It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia returned to FXX for its 14th season on September 25th. Only one live-action sitcom in TV history has lasted THAT long; the 50s family comedy The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet –pretty much the polar opposite of Sunny.
(Note: Ozzie and Harriet had 435 episodes, whereas Sunny would need to make another five seasons after this one just to clear 200.)
So, it seems that TV series are NOT meant to run this long. But they show is still pretty great, with, among other things, Mac trying to find a way to express his feelings about being gay to his incarcerated father in a dance number that HAS to be seen. It’s not what you’d expect. (Watch below.)
Rolling Stone Stone spoke to series creator and star, Rob McElehenny (Mac) and he explained Mac’s newfound gayness.
“We have certainly mined plenty of comedy out of the extreme right and the extreme left. We were looking at Mac at one point, and I was like,
‘He is such an arch-arch Catholic conservative when it suits him, and when it doesn’t, he drops that.’
And most of the people I know in that camp tend to be fairly homophobic. So we began going down that road: Let’s satirize that hard Christian conservative who is also intensely homophobic. OK, so what’s the next step from there? And that’s when I thought,
‘Let’s just make him gay.’
What we realized is, if you look back over the seasons, it almost worked retroactively.
We found there was an episode where we had a running gag that Mac was in the closet and refused to come out, and everyone there knew he was gay except for him. The joke wasn’t that Mac was gay, obviously. That would have been demeaning and offensive. The joke was that he was in the closet, and he refused to come out and doubled down on his homophobia. It was just poking fun at the hypocrisy of that. At one point, my character came out and then went back in the closet at the end of the episode.
I didn’t expect it, but there was a massive outpouring from our LGBTQ fans, who were really upset. They felt like,
‘Oh, wow, he finally came out. We feel represented. This is a really fun and cool character.’
That made them feel like it was a chance for us to do something different, and we put him back in the closet. We thought about it over the off-season, and I realized,
Man, that is a bummer. We had an opportunity there, and we screwed it up.’
And we ameliorated that in the season after, where Mac winds up coming out and staying out, and the response was so overwhelmingly positive, certainly from the people that we cared about, though of course there was a negative response from a segment of the audience we didn’t care about.
It felt good that we were recognizing a part of our audience in a way that was not pandering, that wasn’t offensive or upsetting or a caricature. We weren’t creating a gay character for comedic effect, that was there just to be gay and to be funny because he was gay, but a very complex, very disturbed, very fucked-up and awful character, who happens to be gay. And we ran with that.
(Photos, Patrick McElhenney/FXX; via Rolling Stone)