The ‘It’s Always Sunny’ Creator Says the Handling of Mac’s Sexuality Upset Their LGBTQ Audience

by Jeremy Spirogis
Rob McElhenney at the LA PRIDE Music Festival And Parade in 2016

It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia has been on the air for 14 seasons and counting. The sequence is understood for pushing the boundaries of comedy, one thing that’s straightforward to do when “the gang” consists of 5 dumb narcissists. Creator and Mac actor Rob McElhenney admits that he, Glenn Howerton, and Charlie Day have made some errors alongside the best way when it comes to taking a few of their jokes and plot factors too far. Something the present’s LGBTQ viewers was uncomfortable with, for instance, was how Mac’s popping out story was written.

Rob McElhenney at the LA PRIDE Music Festival And Parade in 2016
Rob McElhenney | Rodin Eckenroth/Getty Images

Why the ‘It’s Always Sunny’ writers determined to make Mac homosexual

McElhenney says the choice to make Mac homosexual was really born out of the character’s ultra-conservative beliefs.

“We always take whatever viewpoint any character has to the extreme,” he informed Rolling Stone in 2019. “We have certainly mined plenty of comedy out of the extreme right and the extreme left. We were looking at Mac at one point, and I was like, ‘He is such an arch-arch Catholic conservative when it suits him, and when it doesn’t, he drops that.’ And most of the people I know in that camp tend to be fairly homophobic. So we began going down that road: Let’s satirize that hard Christian conservative who is also intensely homophobic. OK, so what’s the next step from there? And that’s when I thought, ‘Let’s just make him gay.’”

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Though it could seem to be the plan was all the time for Mac to be homosexual, McElhenney says the event got here to them later. Even so, it type of actually made sense wanting again.

“What we realized is, if you look back over the seasons, it almost worked retroactively,” he stated.

How Mac’s popping out story upset the ‘It’s Always Sunny’ LGBTQ viewers

McElhenney stated he and the opposite writers strive to not take viewer opinions to coronary heart in relation to ideas about how the present ought to go. But one thing that caught their consideration was the response they obtained when Mac got here out as homosexual.

“There was an episode where we had a running gag that Mac was in the closet and refused to come out, and everyone there knew he was gay except for him. The joke wasn’t that Mac was gay, obviously. That would have been demeaning and offensive. The joke was that he was in the closet, and he refused to come out and doubled down on his homophobia. It was just poking fun at the hypocrisy of that. At one point, my character came out and then went back in the closet at the end of the episode,” he stated.

McElhenney continued: “I didn’t expect it, but there was a massive outpouring from our LGBTQ fans, who were really upset. They felt like, ‘Oh, wow, he finally came out. We feel represented. This is a really fun and cool character.’ That made them feel like it was a chance for us to do something different, and we put him back in the closet.”

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After the season ended, McElhenney mirrored on the choice and thought, “Man, that is a bummer. We had an opportunity there, and we screwed it up.”

Of course, as followers know, Mac comes out once more the next season.

“The response was so overwhelmingly positive, certainly from the people that we cared about, though of course there was a negative response from a segment of the audience we didn’t care about. It felt good that we were recognizing a part of our audience in a way that was not pandering, that wasn’t offensive or upsetting or a caricature,” he stated.

“We weren’t creating a gay character for comedic effect, that was there just to be gay and to be funny because he was gay, but a very complex, very disturbed, very f*cked-up and awful character, who happens to be gay. And we ran with that,” McElhenney continued.

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