Birds of War! Or, my son is making freedom free by dressing like a chicken and wrestling Rowdy Roddy Piper

The one thing that “It’s Always Sunny…” does better than any other show that I’ve come across is shine a mega-watt spotlight on the kind of jingoistic flag waving and patriotism that we’re guilty of in this country. They usually do so with spot on accuracy, but it’s just vaguely hidden within the hyper-hijinks the gang finds themselves involved with.

Last night’s rerun of “The Gang Wrestles for the Troops” might be the best example of that, as the gang decides to host a wrestling match for the troops as a way to inspire and say thank you for their service. Results were, as usual, hilarious and flawed. But the one thing they really hit on the head was this idea that saying something is “for the troops”, somehow makes you not only a better American, but also have a deeper understanding of what it is to be an American.

I live and work in a community where this type of attitude is not only the norm, but expected, in a way. A large retirement community like where I live no doubt attracts retired military personnel and this place, which will remain nameless, has to have some of the highest per capita ratio of retired vets of anywhere in the state of Florida, if not the country. It’s magnified here, to say the least.

There are many car washes for the troops, pig roasts for the troops, concerts for the troops featuring local bar bands, fundraisers for troops, poker runs for the troops, basketball games for the troops and a lots of other events that are supposed to show how much you appreciate and respect the men and women who are fighting for this country.

And don’t get me wrong. Those people who have dedicated part of their lives to serving have stones I will never have or want to have. They are wired differently from me and that’s fine. But I have a sneaking suspicion that most of those folks are serving because they are paid to do so and in a country whose working population is still struggling, a job is a job is a job.

Maybe I’m wrong. I just don’t think the same kind of WW II or Post 9/11 surge of patriotism is still relevant and the sense that we’re united under one cause is, at best, a pipe dream for those who look upon an 18 year old headed to basic training as a “Great American”.

It’s all subjective anyway and there are no two troops who are treated the same. Some are lavished with gifts, houses, cars and handshakes with the president; while others come home to no job, no fanfare and a family to feed, although both soldiers have similar injuries. I’ve seen it firsthand.

But that brings me back to Sunny because at least they have sense enough to laugh at it when people like me get bogged down in the heaviness of it all.

The focal point of the show was the “Birds of War” wrestling troop formed by Mac, Dennis and Charley, who more or less look like giant chickens when suited up in their costumes. They also have painted on abs and an intro song that goes like this:

Stomp, clap. Stomp-stomp, clap.
Stomp, clap. Stomp-stomp, clap.
Stomp, clap. Stomp-stomp, clap.
The eagle’s born out of thunder
He flies through the night
Don’t you mess with his eggs now
Or you’ll see him fight
Yes, we have feathers
But the muscles of men
‘Cause we’re Birds of War, now
But we’re also men!
Birds of War!

Now, I have not seen the beginning of the episode so I have no clue how Rowdy Roddy Piper becomes involved, but he plays some old school wrestler who may or may not have murdered his children, lives in his stationwagon and keeps a giant jar of chestnuts, which for some reason fascinates and disturbs Charley.

He’s eventually hauled away by the police and the gang finds they have to wrestle the Tali-bum, played by none other than Rickety-Cricket, who proceeds to kick all of their asses, including Sweet Dee, until the Trash Man hits the scene and slits Cricket’s throat with a serrated trash can.

Now, I’m not sure who decided to dress Frank like Andre the Giant, but it’s fucking genius, especially since his whole shtick is to throw garbage all over the ring and eat it. Which, in the grand scheme of Frank’s existence, sounds about right, but has nothing to do with Andre the Giant.

Also, Dee tries to romance a soldier who she thinks is crippled, only to have him stolen by Artemis. Dee gets her nose broken by Cricket, after he smashes her face with a folding chair while she attempts to sing “Kiss from a Rose” at the start of the match, which she presumes will win back the soldier’s heart from Artemis.

It all comes together pretty nicely with the Trash Man victorious and the rest of the gang bloody, beaten and blind after having sand thrown in their eyes by the Tali-bum. The crowd goes nuts and the one soldier in attendance presumably goes home with Artemis and not Dee.

There is also an attempt, I think, to mock The Wrestler, with Roddy Piper mimicking Mickey Rourke’s Randy “The Ram” Robinson, which was Rourke’s attempt to mimic the lives and careers of people like Piper. Sunny rarely, if ever, goes Meta, but I think they did on this one, however subtle it may be.

There’s a lot crammed into this episode, with the main focus being the “for the troops” attempt of the gang to show their appreciation.

And who knows, I may be totally off on my interpretation of the episode and the associated feelings on the matter. I’m fine with that, too. But it just seems so easy to be Pro-America by being Pro-Soldier, when I think being a patriot, of any country for that matter, is a lot more than waving a tiny flag and getting high school girls in small shorts to wash imported cars in a 7/11 parking lot “for the troops”.

Great episode. A lot to think about. And funny as hell.

Go Birds of War! Caww! Caww! Caww!!

Actually, fuck that. GO TRASH MAN!!!


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2 Responses to Birds of War! Or, my son is making freedom free by dressing like a chicken and wrestling Rowdy Roddy Piper

  1. chuckcotton says:

    first parks and rec. now, apparently I need to start checking out “Its always sunny” too. good post.

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