[04/10/09 - 07:00 PM]
Live at the Paley Festival: FX's "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia"
By Brian Ford Sullivan (TFC)

Please note: As a courtesy, please do not reproduce these comments to newsgroups, forums or other online places. Links only please.

[EDITOR'S NOTE: As always, due to the Paley Festival's policy of not allowing electronic devices during the panels, I won't be blogging the event "live." Plus, I don't want to be the douche with a laptop clicking away when everyone's trying to enjoy the show. In any case, look for my handwritten blog - how 20th century - to be transcribed and appear around 11:00 PM PT each night. And if I'm feeling adventurous, you might get a few tweets from the after parties.]

7:00 PM - Our legacy clip for the evening is - appropriately enough - a 1979 episode of "Taxi" in which Danny DeVito explains how he hates the work "accident."

7:08 PM - Hey it's Craig Hitchcock from the Paley Center! He's here to welcome us to the Paleyfest's 26th year as well as bring out tonight's moderator, TV Guide's Craig Tomashoff. Craig says he can't think of a better show to honor on Good Friday than "Sunny."

7:12 PM - He in turn brings up Rob McElhenney, who's going to intro the episode we'll be seeing, "The Gang Solves the Gas Crisis." Rob asks for his "assistant" to join him, the one, the only Danny DeVito. DeVito proceeds to ask the audience "what the fuck are you people doing here?" and that he's "never worked with a bigger bunch of assholes" than on this show. I smell good times ahead.

7:35 PM - Wild card! Yeeeeaaahhhhhhhawww! I had forgotten the overall awesomeness of that episode. Anyhoo, Craig is back to bring out tonight's panel: Glenn Howerton! Danny DeVito! Kaitlin Olson! Charlie Day! Rob McElhenney! I should point out Rob is earning fancy points for wearing a tie.

7:38 PM - Rob on if they've ever gone too far on the show: "We're really careful about not being offensive, we don't try to be offensive. If we happen to be offensive, it's not our intent. We don't purposely try to push the limits. We just want to do things that haven't been done on TV before. And often times that does but us up against the standards that the FCC has imposed upon all creativity." Kaitlin adds: "There was the one time that we weren't allowed to say 'tea bagging' but [Standards & Practices] came up with 'balls to the chin' which was much better... so thank you."

7:40 PM - Rob explains that despite its improvish appearance, the show is almost completely scripted. He goes on to give a shout out to staff members Sonny Lee and Patrick Walsh, who penned "Gas Crisis," as well as the also in attendance David Hornsby. Or as Charlie so aptly quips about the episode we just watched, "You can't improv a car explosion."

7:43 PM - Kaitlin notes she is deathly afraid of drowning, making her waterboarding experience (again, in this episode) all the more terrifying.

7:47 PM - Craig suggests that all the characters on "Sunny" are irredeemable. Charlie disagrees: "If it was a show in which characters seemed irredeemable and they were unlikeable, that's 'Entourage.'" Told you it was going to be good.

7:50 PM - Rob adds: "I've heard some people describe the characters as cynical. I don't see them as cynical, I see them as really optimistic in a really weird way. Like every episode, they're really psyched about something. Like this is going to change my life. And then in the end they wind up at the same place."

7:52 PM - Rob cites the Waitress (played by Charlie's real life wife, Mary Elizabeth Ellis Day) as the annual barometer on the gang's insanity: "This is a person who we just continually go back to, obviously because Charlie is stalking her, and she is like the returning character that's the vessel into the real world."

7:55 PM - DeVito continues with his heartfelt remarks: "These are the stupidest individuals I've ever worked with." Okay maybe not then. "I seriously wanted to do it because I thought they were the most inventive and fresh minds that I've met in a long time... they begged me to do the show."

7:57 PM - Rob on his working relationship with Danny: "[He] started off as a father figure but by the end of the first day it was like a very young brother. You have to watch because he might stick his fingers in the electrical socket." Rob goes on to note that they'll be shooting 12 scripts for the fifth season.

8:01 PM - Kaitlin on meeting Danny: "The first day he came to work, the first scene I was with him [at the councilman's office in which she was dressed like a hooker]. I was all, 'Nice to meet you, Mr. DeVito. I'm nervous that we're doing this thing.' And he's like, 'Yeah, yeah, yeah,' staring at my boobs - we're not rolling yet - staring at my boobs, saying, 'Yeah, yeah, yeah. You gotta pull them up a little...' And then we start rolling and he uses that in the scene as part of getting into character. I had no idea what was going on. So I'm really happy you're not a total creep."

8:04 PM - Danny being Danny: "There are a couple things I want to tell you but I can't. I really don't want to reveal one secret that is so like burning in me right now. And I'm not gonna tell you." Charlie quips, "We worship the devil." Random observation: Danny tends to ramble on quite a bit - mostly about the need for them to "turn up the burners" and "climb up the ladders" on their creativity, leading his co-stars to start giggling, making Danny lose his train of thought, causing even more rambling.

8:05 PM - Glenn shares some "Sunny" trivia: the show's original title was "It's Always Sunny on TV." Also: the show was originally set in LA with the guys as struggling actors. The network then went on to suggest moving the show to a different location. The result: three blue collar bar owners in Philadelphia.

8:07 PM - Danny on the infamous "shit in the bed" episode: "You go through like some 30 odd years of working or whatever it's been [and people shout]: 'Louie! Louie! Taxi! Taxi! Twins! Twins!' All of a sudden people are yelling, 'Shit in the bed! You left a turd in the bed!'" Charlie adds, "It's one of our more classy shows."

8:11 PM - The gang praises Kaitlin's all around coolness with some of the things they ask her to do: from taking a nose dive into a car door to Charlie hitting her repeatedly with a volleyball in a face. No stunts people, those were all real.

8:12 PM - Glenn touts their upcoming live performance of the show's musical episode at the Troubadour next weekend. Unfortunately, it's all sold out.

8:15 PM - Also doing their own stunts: Glenn, who was less than pleased with being pelted by eggs during the "Charlie Wants an Abortion" episode.

8:17 PM - Rob on the show's music: "We always wanted to do something light... something that felt like 'Leave It to Beaver' or something from the '50s... and we still don't have enough money to buy [the theme] outright so you see it like in commercials [and other programs]."

8:19 PM - Rob teases the new season, which begins production May 5 for a September premiere: "We're talking about the economy, obviously, and how everybody's suddenly poor and it's like there's this sort of 'new poor' situation. We're 'old poor.' Now there's all these new people that are poor." Charlie adds, it's like, "don't shove your homelessness in my face. You need to come up with a great scheme to get yourself out of being poor." Also on tap: a "Sunny" take on the Octomom as Dee tries to get pregnant with as many babies as possible; and a look back at the gang when they were "Sunny Babies." As for the far off series finale, Glenn notes "we've had a couple ideas."

8:23 PM - So what's that sound on the guy's vanity card at the end of the show? Apparently you need to listen to it backwards. "Something about brown and clowns and babies," Glenn notes. It also changes with each season.

8:25 PM - Audience Q&A time. Someone asks about Charlie's literacy problem. Charlie reveals: "I have a personal fear of, it's ridiculous [but], I've always felt insecure about my ability to read and write."

8:27 PM - Charlie credits Scott Marder and Rob Rosell for the genesis of the "Day Man" theme, more specifically "the master of karate and friendship" line. Glenn then suggested the "ah-ah!" refrain from Queen's "Flash Gordon" theme and soon enough they had a complete song.

8:29 PM - A fan asks about what else the guys are working on. Glenn indicates their FOX pilot "Boldly Going Nowhere" is still being kicked around ("We'll see what happens.") and they're also working with Marder and Rosell on a new project for FX. "Hopefully in the next couple years we'll get a few other things out there," Charlie adds. "But, 'Sunny,' for Rob and Glenn and myself is almost an all year-round job coming up with it."

8:32 PM - Rob shares the origins of the Green Man. Apparently one of his best friends from high school - who's now a doctor - would dress up in a green lycra costume after Eagles games and shout that he's the Green Man. He even gained a following amongst their fellow tailgaters.

8:34 PM - The audience requests begin: can Charlie sing the "Night Man" theme? He does, noting he felt bad he couldn't remember the lyrics at Comic-Con. As always, it must be seen (or heard) to be believed. "I always though the idea of a character singing about how there's always in superhero movies talking about becoming someone else, I always thought it would be really funny if a character didn't realize he was singing about gay sex."

8:37 PM - More requests: Rob's karate elbow dancing. Yup, this is Paleyfest folks.

8:39 PM - Still more requests: someone asks to see a performance of "Day Man" by Charlie and Glenn.

8:41 PM - How did they get Rob Thomas and Sinbad on the show? No joke, says Glenn: "[Rob] wanted us to direct and possibly be in a Matchbox 20 video or something." Kaitlin adds: "We were like, 'No thanks, but do you want to do our show?'" The gang notes that Matchbox 20, and a few other bands, regularly cover "Day/Night Man" during their shows. After they got Rob, the question became who would make the most ridiculous partner. The answer: Sinbad.

8:43 PM - A fan asks why Charlie never gets laid. "I huff glue, I'm a stalker... look at my character and what he does," Charlie notes. "And know that if you do that you most likely won't get laid."

8:45 PM - While they all loved "The Gang Cracks the Liberty Bell," there are no plans for other high-concept episodes of the show.

8:47 PM - Will we see the McPoyle Brothers - who like the Green Man are loosely based on real people - again? They hope so but Nate Mooney and Jimmi Simpson are both heavily in demand.

8:49 PM - That's a wrap! See you tomorrow for "90210."

  [april 2009]  


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