IT’S ALWAYS SUNNY IN PHILADELPHIA has become the longest-running non-animated comedy series ever, and there’s a very simple reason as to why: they remain consistent. The show has maintained their wide audience by never abandoning their tone, sense of humor or characters’ general awfulness. However, at the close of season 13 the show went a very different route, and instead of having their characters walk away from a scheme or serious situation without any accountability, the final episode ended on an incredibly poignant and enthralling note that found Mac (Rob McElhenney) – yes, Mac – performing a 4-5 minute, very serious dance routine…and in the rain, no less.
While the dance number itself requires only for you to watch and be mesmerized by it, what is needed is a bit of context. The majority of the episode “Mac Finds His Pride,” is, for the most part, business as usual. The gang sends Frank (Danny DeVito) to try and get Mac to help them capitalize on the “gay market” during the gay pride parade. Mac – who came out of the closet in season 12 – ends up confessing to Frank, “I don’t know where I fit in as a gay man and it’s starting to get to me. I’m not feeling very proud.”
Frank responds, “I never really got you and, to be honest, now that you’re gay I get you even less. Nothing against it, I just don’t get it.” Nonetheless, he takes Mac to help him find his gay pride, which involves going to an S&M club. After nothing works they determine Mac has to come out to his father, and Mac comes to the conclusion the only way he can do that is through an epic dance routine. This also explains why Mac is actually shredded in this season and isn’t just undeservedly boasting about his “physique” like in past seasons.
Vulture did an excellent piece on the whole origin and process of the dance number, like how McElhenney trained with MAGIC MIKE trainer Arin Babaian to get in dancing shape. He went on a no carb, no sugar diet, ran three miles a day and so much more, all on top of taking dance classes. This prepared him for the incredibly physical dance number with professional dancer and ballerina Kylie Shea.
All the work paid off, as the number came out as a visceral, emotional powerhouse that saw Mac’s dad, Luther (Gregory Scott Cummins) leaving halfway through. In tears, he is brought back up by Shea to continue, resulting in a standing ovation and Frank (having broken his face again) uttering in disbelief, “Oh my God, I get it. I get it.”
This is perhaps one of the most un-SUNNY moments in the entire series, but it will likely go down as one of the best ever. Bravo, everyone!