Gay Jacked Mac, Feminist Dee, and Dennis… Sort Of
What’s up, bitches! Just two weeks before its 13th season is set to begin, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia has finally released an official trailer.
Advertising for the show has been pretty continuous over the past month, with a fantastic Sunny the 13th (season) horror theme. But the teasers, while many, have centered around previous seasons’ footage and secondary characters. That means this is our first look at the full gang in action… sort of. Because the trailer goes no further in answering fans’ most urgent question: Will Glenn Howerton’s Dennis be returning?
The 12th season dropped a bomb on everyone when, in the the last five minutes of the final episode, Dennis quit Paddy’s Pub and Philadelphia to raise his son in North Dakota. The news came out of nowhere and, throughout the show’s year and a half hiatus, has been given pretty capricious treatment by the actors and writers. Whether Dennis was coming back for some, none, or all of the upcoming episodes varied wildly depending upon who was talking and when.
Until finally at a TCA panel earlier this month, with the whole gang (sans Howerton) present, it was confirmed that Dennis would be returning. According to Rob McElhenney, “He’s in pretty much every episode.” Or, as Charlie Day clarified, “He’s in the majority of them.”
You wouldn’t know it from watching the trailer, though, because the real Dennis is still conspicuously absent. I say “the real Dennis,” of course, because his presence is still felt… in the form of a monstrously uncanny sex doll that Mac has bought. Its introduction may raise more questions than it answers, but at the very least it’s hilariously disturbing.
The Great Dennis Question aside, the trailer has a whole lot to offer. Mac has apparently been occupying himself with more than just the sex doll, because he is insanely ripped. This revelation doesn’t come as a surprise, due to Rob McElhenney’s penchant for outrageous transformations (he famously gained 50 pounds for season 7), as well as his recent public appearances (demonstrated by this life-giving photo of June’s LA Pride Parade). But even for the prepared viewer, Mac’s new body is a sight to behold. Especially in The Duster, a pairing as seductive as an enticing Chicago tune and some brie cheese.
The actual content of the episodes is hard to suss out, but the trailer at least is pushing an undeniable theme of topicality. Over the years Always Sunny has brushed up against current events, but this season looks to be doing it a bit more blatantly, with a female Wade Boggs challenge on a plane full of pussyhats, and a seminar on workplace sexual harassment making up at least two episodes.
Are we in danger of the timeliness being too on the nose? I doubt it. As I’ve discussed at length before, Always Sunny has carved a niche for itself espousing progressive ideals through satire with its woefully unprogressive characters. And with Frank posting up in the airplane bathroom in a hot pink “Feminist” shirt and Dee drunkenly chanting “time’s up” at the seminar, I’m optimistic that any social commentary will be decidedly on-brand.
Honestly I’m most excited about the trailer’s shorter, unexplained flashes. Like Mac sitting alone on the couch with a fruit. (Is that a Call Me By Your Name peach or an apple with the skin still on? I can’t tell, but I’ll happily take either). And Frank closing up the wounds on his face with lemon juice and hot glue. And Mac strangling children mid-air. (Could this be a reaction to Dennis’ decision to leave and raise his son without him? It’s a little over the top, but I’d buy it).
And of course I’m excited for Charlie going full Kramer. The trailer feels a little Charlie-light, but whatever that scene is, it’s already my favorite.
This trailer may not answer all our questions, and it certainly doesn’t answer our most burning one, but it does indicate that It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia is still doing what it does best — growing and evolving and beating all the odds. In my (soon to be out of date) full episode ranking, three episodes from season 12 made the top ten, illustrating that the show has no intention of slowing down. With any luck, season 13 will keep up that quality by innovating and shocking and, above all, making us laugh.
I’d say the trailer is an excellent sign that it will.
It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia returns on Wednesday, September 5th at 10pm EST on FXX.