5 Ways Charlie Is Somehow the Smartest Character on ‘It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia’

Charlie Kelly might not be able to read or write, but he still runs circles around the rest of Paddy’s Pub
5 Ways Charlie Is Somehow the Smartest Character on ‘It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia’

Stupid science bitches couldn’t even make Charlie Kelly more smarter — because he’s already a genius.

Philadelphia’s most resilient abortion survivor has an interesting relationship with his own intelligence. Despite lacking the mental framework required to grasp even the most basic principles of language, science, mathematics and reality itself, Charlie still often finds himself two steps ahead of the rest of the Paddy’s Pub crew that once tricked him into trading his shares in the bar for half a sandwich and some “goods and services.” For all that Charlie lacks in formal education, he’s also missing so much in the “street smarts” department — and, yet, every now and then, he breaks out a savant-like ability to master complex concepts instantly and get the upper hand on all the other sociopaths in his life.

Obviously, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia is not a show about smart people. However, every now and then, the lowly, illiterate janitor proves himself to be king of the idiots. Here are the top five ways Charlie is the top mind of Paddy’s Pub…

He Started A Successful Company

Of all the gang’s many business schemes, Kitten Mittens is, perhaps, the only one that worked out without catering to terrorist organizations, giving UFC fighters food poisoning or scabbing during a garbage strike. In “Paddy’s Pub: Home of the Original Kitten Mittens,” Charlie’s kitschy kitty knitting company is the only successful idea out of all the gang’s pitches to score big at the merchandising convention. But The Lawyer ended up screwing Charlie out of the profits on account of him not being able to read the contract he signed. However, not every legal battle between the two equals would fare that way…

He’s An Expert in Bird Law

In “McPoyle vs. Ponderosa: The Trial of the Century,” Charlie’s aviary attorney abilities help him to hand The Lawyer the most devastating loss of his litigating career — he even lost his eye. Up until this episode, Charlie’s knowledge of “bird law” was another of those jokes that showed how badly Charlie misunderstood the world around him, like when he thought hornets make honey or that stars are just the fumes from his trash fires wafting into the atmosphere. That all changed when he called Royal McPoyle to the stand. Filibuster.

He’s A Master Manipulator

Much like Hannibal Lector, Dennis Reynolds loves to exert his influence over his subordinates. In fact, he makes a show of it at every opportunity. However, real masterminds move in silence, as Charlie has done many times, often with the intention of finally getting The Waitress into his bed. Though results vary on the various schemes, he successfully convinced his friends that he had cancer in “Charlie Has Cancer,” and he tricked Alexandra Daddario into falling in love with him in “Charlie and Dee Find Love,” only to finally succeed in wooing his dream woman by convincing her to have his baby. 

He’s A Musical Savant

“Keyboards just make sense to me, man,” Charlie understates when the gang first tries their hand at music-making in “Sweet Dee’s Dating a Retarded Person.” Of course, Charlie is the only person at Paddy’s Pub with any actual musical talent — not counting Dennis’ warbling falsetto — which was on its proudest display during “The Nightman Cometh.” In writing, directing, producing and guest starring in the iconic musical, Charlie also showed himself to be an adept set, costume and lighting designer. He’s a multi-hyphenate musical theater master.

Everything in “Charlie Work”

The gang always aces the health inspection. Not because their bar isn’t a death trap (it is), and not because the test is easy to pass (it isn’t). No, Paddy’s Pub receives the highest score each year for one reason alone: Charlie is the greatest shady janitor in Pennsylvania. Not only does Charlie improvise his entire scheme to pass the test, but he also successfully understands and hijacks the steak/chicken/airline miles scam that the rest of the gang was well on their way to fumbling before Charlie stepped in and orchestrated the greatest scheme in It’s Always Sunny… history. That’s how you make a joke stool.


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