'It's Always Sunny in Philadephia': 'Mac Finds His Pride' Broke 1 Rule of the Show, Charlie Day and Rob McElhenney Said

The FX comedy It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia has been on fo 14 seasons and counting. In the season 11 episode “The Gang Goes to Hell,” Mac (Rob Mcelhenney) officially came out. The show revisited this theme in season 13 with “Mac Finds his Pride.” Creator/stars Charlie Day and McElhenney said this was an unusual episode for Sunny, and not just because of the LGBTQ themes. 

Charlie Day said ‘It’s Always Sunny in Phildaelphia’ characters usually don’t change

In “Mac Finds His Pride,” Mac decides to finally come out to his father, who is still in prison. Mac performs an interpretive dance to his father. It doesn’t impress his father, but it actually changes Frank (Danny DeVito). It’s not an official rule that characters don’t learn anything, like it was on Seinfeld, but It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia usually followed it anyway.

“Some of the uncharted waters, if you want to call them that, were genuine emotion,” Day said on a 2018 Television Critics Association panel. “Once we stumbled on the episode becoming more about Frank being more tolerant and accepting something, we thought, well, this is something we haven’t really done. Our characters rarely change or learn.”  

Rob McElhenney valued the LGBTQ community’s reaction to ‘It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia’

It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia doesn’t shy away from any taboo. However, the season 9 episode “Mac Day” toyed with Mac coming out, and left some LGBTQ audiences feeling betrayed. Mac’s coming out in season 11 was meant to make up for that.

“I found something sort of extraordinary happened to me when Mac came out, which I thought we handled pretty well,” McElhenney said. “But, at the end of the day, it was still an episode of comedy. I just assumed that people were laughing along with us.”

When Mac did come out in season 11, McElhenney got positive feedback.

Through social media, I had a massive response of our fans in the LBGTQ community that reached out and told me how moved they were and how important it was to them that they felt represented on a show that they loved. And, I just was not expecting that.  I mean, thousands and thousands and thousands of people. And, I just didn’t think that we were that kind of show. It turned out that we were for people. So we wanted to honor that and do something that felt very different from what we normally do.

Perhaps Charlie Day and Rob McElhenny are growing up

“Mac Finds His Pride” became a classic episode of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia. Perhaps it showed Day and McElhenney, after 13 seasons, they could do even more with the show. 

“It was nice to tell a story that way,” Day said. “Maybe it’s just because we’re getting older. Most of the episodes are still pretty typical in the format of just they’re there to be funny. But, it was nice to try something, for lack of a better term, heartfelt.”

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