It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia
|It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia|
|Also known as||It's Always Sunny|
|Created by||Rob McElhenney|
|Theme music composer||Heinz Kiessling|
|Opening theme||"Temptation Sensation"|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||9|
|No. of episodes||104 (List of episodes)|
|Running time||22 minutes|
|Original run||August 4, 2005– present|
It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia is an American television sitcom that premiered on FX on August 4, 2005. New episodes continue to air on FXX, with reruns playing on Comedy Central, general broadcast syndication, and WGN America—the first cable-to-cable syndication deal for a sitcom. The show was created by Rob McElhenney, and produced by McElhenney, Glenn Howerton, and Charlie Day, all of whom star in the show. The series follows the exploits of "The Gang", a group of self-centered friends who run Paddy's Pub, a relatively unsuccessful Irish bar in South Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The series moved to FX's new network FXX beginning with the ninth season, and has been renewed for a tenth season to debut in January 2015. In April 2014, the series was renewed for an eleventh and twelfth season, each to consist of 10 episodes.
The series follows "The Gang", a group of five depraved underachievers: twins Dennis Reynolds and Deandra "Sweet Dee" Reynolds; their friends Charlie Kelly, Ronald "Mac" McDonald, and, from season 2 onward, Frank Reynolds, the man who raised Dennis and Dee. The Gang runs the dilapidated Paddy's Pub, an Irish bar in South Philadelphia.
Each member of the gang shows varying degrees of dishonesty, egotism, selfishness, greed, pettiness, ignorance, laziness and unethical behavior, and they are often engaged in controversial activities. Episodes usually find them hatching elaborate schemes, conspiring against one another and others for personal gain, vengeance, or simply for the entertainment of watching one another's downfall. They habitually inflict mental, emotional and physical pain. They regularly use blackmail to manipulate one another and others outside of the group.
Their unity is never solid - any of them would quickly dump any one of the others for quick profit or personal gain regardless of the consequences. Everything they do results in contention among themselves and much of the show's dialogue involves the characters arguing or yelling at one another. Despite their lack of success or achievement, The Gang maintain high opinions of themselves and display an obsessive interest in their own reputations and public images. Despite this high sense of self-worth, The Gang has no sense of shame when attempting to get what they want and often engages in activities which others would find humiliating, disgusting, or even preposterous, such as smoking crack cocaine in order to qualify for welfare, seducing a priest, or hiding naked inside a leather couch in order to spy on someone.
During the Season 7 episode "The Gang Gets Trapped", a short, angry, monologue by Dennis Reynolds captures the essence of The Gang's modus operandi: "We immediately escalate everything to a ten. ... (S)omebody comes in with some preposterous plan or idea, then all of a sudden everyone's on the gas, nobody's on the brakes, nobody's thinking, everyone's just talking over each other with one idiotic idea after another. Until, finally, we find ourselves in a situation where we've broken into somebody's house - and the homeowner is home."
Cast and characters
- Rob McElhenney as Ronald "Mac" McDonald – Mac is a co-owner of Paddy's Pub. He is Charlie Kelly's childhood friend and Dennis' high school friend and later roommate. The son of a convicted felon, Mac is frequently trying to demonstrate his toughness and refers to himself as the "sheriff of Paddy's." He also often brags about his hand-to-hand combat skills, although he typically flees any type of physical confrontation.
- Glenn Howerton as Dennis Reynolds – Dennis is a co-owner of Paddy's Pub and is Deandra's twin brother. The most sociopathic of the characters, Dennis is abrasive, narcissistic, selfish, histrionic and vain. Much of his inflated ego is perpetuated by his Ivy League education at the University of Pennsylvania where he minored in Psychology.
- Kaitlin Olson as Deandra "Sweet Dee" Reynolds – Sweet Dee is Dennis' twin sister, the main bartender at Paddy's Pub and the show's main female character. Sweet Dee dreams of becoming an actress although she lacks any apparent talent and occasionally suffers from debilitating stage fright. She wore a back brace in high school, leaving her with the nickname "the Aluminum Monster". She majored in Psychology at the University of Pennsylvania but failed her classes. Dee lives in an apartment alone, although she had a cat at one point until it became trapped in her wall.
- Charlie Day as Charlie Kelly – Charlie was co-owner at Paddy's Pub, but traded all his stocks for "goods and services", half a sandwich, and other unnamed reasons. He is a childhood friend of Mac and later high school friend of Dennis and Dee. He is also Frank's roommate. Charlie does most of the dirty work (referred to as "Charlie Work") at the pub, is borderline illiterate, an alcoholic and substance abuser and is often seen huffing glue/paint. He suffers from deep psychological problems, and lives in squalor. An abortion survivor, Charlie has extreme anger issues and often screams to get his point across. He also has a severely unhealthy obsession with "The Waitress", who finds Charlie repulsive and shows no interest in him.
- Danny DeVito as Frank Reynolds (Season 2–present) – Frank is the legal father of twins Dennis and Sweet Dee, and may be the biological father of his roommate Charlie. He used to be a successful businessman with a long history of illegal operations and dealings with sordid characters, but chose to abandon that life and redeem himself after leaving his money-grabbing, cheating wife. He now shares a tiny, filthy studio apartment with Charlie, where they share a pullout couch.
The show began as a short film idea written by Rob McElhenney and Glenn Howerton about a man telling his friend he might have cancer, while the friend is only intent on trying to borrow a cup of sugar for the "shitload of coffee" he has made. This was then developed into a pilot called It's Always Sunny on TV and was shot on a digital camcorder by Charlie Day, Glenn Howerton, and Rob McElhenney. This pilot was shopped by the actors around various studios, their pitch being simply showing the DVD of the pilot to executives. After viewing the pilot, FX Network ordered the first season. Although it is often stated publicly that Always Sunny was one of the first shows to be shot in 24p standard-definition video, using Panasonic's DVX100 MiniDV prosumer video camera, from the sixth season forward, the show was shot in 24p using high-definition video cameras.
To boost ratings and achieve more mainstream exposure, Danny DeVito joined the cast in the first episode of the second season, playing the father of Dennis (played by Glenn Howerton) and Sweet Dee (played by Kaitlin Olson).
Exterior shots of Paddy's Pub are not shot in Philadelphia; however, the opening sequence, the coffee house (Philadelphia Java Company on 4th Street), and other exterior shots are. Most interiors are shot on Los Angeles sound stages. Exterior shots of Paddy's Pub are shot at the Starkman Building, 544 Mateo Street, Los Angeles ( "The Great Recession" shows a street sign which places it at 3rd and Dickinson in South Philadelphia ( ). Rob McElhenney grew up near Dickinson and Moyemensing near the location. In 2009, McElhenney and Olson announced their purchase of Skinner's Bar at 226 Market Street in Philadelphia ( ). It was renamed Mac's Tavern.).
The first season ran for seven episodes with the season finale airing September 13, 2005. According to McElhenney, word of mouth on the show was good enough for FX to renew it for a second season, which ran from June 29 to August 17, 2006. Reruns of edited first season episodes began airing on FX's parent network, Fox, in June 2006, for a planned three episode run—"The Gang Finds a Dead Guy", "Gun Fever" (which was renamed as "Gun Control") and "Charlie Gets Molested" were shown. The show would not be shown on broadcast television until 2011, when FX began offering the show for syndication.
The third season ran from September 13, 2007 to November 15, 2007. On March 5, 2008, FX renewed It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia for a fourth season. On July 15, 2008, it was reported that FX had ordered 39 additional episodes of the series, consisting of the fifth and sixth seasons. All five main cast members were secured for the entire scheduled run. The fifth season ran from September 17, 2009 to December 10, 2009. On May 31, 2010, Comedy Central began airing reruns of It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia. WGN America also began broadcasting the show as part of its fall 2011 schedule.
The sixth season ran from September 16, 2010 until December 9, 2010, running twelve episodes, plus the Christmas special. The seventh season ran from September 15, 2011 until December 15, 2011, running 13 episodes. On August 6, 2011, FX announced it had picked up the show for an additional two seasons (the show's eighth and ninth) running through 2013. On March 28, 2013, FX renewed the show for a tenth season, along with the announcement that the series will move to its new sister network, FXX. Its ninth season contained its 100th episode.
The theme song is a piece of production music called "Temptation Sensation" by German composer Heinz Kiessling. Additionally, Kiessling's work ("On Your Bike" and "Blue Blood") can also be heard during various scene transitions throughout the show, along with other composers and pieces such as Christopher Movick ("Off Broadway"), Joe Brook ("Moonbeam Kiss") and Karl Grell ("Honey Bunch"). Many of the tracks heard in the series have been taken from Cafe Romantique, an album of easy listening production music collected by Extreme Music, the production music library unit of Sony/ATV Music Publishing. Independent record label, Fervor Records has also contributed music to the show. Songs from The Jack Gray Orchestra's album, Easy Listening Symph-O-Nette ("Take A Letter Miss Jones", "Golly Gee Whiz", and "Not a Care in the World") and the John Costello III release Giants of Jazz ("Birdcage", "Cotton Club" and "Quintessential") are heard in several episodes. The soundtrack, featuring most of the music heard on the show was released on September 1, 2010, the same day that Kaitlin Olson and Rob McElhenney's son Axel Lee McElhenney was born.
Throughout the series, music is featured from artists including: Bell Biv Devoe, The Doors, Biz Markie, Enigma, Joe Esposito, Stacy Q, Rick Astley, Extreme, Heart, Ray Parker, Jr., Yello, Rick Derringer, Bruce Springsteen, Soul Asylum, Bon Jovi, Whitesnake, Steve Winwood, Seal, Kate Bush, Deee-Lite, Styx, Boyz II Men, Alphaville, Berlin, Thin Lizzy, The Go-Go's, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, and Franz Schubert.
In the first season, the title of each episode appears following the title of the show, but starting in season two, the title appears as the theme song starts, directly before the credits roll. Episode titles are mostly a sentence describing the plot and incorporating one or more of the main characters' names or their collective appellation of "The Gang", such as "The Gang Gets Whacked" and "The Gang Goes Jihad". The title of many episodes is presented as an ironic punchline tying in with the gag in the cold open. For example, in one cold open, Sweet Dee states "there is no way I'm dating a retarded person"; almost immediately, the title card appears, which reads "Sweet Dee's Dating a Retarded Person". In another, Dennis and Dee insist "we'll be just fine" after quitting their jobs at the bar; the title of the episode is "Dennis and Dee Go on Welfare"; Frank stating that nobody would be hurt during a news film: "Frank Sets Sweet Dee On Fire".
Early seasons received generally favorable reviews. However, in recent years the show has received critical acclaim. Gillian Flynn of Entertainment Weekly reviewed the first season negatively, commenting "it is smug enough to think it's breaking ground, but not smart enough to know it isn't." Brian Lowry of Variety gave the first season a positive review, saying it was "invariably clever and occasionally a laugh-out-loud riot, all while lampooning taboo topics". Later seasons of the show have received favorable ratings on review aggregator Metacritic, receiving 70/100, 78/100 and 85/100 for seasons 4, 5 & 6 respectively. The show has become a cult hit with viewers and is often compared in style to Seinfeld—particularly due to the self-centered nature of its main characters. The Philadelphia Inquirer reviewer Jonathan Storm wrote "It's like Seinfeld on crack," a quote that became extremely widely used to describe the series, to the point that FX attached the tagline, "It's Seinfeld on crack."
In 2014, Entertainment Weekly listed the show at #7 in the "26 Best Cult TV Shows Ever", with the comment that "it's a great underdog story ... If it sounds too dark for you, consider that there's an episode about making mittens for kittens, and it's adorable."
Awards and nominations
|2008||Satellite Award||Best Actor in a Series, Comedy or Musical||Danny DeVito||Nominated|
|Best Television Series, Comedy or Musical||It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia||Nominated|
|2011||Best Actor in a Series, Comedy or Musical||Charlie Day||Nominated|
|Best Television Series, Comedy or Musical||It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia||Won|
|2012||People's Choice Award||Favorite Cable TV Comedy||Nominated|
|Primetime Emmy Award||Outstanding Stunt Coordination for a Comedy Series or a Variety Program||Marc Scizak||Nominated|
|2014||Primetime Emmy Award||Outstanding Stunt Coordination for a Comedy Series or a Variety Program||Marc Scizak||Nominated|
The Nightman Cometh live
In September 2009, the cast took their show live. The "Gang" performed the musical The Nightman Cometh in New York, Boston, Seattle, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Philadelphia. Mary Elizabeth Ellis and Artemis Pebdani also appeared in the performance as The Waitress and Artemis. Actress Rhea Perlman (wife of Danny DeVito) assumed the role of Gladys.
Creator Rob McElhenney said that Live Nation originally approached the cast about doing the show at 30 cities, but in the end the cast settled on 6. Co-developer Glenn Howerton described the show as "essentially an expanded version of the actual episode of "The Nightman Cometh", which was the final episode for season four. There are some added moments, added scenes, added songs, and extended versions of songs that already existed." Two new songs were included in the performance and a longer running time allowed for greater improvisation by the actors. The performance was also preceded by a preview screening of a season five episode.
The Los Angeles performance, filmed at The Troubadour, was included as a bonus feature on the season four DVD box set.
Official Russian adaptation
A Russian adaption of It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia premiered in Russia on the television channel THT on May 12, 2014. This version is titled В Москве всегда солнечно (V Moskve vsegda solnechno, It's Always Sunny in Moscow) and like the original, centers around four friends, who own a bar called "Philadelphia" in Moscow.
The first It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia book is set to be released on January 6, 2015, and is called "The Gang Writes a Self-Help Book: The 7 Secrets of Awakening the Highly Effective Four-Hour Giant, Today".
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