The Dawn of Fat Mac: It’s Always Sunny’s Rob McElhenney on Season 7

Tonight, the hysterical and outrageous FX comedy It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia returns for its seventh season. Earlier this week, we got to sit in on a call with Rob McElhenney who filled us in on a bit of what’s in store, including Fat Mac, ripping on Toddlers and Tiaras, and Kings of Leon!

On gaining over 50 pounds for this season, and the reasons why he decided to take Mac down that road:

Ultimately, it was in between seasons last year – six into seven. I was watching a popular sitcom, and I noticed that the actors were getting better looking as the years were going by, and I started to think about any show that I have ever seen in which that wasn’t the case.

I feel like shows in their sixth, seventh, and eighth season, the actors have a lot more money, become a little bit more famous, and have access to better wardrobe, new hair, new teeth, sometimes plastic surgery. I thought how untrue of life that was, that especially characters like this who abuse themselves in so many different ways, would start to deteriorate over time and certainly wouldn’t look better.

Our goal has always been to try and do what’s not being done on television, and literally deconstructing the sitcom. So, where most sitcoms try to make the characters loveable and likeable, and as far I’m concerned, as fake as possible, we try to go the opposite, which is to make them as deplorable as possible, just to see if we can get away with it. And, it seems like the audience responds to that.

For me, it wasn’t just about [becoming] overweight, it was about trying to look as unattractive as I possibly could. It was as if, what would happen if the character completely let himself go and his age caught up to him? So, I grew a disgusting beard, I didn’t wash my hair, and I was 50 pounds overweight, and yet the character still thought he looked good. That to me was funny. Simply [being] overweight, that would be just a stunt, and that wasn’t very funny to me.

On which food helped most in his weight gain:

Donuts. I actually worked with a nutritionist to try and do it as healthy as possible, but at a certain point I just needed to consume as many calories as possible. And, he said go for the donuts so that’s what I did. I would literally eat six to eight donuts everyday through production. That was amazing. I will not lie to you. [They were] from a local donut shop that baked them fresh daily. I was originally buying some of those donuts that you can find prepackaged in the supermarkets, and my nutritionist was like, “Look. If you’re going to eat donuts everyday, don’t eat those, because they have a shelf life of six months, and they’re pumped full of so many preservatives and chemicals that you’re going to wind up even sicker than you would be otherwise.” So, I was literally encouraged to find a healthier form of donut, and I found that in the form of a local bakery.

On how the series pushes boundaries, and if they’ve ever been told that they couldn’t go ahead with any storylines:

We never got a no. We did get, in the first year … we did an episode in which a teacher is accused, not guilty of, but accused —falsely accused, actually — of molesting a couple of the students. And, it turns out that it didn’t happen. We wanted to make that a Catholic priest, and the network thought that that was maybe inciting some issues that they didn’t want to incite. And, I think ultimately we went with the gym teacher just because it was the first year of the show, and we weren’t sure if the people were really going to understand the show and what we were going for, and recognize that we weren’t making some sort of indictment on the Catholic church. It was more of an indictment of these ridiculous characters that they thought they were going to get away with accusing a teacher of sexually abusing somebody. So ultimately, I think you can get away with that in Season 7, but I think they made the right call in Season 1. It might have just upset people for no reason, because they didn’t understand what we were trying to do.

On the Season 7 episode he’s most excited for fans to see:

One of the episodes I’m really, really proud of, and I think it’s really funny … a few of our writers were really into the show Toddlers and Tiaras, which is about a children’s beauty pageant, and we thought, “Man, that would be really funny to see these characters in a situation like that.” And, we’re always trying to do more musical episodes, because we had such a great response to our past musical episodes, like “Nightman Cometh”, and when we started the band. So, this was an opportunity to kind of fuse the two together, and I think that will be our third episode of the season.

On potential guest stars and upcoming cameos:

We worked on John Tesh for awhile, but that didn’t work out. This year, we have The Kings of Leon, which we’re super excited about. They’re friends of ours, and they were really interested in doing an episode of the show, so we wrote them in something really cool in the season finale. It’s going to be fun.

Don’t forget to watch tonight’s Season 7 premiere of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, 10pm on FX!

Photo Courtesy of FX

3 thoughts on “The Dawn of Fat Mac: It’s Always Sunny’s Rob McElhenney on Season 7

  1. I always wondered why Mac “let himself go” this season. He’s the hottest one on the show! I just thought it was because his wife, Katlin Olsen aka “Sweet Dee” was preggers and he just picked up some spousal weight as a result. But now that I know the REAL reason, my mind is at ease. Job well done on the interview!

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