Poster: Mr. Television
(see this users gallery)
It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia aired from August 2005 until ? on FX.
Four self-absorbed slackers indulged in general debauchery while running a Philadelphia bar in this raunchy sitcom. The co-owners of Paddy's Irish Pub were hotheaded Mac ( Rob McElhenney), whiny little Charlie ( Charlie Day), who was the butt of many jokes, vain confident Dennis ( Glenn Howerton) and his perky sister sweet Dee( Kaitlin Olson), who had terrible luck with men , usually being attracted to gays, priests, criminals etc. They all talked endlessly , mostly about sex, body parts and various politically incorrect subjects like how to pick up chicks at an antiabortion rally. Other topics included abortion, gun control, racism, sexism, religion, slavery, sexual harassment and gay rights, none of which the gang knew anything about. Joining in the second season was Dennis and Dee's wealthy dad Frank ( Danny DeVito) who, after a bitter divorce, had decided to become a slacker himself and hang out . Later it turned out that he wasn't their dad after all but rather Charlie's due to a one-night-stand years earlier.
A Review from Variety
It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia
By BRIAN LOWRY
Posted: Sun., Jul. 31, 2005
Mac - Rob McElhenney
Dennis - Glenn Howerton
Charlie - Charlie Day
Sweet Dee - Kaitlin Olson
After years of futility, the search for a top-notch, 20-something slacker comedy is over, and it took a basic cable network to crack the code. Real-life chums Rob McElhenney, Glenn Howerton and Charlie Day have crafted a single-camera half-hour that's invariably clever and occasionally a laugh-out-loud riot, all while lampooning taboo topics like race and abortion. The only negative is that FX has saddled the series with the unappetizing "Starved" as a lead-in, but assuming people can find it, the net might have picked a winner in the long-odds lottery for the next memorable sitcom.
Unassuming in concept but dead-on in tone, the series features three modern-day stooges who run an Irish pub in Philly -- the kind of knuckle-dragging neighborhood dudes who, in the hilarious second episode, attend an anti-abortion rally strictly with the intent of picking up chicks.
In almost every instance, in fact, the baser instincts of buddies-since-high school Mac (McElhenney), Dennis (Howerton) and Charlie (Day) triumph over the better angels in their natures. When Dee (Kaitlin Olson) -- Dennis' sister, who also works in the bar -- invites an African-American friend to meet her around closing time, the guys instantly assume it's a robbery. They then spend the balance of the premiere trying to convince each other that they're not racists or homophobes, as the bar suddenly becomes a gay hangout in another sharply plotted twist.
Dennis even takes to flirting with the new patrons, mostly because he enjoys the compliments. "You're not gay. You're just really, really vain," his irritated sister tells him.
Perhaps the most impressive thing about the show is how effortlessly McElhenney (who receives "created by" credit), Howerton and Day incorporate potentially controversial themes and just as quickly defuse them by approaching these hot-button issues so myopically, through the self-obsessed prism of their characters' lives.
As a consequence, Mac can meet a girl at an anti-abortion organization, use false pro-life rhetoric to entice her into a tryst and just as quickly cry "Abortion!" as soon as there's a hint that she might be pregnant. No wonder Dennis can profess to lack any real convictions, especially if they'll interfere with getting laid.
Similarly, a recurring gag in the opener has African-Americans, for some inexplicable reason, sparking to the diminutive Charlie, who simply sees the attraction as possible leverage to impress the coffeehouse waitress with whom he is pathetically obsessed.
To her credit, "Drew Carey Show" alumna Olson holds her own in these Spartan surroundings (especially in the third installment), proving as big a moron as the boys once alcohol and horniness begin to work their unique brand of magic.
Even the sprightly theme music and title are fraught with irony, since it's kind of bleak looking in the boys' Philly, a town with its own cantankerous streak. And while luring patrons to the show could be a challenge, it's a good bet that those who do belly up to the bar will be inclined to become regulars.
A Review from Entertainment Weekly
It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia Start Date: Aug 04, 2005;
C By Gillian Flynn
It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, one of FX's new sitcoms, traffics in outrageous humor. It is smug enough to think it's breaking ground, but not smart enough to know it isn't.
Episodes have titles like ''The Gang Gets Racist'' and ''Charlie Wants an Abortion,'' and the snazzy dialogue is the equivalent of endless verbal jazz hands. Four friends self-involved twentysomething Mac (creator Rob McElhenney), self-involved twentysomething Dennis (exec producer Glenn Howerton), self-involved twentysomething Charlie (exec producer Charlie Day), and Dennis' insecure, slightly less self-involved twentysomething sister Sweet Dee (Kaitlin Olsen) run an Irish bar in Philly. There they deal with, and make light of, everything from racism to troubled kids in ironic, arch tones.
In one episode, the guys mistake an African-American man entering their bar after hours for a possible criminal (how's that for not new?) and then try to prove they're not racist by trolling Temple University in order to make black friends. This type of cynical-naive overearnestness was satirized much more sharply by Neal Pollack's essay ''I Am Friends With a Working-Class Black Woman,'' published in McSweeney's way back in 1998.
Yes, the guys get themselves into all sorts of wry mischief, but none of it goes anywhere. Seinfeld (which clearly inspired Philly's observational, bickery humor) could turn an episode about a loogie into a sprawling satire on the JFK assassination; Philly is content with just plopping down a silly situation and letting us admire its irreverence. Dennis plans to pick up girls at a pro-choice rally, but realizing the better action is on the other side of the picket line, tries to join the antiabortionists. He ends up getting pelted with eggs by both sides, and...that's pretty much it. You can wait for some greater, funnier theme, but it's not coming.
In the end, Philly could take a lesson from the ironic T-shirts its characters sport and mock knowingly: Just because you make fun of something doesn't mean you're actually funny.
An Article From The New York Times
The Writers Are the Actors Are the Producers
By EDWARD WYATT
Published: September 9, 2007
HERE is a recipe for Hollywood success: Come to town, struggle to get cast in any sort of acting job. Use your spare time to shoot a couple of extended skits with two friends using your apartments for sets. Pitch the projects to a couple of networks as a television series, with the provision that if they pick it up, you will not only produce the series but also write the episodes and star in them.
Unlikely as it seems, that is essentially the path that led Rob McElhenney, Glenn Howerton and Charlie Day from acting obscurity to running their own half-hour comedy, It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, which begins its third season Thursday on the FX cable channel.
Last year the network added Danny DeVito to the cast and saw its audience expand by about 20 percent, to 1.3 million viewers per episode and 902,000 adults age 18 to 49. This year FX has further increased its bet on the young trio. After an opening season of just 7 episodes and a second season of 10, FX has ordered 15 episodes for the third season, all of which have already been shot and edited.
The creators raised their own stakes as well, hiring writers for the first time to help them shape the episodes, nabbing some recognizable names as directors, including Fred Savage, the former star of The Wonder Years, and building new sets.
The question is whether those changes will sufficiently broaden the appeal of the series without alienating the devotees who fell in love with it even before it was a cult hit. Some of those viewers will find it hard not to notice that in its new incarnation, Paddy's Irish Pub, the dive bar that is owned by the three central characters, is a bit cleaner and more of a well-lighted place than it was previously, and that the largely stand-alone episodes have begun to evolve into continuing story lines.
Those changes, the creators said, are the inevitable evolution of a series that has grown from little more than a Let's put on a show dream to a staple of FX's increasingly innovative cable franchise.
The story of how they got to this point is as unlikely as it sounds. Mr. McElhenney, 30, and Mr. Day, 31, met while traveling to Los Angeles from New York for an audition during one pilot season. Later Mr. Day and Mr. Howerton, who is also 31, met the same way. Mr. Howerton moved to the West Coast in late 2001, followed by the other two in 2002. Though each actor found sporadic work, they also grew frustrated with the pace of life as aspiring actors.
So I had this idea for a short film, Mr. McElhenney said, where a friend came over to another friend's house to get sugar, and the friend tells him he has cancer, and all the guy can think about is getting his sugar and getting out of there.
Mr. McElhenney took the idea to Mr. Howerton, who thought it was funny; they agreed to have Mr. Day play the sick friend Mr. Howerton the sugar-seeker, and to have Mr. McElhenney to direct.
They expanded the central cast to four people living in Los Angeles, a group of best friends who care so little for each other, Mr. Howerton said. They shot the scenes, added a second episode, got an agent who set up meetings at networks, including FX, which bought the idea.
Originally the plan was for the friends to be out-of-work actors. But that scenario had become a bit crowded. HBO alone had four shows on the air or in the works with a show-business premise: Curb Your Enthusiasm, Entourage, Extras and The Comeback. On broadcast television Joey was in its inaugural season.
The network came to us and said, We don't want a show about actors, and we said, Fine, let's put it somewhere else, Mr. McElhenney said. I'm from Philly, let's put it in Philly, and we'll make it about a bar, because that's a job where you can have lots of free time and still have income that could explain how these people can sustain themselves.
That was one of the few changes that the network requested, a light touch that the creators, not surprisingly, say they think has much to do with the show's success.
The first season drew attention for its often outrageously convoluted plots and for a visual style that is unusual in situation comedy.
The plots took full advantage of the show's basic-cable home, which granted it more leeway both in language and subject matter than a network sitcom would receive. Among the titles of the first-season's episodes, for example, were Charlie Wants an Abortion and Charlie Got Molested. In the second season Mac, played by Mr. McElhenney, has sex with the mother of Dennis (Mr. Howerton), just for the sport of it, which leads Dennis to seek a similar act of revenge. The visual style was equally arresting. Most comedies are produced using either multiple fixed-position cameras producing the look and feel of Cheers, for example or a single camera that can move around but which generally focuses on one character at a time, as in The Office.
It's Always Sunny is shot using three or four hand-held cameras, all of them running and moving at once. The creators also keep several characters in the frame at once, encourage improvisation and have the characters constantly talk over each other. In other words, they act like friends in a bar rather than actors on a set.
None of which makes it an easy job for a director; never mind that the writers are also the actors who are also the producers. A visitor to the set recently asked Matt Shakman, who directed one of this season's five-episode blocks, if that situation creates too many chiefs for one director to handle. It's a very different experience, Mr. Shakman said. I think I should just leave it at that.
The group also has one other advantage: the show is produced quickly, which in Hollywood means cheaply. Episodes are shot in three days, sometimes three and a half, compared with five or more days for the usual single-camera network comedy.
The main cast, three guys and one gal, are a quartet that in their self-centered obliviousness have drawn inevitable comparisons to the cast of Seinfeld.
Kaitlin Olson was chosen to play Sweet Dee, Dennis's sister, and the sole female regular. She joined the show with some definite ideas. They had to promise me that Dee would grow into something equally as layered and funny as each of the guy characters, said Ms. Olson, who had worked with the improvisational Groundlings Theater in Hollywood and who had a recurring role on Curb Your Enthusiasm as Larry David's sister-in-law.
Although the female character was in the original sketches that the group shot to pitch the show, it wasn't really developed, she said. They had to get to know who I was before they could start writing for me. And basically what they did was they just exaggerated insecurities of mine. It's funnier than having a pretty girl who doesn't have any problems.
The second season also brought with it the need to expand the audience. Through John Landgraf, the FX president, the Philadelphia creators learned that Danny DeVito had become a fan of the show through two of his children. Mr. DeVito and Mr. Landgraf had worked together at Jersey Television, so Mr. Landgraf was able to set up a meeting.
Mr. DeVito said what appealed to him about the role as Frank Reynolds, Dennis and Dee's father, was it echoed things that were happening in his own life. He's a guy who has done a lot of stuff, he's made a lot of dough, Mr. DeVito said. But he just wants to get back into the fray. He wants to be part of the gang.
Mr. DeVito, who rose to fame for his role as Louie De Palma in Taxi, knows what a television show needs to be a major hit. And he admits that It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, for all its promise, doesn't have it yet.
It just needs a little more oomph to make sure people out there are aware of it, he said. We haven't been on the air since last summer, so we've got a big job in front of us to get the word out about the show.
Even if they don't get any bigger than they are, the creators seem fairly satisfied with where they have gotten so far. We're happy to be making a decent living, Mr. Day said, and making the show we want to make.
An Interview With Danny DeVito
It's always 'Sunny' for Danny DeVito
by Frank Lovece
10 October 2007
NEW YORK He plays cheerfully rich reprobate Frank Reynolds on the anti-"Friends" bar comedy It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia (FX, Thursdays). But, really, it's always Danny in Hollywood.
Talk about your multi-hyphenates.
As an actor, Danny DeVito, 62, went from playing that devil-of-a-dispatcher Louie De Palma in the legendary ensemble cast of Taxi (ABC/NBC 1978-83) alongside the likes of Judd Hirsch, Andy Kaufman, Tony Danza, Christopher Lloyd and Marilu Henner to starring in big-screen hits like Ruthless People, Tin Men and Twins. He became a feature director with Throw Momma From the Train (1987), The War of the Roses (1989) and other movies, and added producer to his resume with Jersey Films and Jersey Television ("Pulp Fiction, Erin Brockovich, the Reno: 911! franchise).
Married to quadruple-Emmy winner Rhea Perlman (TV's Cheers"), DeVito, relaxing at the FX offices in Manhattan recently, pulled together two conference chairs to form a makeshift chaise lounge and speak with Frank Lovece, author of Hailing Taxi: The Official Book of the Show.
Q. You're an Emmy- and Golden Globe-winning actor from one of TV's most acclaimed series, Taxi. You've been a major movie star/director/producer. So ...
A. Why am I doing a television comedy?
Q. I was gonna say ...
A. I have so much fun being around (co-stars Charlie Day, Glenn Howerton and Kaitlin Olson, and series-creator co-star Rob McElhenney). Y'know, they're fresh and inventive, and they go with stuff. There's a thing that happens with writers where people get an idea, and they explore it for a minute, and then they may toss it aside. These guys get an idea, and then they go with it and go with it until they find something in there that's scathing. It's very similar to the way I Love Lucy was ...
Q. Wait. You're comparing It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia to I Love Lucy'?
A. It's similar in that the characters are always trying to get over on someone. Lucy always had a scheme. This is like they're always trying to do some giant task that seems so unattainable, like figuring out how to beat welfare or pretending to be a cripple.
Y'know, what I am is a character actor, and I look for really good situations to be in and really great characters to play. That's what I do. At this point in my life, I'm still playing fun things in the movies and producing a lot, but the thing is, when you get out on the stage and you find a character you really like, like Frank Reynolds I'm having a ball! Every once in a while something comes along that's a gift, and you have to recognize it and embrace it.
Q. How did the producers of this famously low-budget show I've read the pilot was shot on a home camcorder for under $200 come to say, Let's get Danny DeVito to star with our four unknowns! Talented unknowns, let me say, but unknowns.
A. John Landgraf, who's now the head of F/X, the big cheese over there, he recognized the show as being a one-of-a-kind, unique show that a demographic of certain-age people would really relish. He and I had worked together at Jersey Television (when DeVito and partners had hired Landgraf as president in 1999). When It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia was just beginning, he said to me, Danny, you and Rhea and the kids might really enjoy this. Long story short, we did love it, and less than a year later, he said they wanted to add a character and would I be interested? I said if they could come up with something that's not just tacked on. And they came up with Frank Reynolds.
They brought me in in a way that fits into my life at this moment. And the changeup feels great. It's like if you're always dealing with the studios and trying to get these big-budget movies made and you're always trying to finagle that avenue, get somebody to greenlight your movie, then something like this, it's simple, it's fun, they pay me very well, and you're staying on top of the new things.
Q. So I hear you've just come out with your own brand of limoncello.
A. Yeah, after drinking one too many before I did The View.
Q. I wasn't going to mention your showing up there ...
A. (rethinking it) Hung over. I would say hung over. Let me tell you about (drinking partner George) Clooney (cackles). He's not above taking you out for drinks, daring you to keep up and dumping his shots into a plant when you're not looking!
An Article from The New York Daily News
Future of 'It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia' is still bright
Thursday, September 18th 2008, 4:00 AM
IT'S ALWAYS SUNNY IN PHILADELPHIA. Thursday at 10.
At some point, the gang on "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia" will no longer be able to top itself, no longer do or say things that are even more wrong than the last thing they said or did.
It hasn't happened yet.
Season four opens Thursday with a scene in which hunting comes up. Danny DeVito's Frank Reynolds walks into the room and of course everything goes bad.
Frank describes his own alleged hunting experience, which sounds remarkably similar to the plot line of the movie "Rambo." Perhaps to give his story a little more individuality, he adds a part about hunting humans.
Naturally Mac (Rob McElhenney) and Dennis (Glenn Howerton) decide that's their kind of sport. So they tell the nice homeless priest Rickety Cricket that he's their quarry.
Soon Mac and Dennis are holed up in large cardboard boxes on the street, dressed in camouflage outfits and packing weaponry. They are also drinking, and they're clearly in no hurry for Cricket to show up.
Mac says this hunting thing is good: "You get to wear sweet clothes and get wasted all day."
Meanwhile, Frank is afraid Charlie (Charlie Day) and Sweet Dee (Kaitlin Olson) are also showing too much interest in this hunting-humans thing. So he cooks them up a tasty meat dish and after they've raved about it he tells them it was human flesh, expecting this will horrify and repel them.
That was so good, they agree, that they've got to get more and if that makes them cannibals, well, so be it.
"We have The Hunger," Dee explains.
This leads to an adventure so twisted that even hard-core fans of the show may feel a little self-conscious about laughing so hard over it.
About as close as it comes to a happy ending is Frank confessing that what he fed them wasn't human flesh. It was raccoon.
That can't be true, says Dee. "We have The Hunger."
"Probably just a tapeworm," shrugs Frank. "Coon meat is full of parasites."
All this is punctuated, naturally, with the matter-of-fact sex and body-function jokes that serve as the carpet on which the rest of the show walks. There's even a hint of actual bar service at Paddy's Pub, where all these dysfunctional folks hang out.
But you don't go to Paddy's, or "Philadelphia," for a cold one after work. You go to marvel at the sheer depth of this crew's self-absorption. They make "Seinfeld," which previously held the unofficial TV record for oblivious disregard of everyone else, look like "Touched by an Angel."
Imagine what's next. Or don't.
An Interview with Glenn Howerton
Interview: Glenn Howerton
On hitting the road with It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia
By CHRIS FARAONE | September 8, 2009
In its first four seasons on FX, the instant cult classic It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia has touched everything from racism to children. The comedy which follows four thirtysomething bar-owning vagrants (and one comparably degenerate role model played by Danny DeVito) in their sinful adventures can be described as Seinfeld with no condom, though that label hardly does justice to its depraved brilliance. In anticipation of their Season Five premiere (September 17 at 10 pm), the show's lead actors/co-creators are coming to the House of Blues this Tuesday as part of a sold-out six-city tour with their live version of "The Nightman Cometh" a fan-favorite musical from Season Four about the joy of sodomy. To learn more about their stage charades described by cast member Charlie Day as a "hybrid between Al Jolson and Bel Biv DeVoe with just a little bit of Aaron Copland and a dash of Yanni" we probed Glenn Howerton, the very funny man behind It's Always Sunny's drunken, crack-smoking, trust-fund scumbag Dennis Reynolds.
Even though you know you're already a television star, what kind of rush is it to sell out massive live venues in a matter of minutes?
It's a whole different experience, since we rarely get first-hand interaction. We knew the show had grown, and the interest was there, but none of us could have been prepared for the Troubadour [in West Hollywood, where the cast test-drove the musical this past April]. You would have thought we were the Stones people were singing every song along with us.
You're touring "The Nightman Cometh" because it's a fan favorite. What is it about a show like yours that makes people get science-fiction-nerd crazy about the minutiae of every episode?
I don't know if anybody can set out to achieve something that takes on that sort of non-conventional crowd. You can only hope. I think part of it is how the show was never shoved down people's throats. Instead, people found out about it because someone else showed it to them. It's like when you know a band and want to tell everyone you know about them it breeds this sort of fanaticism.
Have you had any high schools request the "Nightman Cometh" script for their senior play?
That would be amazing, but I don't think you'd be able to do a show about the rape of a young child at too many high schools. After the second season, though, I heard about acting schools using scenes and a screenwriting class was using a script. I thought that was so fucking cool especially considering that they were using "Mac Bangs Dennis's Mom," which was like the second show I'd ever written in my life.
Since you all have a creative role in addition to being actors, how much of your personas are real even in just the carnal sense?
I've definitely gone through phases when scumbaggery was a part of my life, but nowadays we're all surprisingly different from these characters. I've definitely been a drunk, too and we all continue to drink every now and then but we're not like that. I'm actually getting married soon. This is our sick twisted fantasy life.
Absolutely nothing is sacred to you guys from incest to stalking to retarded people. Who died so you could commit your sins?
The funniest people who you remember were always tackling taboo shit that's what's always made us laugh. It was never our intention to be shocking for the sake of being shocking. We just thought this was funny and nobody else was doing it.
Philly really is a pretty lawless city. Is that part of the inspiration for the sheer depravity?
It was the perfect setting we especially liked the fact that there were no shows like it that took place there. Philly's a scrappy city that kind of lives in the shadow of New York; it just made sense to put these characters there. You can kick these guys around, but they're never gonna stay down. As depraved as they are, they're also oddly optimistic.
What advice do you give people who have never seen the show but are getting dragged there by significant others?
Based on what I saw at the Troubadour, almost everyone will be pretty diehard. Hopefully some of them will even show up in spandex.
What's a question that I'm forgetting to ask that your crazed super-fans are going to write me nasty letters about?
Don't put that shit on me, man. They might want to know about the fifth season, though, and they're not going to be disappointed. We're always taking it a step further, and it's definitely Danny's best year so far.
To watch some clips from It'd Always Sunny in Philadelphia go to http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=it%27s+always+sunny+in+philadelphia+episodes
For a Website dedicated to It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia go to http://itsalwayssunny.tumblr.com/
For a Page dedicated to Danny Devito go to http://www.topix.com/who/danny-devito
For some It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia-related interview videos at the Archive of American Television go to https://interviews.televisionacademy.com/shows/its-always-sunny-philadelphia
For reviews of It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia go to https://www.avclub.com/c/tv-review/its-always-sunny-in-philadelphia
To watch the opening credits go to https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A8vKoU-9AkA
� Date: Tue April 27, 2010 � Filesize: 36.9kb � Dimensions: 524 x 336 �
Keywords: It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia Cast