In its fifth year on FX, It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia has become more popular than ever before. Many are calling this season the funniest yet, with each new episode becoming an instant classic within the Sunny lexicon. The Paddy's Pub gang has hit their stride, and they certainly show no signs of slowing down anytime soon. Last week, we /its-a-very-sunny-christmas-with-rob-mcelhenney-and-glenn-howerton/chatted with Rob "Mac" McElhenney and Glenn "Dennis" Howerton about their just released holiday DVDA Very Sunny Christmas. In turn, we were bombarded with even more questions from the show's many fans. Now, with just one more episode before Sunny's explosive season five climax, series creator Rob McElhenney has agreed to answer some of those burning inquiries himself. Calling in from his holiday road trip for a special Thanksgiving chat, here is the one and only Mac*:
Something weird happened since I talked to you last week. Something that has never happened before. After we posted the interview with you and Glenn Howerton about your new Christmas DVD, we were bombarded with questions from fans that wanted to know more about the future of the show. People like my girlfriend's mother, who I didn't even know watched Sunny. So is it cool if I field some of those fan questions out to you?
Rob McElhenney: Sure, that sounds good.
This first question comes from James Graves in Oregon. There are four doors in Charlie's apartment. One is the entrance. And we know from a previous episode that Charlie and Frank have to use the bathroom down the hall. So, where do those other three doors lead?
Rob McElhenney: That is an excellent question, and something we are going to most likely get into at some point. If not this season, maybe in a future season. We have knocked around a couple of ideas. We have one door that leads to a hallway and one that leads to a closet. Then there are those two other doors. And we haven't quite gotten into that yet. There will definitely be an entire episode that revolves around it.
You guys are discussing plans to release a CD featuring the music from the show. Can you tell us more about that? Will you be creating new music for it? And who writes most of the music? Is it a collaborative process?
Rob McElhenney: It is a collaborative process. To answer your first question, there have been a lot of fan requests for the music to be put all on one source. We don't know if that will be a CD or a virtual download. We do have a ton of music from the show. And we will be exploring more musical episodes in the future. We are thinking about releasing it all on one musical compilation. It is hard to say what, exactly, will be on it. But its safe to say that it will all be original music from Sunny. Generally, the way that we work? It is a team effort. As far as the music goes, Charlie plays piano, and guitar, and a few other instruments. He also plays the harmonica. He is a very talented writer when it comes to music. He works closely with Cormac Bluestone who is a friend of ours. We have hired him as one of the defacto musical directors for the show. Occasionally, we will work together and come up with a melody. Which is what happened with Dayman. Often times, it is collaboration between the two of them. In terms of the lyrics, that is always a joint effort between us and some of the other writers on the show.
Do you guys have new music tucked away that we haven't heard yet?
Rob McElhenney: No, we don't. There are no real plans for an album quite yet. I think it will be in the coming years. As that develops, we will certainly be creating more music for the show.
Mike Patton. You've discussed bringing him on the show. Can you tell us what your ideas are as far as having him participate? Will he be contributing to the music in some way? Or will he be one of the McPoyles' long lost relatives?
Rob McElhenney: We don't have a plan for him yet. But it is definitely something we've been talking about. It's all about making sure that his schedule jives with ours. And then we need to see how we can add him into the mix. We're not sure what he'll be doing, because we haven't quite mapped out a plan for that just yet.
During season three and four, Danny DeVito had to shoot all of his scenes before the rest of the show could be shot. Was that the same with season five? Or was he more readily available to be there when you needed him? Has his commitment to the show become greater since the show's growth in popularity, as far as putting other things behind it goes?
Rob McElhenney: It has been like that for a while. When he came on in season two, he wasn't necessarily sure that he wanted to commit to the show. It was too much time. I think he had a really good experience during that first three-week shoot with us. (there is muffled talking in the background) Jeez, the GPS woman just won't shut up. Anyway, in subsequent seasons, Danny devoted himself to the long haul. And our shooting season lasts for about three or four months.
How do you decide which T-shirts you are going to wear on each episode? Do you pick them out yourself? Or do fans send them in to the show?
Rob McElhenney: It is a little bit of both. Usually, it's our wardrobe supervisor Sabrina Rosen, who has been with us since season one. She generally picks out all of our clothing, and we go through and whittle it down based on her selections. We have a company called Suburnban Riot which supplies a lot of our T-shirts. And I definitely encourage fans to send in shirts. I do wear shirts that fans send me.
Also, does the wardrobe ever wash Charlie's clothes? Or do they just hang them back on the rack until he wears them in the next episode?
Rob McElhenney: (Laughs) That's a good question. They definitely work very hard to achieve that lived in look. Everything is cleaned every single night. After everybody goes home. But the next morning, it is once again worked over with make-up.
Your second to last episode, which airs next week, has you and Mac confronting M. Night Shyamalan with a film script. How did this episode come about, and did you actually get M. Night Shyamalan to appear in the episode?
Rob McElhenney: M. Night is in the episode in spirit. But not necessarily in the flesh. He...(Luaghs). We didn't even approach him. And you'll have to see the episode to understand why. That is certainly part of the episode. But that episode came about simply because Night works solely in Philadelphia, and all of his movies seem to take place there. We thought that would be an interesting episode if Dee wound up getting a part in an M. Night movie to only later find out that she's just part of the background.
There had been talk in the past about bringing Sunny to the big screen. Is this something you guys are still considering? Or did the Christmas Episode sort of squelch that a little bit?
Rob McElhenney: We definitely don't want to limit any of our options, and we will keep all of our doors open. But the fact of the matter is that it takes a long time to craft these episodes, and to further up our standards. And we have to abide by the standards our fans have set in front of us. I think any deviation from that, be it a movie or live show, which could happen in the future, we are also knocking that around, it distracts us from making the best possible show that we can make while also having a little bit of time off in between. Our number one priority at this point is to make sure the episodes are the strongest they can be. From there, if we have a little bit more time and energy, and we still have the creative juices flowing, then maybe we'll consider it.
As the show grows in popularity, do you ever stress out about fan expectations, or do you ignore that and just continue on the path you set out on from day one?
Rob McElhenney: I think it varies from person to person. I definitely take an active approach to not caring. I don't read any of the boards. I don't listen to people's opinions. I try not to take stock in it. Not because I don't care. But essentially because it will effect my work on the show. Ultimately, I can only be responsible for what makes me laugh. And what makes Charlie and Glenn laugh. Aside from that, I can't concern myself with anything else. I think you can really dig yourself into a hole when you concern yourself with what people want from you.
You are always so nice and humble. Is it hard to keep smiling and not walk away when a fan comes up to you with ideas that aren't necessarily in line with what you want out of the show?
Rob McElhenney: I don't mind that at all. I like talking one on one, or in groups. It is very rare that people will...
Rob McElhenney: I am sorry. I lost you there. Maybe I will try...
*Sadly, as Rob was zooming through the woods on his Thanksgiving road trip, his cell phone gave out, and we lost him to the Redwood Forest. It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia returns next week with the all-new episode Mac and Charlie Write a Movie, followed by the season five finale The Gang Reignites the Rivalry, which airs December 10th. It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia: A Very Sunny Christmas is available on DVD and Blu-ray now!