Yes, Dennis Reynolds, a man whose body was “sculpted to the proportions of Michelangelo’s David,” is back.
That was the shock reveal at the end of “The Gang Makes Paddy’s Great Again,” the 13th season premiere of FXX’s It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia. The rest of the gang—Charlie (Charlie Day), Mac (Rob McElhenney), Dee (Kaitlin Olson) and Frank (Danny DeVito)—had filled the considerable void in the wake of Dennis’ sudden departure with Cindy, their first responsible, and ethnic, member, played by the inimitable Mindy Kaling. Oh, and a sex doll crafted in the form of Dennis, its silicone mouth perpetually agape.
“We thought it was pretty funny to have that around. I thought it was very well done, the way we did it. Glenn posed for it, I think,” Danny DeVito tells The Daily Beast, jokingly adding, “I know that for many, many years now, he and Rob have been lovers. They don’t like to tell people.”
Though the gang was thoroughly convinced that their vainglorious, womanizing ringleader had left Paddy’s Pub for good, decamping to rural North Dakota to fulfill his fatherly duties, after defiling the doll in the grossest of ways, they were treated to a shock when it transformed into the real-life Dennis, Life-Size style.
The reveal certainly shocked viewers, too. After all, the actor Glenn Howerton, who so brilliantly embodies Dennis, had not only assumed the lead of another comedy series in NBC’s A.P. Bio, which was renewed for a second season, but also intimated in interviews—including to yours truly—that Sunny was firmly in his rearview.
“I think after being on the show for 12 years, it’s not a knock on Sunny, you just want to branch out and do other things,” he told me back in March.
Well, Dennis is not only back in the premiere episode of Sunny, but for the entirety of the show’s 13th season. And DeVito says he didn’t even take notice of the speculation that Howerton had left.
“I didn’t pay much attention to it,” DeVito maintains. “I didn’t know that Dennis wasn’t on the show anymore, so that struck me as a surprise. He was on the show this year, though!”
There’s also the matter of the other Sunny premiere reveal: Mac’s ripped physique, which the gang refuses to acknowledge in a hilarious running gag. He’s certainly come a long, long way from Season 7, where McElhenney ballooned into a full-blown fatty, gaining fifty-plus pounds, his gut exploding out of his tank top.
“Rob is a little confused. He’s… conflicted,” cracks DeVito. “I mean, he goes from being a chubby guy to a ripped guy to a really straight, heterosexual guy to trying out alternative lifestyles. He’s in flux. But he’s young, so he can do that. Maybe he’ll settle down someday.”
When I ask DeVito about Frank Reynold’s craziest moment, offering up the scene where he emerges from the couch fully nude, covered in sweat, he laughs.
“That was up there. But we did some crazy things this year—one or two episodes, let me tell ya,” he offers. “But I don’t know, it depends on what you’re into!”