"Pop-Pop: The Final Solution" is the first episode of the eighth season of It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia.
Dennis and Dee's ailing grandfather Pop-Pop is wasting away in the hospital, and they have to decide whether or not to pull the plug. But things get complicated when The Gang learns of Pop-Pop's history as a Nazi, and Mac, Charlie and Frank set off in search of the old man's spoils from the war [in particular, a watercolor of a German shepherd possibly painted by Adolf Hitler].
10:45 AM, On a Tuesday, Philadelphia, PA
Charlie enters the bar and calls everyone to attention, saying that Mac has an announcement. Mac announces that his "sudden and unfortunate" weight loss has put the bar at risk, and as "head of security", he is making a few moves to improve security. He shows his first move: wearing a very dark pair of sunglasses so that subjects of his "ocular patdowns" will not realize what he is doing. Charlie suggests that the reason is so the people Mac is checking out "won't see how scared [he] is", which Mac denies. Dennis counters that this does not make him feel any safer, and there will never be a time when Mac needs this. Mac replies that he will indeed be using them, but he soon sees a big disadvantage of his glasses: because they wrap all the way around his eyes, and they are so dark, they basically take away his peripheral vision, and he cannot see that Dennis, Dee, and Frank have walked away.
The Lawyer then walks into the bar. After being cleared by "ocular patdown", The Lawyer tells that he has been trying to contact them for some time (a reversal of the usual situation of him trying his best to stay away from them). He tells them that their grandfather, Heinrich Landgraf (who they call "Pop-Pop") is in a coma and is being kept alive on a respirator, and since they are only surviving blood relatives, it is up to Dennis and Dee to decide if he should be kept alive. Dennis and Dee appear to be stunned by the news that they have just heard.
The Gang goes to the nursing home to see Pop-Pop. They are surprised that Frank knows where his room is, and Frank tells them that he visits Pop-Pop every week to check on him and bring him soup. When they enter Pop-Pop's room, it's filthy, full of rotting soup that is filling the room with a disgusting odor, and Pop-Pop himself appears to be completely unkempt, with long white hair and untrimmed beard. Frank explains that sometimes Pop-Pop doesn't finish the soup, and Frank forgets to take it away. He then tells the real reason for his visits: he has heard that Pop-Pop has "Nazi treasure" hidden away, and so if he spends time with Pop-Pop, Pop-Pop will tell him where it is. Dee seems ready to pull the plug on Pop-Pop, but Dennis tells her they need to think more about it. Dee agrees to take some more time. She then sees Charlie starting to eat some of the rancid leftover soup. Charlie says that they should make a decision on what to do about Pop-Pop just like he made a decision to eat the soup; Dennis tells him that there's no comparison between the decisions they face. Dee and Dennis seem very unsure about what to do.
Charlie pulls Mac aside. Charlie tells him about the box of Nazi memorabilia Pop-Pop told him about a few years ago (as seen in "The Gang Finds a Dead Guy".) They burned it, but Charlie reveals he saved a painting of a German Shepard dog from the box, and hung it on his wall. However, Frank didn't like it, calling it "evil", and stashed it away. Mac, who is eating some of the rotten soup now as well, asks Charlie what his point is, and Charlie tells him that he thinks that painting is the Nazi treasure Frank spoke of. They run out of the room, off to find the painting.
Charlie searches his apartment for the painting. While Charlie searches, Mac is on the Internet, where he finds a site full of pictures of Adolf Hitler with German Shepherds, along with an article on how Hitler loved to paint pictures of them. This leads to the conclusion that Hitler painted the dog picture. This leads Mac, somehow, to think that the painting will make them famous, getting them a "DaVinci Code-style thriller about us." Charlie wants Mac to call Frank to see if he remembers where the painting went.
When they get Frank on the phone, he tells them that he is stuck in a window at Pop-Pop's house, where he is trying to find the treasure. Frank tells them that he threw the dog painting out, and the last he saw of it was Rickety Cricket running off with it. Charlie says he knows where Cricket is, and so they go to an animal shelter. Mac is in the duster (which he can actually wear again), and Charlie has on the shades, which doesn't please Mac, since he says he needs them to "assess the threat level". They find Cricket working at the shelter. He has a very large scar on his face, over his eye, which he says he got from a "stray chocolate Lab". Cricket says he is a "dog executioner", but it turns out that he's mostly just cleaning out the cage, so he's more of a "dog janitor". They ask Cricket about the dog painting, and Cricket says he sold the painting to a guy who came down to the dog shelter mourning the death of his German Shepherd. Charlie uses the shades to "clear" Cricket, which greatly offends Mac, because that's his job.
Dee and Dennis go to Pop-Pop's house, and find that Frank has fallen head-first into a trunk. They find some old home movies, including one of a summer camp that Pop-Pop took Dennis and Dee to in 1981. Dennis tells Frank that he and Dee have decided not to pull the plug on Pop-Pop, saying that though he has a "sordid past", he deserves a second chance. Dee says that he was "just following orders", which Dennis says is probably a poor choice of words. Dennis says that Pop-Pop came to America and "turned his life around".They start watching the summer camp movie, and everything looks cheery and nice at first: they get in Pop-Pop's car, and they see him having fun with them at the camp, and he certainly looks like a sweet guy. Things start to take a dark turn, though. They see themselves getting uniforms they don't remember, and they see images of someone giving a speech. Dee turns up the sound, and they hear the speaker is exorting them to "come together". Then they hear Pop-Pop tell them to listen closely, and that "these god-damn niggers and Jews are trying to take over this country, and we've got to take it back!" The speaker then leads the crowd in the "Sieg Heil" Nazi salute, which cute lil' Dee and Dennis take part in as well. This shows them that Pop-Pop did not stop being a Nazi when he got to America, and they suddenly decide that yeah, maybe they should pull the plug on him. But Frank, who wants to keep Pop-Pop alive long enough to find out where the "treasure" is, asks them if they are ready to watch him die. So Dee decides they need to experience it for themselves—they should watch something else die and see what it's like. Dee has an idea.
They go to the shelter where Cricket is working and ask him to let them watch a dog be euthanized. Cricket tells them he has one for them, but Dee says they need to pick. So they go around and look at all the dogs giving them sad puppy eyes, and decide that they can't do it. The last cage has Cricket himself in it, begging them to put him down. Dennis decides on a new plan, so they load all the dogs—and Cricket—into their car and take them out of the shelter. Dee says they should let Pop-Pop, and the dogs, and Cricket, die "as nature intended, slowly and painfully". When they get back to Paddy's, they release the dogs and Cricket, and they all run off happily.
Mac and Charlie get to the address of the guy who bought the dog painting, which is a dentist's office (or, as Charlie reads the sign, "Brent the Lawyer, a denial correlation.") When they enter the office, the walls are literally covered with pictures of German Shepherds. Charlie thinks that this means the dentist went insane after his dog died, and Mac says he has had a revelation: the death of his German Shepherd is the key to Adolf Hitler's madness, that he never recovered from the death of his dog and took out his rage on the world. A receptionist comes in, asking Charlie if he is "Mr. Miller", and if he is ready for his braces. They decide to go back into the office. Mac again talks about how this is just like The DaVinci Code, and says that he thinks Ryan Gosling should play him in the movie. Charlie, again, just wants the painting back in his apartment. Charlie says he should play Hitler in the movie, and when Mac tells him the movie will be set in the present, Charlie thinks that it will be a time travel movie, and that Hitler will time travel into the future and everyone will "go on a caper together". Mac becomes very annoyed by Charlie, telling him that this movie will be a "classic like Citizen Kane", not a stupid time-travel movie.
Frank calls Mac wanting him to help him keep Dennis and Dee from pulling the plug on Pop-Pop. Mac decides to work with Frank, because he says Charlie is jeopardizing the whole thing. So Frank tells him that they have to take Charlie "out of the picture". Mac sees Charlie put a nitrous oxide mask on, and he turns on the gas to knock Charlie out.
At the nursing home, The Lawyer shows up, pleased that Dennis and Dee have made their decision. He's especially happy because, after Pop-Pop's death, his role as the executor of Barbara Reynolds' estate will be finished, and he will no longer have to see them again. When Dennis and Dee tell him that they aren't going to do it because "they don't want a man's death on our hands", The Lawyer makes an offer: if they sign a power of attorney over to him, he'll pull the plug, so that Pop-Pop's death will not be on their hands. Dennis and Dee agree.
Mac and Frank enter Paddy's, Mac still going on and on about how Ryan Gosling must play him. They are carrying a painting of a German Shepherd. They are shocked to see Charlie there, with the tank of nitrous oxide. Charlie reveals that he's had braces put on, which is leading him to drool and talk with a major lisp. Charlie shows them that they got the wrong German Shepherd painting, and that he has the right one. He then says that because the painting causes madness, "it must be destroyed." Charlie then reveals that he painted it, and only wanted it back because he loved it, but it is making everyone crazy and must be destroyed. Now that they know that the painting is by Charlie, and not Hitler, Mac and Frank declare they don't care, and Charlie can burn the painting.
Back in Pop-Pop's room, Dennis, Dee, and The Lawyer gather to watch the plug being pulled on Pop-Pop. The Lawyer is very eager to get this done. The doctor shuts off the respirator, but then Pop-Pop starts breathing on his own. The doctor says that Pop-Pop could hang on for months, days... it's hard to tell. The Lawyer is annoyed by this turn of events, because this means he is not free of The Gang yet. The doctor excuses himself to go to the ER to help deal with "an incredible amount of stray dog attacks." Dennis and Dee start to leave, saying that Pop-Pop had nothing of value to leave them. The Lawyer says that he did have something for them.In the alley behind Paddy's, Mac and Charlie burn the painting. Mac is still going on about the movie that will be made of this, but he says that the ending needs work, because no one will care about the painting because it's a "Charlie Kelly original". Charlie then reveals that the painting isn't quite original, and he just "painted over" one of the paintings that Pop-Pop gave him. Mac says that this is "too complicated" an ending and he "can't follow the goddam story". He and Charlie go back inside, Mac continuing to talk about Ryan Gosling.
We then see the painting burning. Charlie's painting starts to peel off, and we see the original painting underneath, bearing the signature of... Adolf Hitler.
- Seth Lee as Young Dennis
- Danielle Parker as Young Dee
- Scott Beehner as Doctor
- Van Epperson as Boss
- Juanita Guzman as Receptionist
- Randy Thompson as Bald Man
- The sunglasses Mac wears in the opening scene are identical to the pair worn by Ron Perlman in Pacific Rim, in a scene in which Charlie Day was having an argument with Ron's character. Rickety Cricket was also sporting a scar very similar to Ron's scar. The scar was also presented in an extremely similar dramatic fashion.
- From Season Five to Season Seven, the premiere episodes had reached the mark of at least two millions viewers ratings, but the 8th Season premiere earned only 1,05 million of U.S. viewers - this result might be compared alone with the middle ep. of Season Six (1,07). Probably, it's because of the "Brand-New Cast" ad campaign - RCG didn't expect that some people were stupid enough to actually believe it. [Plus, there also were vice-presidential debates on the same evening.]
- "Ride of the Valkyries" by Richard Wagner plays at the beginning of this episode. Wagner was Hitler's favorite composer, and was the one who coined the expressions "Jewish problem" and "final solution", by which he meant the disappearance of Jews and Judaism in general. He also was a good pal with Nietzsche, Hitler's №1 inspiration (after Nietzsche's sister rewrote his works to be anti-Semitic that is.).
- The Lawyer mentions that Dennis and Dee are Pop-Pop's sole surviving heirs, but their mother's, Barbara Reynolds's, sister, Aunt Donna, and Donna's daughter, Gail the Snail, are also still alive.
- The young "versions" of Dennis and Dee are played by different children actors - not the ones from "A Very Sunny Christmas".
- Charlie, Mac, and Dennis first learned that Pop-Pop was a Nazi in the episode "The Gang Finds a Dead Guy". Obviously, later Dee was told as well.
- In the aforementioned episode, Pop-Pop used to refer to Dennis and Dee's father as "that bastard father of yours". Despite that, Frank was the only one who "take care" of him (not for the right reason though).
- About this German shepherd painting - Rob McElhenney: "That painting was actually in Charlie's apartment during the second season of the show. That was basically just set decoration in the second season. Interestingly enough, we actually were the ones that when we got into editing and we were watching the show - all the episodes of Season Two - that painting stood out to us so much, too much, it was too distracting. We actually said we never want to see that painting again. Take it down. Get rid of it because it's just a shining, white, weird painting in the background of every Charlie's apartment scene"; Glenn Howerton: "We had so many fans and so many comments, asking about it. When we took it down, people were irate"; Rob McElhenney: "Yes. They were like, what happened to that dog painting? We loved that dog painting. We kept thinking, the scenes aren't supposed to be about a painting of a dog in the background. We just felt like it was too distracting, but we always wanted to bring it back in some way". In fact, they did not just "get rid of it" - they moved it to the RCG office (you can see it in the scripted "BTS-video" for Season Four "A Day with Kaitlin Olson" at 01:47; also, the decorations for Charlie's musical, which are imitate an interior of his apartment, contains an allusion to this painting - because Charlie had always liked it and, naturally, missed it).
- Charlie finally works on his illiteracy.
- Mac's "ocular pat-down" was first mentioned in Season Five. ("The Gang Hits the Road") Probably, this whole conception is some sort of homage for Larry David's famous "suspicious look" from the cult HBO comedy Curb Your Enthusiasm.
- Mac favors Ryan Gosling over Mark Wahlberg to play him in the hypothetical movie (because "Marky Mark" couldn't match his intensity).
- Previously, Mac and Charlie tried to write a movie, too. ("Mac and Charlie Write a Movie")
- The flashback sequence shows footage from the episodes "The Gang Finds a Dead Guy" and "The Gang Runs for Office". It also contains a new material with Danny DeVito that has been shot in a 4:3 aspect ratio to match the footage from those previous episodes, done in the pre-HD (and pre-16:9) days.
- During the scene where Mac and Charlie are researching the origins of the painting, the website they are viewing misspells Adolf as Adolph. This is an alternative spelling of the name.
- The final shot of the episode, in which the painting Charlie made over the painting he got from Pop-Pop burns away to reveal Hitler's signature, references the final shot of Citizen Kane, where the paint and varnish on a sled tossed in a fire burns away to reveal the word "Rosebud". It also calls back to Mac's comment from earlier in the episode that a movie based on the story of the painting would be "a classic like Citizen Kane."
- Pop-Pop's last name, Landgraf, is in honor of the president of FX Networks, John Landgraf .
- In the episode "Mac and Charlie Die", Charlie's teeth seemingly fall out with very little effort however in this episode his teeth are able to withstand getting braces and not fall out.
- Dee should actually be in a backbrace during the home videos Pop-pop had (though scoliosis can develop in adolescence).
- Pop-Pop: (to young Dennis and Dee, 1981) Now listen close, kids. These goddamn niggers and Jews are trying to take over this country, and we've got to take it back!..
|—||“(to the stray dogs) We're all free!! Yeah!.. I'm one of you, guys!”|
|—||“(about painting) That's a PIECE OF HISTORY!..”|
|—||“(After entering Paddy's) Oh good, you're all here.”|
|“Who invited the Jew lawyer?”||—|
|—||“As the executor of your mother's estate, I'm here to inform you that her father, Heinrich Landgraf, has fallen into a coma.”|
|—||“He's being kept alive by a respirator. As per the will, the only living blood relatives, the ever-charming Dee and Dennis Reynolds, are the only people empowered to decide whether or not he stays on those machines.”|
|“Are you saying that we have to decide whether that old Nazi bitch lives or dies?”||—|
|—||“There's that charm...”|
|Season 8 Episodes|
| 1. "Pop-Pop: The Final Solution"|
2. "The Gang Recycles Their Trash"
3. "The Maureen Ponderosa Wedding Massacre"
4. "Charlie and Dee Find Love"
5. "The Gang Gets Analyzed"
| 6. "Charlie's Mom Has Cancer"|
7. "Frank's Back in Business"
8. "Charlie Rules the World"
9. "The Gang Dines Out"
10. "Reynolds vs. Reynolds: The Cereal Defense"