Created by Rob McElhenney, the FXX comedy series It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia is back for its 13th season, with Mac (McElhenney), Charlie (Charlie Day), Dee (Kaitlin Olson) and Frank (Danny DeVito) up to their usual duplicitous scheming. Even with Dennis (Glenn Howerton) taking on the new role of father in North Dakota, this group of lovable screw-ups will have no shortage of new adventures, as Mac explores his newfound sexuality, Charlie hopes to have a child with The Waitress (Mary Elizabeth Ellis), Dee takes her feminism to new heights, and Frank gets into all sorts of trouble.
During this 1-on-1 interview with Collider, actor Charlie Day talked about how rare it is to have so many seasons with one TV series, the job security It’s Always Sunny has given him throughout his young adult life, having total freedom to tell the stories they want to tell, the challenges of making this series, the busier the cast gets, what fans can expect from Season 13, how they’re dealing with the absence of Glenn Howerton, aka Dennis, and how their 14th season will match the record with Ozzie & Harriet, for the longest running live-action comedy series, ever.
Collider: When you first started making It’s Always Sunny, if somebody had told you that you’d be here, 13 seasons later, would you have thought they were completely insane?
CHARLIE DAY: I would have thought they were completely insane, but I think that’s the pessimist in me. I can’t picture the future very well. We made a pilot and the hope was that we would get a chance to make a season. But beyond that, it has surpassed all of my expectations.
Through a big chunk of your career, you’ve had this show to come back to. What’s it like to know, especially in a business like this, that you had that job still waiting there.
DAY: Yeah, a wonderful and rare thing in this town is job security, and to have had that for what will be 14 years is amazing. It’s through the better chunk of my young adult life, I suppose, or however you would categorize your late 20s to early 40s. Then, to get to make whatever we want, that’s the other refreshing thing. We go around town, either working with someone else where you don’t have control, or begging someone to give you the control to make something. It’s wonderful to have this blank check of creativity that FX gives us when they say, “Go make a season of television,” and I’ve had that for years.
It feels like this show has been there since the beginning of FX.
DAY: In some ways, it has. We were very early in.
How much harder does it get to make this show, season after season, as you guys get busier and busier?
DAY: Yeah, that gets harder, juggling our professional lives and our personal lives, with children and stuff. Other things, like fatiguing or aging aspects of our production, whether it be crew members or just general fatigue of the actual work of filming, takes its toll. But then, other things get easier. It gets easier to figure out how to break a story and how to allocate our time. We’ve gotten much better at that. We don’t waste a lot of time anymore. We come and we work hard, and then we leave. We put the pencils down, so to speak.
Do you feel like part of the success of this show comes from the fact that you’re not afraid to offend anyone because you’re equal opportunity offenders?
DAY: I think so. When we decided to make a show satirizing bad behavior and the worst aspects of ourselves, as a country, and just as humans, in general, we stumbled into a formula that allows us to go down some roads that you just can’t go down on other shows. As the world becomes a more complex place and we have to figure out how to deal with these issues, it’s almost refreshing to have these characters to say, “Hey, wait, we can still deal with these issues in a funny way ‘cause the show is commenting on the worst sides of ourselves.” Then, you get to see the worst sides of ourselves and laugh at it, which is what I think people need.
Is there anything that you’ve ever worried about doing, that you thought seemed too crazy, but you still got away with it?
DAY: No. We get asked that question a lot and not really because you understand, as the writers of the show, that we’re saying, “Hey, this is wrong.” We’re not glorifying these characters. They don’t win. To say this or to feel this way is wrong. The characters often discuss the nuances of those things, in a way that I think is interesting for the audience to hear. As long as we feel like we’re addressing it in the story, from that more thoughtful place, then I feel that we usually can get away with it.