It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia co-creator and star Rob McElhenney said a “massive” show of enthusiasm from LGBTQ viewers to his character, Mac, coming out as gay last season helped the show lean into the storyline in the upcoming Season 13.
The session devoted to the show during TCA summer press tour tweaked the usual tour format. It began with the cast doing an amusingly high-spirited “table read” from the script of an upcoming episode titled “Mac Finds His Pride.”
A lengthy clip then screened from the episode. It showed Mac (McElhenney) and an unnamed female partner doing an elaborately choreographed dance number, complete with rain effects, in a prison for Mac’s inmate father Luther. (McElhenney said about 50 takes were required to shoot the dance.) The point of the dance is for Mac, who came out as gay in Season 12, to reveal his sexual orientation to his dad. (Formerly “Fat Mac,” he has also developed a buff physique, which McElhenney said was another aim of the show, to riff on the TV trope of shirtless characters having chiseled physiques.)
While the comedy flows through the script, the lyrical and fluidly edited dance sequence is played very sincerely. Shots of the inmates and others in the audience looking on with emotional expressions recall the classic ending of Sullivan’s Travels by Preston Sturges.
After the clip screened, the cast took questions for about 10 minutes. Gearing up for its 13th season, the show is getting bolder with its experiments, the creative team said. Charlie Day, a writer-producer of the show in addition to playing one of the lead roles, alluded to an all-female remake of a previous episode being in the works for Season 14.
Asked about the motivation for the “pride” episode, McElhenney joked, “It’s Season 13, so we’ve gotta do something.” Turning more serious, he said the plot direction “slowly evolved over time.” He recalled the “massive response” he got via social media from the LGBTQ community to Mac coming out last season. “They told me how moved they were by it and how important it was to be represented.” Day added, “We wanted to try something, for lack of a better term, heartwarming,” he said.
“I was really moved by it,” DeVito said. “It was cool to see that. And inspiring.”
Panelists also confirmed that Dennis, played by Glenn Howerton, will appear in more than half of the episodes in Season 13 — though in one, the character will be represented by a sex doll.