‘It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia’ Takes Taboo Too Far, And We Love It

Photo: FXX

Another season for It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia means another classic cluster of episodes that take taboo too far, and we love it. When it comes to sensitive subjects and taboo topics like race, gun rights, abortion, sexism, feminism, misogynism, (basically any -ism with a touchy protest group), the boys of Philly (and the tall bird girl) have no shame.

We’ve comprised a list of our favorite touched-on taboo episodes from “Sunny,” including a few classics already unveiled in their new 12th season of TV. If you thought these guys were getting out of hand, you’ve still got at least two more seasons of picking up the line and moving it back, then crossing it again in what will be the longest running live-action TV comedy in history.

‘It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia’ Takes Taboo Too Far, And We Love It

Body Dysmorphia 

Photo: FXX

Photo: FXX

Mac has always seen himself as the strong, muscley security of Paddy’s, as opposed to how the rest of the group sees him, which is weak and pathetic. For their seventh season, Rob McElhenney actually gained about 50 pounds for his role as Mac, a “tiny twink made into a muscle-bound freak.” McElhenney proposed the entire cast gain weight, none of which followed suit, favoring their health. He, of course, gained the weight alone, which eventually led to him being addressed as obese. Totally worth it for the laughs in “How Mac Got Fat.”


It’s no secret the gang struggles with alcoholism, as they own a bar and barely work because they’re too busy getting drunk and coming up with schemes. This was especially apparent in “The Group Gets Quarantined,” where they’re convinced they have contracted a virus when they’re really just having horrid withdrawals. For the season nine opener, the group flew cross country and attempted to beat Wade Boggs record for 70 beers in a day. Charlie was clerly the winner when they arrived in L.A.

Gay Marriage

Aside from Mac’s struggles with homophobia into being a blatant closet homosexual, the gang going off and trying marriage, including Frank and Charlie’s straight gay marriage, was nothing short of brilliance. “Two dudes getting married…that doesn’t seem very gay.”


Whether it was their Black Face swaps in home movies, Lethal Weapon 5 and Leathal Weapon 6, the gang has made it clear with episodes like “The Gang Gets Racist,” which was their pilot, that they have a humorous but realistic take on racism. The premiere episode of the twelfth season, “The Gang Turns Black,” gives a more updated take on race, where the gang inhabits black bodies and breaks into song, giving them a little empathy, right up until they give a realistic take on race today when mixed with law enforcement.


In “Frank’s Little Beauties,” and “Dennis Looks Like a Sex Offender,” we get a good taste for the gang’s perspective on the hilarious ways to address pedophilia. Frank is so concerned with not being seen as a “diddler” that he looks so guilty, which is ultimately hilarious. And of course, there’s a real pedophile in the crowd who eventually gets outed.

Welfare & Crack Addiction

Aside from the usual blatant alcoholism, Dennis and Dee have had recurring struggles with crack addiction. This episode, which couples addiction and taking advantage of the welfare system is a staple “Sunny” moment.


Photo: FX

Photo: FXX

In “Charlie Wants an Abortion,” a once straight Mac manages to use anti-abortion protesting as a tool for seduction. This seems like oddly relevant today with our political issues and plights with leadership.



The McPoyles brothers have been long held on the show as the creepy incestuous types.

Learning Disabilities 


Charlie is well-known as the illiterate of the group. Whether he’s eating stickers, using ransom-style picture notes in lieu of words or just plum misusing words, it’s classic Charlie, King of the Rats.

Sexual Harassment

Photo: FX

Photo: FXX

Dennis isn’t only a sociopath but also a womanizing deviant. When the gang buys a boat, he uses the isolation of the sea as a weapon to force women into having sex, you know, because of the implication. No matter how he rationalizes it to Mac, it still sounds fairly illegal.

Skinny Jeans


Frank is the perfect candidate for skinny jeans, and of course, being Penguin in Batman Returns, he’s going to have trouble getting them off alone.

Performance Enhancing Drugs


Charlie gets a taste of the good stuff when Frank gets Dee hooked on steroids. This GIF of his mood swings is one of the most priceless moments in the early seasons.

Gun Fever (and Gun Fever Too: Still Hot)

Photo: FXX

Photo: FXX

The Gang has gotten gun fever (twice actually), and we imagine they could do it again and again with the recurring gun issue in America. Frank has always been one to carry a gun and pull it out at the worst possible time, the local news being one of them.



Anyone who watches the show knows this speaks for itself and Mac’s steady dive into the world of dick.


In the twelfth season’s “The Gang Goes to the Waterpark,” we see Frank and Charlie manipulate their way to the front of the lines so they can do three days worth of slides in a day. Using the model presented to them by a dying cancer child, Frank covers his body in red spots and proclaims he has some red hot AIDS (but that it’s not gay AIDS, again furthering their homophobia).

Tiny Hands & Creepy Uncles

Photo: FXX

Photo: FXX

Uncle Jack is the rarest of side characters because he is only handled in small doses. How many jokes can you make about small hands and tasteful nude art of young boys without alienating the crowd? “Everything in moderation, including moderation.”

(Facebook photo: FXX)

Now watch this: Rank Each Season of ‘It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia