Philosophising about the 'S'-word: Watch… and learn
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 (Glenn Howerton, ER, The Mindy Project, Fargo) and Deandra “Sweet Dee” Reynolds (Kaitlin Olson, Curb Your Enthusiasm, New Girl); their friends Charlie Kelly (Charlie Day, Third Watch), Ronald “Mac” McDonald (Rob McElhenney, Lost), and, from season 2 onward, Frank Reynolds (Danny DeVito, Taxi), 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.