Just the FAQs: Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About 'It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia'
by Kim Potts, posted Nov 4th 2010 5:30PM
If you're a fan of FX's delightfully irreverent comedy 'It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia' -- the funniest show on TV, IMHO -- you probably already know the basics: The show was the brainchild of actor pals Rob McElhenney, Charlie Day and Glenn Howerton, who spent around $100 on tapes and shot a DIY pilot that was later bought by FX.
The original concept revolved around the guys' struggles to make it as actors in Los Angeles, but FX wanted to move away from the showbiz angle, so the action was moved to a bar in Philly, gifted comedic actress Kaitlin Olson was added to the mix (as was TV and movie acting/producing star Danny DeVito, at the beginning of the second season), and a hit was born.
The show has grown its audience every season thanks to DVDs, promo efforts on college campuses, a syndication deal that has episodes airing on Comedy Central and, of course, the fact that the exploits of the Paddy's Pub gang have gotten funnier and more outrageous every year.
With the show now in its sixth season and continuing to blend its subversive humor with clever spins on timely social issues (the season-opening 'Mac Fights Gay Marriage,' for instance), AOL TV talked to hilarious, scene-stealing stars Day and Olson about season 6, the future of the show (more musical episodes?) and yes, lots of scoop on Sweet Dee's baby!
First things first: Last week's 'Who Got Dee Pregnant?' did not, in fact, answer the question it posed. We know it's not Charlie or Mac or, after some very uncomfortable speculation with the McPoyles, not Frank nor Dennis, either ... so, will we find out who the daddy is before the end of season 6? Will Dee have the baby before the end of the season?
"Yes, she will have the baby before the end of the season, and the (question) will get answered," replied Olson, whose real-life pregnancy -- with hubby and co-star McElhenney -- was written into the show for Dee. "We wanted to have an episode where we address (Dee's) pregnancy so that, from then on out, I can just wear normal clothes, and you could tell that I was pregnant, and we wouldn't have to address it. So we won't really talk about it for awhile. I'll just be pregnant, and I'll just be wearing clothes where you can see that I'm pregnant, and then, before the end of the season, all those questions are answered."
Will we be surprised by the daddy's identity?
"Yeah, I think you'll be surprised by who the father is, yes," saidOlson. "I don't think you're going to be able to guess who it is." And, just a bit of speculation here: Rumor has it that Kyle Davis will return later in the season as Sweet Dee's ex, rapper Lil Kev, so ... maybe that's a coincidence, maybe it isn't.
Did the 'Sunny' gang consider not writing Olson's pregnancy into the show? Was Olson totally on board with the storyline?
"I was hoping that they would do it, because I hate watching shows where they're trying to hide it," said the star, who gave birth to son Axel Lee McElhenney on Sept. 1. "In fact, I hated watching these episodes leading up to ('Who Got Dee Pregnant?'), where they tried to hide it. I just feel like everybody knows you're pregnant and, you know, I can understand if they couldn't come up with a unique and really funny way to make it happen. But I was hoping that they would, and I think that they did.
"Rob and I would talk about it and sort of brainstorm at home, but he would go and have meetings with the writers, and they would try and figure it out. The writers were actually the first people who knew I was pregnant. Our families didn't even know (yet), because we had to tell the writers right away. It was kind of scary for me. I was very newly pregnant, and they had started writing, and we were like, 'Uh, we kind of have to tell these people.'
It was very personal, and there was definitely a part of me that wanted to be pregnant on the show, because I was excited about actually being pregnant. I didn't want to hide it. I was really happy that we ended up being able to work it in."
Added Day, "It would have made our lives a little easier in the writers room (to not write the pregnancy in). But, like anything else, you know, when you're presented with a little challenge, oftentimes if you face it head on and embrace it, you can get some great stuff out of it. So I feel as though some of the better episodes of the season are going to pop up as soon as you discover she's pregnant. And in fact, the episode where we addressed it for the first time, is one of my favorite ones we've ever done."
Speaking of ... any hints as to the circumstances of Baby Reynolds' dad and upcoming birth?
Day said the gang handles the baby daddy's identity and the birth in a way that we've never seen before on TV. And Olson confirmed, "Yes, I've never seen it before. I think that people are going to jump to some obvious conclusions about who the dad is, and we've sort of avoided all of those, which is great. And that's hard to do. They spent a really long time trying to figure out the best way to incorporate (her real-life pregnancy), and there were a lot of different ideas that got thrown around.
One of them was having me get fat, which I thought would be funny, and having me wear a fat suit the entire season, and a bigger and bigger butt. (But) that was going to be difficult with continuity, because we shoot out of order. So yeah, I really like how they handled it. I think it's unique, and that's always what we're going for."
As for Baby Reynolds' future, Day cryptically explained, "I cannot say whether or not a Dee baby will be a part of season seven, but I can say that you will know whether or not a Dee baby will be a part of season 7 by the end of season 6 ."
Is there any chance that baby Axel McElhenney will play Baby Reynolds on 'It's Always Sunny'?
They may be among the wackiest characters in primetime, but here's a sign that the actors who play them are among the most sane, most down-to-earth people in Hollywood: no child stardom ahead for Axel. "Our son will not be anywhere near a camera, unless he's breastfeeding and I'm working," Olson laughed. "He can do plays and community theater, and things like that, but until he's 18, he's going to be doing school and kid things. That's our take on acting kids.
"We want him to be a normal kid, do normal kid things. Unless we suddenly lose our jobs, and then absolutely," she joked. "We'll hire him out for large amounts of money, because he's really cute."
The Waitress, Artemis, the McPoyles, Mac's mom, Charlie's mom, Uncle Jack and Rickety Cricket have been back this season ... any other guest stars coming up?
In addition to the aforementioned Lil Kev, Tom Sizemore plays a "loose cannon" truck driver who tangles with Charlie and Dennis later in the season, and in tonight's new 'The Gang Gets a New Member' installment (10PM ET, FX), 'Saturday Night Live' star Jason Sudekis guests as Schmitty, who comes back into the gang's lives, much to the chagrin of one Paddy's Pub-er, in particular.
Day has shot back-to-back flicks -- 'Going the Distance' and the upcoming 'Horrible Bosses' -- with Sudekis, and they bonded so much that he asked him to join in the 'Philadelphia' fun. "He's just so funny, and we got along so well filming 'Going the Distance' that, there was an idea for a character that we were bouncing around in the writers room, and, you know, I called him up to see if he would be interested in coming and (laughing) making no money, and he was up for it," said Day. "So I'm really happy that he's in it. It's one of my favorite ones that we've done this season."
There's also one very, very special guest star in the Dec. 2 'The Gang Gets Stranded in the Woods' episode: Ann Scapin, Charlie Day's 94-year-old grandma!
"There's a shot of her. It's pretty quick. But she's part of the montage that happens in Atlantic City," Day said. "It's her finest work, though. She called me to say how excited she was to actually get a check in the mail, and she said she hadn't ... you know, she's 94 years old. She said she hadn't received a paycheck in something like 20 years."
|It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia||Mon, May 31 9pm / 8c|
|Loan for Gasoline|
The gang is great when they're all together, but there are also wonderful moments between Charlie and Frank, Dennis and Dee, Mac and Charlie, Sweet Dee and that car door ... do the writers write with those chemistries in mind?
"Well, I certainly love acting with (Danny)," Day said. "I find him to be hilarious and he makes me laugh to no end. But, you know, I wouldn't say that we have any more chemistry than I do with the other characters. I think the storyline, and how Charlie and Frank live, makes for some really funny stuff. They're two pretty ridiculous human beings. I think people get a lot of joy out of those scenes because of that.
"(But) we usually try and spread it out pretty equally so that every character goes on different adventures with other characters. That keeps the episodes fresh and the season fresh, so it's not 12 episodes of Charlie and Frank. Some of my favorite episodes are the ones where I get scenes with just me and Sweet Dee. As we're writing, be conscious of which characters are paired together in that particular episode and make sure we spread the wealth and keep it interesting, not only for the fans, but for the actors."
As for Olson, she loves the comedy between the characters and the physical comedy she gets to do as Sweet Dee. "I find big shocking things funny, and I don't think you expect to see a woman, dressed up, to come running out of a shoe store and ram her head into a car door, and really hurt herself!" she laughed. "So stuff like that is just funny to me, and they'll write these things into the show, because it's funny to them, too. But when it comes to the day of shooting, we always have a stunt double there, I think it's an insurance thing, and they always want me to let the stunt double do it. And I'm like, 'What are you talking about!? Absolutely not!' That's like asking someone else to do your scene for you. It doesn't make any sense. So, yeah, those are some of my favorite moments, for sure."
What is The Waitress' actual name?
It's The Waitress, and that's the only name we know her by. Will we ever find out her real moniker? "Tough to say, but perhaps," Day laughed. "If you do, most likely it would be in the final season. She actually had a name in the original pilot that we filmed, and then she just wasn't addressed by name in the first set of episodes that went to air. And, you know, it's become this thing that people want to know what her real name is. So we might very well, if we ever reveal it, say what that original name was, or perhaps we'll come up with something more creative by then."
Is Paddy's Pub a real bar in Philadelphia?
No, but there is a real Mac's Tavern, a new Philly sports bar co-owned by Olson and McElhenney. "We are really excited about it. It's a really cool bar. It's like a very neighborhoody feel, sports bar, with great food," Olson said. "That was one thing that was really important to me. I love food, and I love going into bars and having there be actual food. I mean, we've got good bar food, but there's also delicious restaurant food in there, and there's healthy options, and I love it there. We're going back (to Philadelphia) soon for about a week to do some events, and also to see (Rob's) family, and I'm really looking forward to the sandwiches at the bar. (Laughing).
"Rob's friends from high school, who now are my friends also, wanted to open a bar, and they've got some experience running bars, and they asked if we would be interested in partnering up ... And opening a restaurant or a bar has always been something I wanted to do. I just think that it sounds awesome. I like watching football, and I love going to good sports bars that are clean and have good food. It's one of my favorite things to do on Sundays. So when they came to us, they came to Rob, and Rob asked me how I felt about it, and I was like, 'Yes, absolutely! That sounds awesome!' And I designed the bathroom, because I wanted the women's room to be nice. (Laughing) It's small, but it's clean, and it has pretty wallpaper, and pretty mirrors."
Can one purchase 'It's Always Sunny' merch, like the famous d*ck towel, at Mac's Tavern?
Though Mac's Tavern menu items include "Sweet D's Sausage and P's" and the "It's Always Sunnyside Up" breakfast, d*ck towels, kitten mittens, the liquor shot gun and the Dennis shirt pop-off pen, sadly, are not for purchase at the bar. "We talked about stuff like that, and we decided we didn't really want to turn it into an 'It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia' theme park," Olson laughed. "It's really just something that Rob and I wanted to do, so no, you can't buy a d*ck towel there. Although, the people who are working there probably have them. You just have to borrow theirs. They're very sharing."
The d*ck towel ... whose idea was it?
"I think that one was all Rob McElhenney," said Charlie Day. "He just ... I think he just had an idea for a funny towel like that, and, you know, of course we were all on the floor laughing with his description of it, and drawing up various versions of it on a dry erase board."
And yes, the towels are still for sale at the official d*ck towel Website that the 'Sunny' gang launched.
"The network obviously, for standards reasons, felt as though they couldn't be in the business of selling that themselves. So we decided we'd sell a few of them," explained Day. "And, you know, you're not going to put the kids through college, so to speak, but it was nice that some people actually went out and bought a few of them. I think they're more popular to talk and laugh about than to actually bring to the beach. But we'll see. Maybe there'll be a surge in d*ck towel buying this Christmas. Who knows?
Is Rickety Cricket really married to Bones?
Yes! Sorta. 'Sunny' producer David Hornsby, who also portrays former priest Matthew "Rickety Cricket" Mara on the show, married 'Bones' star Emily Deschanel in September 2010.
Other real-life 'Sunny' marriages: Olson and McElhenney; Day and Mary Elizabeth Ellis, who plays Charlie's crush, The Waitress; and Howerton and actress Jill Latiano, who guest-starred as Dennis's love interest in season five's 'The D.E.N.N.I.S. System.'
In fact, of the Paddy's Pub gang, only Danny DeVito has not yet co-starred with his real-life spouse on the show. "You know, we have to get (Rhea Perlman) on the show," Day said. "We've been trying to figure out the right thing to have her come in and do. So hopefully when we figure it out in the writers room, she'll agree to do it."
'The Nightman Cometh' is, hands down, one of the best episodes of the show ever ... will the gang do another musical episode?
"Yeah, there's been talk. We've sort of discussed it, and we'll see," Day said. "I'm sure it will be brought up in the writers room again, and then the only question will be, you know, the only problem is any time you do something after already doing it, people inevitably compare it to the first thing, and maybe it's not as good. But I think we just enjoy doing music on the show so much that it would be a shame not to come up with some idea involving music again. Whether it's another actual musical or not, that I don't know."
How about another live performance tour, like they did with 'The Nightman Cometh' tour last year?
Day again: "There's no plan on the books, but it was such a rush and just a genuine joy to do those shows and to get to be there with the fans. It's a fairly interactive show in a sense, and I'm sure when time permits, we'll do it again."
And finally, those sounds at the end of the episodes, when the production logo comes on ... it sounds like the guys are talking in reverse ... what's up with that?
"You know, that was just something we did on a goof the first season, and then the second and the third, just to mix it up," said Day of the random messages. "And honestly, the fourth, the fifth and the sixth seasons, it really has depended on who's been in the room where we do sound mixes. Sometimes one of us will go to a sound mix, and the other two will stay in the editing room, and whoever goes to the first one gets to pretty much decide what's going to be the one for that year.
So this year Glenn did it, and I don't even know what he said. I'm going to have to e-mail him and find out."
If you're curious to hear the messages played backwards, check out this fan Website, and prepare for much use of the word "brown."