Are the creators of “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” prescient?
When the FX comedy returns for a seventh season, it will parody both “Pretty Woman” and “Toddlers & Tiaras” in two separate episodes. How could they have known that these bits would perfectly synthesize the TLC show’s recent headline-making debacle?
They couldn’t. But it’s just that sort of genius cultural astuteness that has earned the series heaps of praise, an extremely loyal fanbase – and at least two more seasons on the air.
The other big reveal this year will come in a large package, as “Fat Mac” – the name star Rob McElhenney (Mac) has been given in light of his staggering 50 lb. weight gain – makes his “Sunny” debut.
Watch A Preview Of The New Season:
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Just in time for tonight’s premiere, series stars Kaitlin Olson (Dee), Glenn Howerton (Dennis), Charlie Day (Charlie), Danny DeVito (Frank) and McElhenny offer details on what you need to know about the Paddy’s gang this season.
Frank’s Pretty Woman: The aptly titled episode “Frank’s Pretty Woman,” finds Frank wanting to propose to a prostitute. Of course, in typical “Sunny” fashion, this woman isn’t any old street walker – she’s also a crack addict. “You know the joke that Richard Pryor made about the crack pipe?,” DeVito questions. “‘I smoke the crack pipe and put it down…20 seconds later it makes me feel like a new man. Then 20 seconds later the new man wants a hit.’ That’s the way it is with her – he can’t put her down.”
The Genesis Of “Fat Mac”: McElhenney says it was sitcom “The Big Bang Theory,” where “the nerds are getting better looking,” that influenced his decision to go big. “They’re dressing sharp – their wardrobes are unbelievably expensive, and it works for that show,” he said. “But for us, we tried to do the opposite…I always thought that what we were trying to do with ‘Sunny’ is a sort of deconstruction of the sitcom. So instead of making the characters as likable as possible, we’ve always tried to make them as unlikable as possible,” he said. “So I thought maybe the same could be done with the aesthetics. I thought it would be really interesting to watch somebody purposely try to look as…Ugly as possible, basically.”
The Gang Gets Gory: There’s a certain above average gross-out factor in the new season: Charlie vomits blood, and in two separate episodes Dee bleeds from her head – and eyes. “I don’t think we were intentionally trying to get gory,” McElhenny said. “I think it was just well, What would happen in this moment that people would not expect? So, ultimately that’s always our goal; it’s never to shock or to be gory or gross or anything like that.”
Magic’s In The Air: Although not as spectacular as “The Nightman Cometh,” the gang will perform another song – and dance – number in “Frank Reynold’s Little Beauties,” an episode which finds Frank is suckered into buying the rights to a children’s beauty pageant. There’s “a lot of singing and dancing,” Olsen teased. Howerton, who finds the idea of child pageants abhorrent, said he sees the episode as an important piece of social commentary. “The show always has a point of view in that I think you have to have a certain point of view to tell a good story, but we don’t always take a stand on certain issues,” he said. “But I’m just going to come right out and say it: If you put your kid in a pageant you’re a f–king scumbag. F–k you, there’s no excuse for it.”
Green Screened at the Jersey Shore: In yet another parody episode, the gang goes to the Jersey Shore. Despite the connotations the location has thanks to a certain MTV show, the reality is that the beaches of South Jersey are a summer destination for many Philadelphians. In one specific scene, Frank, Mac, and a rum soaked ham are adrift at sea. Because of the show’s budget, the bit might look a little off. “We were in the ocean, but we couldn’t go out into the middle of the ocean to shoot it,” McElhenney revealed. “It would just be too difficult and expensive and dangerous. So we thought, ‘Well, if we just put up green screen plates, then we can create the look.’ I think ultimately it’s going to look as good as a sitcom can get it. If we had more time and money, we could’ve made it look perfect, but I think people get the joke.”