Mac (It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia)
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|Ronald "Mac" McDonald|
|It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia character|
|First appearance||"The Gang Gets Racist"|
|Portrayed by||Rob McElhenney|
|Occupation||Co-owner, bouncer, and sheriff of Paddy's Pub, martial arts "expert"|
Luther McDonald (father; possibly deceased)|
Mrs. McDonald (mother)
Country Mac (cousin; deceased)
Poppins (pet dog)
Frank Reynolds (adopted father)
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.
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 due to its connection with the spokesman of the popular fast food chain McDonald's as well as his old nickname, "Ronnie the Rat," which he obtained from ratting on fellow drug dealers in high school. Mac "ratted" on drug dealers so he could become the main drug dealer of the 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 do not endear him to others. 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.
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 other than 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. He had a sexual relationship with a pre-op transgender woman named Carmen, for whom he claimed he was just "putting in time" as he waited for Carmen's surgery.
Mac sincerely believes that he is an adept martial artist with "cat-like reflexes" and usually wears sleeveless shirts to draw attention to his physique and exhibit his tribal tattoos. Despite his apparent fitness, Mac generally focuses his workout time on developing his, as Dennis called them, "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 skills in the sport.
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 will show his wrath if they continue to exploit a water stain in the bar that appears to depict the Virgin Mary. Throughout the series, Mac refuses to wear a condom during sex because, as he explains to Charlie, 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, Mac discovers that Carmen 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 after 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. In recent seasons, Mac has sometimes expressed Anti-Semitism, from his rant about Mark Zuckerberg and "his Jews" using Facebook and other social media to take over the world in "The Anti-Social Network" and, in "The Gang Group Dates", telling a disgusted Frank and Charlie that he wants to make sure any women he might date are not Jewish.
While Mac has sexual exploits with various women, including two models in immediate succession ("America's Next Top Paddy's Billboard Model Contest"), there have been throughout the series insinuations that Mac may be homosexual. This is manifested by his obsession with men's physiques 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. 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 readily agrees. In Season 10, when Dennis is listing all of the delusions The Gang has about themselves, he tells Mac that "you think that you're tough, and that you're straight." After a pause, Mac retorts "I AM tough!" Further, in episode 6 of season 10, "The Gang Misses the Boat", Mac convinces The Gang that he is sleeping with an attractive woman; however, they later discover that he merely paid her with angel dust to pretend they were together. She tells them that he "couldn't even get it up" for her.
In episode 9 of season 11, Mac, while on a Christian cruise, discovers that two other male passengers are gay and sets out to "convert" them. The two, however, "convert" Mac within minutes. This supposed realization of his repressed homosexuality results in the end of his belief in God. After The Gang is informed by Mac of his new identity, they tell him they've known since the first day they met him and proceed to move on with their self-involved lives. In the season 11 finale, Mac and the rest of The Gang are trapped inside the ship's brig and Mac tries one last time to pray to God to save all of them from imminent death (as the ship has presumably capsized and the room is filling with water). They are released in the nick of time. Mac later explains to The Gang and an insurance claim agent that God does exist and he, Mac, is indeed straight, because his prayer was answered and no loving God "would make" him gay. In episode 6 of season 12, the gang uses Mac's altered workout bike as evidence of his homosexuality during a legal arbitration. Mac is forced to admit his sexuality to win the dispute, but the gang expects him to return to the closet after the process is over. However, when given an opportunity to retract his admission, Mac finally decides to embrace his identity.
At the start of season 7, Mac has gained at least 60 pounds of fat, which he saw as a step to developing muscle ("cultivating mass" in his words) 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.
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..
To gain the weight for Season 7 in the healthiest way possible, McElhenney worked with a nutritionist recommended by professional baseball player Chase Utley (who had played himself in the Season 6 episode "The Gang Gets Stranded in the Woods"). 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.