‘It’s Always Sunny’: Charlie Day and Rob McElhenney Fight As Much Off-Screen As They Do On-Screen

‘It’s Always Sunny’: Charlie Day and Rob McElhenney Fight As Much Off-Screen As They Do On-Screen

Disagreements are an important part of any collaborative process, which should make the main cast of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia cooperation savants.

In a recent episode of The Always Sunny Podcast, co-writers and co-stars Rob McElhenney and Charlie Day — Mac and Charlie respectively — engaged in a revealing argument that showed just how important conflict has been to the sitcom both behind the scenes and on camera. Though the volume level was considerably lower for the argument between McElhenney and Day than it would be in a fight between the pair’s characters, the two collaborators used the disagreement to show their audience how vital the butting of heads between two impassioned and opinionated artists has been to the unique creative process for the most unique sitcom on TV.

Since the argument was on The Always Sunny Podcast and not It’s Always Sunny itself, the dispute was over issues of creative approach as opposed to a bag of chips or a Virgin Mary water stain.

“You are very conservative. You don’t like change, you don’t like weird things,” McElhenney accused of his longtime friend, collaborator and co-star. McElhenney and Day were discussing the decision to set a multi-episode arc from It’s Always Sunny Season 15 in Dublin, a choice with which Day disagreed when it was first pitched. Megan Ganz, a producer, co-host of the podcast and the director of the episodes in question, sat by with series star and co-developer Glenn Howerton while McElhenney and Day prepared to square off.

Day took issue with McElhenney’s assessment, prompting the latter to comment, “I can see you even getting upset right now,” which was a rare point on which the two agreed. McElhenney insisted to Day’s discontentment that Day is afraid of change, while Day maintained that he is simply averse to “gimmicks,” which is how he described the move to Ireland. Day prefers a character-focused approach with storylines that originate in the inner-lives of the Paddy’s Pub crew, which clashes with McElhenney’s proclivity for massive macro-ideas, such as gaining 50 pounds in five months simply because he thought his character would be funnier if he was fat.

The Ireland debate opened the door for McElhenney to point out other times when he felt that Day had resisted necessary change, such as when the show changed its aspect ratio from 4:3 to 16:9. “I think it looked better before,” Day plainly stated while he held his ground as McElhenney emphatically asserted the importance of his decision to modernize the show’s visuals. 

Day and McElhenney continued to dispute past issues of taste and approach dating back to the early years of It’s Always Sunny while Ganz and Howerton played the role of passive mediators as the argument grew more and more impassioned. However, as opposed to the kinds of on-screen clashes that have earned It’s Always Sunny its massive and devoted following, the two parties never strayed too far from the idea that every fight is based on a foundation of mutual respect and a united desire to find the best possible result. “We all want to make the greatest show we can make, and we all have different approaches to how we do that,” Day stated during one of the conflict’s ceasefires.

McElhenney agreed: “One of the things I hear that I love the most is that it seems like we’re having so much fun, and we are, because we love each other and we have a blast. But the truth is, we disagree all day long. Even right now, I want to fight with you. I truly do, because I think you’re dead wrong.”

It’s too bad Danny DeVito isn’t a co-host on the podcast — it sure seems like someone could have used an egg during such trying times.

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