Like many fans, I was disappointed with Season Six--especially the first few episodes. Season Seven, however, brings the gang back to the simple banter that made them so funny in the first place. Sure, there is still the occasional slow episode--"Frank's Brother," for instance, which is told through so many flashbacks that it loses the "Sunny" feel--but overall, the quality control is strong this season. "The Gang Goes To The Jersey Shore" is laugh-out-loud funny in the same ways that some of Season Two's best episodes were funny, and "Frank's Pretty Woman" lets this season come out swinging with vulgarity ("She's a good hoo-er") and taboo subject matter. Another great offering from this season is--and I won't ruin it--the disclosure of Mac's real name. It's a payoff that was well worth the wait.
In Season Seven, the writers made a concerted effort--even more so than in season six--to "call back" to characters and situations from previous seasons. The results were mixed. On the plus side, the out-of-shape actor who posed as Donovan McNabb in season three, for example, hilariously reappears as "Tiger Woods," and "Schmitty" makes a grand, albeit five-second, cameo to end the season.
These "call backs" did occasionally fall flat, however. In "The High School Reunion," Brad Fisher discusses the hornet scars on his face and leaves the viewers waiting for a confrontation between him and Charlie. It never happens. The writers crammed in so many references to the show's previous episodes that, at times, it seems like a burdened wink to the audience. In fact, when Frank hijacks a tourist boat in "Thunder Gun Express," he muses nostalgically about his--and presumably, some of the viewers'--favorite Sunny memories over the PA system. The scene works, but it also once again drives home the point that the show's glory days may be past. Occasionally disappointing but more often great, season seven is a notch above season six--and may be as good as the show gets from now on.