It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia…or not, according to Rob McElhenney, Glenn Howerton and Charlie Day on their new podcast. Other working titles for their long-running sitcom are revealed to be ‘It’s Always Sunny on TV’ (inspired by a-ha’s hit 1985 single ’The Sun Always Shines on TV’) or simply… ‘Jerks’. The popular show is now often referred to as just ‘Sunny’ or ‘Always Sunny’, and the brand new podcast from the same creative team reflects that.The Always Sunny Podcast features the stars and creators of the show – Rob, Glenn and Charlie – as they talk about the early days of the show, rewatching it one episode at a time.
In reality, they barely touch on the episode itself, often digressing – much like their on-screen characters – into other stories that the larger general public hasn’t heard before, that are triggered by a specific scene, character or theme of the episode. For example, in episode 3 of the podcast, where they discuss S01E03 of the show “Underage Drinking: A National Concern” we hear about Rob drinking far too much once at the age of 13, which from there tangents into stories from Glenn and Charlie about mistakes they made at a young age (leading to the reveal of how Glenn almost accidentally hanged himself once…). Personally I think these distractions away from the main narrative actually adds to the humour, as it’s essentially on brand with what you’d expect from something ‘Sunny’. You can tell that they’re being themselves but at the same time they’re playing up to the fact that they have mic’s running and prove that they still have their quick wit and dark sense of humour. At the time of writing, only 4 episodes have been released and a recurring gag has our 3 leads often unsure of podcast structure, such as introducing themselves, saying that they’re still figuring it out – which is a nice reflection and homage of sorts to the similar response that the earlier seasons of the show had itself.
While this podcast is primarily for big fans of the show, due to the similar tone of humour and dynamic of delivery, I do think that this could also offer fantastic insight for those looking to learn about the craft and process of film/programme making. On more than one occasion, most likely because they’re watching the first season, they talk about the behind the scenes processes from back in 2005, unwritten episodes where they tossed ideas around, how they shot certain scenes and as someone who works in the independent film industry in London – these are hugely interesting. ‘Sunny’ was a major inspiration for my directorial debut, I loved the style and approach to characterisation. Hearing these three gentlemen discuss their early days, before the show blew up, it’s reignited that creative passion for me, while also reminiscing about my earlier film gigs.
That’s not to say the podcast is 100% perfect. I do feel as though the episodes are a tad on the short side, and suffer from excessive cutting in the edit which sometimes leads to clunky editing, where the inflection on what’s being said, or the topic itself, dramatically change in a split second. There were a small handful of occasions where I jumped backwards and replayed, to make sure I hadn’t skipped it myself – but hey, as they keep saying, they’re still figuring this podcast stuff out.
In all honesty, I would recommend this podcast to most people, just as I would the show. It is hugely entertaining, not just for being funny but for the industry insight it provides too, into an extremely unique scenario on how a show was born out of desperation with practically no budget and evolved over time into the longest running live-action comedy series in American television history (having been renewed through Season 18). I eagerly anticipate their stories of Danny DeVito when they start commenting on Season 2 onwards.
‘The Always Sunny Podcast’ is available with new episodes every Monday on Apple Podcasts and Spotify, with ‘It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia’ Season 15 starts airing December 1st on FXX.