It's Always Sunny Creator Interview

It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia returns for its 13th season to answer some cliffhangers. Dennis (Glenn Howerton) was moving to North Dakota to be with his son, and Charlie (Charlie Day) and the Waitress (Mary Elizabeth Ellis) were going to try to have a baby.

With Howerton’s involvement still ambiguous (one episode features a lifelike Dennis sex doll prominently), only two of the original Sunny creators were available for interviews at TCA. Charlie Day and Rob McElhenney spoke with /Film about the upcoming season.

Episodes previewed for press include the season premiere set in an escape room (with guest star Mindy Kaling), the sex doll episode, and one in which Mac comes out. Day and McElhenney told us more, and also speculated on the gang’s political preferences. It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia returns tonight on FXX.

After 13 years, is it harder to find ways for the gang to be offensive? Or is it easier the more sensitive people get?

Day: It’s probably easier, right?

McElhenney: Although it’s not our goal to be offensive ever. That’s not really what we’re going for, but I think it’s just a byproduct of terrible behavior.

Day: That’s true, yeah, but it’s easier because you can do anything and offend somebody now. These characters just have to walk out the front door and they’re going to get into some kind of trouble.

Escape Rooms are relatively new, or at least their popularity is recent. When did you hit on that idea for an episode?

McElhenney: It came from one of our writers.

Day: Yeah, Megan Ganz, who’s been writing for us now for a couple seasons, is a big escape room fan. She does them all the time and she was explaining them to us.

McElhenney: She’s traveled the world. Seriously traveled all through Europe and South America I think doing escape rooms. She’s done something like 100 of them.

Day: So she was really the expert on them and was walking us through how they work. We loved the idea for the show.

Was Mindy Kaling a fan?

Day: Yeah, and she worked with both Rob and Glenn.

McElhenney: I had done a couple episodes of Mindy as had Glenn, so she’s a fan of Sunny. We were friends so we asked her to come in for the first episode.

Do you have any other guest stars coming up?

Day: Did we this year?

McElhenney: Well, remember we had Al Pacino.

Day: We got Gail the Snail back.

McElhenney: Oh, I thought you were gonna… you don’t want to do the gag?

Day: Well, it’s better on camera. In print it doesn’t work. 

Are Charlie and the Waitress sort of co-dependent now?

Day: Yeah, we do start the season seeing what has become of the two of them. They’ve been living together and trying to have a baby and not having any luck of it. It’s causing them tension and tension is usually not good for these characters.

Should Charlie have been careful what he wished for?

Day: I think he should’ve been careful what he wished for. Timing is everything so he might be a little bit late.

Would you ever do a Sunny version of #MeToo?

Day: We did.

McElhenney: We did, this season. Probably episode three or four.

Day: I don’t know where it will air in the run.

McElhenney: Also written by Megan Ganz.

Day: These characters are in the hottest water of all. Not one of them has a good track record.

So what is the Sunny take on it?

McElhenney: We’re going through sensitivity training.

Day: The Sunny take is watch these guys go through sensitivity training.

Which of the gang do you think are Trump supporters?

Day: Probably all.

McElhenney: Well, it’s not specific to Trump. They’ll support anybody who they think, in the moment, furthers their own self-interest.

Day: That’s exactly right. If it favors them in the moment to support Trump, they’re all for it.

McElhenney: But they’ll be all about Jill Stein if they have to be.

Day: If it favors them not to support them, they will turn on him like he’ll turn on us.

Does it ever come up this season?

Day: A little bit but not much.

I was surprised it didn’t in “The Gang Makes Paddy’s Great Again.”

McElhenney: Well, that’s the subtle way in which it does.

Day: It was almost too late by the time we started writing this season. Everyone had been there and done that and had stuff to say about him that the jokes felt stale.

Did Glenn pose for the sex doll?

McElhenney: Yes.

Day: He did, didn’t he?

McElhenney: That’s built to spec.

Is it a cast of some sort?

McElhenney: Yeah, I don’t know the exact process.

Day: It was made by a special effects team, right? Not a doll making company.

So that’s three of the episodes. What are the other seven?

Day: We have a two parter about the Eagles winning the Super Bowl where we get to see the gang go to the Super Bowl. Unfortunately we see Charlie left home alone by accident.

McElhenney: We have our version of a clip show.

Day: What happens when the Sunny characters try to sit around and reminisce.

McElhenney: Reminisce about the good old days. Episode seven, Mac’s coming out party. 

Day: One about getting bikes.

McElhenney: Some simple ones.

Rob, how excited are you and Mac that Cobra Kai is back?

McElhenney: Pretty sweet. Pretty sweet. It kind of flipped it a little bit. It’s kinda cool to see the Cobra Kai guys are the good guys and Macchio’s kind of the bad guy.

Disney is going to own Sunny now, aren’t they?

McElhenney: Yes!

Do you have any worry they might say, “Don’t do that joke?”

McElhenney: No, I don’t think so.

Day: [Does Mickey Mouse impression] Aw, shucks. Don’t do that joke.

For a little while there was talk of a real Lethal Weapon 5 with Mel Gibson and Danny Glover. Did you follow that and hoping that would happen?

Day: Well, if it happened we’d have to sue.

McElhenney: That’s copyright.

Day: They can skip straight to seven. Five and six have been spoken for.

Maybe they could have Gibson and Glover switch so Glover is Riggs and Gibson is Murtaugh.

Day: That’d be really good. They switch parts halfway through.

You’re still a tight 22 minutes an episode. FX has comedies that go over 30 minutes. Are you ever tempted to go longer?

Day: Sometimes we ask them for a little more time.

McElhenney: We have a couple episodes go a little bit longer but there’s a rhythm to the show that feels right at about 20 minutes.

You’re each developing shows separately. Charlie’s got The Cool Kids on Fox. What else should we look for?

McElhenney: We’ve got some other stuff coming on the horizon.

All comedy?

Day: Yeah, we have a lot of different comedy projects. We’re juggling them all now but what’s great is when it comes to our development, there are three of us. We can bounce ideas off each other and take turns focusing on something. It’s a juggling act right now for sure but we’ve got a lot of good stuff hopefully all coming out soon.

Cool Posts From Around the Web: