Welcome to the premiere episode of Skeptically Tuned, where we’ll give analytic breakdowns of some skeptical shows we like, some skeptical shows we don’t like, and some skeptical shows that we are extremely embarrassed for liking. Sorry, but we will not be reviewing bullshit programs…yet.
The first show that I would like to talk about has been one of my favorite sitcoms for years. I love it… maybe too much. You may not realize this, but It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia is a pretty damn skeptical show. Yes it can be raunchy, and the characters are downright despicable, but this show never hesitates to lampoon bullshit.
Now, I realize that any asshole sitcom can point and laugh at ‘woo’, but this show takes some of it’s sweetass time to call out the bullshit. Let me explain:
- Sunny introduces the false claim,
[They introduce the bullshit]
- Sunny explores many features of the false claim,
[They explore the bullshit]
- And Sunny ultimately shows the comedic failures of such false claims.
[Then they debunk the bullshit.]
Sometimes the characters embrace the woo, and sometimes they reject it. This might be confusing for those of you who cling to the myth that art says something, and are looking to interpret the stance of the hero or anti-hero, but for the rest of us who aren’t trying to butcher aesthetic value with a didactic blade, it’s just a good ol’ well thought out laugh. And certainly one deserving of some recognition from the skeptical community.
Are they intentionally promoting critical thinking and skepticism? I’m not sure. Are they creating some of their comedy with an audience of skeptics in mind? Maybe. Are they doing comedic bits that are greatly enhanced if you happen to be a skeptic? Fuck yes!
So if you happen to know of any organizations or groups (e.g. IIG) that give out awards for things like being a great sitcom for skeptics, maybe you should let them know about It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia. Oh… oh what’s that? They want more evidence? Well, maybe it would interest them to know that Sunny has also tackled homeopathy, miracles and exploitation. They even dive into murkier quasi bullshit territory. That is things that aren’t necessarily bullshit, but are often breeding grounds for bullshit and/or utilize the same techniques employed by bullshit. Things like overzealous patriotism, faux activism or ‘Disneyland’ activism. They even regularly attack that oh so cunning piece of social manipulation: Pick Up Artistry. [More concise and effective than any blog on the subject ]
And if you have not seen their latest season finale featuring a hilarious trial between evolution and creationism, you are officially missing out on a significant part of your life, and you need to rectify the situation!
In conclusion: If you’re a skeptic, and you love comedy, the kind of comedy that doesn’t let anyone decide what is or is not allowed to be funny, this sitcom is for you! Thanks for watching.