by Julia Vaccarella ’20 A&E Staff
More often than not, the productions that take risks are the ones that end up being the most successful. This is certainly the case with FXX’s series It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, which has recently debuted episodes in its 14th season. The show, known for its blatant critique of political correctness, has amassed a large fanbase since its first episode in 2005.
Fans and critics alike have proposed reasons as to why It’s Always Sunny has been able to remain running season after season. Even some of the most popular comedy series like Friends and The Office have not made it past 10 seasons. One of the most plausible theories for why It’s Always Sunny is still airing new episodes today is the familiarity of the cast. Support for this argument is led by the presence of Danny DeVito, who many individuals know from notoriety in other on-screen productions. Charlie Day has also become increasingly popular in recent years, specifically within the comedy genre.
While the cast may bear some influence in keeping viewers interested, there are other significant factors in play, such as the risks the show takes. According to The Washington Post, “From the jump, the show was built around these narcissistic crew of sociopaths—calling them friends doesn’t feel right, since friends generally don’t try to constantly con one another—and it’s never really lightened its tone.” Unsurprisingly, this is not how the plot of most shows usually operates, so it exposes the audience to something different.
It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia has never shied away from covering controversial issues. In fact, the creators tend to time their episodes, aligning the focal points and central themes with relevant economic, political, and social issues. In doing so, this inevitably paves the way for groups and individuals to take offense to the show’s content.
Accordingly, the viewers of It’s Always Sunny tend to lean on the affluent side, reports The Federalist. Writer Emily Jashinsky states that It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia is “certainly protected by the clear-cut depravity of its universe, and by its fans in media, who learned to love it long before the new rules went into effect.” This in no way excuses the creators of the show in the event that they may have produced offensive content. Rather, these demographics illustrate that older fans may be more used to this type of unrestricted discourse.
It is understandable that wealthy individuals are not the only people who watch It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, and, although the lack of political correctness has caused some dissent and turned people off to the show, series are usually not able to escape unscathed as this show has. Looking at the bigger picture, It’s Always Sunny has been able to get away with a lot, but it should not be forgotten that the show aims to have a comedic effect, not to offend people.