I’ve been thinking a lot about Mac and Charlie pre the Reynolds. Like, all they had was each other. I bet Mac was very protective of Charlie- and Charlie was accepting of it. He didn’t make fun of Mac for his ocular pat downs, in fact, he still doesn’t. Before Dee and Dennis came along, neither of them had anyone to impress. They just cared about each other. Then, all of a sudden these competitive, destructive rich kids were hanging out with them and they felt the pressure.
Take Charlie’s scene in The Gang Misses the Boat when he tells Dee he only bullies her because he feels pressure from the guys. I think it’s the same dynamic with Mac and Charlie. Mac obviously wants to impress Dennis/get his attention, so he makes fun of Charlie. Charlie wants the same from Mac, so he gives it back and goes after Dee. (You could argue that Dennis is root of all of it.)
But in CharMac team up episodes (Mac and Charlie Die, Dennis and Dee Go On Welfare, Chardee Macdennis ect.) Charlie and Mac aren’t at each others throats. There’s a much more genuine, tender care for one another.
So I think about them as kids, or in high school before they met the Reynolds. They spent their days throwing rocks at trains, avoiding their shitting parents, wrestling, and just taking care of each other. And I love the gang’s dynamic as a whole. I love CharDee MacDennis, possibly more than is healthy. But I can’t help but wonder where Mac and Charlie would be if they’d never met Dee and Dennis. Probably just living in a shitty apartment, maybe owning the bar, maybe not, and still taking care of each other.