In an interview with Rolling Stone,
Rob McElhenney talked about the decision to make his It's Always
Sunny in Philadelphia character gay.
Mac came out at the end of the show's
most recent season, which aired last year.
The show had previously explored the
possibility that Mac is gay.
McElhenney: Pro-gay marriage, raised in a gay family.)
McElhenney, who created the show, said
that Mac's sexuality lampoons conservatives who protest too much.
“It was actually born more out of his
intense, ultraconservative, right-leaning principals,” he said. “We
always take whatever viewpoint any character has to the extreme. We
have certainly mined plenty of comedy out of the extreme right and
the extreme left. We were looking at Mac at one point, and I was
like, 'He is such an arch-arch Catholic conservative when it suits
him, and when it doesn’t, he drops that.' And most of the people I
know in that camp tend to be fairly homophobic. So we began going
down that road: Let’s satirize that hard Christian conservative who
is also intensely homophobic. OK, so what’s the next step from
there? And that’s when I thought, 'Let’s just make him gay.' What
we realized is, if you look back over the seasons, it almost worked
“I didn’t expect it, but there was
a massive outpouring from our LGBTQ fans, who were really upset [at
Mac's going back into the closet]. They felt like, 'Oh, wow, he
finally came out. We feel represented. This is a really fun and cool
character.' That made them feel like it was a chance for us to do
something different, and we put him back in the closet. We thought
about it over the off-season, and I realized, 'Man, that is a bummer.
We had an opportunity there, and we screwed it up.' And we
ameliorated that in the season after, where Mac winds up coming out
and staying out, and the response was so overwhelmingly positive,
certainly from the people that we cared about, though of course there
was a negative response from a segment of the audience we didn’t
“It felt good that we were
recognizing a part of our audience in a way that was not pandering,
that wasn’t offensive or upsetting or a caricature. We weren’t
creating a gay character for comedic effect, that was there just to
be gay and to be funny because he was gay, but a very complex, very
disturbed, very fucked-up and awful character, who happens to be gay.
And we ran with that,” he said.
It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia
returns for its 14th season on September 25 on FXX.