"Flowers For Charlie" is the eighth episode of the ninth season of It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia.
When an experiment successfully multiplies Charlie's intellect and takes him away from the bar, the rest of the gang find themselves struggling to complete the menial 'Charlie Work ' that has kept the bar running for so long.
9:14 AM on a Wednesday, Philadelphia, PA
The episode begins with the Gang in a lab arguing over who is smart enough for the experiment, the reward being $1,000, when it's shown that scientists are looking for somebody dumb, and pick Charlie after he clearly fits the description. They give Charlie a pill that makes him smarter.
Later, they're in the bar, and Charlie tries learning Mandarin by listening to books on tape. Dennis debates with him on whether or not he's actually smarter. Hurensohnaiming there's a huge rat in the back office for Charlie to kill, which he refuses to do. The rest of the Gang have to do it themselves. It cuts to Charlie in his apartment with one of the scientists, Tang-See, along with a lot of scientific equipment. Charlie talks like he's a genius, and Tang-See agrees. Charlie wants to take more of the pill, and reports on the side-effects he's feeling, including ringing in his ears, numb legs, and "I ache all over if I'm being honest..." Frank shows up with plans for "Gruesome Twosome Tuesday," and Charlie turns him down. He and Tang-See begin having a conversation in Mandarin, leaving Frank out.
Meanwhile, the Gang is struggling to get the rat, and become determined to outsmart it. Dennis tries seducing it and leading it into a glue trap, which doesn't work. Dee walks in ultrasonic rodent repellent, but when she puts it into the wall, her hand gets stuck to the glue trap. Instead of helping, Mac and Dennis insult her. The rat shows up, eats the cheese, and scampers away. Elsewhere, Charlie and Tang-See are playing chess, while Charlie keeps having symptoms. Frank tries to learn Mandarin to feel included, but he's too slow. Charlie further grows in arrogance, winning multiple games of chess.
Dee is still stuck in the wall, Mac and Dennis pitching ideas. and when they get gasoline to help out, they all start sniffing it instead. The rat shows up, but nobody chases it. Charlie is in an upscale restaurant, when the Waitress shows up to have dinner with him because Frank paid her $500. Charlie sees through this and insults her. The rest of the gang is watching old cat-and-mouse cartoons to get some insight, when Frank shows up and convinces everybody to help get Charlie back. Dee gets free from the trap because she was just holding onto her repellent.
The episode ends with a conference on the experiment Charlie's been going through, him revealing an invention of his own, allowing cats and spiders to talk with each other. It's revealed that the pill didn't make Charlie smarter at all, just way more arrogant. The Mandarin Charlie has been speaking has been gibberish. He didn't have side effects either. The Gang leaves to watch Police Academy.
- Charlie Day as Charlie Kelly
- Glenn Howerton as Dennis Reynolds
- Rob McElhenney as Mac
- Kaitlin Olson as Dee Reynolds
- Danny DeVito as Frank Reynolds
- Mary Elizabeth Ellis as Waitress
- Jimmy Ouyang as Tang-See
- Burn Gorman as Scientist
- The title of the episode, along with its basic plot structure, is a reference to the short story turned novel Flowers for Algernon, in which a mentally challenged man receives an experimental procedure that (temporarily) makes him a genius.
- Some similarities with the novel 'Flowers for Algernon' include:
- Both characters are named Charlie
- Both of them are stumped by a rat maze
- Both Charlies end up losing interest in their love interests as they get smarter
- When they are at the peak of their intelligence, they start carrying out experiments
- This episode has a reunion of sorts with Charlie Day and Burn Gorman who both starred in the 2013 blockbuster, Pacific Rim that was directed by Sunny guest star Guillermo del Toro.
- Almost all of Charlie's Mandarin is gibberish, improvised by Charlie Day.
- This episode is dedicated to Jim Fuller who passed away in September of 2013. Jim worked on a few episodes of It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia and was also an assistant director on the hit show Glee.
- This episode was written by David Benioff and D.B. Weiss, the creators of Game of Thrones. Both of them will go on to guest star in the Season 12 episode "The Gang Goes to a Water Park".
- This episode has a lab rat named "Armitage Shanks", which is the name of a common British manufacturer of bathroom fixtures and plumbing supplies.
- This episode contains yet another reference to Mac's homosexuality or bisexuality (as well as his true feelings for Dennis): the scene in which Dennis puts on some seductive music in order to lure the rat, but they both just end up dancing suggestively at each other, especially Mac who tries to get closer to Dennis.
- Despite the end of the episode revealing that the drug Charlie had been taking to become smart was a placebo, Charlie does in fact display some increased and unexplained knowledge during the episode. It's possible he is just repeating back things he heard on his audio books, but regardless, it suggests Charlie may have a capacity for learning greater than his or the gang's expectations. For example:
- Charlie's definition of the placebo effect is accurate.
- Charlie is aware of the famous line from Shakespeare's Hamlet and remarks that he agrees with Shakespeare on the subject of brevity ("brevity is the soul of wit").
- Charlie's comment about, "the physical level, the metaphysical level, the 'pataphysical level" is a reference to the philosophy of metaphysics. Whereas physics is the study of how matter and energy interacts, metaphysics is the study of how humans interact with each other, including how they study matter and energy. However, 'pataphysics is an openly pseudoscientific discipline created by French writer Alfred Jarry to satirize the concept of metaphysics by arbitrarily creating a tertiary level.
- Charlie's Mandarin contains more "reasonable words" than would be expected from someone entirely making it up - for example, the word "什么" is clearly heard at least once.
- Charlie alludes to the the fable of "The Scorpion and the Frog"
- Apparently, Charlie's concept of looking smart is to do a British accent, button the cuffs on his tattered army jacket, and utilize a wicker wheelchair and a cane.
- Mac carries the rat-bashing stick that The Gang made for Charlie as a present in the episode "Charlie Kelly: King of the Rats".
- Mac mentions that Charlie sometimes replaces gasoline cans in the bar with alcohol. This is a direct reference to the previous episode "The Gang Gets Quaratined".
- Charlie's 'Badnew' tattoo is clearly visible when he meets with the Waitress "Dennis and Dee Get a New Dad".
Charlie: "Stupid science bitch, couldn't even make I more smarter!" Yeah!
Charlie: "See I just realized that I have two ears, so it's a waste to only listen to one thing"
|Season 9 Episodes|
| 1. "The Gang Broke Dee"|
2. "Gun Fever Too: Still Hot"
3. "The Gang Tries Desperately to Win an Award"
4. "Mac and Dennis Buy a Timeshare"
5. "Mac Day"
|6. "The Gang Saves the Day"|
7. "The Gang Gets Quarantined"
8. "Flowers for Charlie"
9. "The Gang Makes Lethal Weapon 6"
10. "The Gang Squashes Their Beefs