have shaken down the hot dog vendor for another free hot dog. Frank says that they should stop taking Agent Jack Bauer with them because he stinks, but Dennis refuses to get rid of him. Charlie spots a jaywalker and, going a little too far with it, rushes after him. When Dennis and Frank come over, Frank shakes the jaywalker down for a bribe. They take all the guy's cash and his watch. They offer Charlie his cut, but Charlie refuses, and accuses Frank and Dennis of being crooked cops.
Dee and Mac go to a police station to offer their assistance. The officer they speak to says she does know a neighborhood where they can help. A pair of (actual) cops takes them to what appears to be the worst neighborhood in Philly, which terrifies both of them. Mac tells Dee that they need to be tough, but when a shot is fired, they completely lose it and decide to get the hell out of there. They try to find someone to help. They pass by a kindly looking older African-American man in favor of asking for help from what appears to be a homeless, drug-addicted white man, who proceeds to rob them at gunpoint.
Dennis, in cop uniform, accosts a man who he says has been loitering. He takes all the money out of the guy's wallet. Frank is asking the hot dog vendor for a hot dog for Agent Jack Bauer, but the hot dog vendor refuses, saying he can't afford free hot dogs for Frank, Dennis, and the cat. Frank again says they have to get rid of the cat. Dennis again refuses.
Charlie, in his Serpico outfit, spies on Dennis and Frank through binoculars. He decides that he will wear a "wire" (actually a rather large tape recorder duct taped to his stomach)
Dee and Mac return to the bar, saying they feel a lack of respect. Dennis, holding Agent Jack Bauer, says that they should join forces to get rid of Frank and get the cop car. He suggests that they damage one of the hot dog vendor's carts and frame Frank for it. Charlie is sitting at the bar, apparently taping the whole thing. He loudly says "Bingo!" when he gets Dennis' plot to frame Frank on tape. However, it turns out that it's obvious that he's taping, since the microphone for the recorder is sitting out on the bar in plain sight. Dennis and Mac tell him to stop playing with his tape recorder and clean the bathrooms.
Charlie brings the recording he made (which he taped over a Spin Doctors mix to make) to the cops, but the officer on duty is having none of it and asks Charlie to leave. Charlie accuses her of being a crooked cop too, and goes on a tirade straight out of the movie Serpico before he storms out.
Dennis has made a molotov cocktail, and Agent Jack Bauer is lapping up the gasoline in it quite eagerly. Frank shows up, showing a free hot dog he got from the vendor. Charlie shows up, and grabs the Molotov cocktail off the bar and runs out. They chase him outside, where they see Charlie light the Molotov cocktail and throw it into the car. Dennis calls for some water to put it out, but Charlie also says he's doused the interior of the car with gasoline as well, so that would do no good. Apparently drawn to the scent of gasoline, Agent Jack Bauer jumps out of Dennis' arms and into the car -- just before it explodes. However, he jumps out of it only slightly singed, proving that he is indeed indestructible. The cop car goes up in a ball of flames, completely destroyed.
At City Hall, Charlie, still in his Serpico uniform, puts the tape he made in an envelope (marked "4 THE MARE") and yells "OK, Mr. Mayor, feast your ears on that Spin Doctors mix." However, almost as soon as he leaves it, a janitor comes by and throws the tape in the trash.
- Charlie Day as Charlie Kelly
- Glenn Howerton as Dennis Reynolds
- Rob McElhenney as Mac
- Kaitlin Olson as Dee Reynolds
- Danny DeVito as Frank Reynolds
- Tracey Walter as Bum
- Carla Renata as Police Clerk
- Lee Weaver as Junkyard Owner
- Michael Merton as Neighborhood Leader
- Russ Widdall as Hot Dog Vendor
- Ryan Homchick as Jaywalker
- Robert Michael Kelly as Pedestrian
- Bob McElhenney as Tweaker
- Russ Widdall as Hot Dog Vendor
- More than half of this episode, Charlie acts like Al Pacino's character in Serpico.
- Christopher Walken is mentioned both in this episode and in "The Gang Solves the North Korea Situation."
- "Stool Pigeon" and "Sole Witness" by Heinz Kiessling both play throughout this episode.
- Charlie was taping his evidences of widespread corruption on a Spin Doctors group's mix.
- At 18:23 Dennis shouts "Charlie, drop your weapon!," a parody of Kiefer Sutherland's typical phrase from famous FOX series 24.
- Inscription on the tape, which Charlie left on the stairs in front of Municipal Services Building at the ending scene of this episode, is "4 THE MARE" ("For the Mayor"), another example of his illiteracy.
- The "What are you looking at, dicknose?" T-shirt Mac wears is a homage to series director Jerry Levine and the film Teen Wolf in which Levine starred.
- Mac and Sweet Dee are dressed as the Guardian Angels - a real-life community watch group.
- The story Dennis tells a hot dog vendor that Charlie, who is in the back seat of their cop car, was "caught diddling kids down by the playground" is similar to events in "Dennis Looks Like a Registered Sex Offender."
- Charlie says that Agent Jack Bauer "smells like it's been dumped in a bucket of piss." In the episode "Mac's Mom Burns Her House Down" Dee says that Poppins, Mac's beloved childhood pet, "smells like piss." Poppins also seems to be as indestructible as Agent Jack Bauer.
- The patches on the uniforms that Frank, Dennis, and the real cops wear say "South Philadelphia Police Department", which doesn't actually exist: the Philadelphia Police Department patrols every part of the city of Philadelphia, including South Philly.
- The bum who holds up Rob and Kaitlin is Rob's real-life Dad.
- Mac: The police? The streets are flooded with the ejaculate of the homeless and you people are counting on the police?!
- Dee: (as she kicks the bum's ass) I am not your little pinup girl for you to tug your rotten pecker at! Go on, get out of here!
- Bum: You're one crazy bitch!
- Dee: I don't wanna see you, or your dirty balls, in my alley again!
- [After Dennis' cat emerges from an explosion unscathed]
- Dennis: Goddamnit, Jack Bauer. You really are the man.
|Season 3 Episodes|
| 1. "The Gang Finds a Dumpster Baby"|
2. "The Gang Gets Invincible"
3. "Dennis and Dee's Mom Is Dead"
4. "The Gang Gets Held Hostage"
5. "The Aluminum Monster vs. Fatty Magoo"
6. "The Gang Solves the North Korea Situation"
7. "The Gang Sells Out"
8. "Frank Sets Sweet Dee on Fire"
| 9. "Sweet Dee's Dating a Retarded Person"|
10. "Mac Is a Serial Killer"
11. "Dennis Looks Like a Registered Sex Offender"
12. "The Gang Gets Whacked (Part 1)"
13. "The Gang Gets Whacked (Part 2)"
14. "Bums: Making a Mess All Over the City"
15. "The Gang Dances Their Asses Off"