It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia first aired on August 4th, 2005 and is now in the process of filming its 13th season. Show creator Rob McElhenney stars alongside Glenn Howerton, Charlie Day, Kaitlin Olson, and the legendary Danny DeVito as a group of narcissistic friends always on the lookout for quick (and usually immoral) ways to make their lives easier and richer. According to a 2009 interview with Entertainment Weekly, the concept for Always Sunny was born out of a nightmare, McElhenney explained:
“It was just an idea of a guy going over to another guy’s house to ask him for sugar, and the other guy telling him that he has cancer. And instead of the friend being compassionate, he just wants to get the sugar and get out the door. I knew that nobody else would think that was funny except Glenn and Charlie. So I wrote a script and showed it to them."
The first season and then-unknown cast was met with low ratings, but they remained optimistic and knew they wanted to add a new, older character into the mix. Enter Danny DeVito: “The guys wanted someone who was just like our characters, but older. Danny’s name came up, and right away, it seemed like a good idea. He’s quirky, funny and gritty,” said Kaitlin Olson in the Entertainment Weekly interview. The addition of DeVito boosted the ratings, but it was during Season 3 (around episode 9) where the show really took off; specifically after a scene where Charlie writes a song (while huffing glue) called "Dayman".
In fact, as of 2016, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia is the longest-running live-action comedy series in TV history. Even if you’ve never seen the show, you’ve most likely seen someone wearing a Paddy’s Pub t-shirt, or heard someone quoting a line from the show. Charlie’s “Greenman” character is most likely the influence for the RootSuits you see at large events.
Despite its popularity, original writing and hilarious cast, the show is a favorite snub of the Emmys. In its entire twelve-year run, the only Emmy nominations it has received were for Outstanding Stunt Coordination. Between 2012-2017 it was nominated four times for a People’s Choice Award under Favorite Cable TV Comedy, winning only in 2016. But the actors and writers don’t seem to be too bothered by it, even poking fun with an episode called "The Gang Tries Desperately to Win an Award" in Season 9.
Whatever the reason for the perpetual snub, the show has achieved massive success and certainly made a name for itself and has undoubtedly helped launch the film and television careers of Charlie Day (Horrible Bosses, Pacific Rim) and Kaitlin Olson (The Mick).
Despite the lack of praise, it looks like the gang got it right.
Kristen DiMarzio lives in the Boston area with her dog and two cats, so her apartment often resembles the stampede scene in Jumanji. She loves coffee, the cinematic cheese that is Hallmark Christmas movies, and she totally believes in ghosts.
Follow Kristen on Twitter @krrrispy.