In the world of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, there’s very little to connect episode to episode. The closest thing the show has had so far to a continuing story has been Dee’s baby from last season, then once the show realized it would completely change its dynamic with this little bundle of joy, the show course-corrected and took the baby out of the picture. This season we have Mac, who between season six and seven has gotten fat without any reference as to why. But finally, 10 episodes in, we get the explanation.
Mac decides to tell the story at a confessional, explaining why he got fat not to atone for his slothful ways, but instead to show how his friends had led him down this road. Surprisingly, the episode is a flashback, showing skinny Mac, which means that this episode was probably mostly shot during the sixth season. Paddy’s experiences one day of booming business and the gang decides they should try to be the best they can be in an attempt to maintain this success. But being their best means having each of the members cranked up to 11 in terms of their character traits. Dee decides to be her “charming” self by telling her jokes that don’t land to customers, whether they like it or not. Dennis becomes even more vain after dyeing his hair and getting a chemical face scrub. Mac parties, Charlie screams, Frank comes up with bad plans. The crew becomes so stressed out, Dee and Mac decide to hire replacements as similar to them as possible. When Mac’s is buffer than he is, he decides to start packing on the pounds to gain some muscle mass. But as is typical It’s Always Sunny fashion, the gang can barely hold onto one plan for a few days, and they quickly ditch being successful to hang out in the back room and get high off chemicals while Charlie dances. No one decides to tell Mac that they’ve given up, and when he shows up six weeks later at the bar 200 pounds, candy in his pockets, oblivious to the cancellation of the plan, the gang laughs at the fat Mac as he trudges off to tell his story to his priest.
“How Mac Got Fat” is a fun episode in that we get to see the gang strung out, trying to be as great as they can, while simultaneously destroying what made them successful. It’s nice to see everyone working at full capacity with their character, especially Mac who has been sort of in the background for a majority of the season. Mac is given two of the episode’s best scenes: the episode’s end when he realizes they are no longer following the plan, and when he decides where he will sail once he becomes successful—instantly crossing out Africa, then quickly crossing out much of the world, with the exception of the Eastern Seaboard.
This week’s episode wasn’t the funniest, but it was consistently amusing, with great character-based humor, rather than relying on the gang’s plan of the week. It’s Always Sunny is probably doing its best job of any season of balancing the five characters and giving them all great moments per episode. The last flashback episode “Frank’s Brother” was a season-low, whereas with this episode, the creators have had quite some time to work on it, and it shows.