Mac (It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia)
|Ronald "Mac" McDonald|
|It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia character|
|First appearance||"The Gang Gets Racist"|
|Created by||Rob McElhenney, Glenn Howerton, and Charlie Day|
|Portrayed by||Rob McElhenney|
|Occupation||Co-owner of Paddy's Pub, Bouncer, Martial Arts "Expert"|
|Family||Luther McDonald (father)
Mrs. McDonald (mother)
Country Mac (cousin)
Brett (cousin, deceased)
Poppins (beloved dog)
Mac is a co-owner of Paddy's, the self-proclaimed "Sheriff of Paddy's", and is generally the pub's most active manager. Mac is played by Rob McElhenney.
Mac carols his signature line, "What's up, bitches?", throughout the series. In many episodes, Mac will enter the bar announcing "I've got news", or a variation on that basic idea, to set the episode's plot in motion. The others rarely share his enthusiasm, but he usually convinces one of them to follow him, though often reluctantly. Throughout the series, Mac flashes his signature "puppy-dog look" when he is ashamed or when he proposes something reprehensibly shameful, which is often.
For the first six seasons Mac's full name was kept anonymous as a running joke, though in the season four episode "Mac & Charlie Die," Mac's father's name is listed as "Luther Mac" on his parole papers and his mother is referred to as Mrs. Mac. In the episode "Who Got Dee Pregnant?," one of the McPoyle brothers refers to Mac as "Macwell." In the episode "The Gang Cracks the Liberty Bell" Mac, or at least Mac's 18th Century counterpart, is called "McDonald", suggesting that this is his surname. Mac's full real name, Ronald McDonald, wasn't revealed until the season seven episode "The High School Reunion". Mac hates the name as well as his old nickname, "Ronnie the Rat," which he obtained from ratting on fellow drug dealers in high school. He prefers to be simply called "Mac."
Mac comes from a broken home; his father has been incarcerated for dealing meth and his mother is extremely apathetic and unemotional. Mac and his mother also own a dog named Poppins, who despite being extremely old and prone to eating poisonous objects appears to be practically indestructible. He sees himself as a karate expert and total badass. Mac constantly seeks the acceptance of others, especially his parents, but his over-earnest efforts make him come off as an "asshole." Earlier, under the impression that his father would possibly murder him after being paroled, Mac later receives a warm letter from his father, specifically requesting that Mac stay away from him. This letter is written as Mac's father fears that Mac's destructive tendencies could harm him. Dennis notes that the only reason Mac hung out with the popular kids in high school was because he sold them all weed and even then was considered an "asshole." Though Dennis reigns supreme as selfish and arrogant, Mac has made his fair share of selfish, inconsiderate decisions and observations.
Although he seeks his friends' acceptance, Mac takes special pleasure in undermining, physically harming, contradicting, and publicly belittling Dee at every possible opportunity, more so than Charlie or even Dennis (this hatred gains amusing subtext because the actors who play Mac and Dee are married parents in real life). Mac is considered by every member of The Gang to be a "jerk", and is nearly always the first to start betraying the others, though he does usually stick with Dennis, who is his best friend and has known him longer than anybody in The Gang but Charlie. Like Dennis, Mac sees himself as superior to the rest of The Gang and often attempts to prove his supremacy. For instance, in an attempt to impress Charlie and Dennis, he makes a series of "Project Badass" videotapes that consist of various idiotic stunts set to music; however, the pair believes that Mac is just trying to "bang" them. He had a sexual relationship with a pre-op transsexual named Carmen, for whom he claimed he was just "putting in time" as he waited for her surgery.
Mac sincerely believes that he is an adept martial artist with "cat-like reflexes", and he usually wears sleeveless shirts to draw attention to his physique and to exhibit his tribal tattoos. Despite his apparent fitness, Mac generally focuses his workout time on developing his glamor muscles and is largely the weakest member in The Gang, behind everyone but Dennis. Despite his enthusiasm towards karate, he is shown to have no real expert (or basic) skills when showing off his talent.(Another sub textual joke: Rob McElhenney whom portrays Mac, received a blackbelt in Taekwondo at the age of 13)
A Catholic, Mac is the only member of The Gang to profess a religious faith. In The Gang Exploits a Miracle, Mac fears that the Lord show his wrath if they continue to exploit the water stain in the bar. Throughout the series Mac refuses to wear a condom during sex, because as he explains Charlie and he went to Catholic school. Though Mac seems to care more about issues such as abortion, community activism, and parenting than the rest of The Gang, his views on such subjects are invariably twisted, ignorant, or prejudiced, and his actions regarding them are always hypocritical and selfish. For instance, after pretending to be adamantly pro-life in order to attract a female activist, Mac later demands that she get an abortion when he thinks she has become pregnant by him. In another instance involving the transsexual Carmen, Mac discovers that she has married and had the operation to remove her penis. He then belittles Carmen and her husband by quoting the Bible to them and calling them "gay"; however he only reacts so because he expected Carmen to call him once she had the operation so they could date again. Mac constantly drinks alcohol like the rest of The Gang and abuses other substances, such as poppers and glue.
Throughout the series there have been insinuations that Mac is a closeted homosexual. This is manifested by his obsession with men's physiques, his dating of a "pre-op" transsexual, and his reactionary religious views on homosexuality. In the final scene of the season 4 episode "Mac's Banging the Waitress," Charlie says to Dennis, "Do you still get the feeling he wants to bang us? That's what this is all about" after Mac tries to demonstrate how "badass" he is by falling from the roof onto a pile of mattresses after lighting fireworks taped to his jacket that fail to ignite. In the season 9 episode "Mac Day," Charlie says, "I know we've never said this as a group, but Mac's gay," to which the rest of The Gang agrees readily.
At the start of season 7, Mac has gained at least 50 pounds of fat, which he delusionally sees as a step to developing muscle ("cultivating mass" in his words) in order to go from "a tiny twink to [a] muscle-bound freak." In the episode "How Mac Got Fat", he goes into greater detail about his intentions, explaining that earlier, the Gang had decided to replace themselves with avatars to run Paddy's Pub so they could slack off. Mac's avatar was a bodybuilder. When Dee points out that the avatar doesn't look like him because he has more muscle, Mac starts gaining weight in an attempt to become the same size as the bodybuilder. Eventually the Gang drops the avatar plan and everything goes back to normal, but Mac is stuck with his dangerous weight gain. The rest of The Gang agrees he looks unhealthy — Dennis is personally outraged by the sight of his gut — but Mac is indifferent to their opinions despite developing diabetes as a result of his new eating habits. He has also taken to carrying around garbage bags full of chimichangas.
The weight gain was real. Rob McElhenney has stated in interviews that he wanted to make Mac fat as his own way of fighting the trend of actors on TV shows getting more attractive as a show gains success (he specifically talked about The Big Bang Theory and how the nerdy lead characters were better-dressed and had trendier hairstyles as the show became a huge hit for CBS), and that it also made sense that Mac would be aging badly thanks to the reckless, selfish, and stupid lifestyle of which he and the rest of the characters are so proud.
In order to gain the weight in the healthiest way possible, McElhenney worked with a nutritionist recommended by professional baseball player Chase Utley. He ate an average of 5,000 calories a day during the weight gain, and lost the weight by returning to his normal eating and workout routines.