The Paddy’s gang is back! Thursday night at 10 pm, FX’s ‘It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia‘ returns for a sixth season.
Over the past five years, the comedy about a group of hopelessly irredeemable narcissists has grown to boast one of TV’s most loyal fanbases. Creator, executive producer, and star Rob McElhenney describes the show’s expanding appeal thusly: “It’s like that first bitter taste of coffee, and then you start to develop a taste for it – or maybe an addiction. The characters are off-putting at first because you’ve never seen a group of people together in a sitcom acting the way that these people do.
“And that was our goal, which I think can leave a bad taste in your mouth at first. But then over time, you start to see that these are not just obnoxious people, but they are people who are pathetic.” And pathetic pays. Late last year, Comedy Central snatched up the ‘Sunny’ syndication rights for a multi-year deal.
McElhenney, along with executive producers and stars Charlie Day and Glenn Howerton, provided a glimpse into what to expect this upcoming season.
Sweet Dee-livery: Rather than conceal Kaitlin Olson’s very real baby bump [her first child with husband McElhenney], her pregnancy was incorporated into the second half of the season. First up is a flashback-themed whodunnit devoted to identifying Dee’s baby daddy. A later episode will focus on Dee’s delivery. McElhenney admits he was moved to tears witnessing his wife give birth on camera. “Watching her in the hospital with a real life newborn, it was really touching in a way that I didn’t think it would be,” he says. “But it’s a really interesting moment in the episode, [and] one that our fans probably aren’t used to.”
The New Charlie Work: Being Married To Frank: After co-habitating in a one room apartment for several seasons, Frank and Charlie get hitched in the episode “Mac Fights Gay Marriage.” Wait, what? Charlie and Frank fall in love? No. Turns out their union is one of convenience – so Charlie can reap the benefits of Frank’s health insurance policy. As the episode’s title suggests, Mac goes on an anti-same sex love crusade when he discovers a former hermaphrodite flame has found a husband. “It’s an issue we’ve wanted to touch on for years because it’s out there,” Day says of tackling the gay marriage debate. “We try not to lean one way or the other on a topic usually, but I think we all agree that it’s ridiculous that someone can get married in Las Vegas and divorced the next day, but you can’t if you’re gay because it’s too sacred – or whatever. We wanted to shine a light on that.”
Multiple McPoyles, Cricket, And The Return Of Soldier Boy: “There are actually some great ancillary characters that show up in an episode this year for very specific reasons,” teases Howerton. Dee’s one-time love interest, a soldier she met on the Internet, will return, as well as Rickety Cricket, and the milk-slurping, unibrowed McPoyles. On why the McPoyles have been relatively scarce the past few seasons, McElhenney says, “I would love to use them more. But they’re so strange that it’s hard to come up with stories to justify why they would be there. That being said, we’ll use them as much as we possibly can. I mean, they’re amazing.”
Yacht Rock: Flush from their successful D-ck Towel enterprise, Mac, Charlie, and Dennis buy a boat with their earnings. Sadly, $2,500 doesn’t go far in the world of “P Diddy-style shrimping vessels,” and they wind up with a major fixer-upper. No strangers to the soft rock hits of the 80s (Dennis + Rick Astley 4 Eva), prepare for a magical moment set to the tune of Steve Winwood’s “Back In The High Life.”
The Phillies Get Sizemored: Philadelphia Phillies Chase Utley and Ryan Howard will make a guest appearance this season along with Tom Sizemore when the gang finally leaves The City of Brotherly Love to trek all the way to…New Jersey. “We wanted to do an episode with Chase Utley because he’s such a huge part of my character’s life. He’s sort of obsessed with him,” McElhenney explains. “Then we came up with this really interesting storyline where a couple of us get to hang out with them. Then we had this other character who is supposed to be a maniac, and we were just knocking around ideas for who we could pick, and Sizemore came up.” McElhenney says he was impressed with the ball players’ acting skills. “Both Chase and Ryan were amazing. Usually when you have athletes the joke is that they’re there, not that they’re actually talented or able to deliver lines. These guys were able to deliver lines and comedy in ways that most actors can.”
Additional reporting by Joseph Goldman.