The Gang from Paddy’s Pub is back with the premiere of season 15 of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia on FXX. With posters showing Mac, Charlie, Dennis, Dee, and Frank in traditional Irish attire, it should come as no surprise that this season takes the characters to the Emerald Isle. “It was really cool being away,” Danny DeVito explained about the episodes during a press conference for the new season. “We had a good time, really good,” the legendary comedic actor added.
“Does Danny not know that we didn't go to Ireland?”, Kaitlin Olson asks the virtual room. As much as it may look like The Gang is abroad in the second half of the season, they remain, as always, in sunny Southern California. “We wanted an emotional reason for the characters to be there,” Charlie Day added with sincerity. “ It made sense for the characters, but it also just gave us something new and different, which I think we are constantly seeking on the show in general,” Glenn Howerton added. “Especially 15 seasons in, you've got to find new stuff.”
Having skipped an entire year of production, the actors who created the show together didn’t have to look too far for fresh material. “Because we took so much time off, like, a good year and a half, almost two years, there was so much going on in the world,” Rob McElhenney revealed, stating that their writing process often starts with current events. In the season premiere, titled “2020: A Year In Review,” we find out that The Gang played a hand in some of the most jaw-dropping real events of last year. “It kind of felt like it was a buffet of opportunity for us, and so we had to whittle it down to what we felt like were the best possible parts of the culture that we could satirize, and I think we came up with a few good ones.”
The show itself caused its own controversy, with several episodes being pulled from streaming platforms. It’s an item the team decided to address in episode 2, “The Gang Makes Lethal Weapon 7.” “When we sat down that first day, we realized that we should address this in some way,” Rob McElhenney shared. ”Obviously, we wanted to tackle it the same way we tackle everything, which is through the prism of this very specific situation and these very specific people. We knew that we wanted to do it in a responsible fashion and that's what we did. But really, it wasn't until day one in the writers' room before we really addressed it.”
“One of the biggest challenges of writing the show is continuing to explore who these people are and finding new ways for them to express themselves in spite of the fact that they have very established character traits,” Glenn Howerton revealed when asked about the longevity of the season, which currently has three additional seasons greenlit through FX. But while it may create challenges in the writing room, stepping into the shoes of a Golden God (aka Dennis) isn’t so tough. “I don't have to prepare at all anymore, partially because I co-wrote a lot of the episodes, but also just because, once you've played a character for this long, you just click right into it.” For Kaitlin Olson, who plays Dennis’ sister Dee, the acting is no longer a challenge either. “I do try to say ‘goddamnit’ in different ways,” she shared about one of her characters’ signature expressions.
“At the end of every season, I start to feel like, ‘Well, that's it,’ Rob McElhenney added, having stated that he’s considered ending the show several times. “And then a few months go by… something crazy happens in the world, and I want to write jokes about it, and then I'm happy we still have the opportunity to do it. Because we'll never have an opportunity like this again. Yes, we'll have all sorts of other shows and other endeavors and things like that, but Sunny is so very specific, and it's a unique way of looking at the world and being able to satirize things that happen… There's something about these characters that gives us the opportunity to process information in a way that I just don't think anything ever in the future will allow us to do. It's just unique in that way.”
Two new episodes of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia air on Wednesdays this December at 10/9c on FXX. Episodes are available to stream the next day through FX on Hulu.