Last August, at Television Critics Association press tour, as we all filed in for FX Network’s It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia presentation, we found an odd bit of swag waiting at our seats. A bucket of…something. A BIG bucket of something. Big, chunky, nauseating, sticky clusters of….maybe it was oily granola and marshmallow and chocolate. (I didn’t want to look too closely.) Around me, critics were peering into their buckets, some surreptitiously moving them aside, or under their seats. There was some confusion, and a few hushed ewws!
As the cast took the stage, I thought, gee, Rob McElhenney is looking kinda…chunky.
Oh, chunks of…. Oh, I get it!!!
McElhenney, who plays Mac, gained 50 pounds for the seventh season of It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia which debuts tonight (Thursday) at 10p.
The weight gain and the ensuing antics (shopping for “ugly as hell” Tommy Bahama shirts, insulin injections over chimichangas etc.) isn’t the half of it. It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia is as outrageous and depraved and funny as ever. My husband and I were ROTF laughing as we screened the first four episodes. As the series enters its 7th season, McElhenney and crew have upped their game.
How they come up with some of this stuff - I just don’t know. They revel in touching the third rail.
Here’s a small sampling:
Frank (Danny DeVito) wants to marry Roxie, a vodka-swilling crack whore. She says Tiger Woods is one of her clients but he turns out to be an impostor. When confronted, the impostor then claims he’s really Don Cheadle. He’s into “foot sh*t.”
The posse heads to The Jersey Shore where Frank acquires, then loses, a ham. Frank and Mac end up on a party boat, but Dennis (Glenn Howerton) and Dee (Kaitlin Olson) aren’t so lucky. They wander into the wrong, so very WRONG, side of town. Frank finds his ham, eventually.
At TCA, when McElhenney was asked about his weight gain, he said he’d been watching a popular sitcom and noticed the casts were “getting better-looking as the years” wore on. (According to some reports, he was referring to Friends.)
“I think mostly because they were more famous, and they had a lot more money, and they got new hair and new teeth and a new trainer,” he said to laughter in the audience. “And 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…. I’m being realistic in terms of the way that the character would look based on the way he eats and drinks and doesn’t work out. This is close to what he would look like. So, it wasn’t just about the weight gain, it’s also the beard, and my hair was really greasy, and I tried to look as ugly as possible, basically.”
But see, that’s the thing. The more they push the envelope, the more we love them.
Funny how that works…