So with this review of FXX's It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia stars Charlie Day (Charlie), Glenn Howerton (Dennis) & Rob McElhenney's (Mac) "The 'Always Sunny' Podcast," we are now officially up-to-date on the first four episodes dropped so far. After checking out "The Gang Gets Racist" (review), "Charlie Wants An Abortion" (review), and "Underage Drinking: A National Concern" (review), we're moving on to the trio's thoughts on S01E04 "Charlie Has Cancer" (recorded while they were between the fourth and fifth weeks of writing Season 15). And let me kick things off by reassuring Howerton that not only was this episode funny and informative, it was also the perfect mix of episode intel, overall info on the show's lore, and random rants. Though probably the most noticeable improvement was how the three of them gave each other a little more room to operate so very little talking over one another. Pretty impressive only four episodes in. But what did we actually get out of all of it? Let's take a look…
S01E04 "CHARLIE HAS CANCER": The pilot for the FX (and eventually FXX) series served as a combination of the first two home movies that were filmed (with the Dennis-Charlie basketball reveal scene a "big bang" for what the series would become in many ways). Howerton discussed how he experimented with the kind of "awkward pauses" he appreciated in the UK The Office and HBO's Curb Your Enthusiasm. Cool Fact: In the earlier versions, David Hornsby (Cricket) played McElhenney's role as "Rob" because McElhenney was considering moving on from acting to focus on writing & directing (never considering himself a "super funny performer"). That scene was filmed "probably ten times" over about two years as the home movies eventually evolved into the pilot. An actual apartment was used for Charlie's apartment, and then it was made up to look more like an apartment on a set (that one made my head hurt).
The construction workers are McElhenney's friends Dennis Hogan and Dennis Hart, who would also appear in S05E06 "The World Series Defense." As for those Thrice band stickers, the trio emphasizes once again that they have no idea about the band and that those stickers ended up on the set & on screens from someone putting together the set. And finally, that the early edits for the Season 1 episodes were pretty rough times for McElhenney, Day, and Howerton until they could get to a comfort zone with what they wanted and editors who could share that sense.
EVERYTHING ELSE: Yeah, we're going all over the map with this one… beginning with the trio not big fans of the mouth noises they hear from some of the talking heads on NPR. Day is a big Ethan Hawke fan (they were in a production together) and wants us to know that he doesn't think Hawke has "dead eyes." Speaking of Day, just hearing his Keanu Reeves impersonation makes this episode worth the listen, but the segment on Reeves and Point Break was driven home by Howerton's loving-more-than-mocking disbelief over this very serious line from the film, "The FBI wants to pay me to learn how to surf?"- as if Reeves' Johnny Utah wasn't the poster child for surfing.
The trio then discussed how the characters' names came about, with the origin of "Sweet Dee" an especially interesting listen. Because any story that involves Tom Morello from Rage Against the Machine & Audioslave shouldn't be spoiled by my lame attempt at a recap. Howerton & Day develop a quick obsession with how close McElhenney's nose & mouth are to the mic when he talks (with bonus points to Howerton for the "Muppet dick" line). Once again, the amazing Megan Ganz was there to save the day by adjusting the volume in McElhenney's headphones so he could relax a bit more. Day takes a moment to apologize to Brandon McPoyle for what Day originally intended to be an honor. Unfortunately, things have a tendency to take on lives of their own. During the middle of recording the episode, the trio is hit by an earthquake… only to learn that it was just a large, loud cart rolling down the hall. And then we listen as McElhenney, Day, and Howerton wrap things up with an impromptu performance of "Birds of War."
Now here's a look back at the two newest teasers and official trailer for FXX's It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia: