the closest thing it’s always sunny in philadelphia has to a leading romance à la rachel and ross or jim and pam is a twelve-season will-they-or-won’t-they between two of their main male characters. ordinarily the “straight best friends with homoerotic tendencies” trope never genuinely puts pressure on the nature of the characters’ relationship, always ending with the pair receiving their respective girlfriends or wives. gayness itself becomes the punchline in cases like these, but sunny—a dark social-satire whose thesis continually subverts sitcom tropes—has managed to push a storyline that may have started as just another cliche joke into previously uncharted waters. the romantic aspect of mac and dennis’ relationship isn’t ridiculed or dismissed as ‘platonic,’ ‘brotherly,’ or ‘only in the fan’s minds,’ by the creators (who, for those who don’t watch the show, are also the characters’ actors and main writers); instead, it’s been built into the fabric of the show from the very beginning, and is constantly reinforced in canon and commentary. while it’s far from a traditional ‘slow burn’ given the show’s tone and the characters’ largely toxic, unhealthy behaviors, the relationship isn’t a rushed, sidelined gay storyline between minor characters, a one-off attempt to please a certain fragment of the audience, or a gay relationship established at the onset among a cast of other heterosexual relationships either.
since the show’s start in 2005, the show has progressed mac and dennis’ more-than-platonic relationship from comedic subtext to genuine text, allowing one of the main characters to ultimately come out of the closet and begin blatantly addressing his previously hinted-at feelings for the other in multiple episodes of the most recent season. the show has managed to present the relationship in a way that doesn’t make gayness the butt of the joke, instead driving humor from the characters’ inability to come to terms with their sexualities and latent feelings for one another. despite its biting satire and dark roots, sunny allows for rare sentimental moments that feel more genuine than those on other shows with canon homosexual relationships. whether or not mac and dennis’ relationship is ever officially consummated, i honestly can’t think of any other sitcom, or drama for that matter, that has done anything like this in the history of television.
why don’t they have an emmy. why when shows like big bang theory are lauded for making stupid gay jokes about raj and howard and even though its nearing a run as long as sunny’s penny/leonard still feels just as predictably uninspired as it did in its infancy