A Look on the Sunny Side

Family can come in all shapes and sizes and It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia showcases this idea in the most extreme way possible as it follows the adventures and mishaps of “The Gang” consisting of Mac, a sexually confused and self-proclaimed badass, Charlie, a cheese loving illiterate, Dennis, a sociopathic womanizer, and his twin sister Dee, a foul mouthed aspiring actress. The success of their first season led to the addition of Danny DeVito as Frank Reynolds, Dennis and Dee’s wealthy businessman father.

The series was renewed renewed for a thirteenth and fourteenth season, which will tie it with The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet as the longest running live-action sitcom in American TV history. It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, despite its low budget production origins, has always tackled hot button issues that continue to be relevant to American society such as racism, gun control and religion, all within the crazy schemes “The Gang” gets themselves in.


The first season of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia was shot on a digital camcorder and is said to have only had a budget of $200. It is a prime example that in the end all that matters in a television show is the content and by shooting it with a digital camcorder it gave a more authentic point of view for the audience. Regardless of how much it costs to create the show, The Gang manages to teach a lesson even if it is on exactly how not to handle a situation.

From the very first episode, “The Gang Gets Racist”, to “Gun Fever: Too Hot”, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia has never been afraid to touch seemingly taboo topics. In the pilot, “The Gang Gets Racist”, the tone of the series is set as Mac, Dennis and Charlie uncomfortably fumble around the fact that Dee’s new boyfriend is black. After finally overcoming this, there is then a debate as to whether they wan’t to keep using Dee’s boyfriend as a promoter for the club once they find out he’s gay.

In “Gun Fever Too: Still Hot” The Gang explores both sides of the gun control debates as Dennis and Dee both think guns are too easily accessible while Charlie and Mac both believe there aren’t enough guns on the street. Both sides eventually flip sides on to the other’s views as they come to the conclusion that gun control is a complex issue that has no quick fix.

The Gang are a lovable bunch that get into all sorts of crazy shenanigans, usually at a fault of their own. However in doing so, they address issues that you wouldn’t be able to freely do so and we laugh at their misfortune while learning in some way. If you can handle the vulgarity and slurs they like to address each other by, you’ll find that It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia manages to address a variety of taboo issues with a dark sense of irony.


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6 Responses to A Look on the Sunny Side

  1. mediaphiles says:

    I enjoyed your post! I have never watched the show, but I have heard wonderful things about it and your blog post does a great job of summarizing the show and explaining some of the topics that are discussed. I also found it interesting that the show started out on an extremely low budget and as been so successful. This show is the perfect example, as you mentioned, of why content really does matter. Quality over quantity any day. -Shanice Street

  2. mediaphiles says:

    This is definitely a very real issue and an internal debate I am sure many people are having as you can no longer think of one without the other. I still believe that the impact of The Cosby show as a whole cannot be completely disregarded after the disgusting crimes of Bill Cosby himself. The show made huge strives in showing the real African American family, in a good light, on television for the first time. Ignoring stereotypes and flipping the script showing the many positive ways in which African Americans function in society, and that it should be normal for people to see this and not think of them any different because of the color of their skin. Racial discrimination had no place in society and the show challenged it head on. Do I think a bad man like Bill Cosby being associated with it hurts its influence because of the message they wanted to convey? Yes. Bill Cosby ended up reflecting everything the show did not want to be thought of the African American during this time and moving forward in society. This makes you see things differently but does not change the great picture it painted of African Americans as no different than a white people in society, and the barriers it broke cannot be taken away from it.
    – Anthony Duran

  3. mediaphiles says:

    I always appreciate It’s Always Sunny’s ability to ignore any sense of boundaries and just do exactly what they want, which is always a tense subject. I go back and forth in trying to decide what exactly they are doing in this show, whether it is satire or transgressive comedy. It comes off as transgressive, like South Park, in its vulgarity, obscenity, and the way in which it seems to appreciate the tricky issues it tackles because it allows them to have something to work with. However, I have to believe the creators are better people than their characters and they do not relish in all the bad topics they cover. Surely it is just satire and they create these episodes in hopes of a change being made.

    Margaret Murray

  4. mediaphiles says:

    Great blog! Your conclusion that the Always Sunny gang “[addresses] issues that you wouldn’t be able to freely do so and we laugh at their misfortune while learning in some way] reminded me of Tueth’s chapter about South Park. It’s these kinds of outrageous shows that are needed bring up discussions about sensitive topics such as gun control. Very interesting that the two shows, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia and South Park, explore taboos in similar ways yet they are completely different on the surface. (by Emma Cooley)

  5. mediaphiles says:

    I completely agree with everything you wrote. I think that the humor overpowers the show and makes the viewers focus on the comedy rather than the seriousness of the topic because the characters are so normal and easy to relate to. They often portray how we view these subjects: as controversial and difficult to talk about. The social conflict that arises because of these topics is the focus, not the actual solution. I also think that, perhaps, the writers are demonstrating that there is a lightness even in the midst of such serious conversations.

    Alex Buter

  6. marymdalton says:

    Who made this post? I need to know to be able to issue a grade!?!?

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