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It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia Fans Are Loving Season 16's Homage To The Big Lebowski

Despite being deep into its 16th season, the blackhearted "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia" is still finding new ways to push the envelope, and the latest episode features a clever series of references to the cult favorite Coen Brothers movie "The Big Lebowski." Fans took notice, and they couldn't be more delighted.

The episode, "The Gang Goes Bowling," finds Dee (Kaitlin Olson) sneaking away from the rest of the crew to attend a bowling league. But of course, Frank (Danny DeVito), Dennis (Glenn Howerton), Mac (Rob McElhenney), and Charlie (Charlie Day) have never been able to let Dee have anything of her own, so they follow her to the bowling alley and challenge her team to a battle of the sexes. The episode brings back a cadre of fan-favorite "Sunny" characters, including the off-putting Liam McPoyle (Jimmi Simpson) and his equally repulsive brother, Ryan (Nate Mooney), along with The Waitress (Mary Elizabeth Ellis), Artemis (Artemis Pebdani), and Gail the Snail (Mary Lynn Rajskub). All are reunited on the lanes, where their bowling feud quickly escalates to predictably horrifying levels.

Scattered throughout are references to the iconic bowling scenes in "The Big Lebowski," with Simpson and Mooney's performances as the McPoyle brothers echoing Jesus Quintana's (John Turturro) hilarious bowling ball antics in that film. Fans were thrilled by the homage and took to Reddit to voice their delight. Some, like u/Donutbigboy, shared GIFs of the scenes being mimicked. Others shared applicable "The Big Lebowski" quotes. u/PoI_Pothead quipped, "The Dude would fit in with The Gang so well, as long as they don't p*** on his rug."

The Gang Goes Bowling references classic scenes from The Big Lebowski

A good portion of "The Big Lebowski" takes place at a bowling alley where The Dude (Jeff Bridges) and his buddies hang out. They are constantly harassed by Jesus Quintana, a fellow player in their league. In one scene, we see Jesus creepily licking his bowling ball before throwing it, while at another point, he lasciviously shines his bowling ball in a sling bag between his legs. Both of those moments are mimicked in "The Gang Goes Bowling," as Liam and Ryan McPoyle step in to bowl for Dennis and Dee. On Reddit, u/thatmillerkid praised their physical comedy, writing, "Jimmi Simpson and Nate Mooney somehow made it 20x funnier than it was in Lebowski. They're both so insanely talented."

Other recreations from moments in "The Big Lebowski" include a fixed camera shot of a moving bowling ball and several more Jesus Quintana impressions from Dennis as he makes kissing faces toward the opposing team. It's far from the first time "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia" has parodied a popular movie, and the combination of parody and original material, along with the reunion of fans' favorite recurring characters, makes "The Gang Goes Bowling" feel like an instant classic for the long-running sitcom.