IRL Stories That Became ‘It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia’ Plotlines

The real-life incidents that inspired some of the most absurd episodes in sitcom history
IRL Stories That Became ‘It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia’ Plotlines

The cast and co-creators of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia insist that their characters aren’t based on themselves, but I’ve only ever heard of two people getting into a car accident while eating a bowl of cereal and both of them are Glenn Howerton.

Despite the fact that the smash hit FX comedy focuses on a group of cretinous alcoholics who, if they ever escaped into the real world, would be dead or in jail within an afternoon, the writers of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia have mined many of the iconic jokes and plotlines that made the show a cult classic from their real-life experiences or actual world events. Thankfully, none of those IRL incidents involved kidnapping an immigrant family and burning their house down, spiking a bowl of wedding milk with bath salts or sewing a naked Danny DeVito into a leather couch.

Nonetheless, many of the plotlines that became all-time great sitcom episodes started as real stories from the real writers and actors of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia. Here are our favorites, starting with…

Glenn Howerton Was Actually Rear Ended While Eating A Bowl of Cereal

To this day, Howerton continues to defend himself against allegations of donkey brains stemming from a minor fender bender in which the interior of his car was ruined on the way to work when his breakfast flew into his windshield, and the second Howerton reached the Always Sunny offices and complained to Rob McElhenney and Charlie Day, they knew they had an episode on their hands with “The Cereal Defense.” Hopefully Kaitlin Olson didn’t have to pay for that one, too. 

“Frank vs. Russia” Was Based on An Actual Chess Cheating Accusation

Thankfully, writer and producer Megan Ganz didnt base this bonkers episode from the most recent It's Always Sunny season off of her own lived experience — this one was based on debunked rumors regarding U.S. grandmaster Hans Niemann and his alleged use of vibrating anal beads to communicate with an outside party during his defeat of five-time world chess champion Magnus Carlsen. Niemann was cleared of any impropriety in the ensuing probe (hilarious choice of words there, CNN), but Franks victory over the Russian grandmaster was pulled straight out of his ass.

“Dennis Takes A Mental Health Day” Is About the Actual Bullshit That Is Tesla Designs

Theres just something about Howerton and car trouble that always makes for a perfect It's Always Sunny plotline. Dennis freakout over the overdesigned and impractical functionality of luxury electric car key fobs is taken exactly from Howertons own experience with a burnt-out key battery in a parking garage where no cell reception or Wi-Fi offered him access to the app that could unlock his vehicle. I imagine that the daydream in which Dennis crushes not-Elon-Musks heart into a diamond and eats it is also true to life — its also massively relatable for Tesla owners and non-Tesla owners alike.

“The Gang Desperately Tries to Win An Award” Is Still Applicable A Decade Later

If you ever find yourself in an argument with a mouth-breather who believes that Emmy voters are intelligent, impartial tastemakers who assign awards fairly, just sit your opponent down and put on this episode from 2013 while you huff paint and sing songs about spiders. This episode is more brilliantly written than the vast majority of Emmy-winning shows, and its all about the annual snub that It's Always Sunny receives when the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences releases their nominations, only for It's Always Sunny to be left out of every category. Well, almost every category — for some reason, the Emmys have nominated Always Sunny in Outstanding Stunt Coordination for A Comedy Series or A Variety Program three separate times.

The fact that It's Always Sunny still hasnt received so much as a nomination in the Best Comedy category after 16 seasons of brilliance is an offense that should be punishable by a shower of spit.


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