It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia

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Name: It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia
Abbreviation(s): IASIP, It's Always Sunny, Always Sunny, Sunny
Creator: Rob McElhenney
Date(s): August 4, 2005 – present
Medium: television series
Country of Origin: United States
External Links: Wikipedia, Official Website, IMDB
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It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia is an FX/FXX television sitcom following the exploits of five unethical and immoral friends. Its pilot ran in 2005, and in 2016, FXX commissioned the show through season fourteen.[1]. Season thirteen premiered in September 2018.[2] The show moved from FX to FXX in 2013 for its ninth season.


The series follows "The Gang", a group of five depraved underachievers: twins Dennis Reynolds (Glenn Howerton) and Dee Reynolds (Kaitlin Olson), their friends Charlie Kelly (Charlie Day) and Mac (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.



It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia as a show existed for a long time before fandom formed around it. The show had a board on reddit and was reviewed by the AV Club[3], but other than screenshots, cosplays, and mock scripts, digital fanwork involvement was low.[4] The reason this changed was almost entirely due to the film Pacific Rim, which cast one of the main actors (Charlie Day) into the leading role of kaiju scientist Newt Geiszler. Thus, many of the earliest fics and fanworks (generally created in 2013) were very focused on Charlie Kelly.[5] Charlie Kelly/Mac (CharlieMac) was the most popular ship for these early writers, meta-ers, and artists.[6]

The fandom changed drastically starting in 2014. Interest in Charlie and in writing about Charlie waned significantly as people trickled into the fandom who weren't there due to a connection to Pacific Rim at all. Mac/Dennis Reynolds (MacDennis) skyrocketed into popularity almost overnight.[7] At the beginning of 2014, there were eight fics written for that pairing.[8] By the end of 2014, there was more than 60 fics.[9] As of March 2017, there were over 300 fics[10]. Its tumblr tag was incredibly busy, it had art, and it had meta about the characters both alone and together. Within the span of two years, MacDennis became the fandom's juggernaut. This is not to say, however, that there are no fics about the other characters or that no gen fic exists. At least one fic exists for every pairing you could imagine, and there is a significant amount of gen or almost gen works.[11]

Since the show is made by the actors (and said actors are all friends), talking about the actors is very common. Interviews, pictures, tweets, and behind the scenes videos are regularly discussed by fans. While not quite rpf, there is a general fan consensus on how members of the fandom view these actors. Rob McElhenney is smart, cute, and straight-laced. Kaitlin Olsen, his wife, is very beautiful and probably the funniest one. Charlie Day is small, cute, and shy. Glenn Howerton is weird and gross (despite also being one of the most common objects of lust). Danny DeVito is in a league of his own.

Sunny fandom is almost exclusively found on tumblr. Due to the lack of centralized communities, communication and connection between fans is mainly done by utilizing ship tags. IASIP is very popular as is MacDennis. There are many themed blogs, both gen and ship-focused. Fanfic is generally all posted on Archive of Our Own and all of the other fanworks are posted to tumblr.


Dennis is the Bar

On March 2, 2017, Tumblr user macdenenisofficial penned a meta positing that Dennis might become Paddy's Pub, in the season 12 finale episode, "Dennis's Double Life."[12] The meta is a crack theory built on an implicit textual tie-in between Always Sunny and the show Quantum Leap established in episode 12.01, "The Gang Turns Black." Using a recent article from The Monthly Spew published in 2015,[13] the author draws a further crossover connection between Quantum Leap and Doctor Who, positing that all three shows operate in the same fictional universe, in which inanimate objects (such as the TARDIS (Doctor Who)) can have sentience. Therefore it would be possible, canonically, for Dennis to become Paddy's Pub. The theory also draws on other textual aspects of Always Sunny, such as the repeated characterization of Dennis as "The Golden God."

The meta instantly gained a great deal of traction in Tumblr's Always Sunny fandom, generating numerous edits and memes referencing the theory [14] [15] [16] [17] [18].

Many fans characterized the theory as a fandom "coping mechanism" [19] which distracted from collective anxiety [20] over the approaching season finale. This anxiety was due to two possible narrative developments, the first being the potential canonization of the Mac/Dennis ship, which the series, and particularly season 12, appeared to be earnestly moving toward. The other possibility was that of Dennis being written off the show, which was hinted at in the promos [21].

The theory became popular enough that it quickly reached the attention of Dennis actor Glenn Howerton. On March 4, 2017 Howerton tweeted about the incident, stating: "Why is everyone asking me if Dennis 'becomes the bar?' I have no idea what that means. #Explain". [22]

Fandom Quirks and Trends

Glenjamin Howerton - In the early days of fandom, a popular text post[23] saying that someone thought 'Glenn' was short for 'Glenjamin' surfaced. Naturally, everyone started calling Glenn Howerton 'Glenjamin Howerton.'[citation needed] Since then, his nicknames have diversified into many amusing variations such as Glennifer, Glennis[24] (a play on how he did not want his character to be named after himself), and Glenetration.[25]

Glenn Howerton Photo Shitposts - Glenn Howerton has no idea how to take a picture that doesn't look like he's either a serial killing meth dealer or a weird dad who on the side probably kills people and sells meth. Nobody is sure if this is on purpose but everyone thinks it is hilarious.[citation needed]


Archives & Fannish Links

LJ Communities



  1. Season 14 on the It's Always Sunny Wikia. Accessed on October 2, 2018.
  2. It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia on Wikipedia. Accessed on October 2, 2018.
  4. As of February 2013, there were 11 fanworks in this fandom on Ao3. See Archived Link accessed 28 September 2018.
  5. As of Aug 2013, immediatelt following the release of Pacific Rim, there were 17 works in this fandom. See Archived Link. By FEb 2014, there were 96 fanworks with 32 CharlieMac, 13 MacDennis, 7 DeeDennis, 5 CharlieDee and 3 MacDee fics. See Archived Link
  8. As of Jan 23 2014, there were only 13 fics in this pairing on Ao3. See Archived Link
  9. As of Dec 13 2014, there were 66 works in this pairing and it was the most popular pairing in the fandom. See Archived Link
  10. Over 300 MacDennis fics at the time this text was added to the page, which was in March 2017. See Archived Ao3 Link
  11. As of March 2017, this fandom had 698 works in the following pairings on Ao3: Mac/Dennis Reynolds (335) Charlie Kelly/Mac (89) Charlie Kelly/Dee Reynolds (61) Mac & Dennis Reynolds (56) Dee Reynolds/Dennis Reynolds (44) Charlie Kelly/Dennis Reynolds (25) Charlie Kelly/Scientist (19) Charlie Kelly & Mac (18) Dee Reynolds & Dennis Reynolds (11) Charlie Kelly & Frank Reynolds (4).
  12. become the bar macdennisofficial.tumblr
  13. Satirical news report - Dr. Who announces quantum leap crossover (Archived Link)
  14. Dennis wants everyone to “please focus on the bar!!” meaning him emotionally. A tumblr text post by coffeeteaitsallfine.
  15. Incorrect quote/Manip posted by areyoudrinkingsunscreen on tumblr
  16. FanArt with Dennis as an Animorph] by garfilth on tumblr
  17. The Office manip tagged Dennis is the bar by dirtfungus on tumblr
  18. Dennis Reynolds incorrect quote by absjxhxbdu-notabot-dnducbdjhlj on tumblr
  19. some people?? use dennis is the bar theory?? to cope??? a text post by mcpoyle on Tumblr
  20. thank you @macdennisofficial (creator of the dennis is the bar theory) for bringing us together in this time of stress a text post by notsosweetdee on Tumblr
  21. It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia 12x10 Promo "Dennis' Double Life" (HD) Season Finale
  22. Why is everyone asking me if Dennis "becomes the bar?" a twitter post by Glenn Howerton.
  23. The post was made on August 25, 2014.
  24. Tumblr post by bottom-peteparker. Posted on August 29, 2017. Accessed on October 2, 2018.
  25. Tumblr post by soepoe. Posted on April 6, 2016. Accessed on October 2, 2018.