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‘Always Sunny’ needs Dennis

| Wednesday, September 19, 2018

When it comes to television, everyone has their favorite shows. More than a few of us have binge-watched “The Office” on Netflix, and while I haven’t watched it myself (I’m hoping to get into it before the next season), I hear great things about “Game of Thrones.” However, out of all the programming television has to offer, my absolute favorite show is the FX sitcom “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia.” For those who haven’t seen it, the show features a rather chaotic group of individuals — who often refer to themselves as “The Gang” — frequently getting involved in hilarious, hare-brained schemes while attempting to run their Irish bar, Paddy’s Pub, in South Philadelphia. “The Gang” consists of twins Dennis Reynolds and Deandra “Sweet Dee” Reynolds; their friends Charlie Kelly and Ronald “Mac” MacDonald; and Dennis and Dee’s father, Frank Reynolds, a character not introduced until season 2 and played by Danny DeVito.

“Always Sunny” has had its fair share of episodes revolving around utter nonsense as well as those that address more serious topics such as gun control, but what keep the show going are the ridiculous personalities of each degenerate character. For me, and I’m sure for many other “Always Sunny” viewers, Dennis Reynolds stands above the rest. Played by Glenn Howerton, Dennis is a delusional, self-centered, rage-filled, hypersexual sociopath who often serves as the leader of “The Gang” and their adventures. He is the heart of the show in many respects, but in the final episode of last season, things are left on an ambiguous note. Dennis has apparently fathered a child during a layover in North Dakota more than a year before, signaling his possible exit from the show to be a dad. Developments off screen left cause for concern as well, given that Glenn Howerton has taken on the lead role in the new NBC comedy “A.P. Bio,” which was just renewed for a second season.

Now two episodes into season 13, which premiered Sept. 5, it’s becoming a little clearer that Dennis will be around in some capacity, but he has the possibility to disappear at any moment. The show hasn’t shied away from the question of his role, taking it head-on in the season premiere when Mac purchases a sex doll that looks strikingly similar to Howerton’s character to fill the “Dennis-shaped hole” in his life. As the episode continues, “The Gang” is having some of their greatest success they’ve ever had as a bar, thanks to a new group leader in guest star Mindy Kaling, yet as soon as Dennis returns, they quickly dismiss Kaling’s character in favor of everyone’s favorite lunatic. “Always Sunny” has shown over and over again that this cast of characters is incapable of change, and for the remainder of the series, however long that may be, I’m praying this holds true. Howerton’s character has never been well-suited for the domestic life — as his and Mac’s disastrous attempt at the suburban life in season 10 shows — so perhaps this attempt at fatherhood will be short-lived. This column may seem meaningless to some readers, but for those that watch the show, they know why Dennis has been referred to as possibly TV’s greatest monster. I’m not sure I’m ready to lose that monster just yet.



The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.

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