One of the gags in Sunny that’s always impressed me (mainly for the fact that it seems so obvious, but I’ve never seen anyone else do it) is making a joke out of the title: There’s a cold open, some back-and-forths that set the stage for the episode’s plot, and then WHAM the title screen hits and hints at how this week’s scheme will go horribly, horribly wrong. Kind of a bleak reminder of the Gang’s ongoing spiral into self-destruction (“Frank Sets Sweet Dee on Fire” comes to mind).
Other times, when there’s an especially bizarre title, it’s satisfied to simply leave it at that (“The Gang Dances Their Asses Off”). And while all your thrown-in-the-towel English teachers told you to never judge a book by its cover, you can often tell whether an episode of Sunny is going to be good by the title alone.
Unfortunately that means that when there’s a kind of “meh” title, there’s usually a “meh” episode to follow (such as last week’s “Mac and Charlie: White Trash”). Fortunately, even a Sunny “meh” is still pretty good by “meh” standards, and that’s what “Mac’s Mom Burns Her House Down” is: not great but still pretty good.
So this week Mac’s Mom indeed burns her house down, which spurs her son’s maternal instincts (instincts that seem far more developed than her own, and I suspect the former were a direct result of the latter), and he takes her and her apparently indestructible dog in to his and Dennis’s apartment, something Dennis is obviously uncomfortable with. In the meantime, Charlie, despite his being the moral center of the Gang (did I just write that?), feels no such duty toward his own mother, who’s become a wreck since his Uncle Jack moved out. And the less said about Dee and Dennis’s paternal loyalty, the better.
So Mac and Charlie come up with the brilliant and inevitable idea to have Mac’s Mom move in with Charlie’s. Meanwhile, Frank, worried that his kids won’t take care of him when he turns into a drooling mongoloid, tries to cement his relationship with Dee, who’s nursing a cold and trying to get well for the upcoming Josh Groban concert.