It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia

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It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia
Genre Sitcom
Black comedy
Created by Rob McElhenney
Developed by
Opening theme "Temptation Sensation" by Heinz Kiessling
Composer(s) Cormac Bluestone
Country of origin United States
Original language(s) English
No. of seasons 11
No. of episodes 119 (list of episodes)
Executive producer(s)
Producer(s) Tom Lofaro
Cinematography Peter Smokler
Camera setup Single-camera
Running time 19–25 minutes[1]
Production company(s)
Distributor 20th Television
Original network
  • FX (2005–12)
  • FXX (2013–present)
Picture format
Original release August 4, 2005 (2005-08-04) – present
External links

It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia (sometimes referred to as Always Sunny or simply Sunny) is an American television sitcom that premiered on FX on August 4, 2005. It moved to FXX from the ninth season. It was created by Rob McElhenney, who developed it with Glenn Howerton. It is executive produced and primarily written by McElhenney, Howerton, and Charlie Day, all of whom star alongside Kaitlin Olson and Danny DeVito. The series follows the exploits of "The Gang", a group of self-centered friends who run the Irish bar Paddy's Pub in South Philadelphia.

The series began its eleventh season on January 6, 2016, and has been renewed for a twelfth season.[2]


The series follows "The Gang", a group of five depraved underachievers: twins Dennis Reynolds (Glenn Howerton) and Deandra "Sweet Dee" Reynolds (Kaitlin Olson), their friends Charlie Kelly (Charlie Day) and Ronald "Mac" McDonald (Rob McElhenney), and (from season 2 onward) Frank Reynolds (Danny DeVito), 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 behaviour; they are often engaged in controversial activities. Episodes usually find them hatching elaborate schemes and conspiring against one another and others for personal gain, vengeance, or simply the entertainment of watching one another's downfall. They habitually inflict mental, emotional, and physical pain on each other and anyone who crosses their path. They also regularly use blackmail to manipulate one another and others outside of the group.

The Gang's unity is never solid, and any of them would quickly dump any 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 achievements, they maintain high opinions of themselves and display an obsessive interest in their own reputations and public images.

The Gang has no sense of shame when attempting to get what they want and often engage in activities that others would find humiliating, disgusting, or preposterous. These include smoking crack cocaine and pretending to be mentally challenged in order to qualify for welfare, eating cereal while driving, hiding naked inside a leather couch in order to eavesdrop on someone, coercing people into sleeping with them, forcing each other to eat inedible items, huffing paint, foraging in the sewers for valuables, sleeping with each other's romantic interests, seducing a priest, plugging their open wounds with trash, and stalking their crushes.

During the Season 7 episode "The Gang Gets Trapped", in which The Gang breaks into a family's home and has to hide from them when they return, an angry monologue by Dennis captures the essence of The Gang's modus operandi:

Cast and characters[edit]

McElhenney, Howerton, Day, Olson, and DeVito at the 2013 San Diego Comic-Con.
  • Charlie Day as Charlie Kelly – Charlie was the co-owner at Paddy's Pub, but traded all his stocks for "goods and services", half a sandwich, and other undisclosed reasons. He is a childhood friend of Mac and 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. He is borderline illiterate and is an alcoholic substance abuser; he is often seen huffing glue or paint. He lives in squalor with Frank and suffers from deep psychological problems, believing his dreams to be haunted by a figure known as "The Nightman", who breaks into his home and rapes him. 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. Despite these traits, he is the most compassionate and moral member of The Gang.
  • 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 will always flee any type of physical confrontation.
  • Kaitlin Olson as Deandra "Sweet Dee" Reynolds – Dee is Dennis' twin sister and is the main bartender at Paddy's Pub. Dee dreams of becoming an actress, although she lacks any apparent talent and suffers from debilitating stage fright. She wore a back brace in high school, leaving her with the nickname of "The Aluminum Monster". She is also constantly referred to as a bird due to the gang's perception of her as a giant, bird-like creature. She majored in psychology at the University of Pennsylvania, but failed her classes. Dee lives alone in an apartment. Her comments and ideas are usually disregarded by the others, and any one of them will often instantly repeat what she has said word-for-word and pretend it was their idea, at which point it will be hailed by the others as a great idea.
  • Danny DeVito as Frank Reynolds (Season 2–present) – Frank is the legal father of twins Dennis and 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 has since embraced his "feral" nature and describes himself as "fringe class". He shares a tiny studio apartment with Charlie, where they live in squalor and sleep together on a pullout couch.


Season Episodes Originally aired
First aired Last aired Network
1 7 August 4, 2005 (2005-08-04) September 15, 2005 (2005-09-15) FX
2 10 June 29, 2006 (2006-06-29) August 17, 2006 (2006-08-17)
3 15 September 13, 2007 (2007-09-13) November 15, 2007 (2007-11-15)
4 13 September 18, 2008 (2008-09-18) November 20, 2008 (2008-11-20)
5 12 September 17, 2009 (2009-09-17) December 10, 2009 (2009-12-10)
6 14 September 16, 2010 (2010-09-16) December 16, 2010 (2010-12-16)
7 13 September 15, 2011 (2011-09-15) December 15, 2011 (2011-12-15)
8 10 October 11, 2012 (2012-10-11) December 20, 2012 (2012-12-20)
9 10 September 4, 2013 (2013-09-04) November 6, 2013 (2013-11-06) FXX
10 10 January 14, 2015 (2015-01-14) March 18, 2015 (2015-03-18)
11 10 January 6, 2016 (2016-01-06) March 9, 2016 (2016-03-09)[3]


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.

Danny DeVito joined the cast in the first episode of the second season, playing the father of Dennis (played by Glenn Howerton) and Dee (played by Kaitlin Olson).

Paddy's Pub[edit]

Starkman Building in Los Angeles, location of Paddy's Pub exterior shots.

Exterior shots of Paddy's Pub are not shot in Philadelphia, although some shots are including the opening sequence, the coffee house (Philadelphia Java Company on 4th Street), and other exterior shots. 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 (34°02′25″N 118°13′59″W / 34.040312°N 118.232921°W / 34.040312; -118.232921).[4] "The Great Recession" shows a street sign which places it at 3rd and Dickinson in South Philadelphia (39°55′46″N 75°09′01″W / 39.929402°N 75.1503°W / 39.929402; -75.1503).[5] Rob McElhenney grew up near Dickinson and Moyemensing near the location.[5] In 2009, McElhenney and Olson announced a partnership with Skinner's Bar at 226 Market Street in Philadelphia (39°57′00″N 75°08′41″W / 39.949895°N 75.144795°W / 39.949895; -75.144795). It was renamed Mac's Tavern.[6]

Broadcast and syndication[edit]

The first season ran for seven episodes with the finale airing September 13, 2005. According to McElhenney,[7] 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",[8] "Gun Fever" (which was renamed as "Gun Control")[9] and "Charlie Gets Molested"[10] 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.[11] 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.[12] The fifth season ran from September 17, 2009 to December 10, 2009.[13] On May 31, 2010, Comedy Central began airing reruns of It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia.[14] WGN America also began broadcasting the show as part of its fall 2011 schedule.[15]

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.[16] On March 28, 2013, FX renewed the show for a tenth season, along with the announcement that the series would move to its new sister network, FXX.[17]


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 in 2010.[18]

Throughout the series, music is featured from artists including: Bell Biv DeVoe, The Doors, Biz Markie, Enigma, Joe Esposito, Stacey 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, Talking Heads, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Ludwig van Beethoven, Edvard Grieg, Antonin Dvorak and Franz Schubert.

Opening titles[edit]

In the first season, the title of each episode appears following the show's theme song, 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 a cold open that often opens mid-sentence. 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".


It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia has received largely positive reviews from critics. Emily Nussbaum of The New Yorker praised the show, calling it "not merely the best sitcom on television but one of the most arresting and ambitious current TV series, period."[19] 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."[20] 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".[21] 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 and 6 respectively.[22] 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,[23] to the point that FX attached the tagline, "It's Seinfeld on crack."[24]

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."[25]

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Award Category Winner/nominee Result[26]
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
2013 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
2016 People's Choice Award Favorite Cable TV Comedy It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia Won

Other media[edit]

The Nightman Cometh live[edit]

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.[27] 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.[28]

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.[29] 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."[30] 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[edit]

A Russian adaption of It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia premiered in Russia on the television channel TNT 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.[31]


The first It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia book was released on January 6, 2015, and is titled The Gang Writes a Self-Help Book: The 7 Secrets of Awakening the Highly Effective Four-Hour Giant, Today.[32]


  1. ^ "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia". Retrieved January 4, 2016. 
  2. ^ Fienberg, Dan (April 4, 2014). "FX renews 'It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia,' extends deal with stars". HitFix. Retrieved April 4, 2014. 
  3. ^ "Shows A-Z - it's always sunny in philadelphia on fxx". The Futon Critic. Retrieved December 16, 2015. 
  4. ^ "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia filming locations". Movie Maps. Retrieved November 16, 2011. 
  5. ^ a b "Mystery Location of Paddy's Pub in It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia Revealed". The Illadelph. November 24, 2009. Retrieved April 26, 2014. 
  6. ^ Klein, Michael (December 17, 2009). "Mac and Dee from "Always Sunny" getting into bar business for real". Retrieved November 16, 2011. 
  7. ^ Goldman, Eric (June 28, 2006). "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia Premiere". IGN. Retrieved June 22, 2009. 
  8. ^ "(SP-0635) "The Gang Finds a Dead Guy" (Repeat)". The Futon Critic. Retrieved April 26, 2014. 
  9. ^ "(SP-0636) "Gun Control" (Repeat)". The Futon Critic. Retrieved April 26, 2014. 
  10. ^ "(SP-0637) "Charlie Gets Molested" (Repeat)". The Futon Critic. Retrieved April 26, 2014. 
  11. ^ "'Always Sunny in Philadelphia' Gets Another Season". Entertainment Weekly. March 5, 2008. Retrieved March 5, 2008. 
  12. ^ Goldman, Eric (July 15, 2008). "FX Shows Love for It's Always Sunny". IGN. Retrieved July 15, 2008. 
  13. ^ "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia Season 5 episodes". TV Guide. Retrieved April 9, 2013. 
  14. ^ Gorman, Bill (May 3, 2010). "'It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia' Debuts On Comedy Central May 31". TV by the Numbers. Retrieved April 26, 2014. 
  15. ^ "Cable Guide 2011". Advertising Age. Retrieved April 9, 2013. 
  16. ^ Mitovich, Matt Webb (August 6, 2011). "FX Renews Louie and Wilfred, Orders Two More Seasons of It's Always Sunny". TVLine. Retrieved April 26, 2014. 
  17. ^ Etkin, Jaimie (March 28, 2013). "'It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia' Renewed For Season 10 And 'The League' For Season 6 On FX". The Huffington Post. Retrieved March 28, 2013. 
  18. ^ Barrett, Annie (August 26, 2010). "'It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia' soundtrack to be released September 1: Ta-da, ta-da, ta-da-daah-daah-daah...". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved October 7, 2011. 
  19. ^ Nussbaum, Emily (November 11, 2013). "Bar None: "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia" and "The Mindy Project"". New Yorker. Retrieved December 5, 2015. 
  20. ^ Flynn, Gillian (August 2, 2005). "It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved August 16, 2010. 
  21. ^ Lowry, Brian (July 31, 2005). "Review: ‘It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia’". Variety. Retrieved August 16, 2010. 
  22. ^ "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia". Metacritic. Retrieved April 26, 2014. 
  23. ^ Storm, Jonathan (October 16, 2008). "Slackers' revenge – The jokers of 'It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia' take on a (fictional) Inquirer critic, while those on Testees take the juvenile quotient even higher". The Philadelphia Inquirer. p. E01. 
  24. ^ Mellor, Louisa (April 12, 2012). "Why you need to watch It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia". Den of Geek. Retrieved April 26, 2014. 
  25. ^ "26 Best Cult TV Shows Ever". Entertainment Weekly. March 17, 2014. Retrieved April 26, 2014. 
  26. ^ "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia - Awards". IMDb. Retrieved April 1, 2014. 
  27. ^ Matheson, Whitney (August 6, 2009). "The 'Nightman Cometh' to a city near you". USA Today. Retrieved October 7, 2011. 
  28. ^ Goldman, Eric (April 20, 2009). "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia: Live!". IGN. Retrieved October 7, 2011. 
  29. ^ Tucker, Alyssa (August 4, 2009). "Rob McElhenney & Glenn Howerton Interview". Flash Flood Media. Retrieved April 26, 2014. 
  30. ^ "Glenn Howerton Talks "It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia" And More!". Icon vs. Icon. September 16, 2009. Retrieved October 7, 2011. 
  31. ^ В Москве всегда солнечно (in Russian). THT-Online. Retrieved May 4, 2014. 
  32. ^ "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia by The Gang". HarperCollins. Retrieved July 23, 2014. 

External links[edit]