It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia Recurring Characters Ranked

While some of the best episodes of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia focus on our five beloved gang members, the long-running comedy series has a slew of recurring characters that are integral to the gang’s schemes. These characters continue to wreak havoc on the lives of the gang, as well as become victimized by the gang’s notorious selfishness and stupidity.

Either way, most of these characters are in some way, just like the series itself, unhinged to a degree. Over the years, we’ve seen characters who are very straightforward, victims who get caught in the gang’s shenanigans for the worse. On the other hand, several characters always drag our gang into their plots, and those that are generally enmeshed within the absurdity of the It’s Always Sunny universe.

So, we decided to rank the characters based on how unhinged they are — going from the sanest to the least sane. To qualify this list, we will cut out all the one-off characters who only appear once or twice (though they may be notable and memorable), and only characters who appear in three or more episodes will count as recurring characters.

16. The Waiter


The Waiter is probably the equivalent of the Cabbage Merchant in Avatar: The Last Airbender. Well-meaning and straightforward, the Waiter is just trying to do his job and live his life. Unfortunately for him, he consistently gets involved with the gang to his detriment. The character’s first appearance is in “The Gang Dines Out,” and he shows up in several other episodes where he feels the wrath of the gang’s schemes.

The actor who plays the waiter is Michael Naughton, and he first appears in the Season 4 episode “Sweet Dee Has a Heart Attack.” He plays the HR Director who negligently hires Mac and Charlie for the mailroom at a generic business. Naughton was so hysterical, and made Rob McElhenney and Charlie Day break so often, that he was asked to come back, and then again and then again.


15. Carmen


Carmen is a transgender woman who briefly dated Mac. Mac is incredibly nervous and embarrassed about his attraction to Carmen, and often hides their involvement from the gang. In Season 6, she has sex reassignment surgery and gets married, with Dee acting as the surrogate mother for their baby.

It’s Always Sunny has never been known as the most sensitive of shows, and while most episodes have aged well, their initial treatment of Carmen is not the best. The cast and creatives are aware of such, to which Glenn Howerton apologized in an interview with GQ in 2018 and said if he could go back he would edit the scripts a bit differently.

Regardless of this fact, Carmen is the one of most sane of the recurring characters on It’s Always Sunny. While she may be a bit batty to date Mac, she’s just a transgender woman who had the misfortune to date someone already questioning their sexuality as they combat their feelings of religious guilt.

14. Mrs. Mac, aka Mac’s Mom


Mrs. Mac, also known as Mac’s Mom, isn’t as much a character as she is a presence. A solitary, consistently grumpy presence — the exact opposite to the peacocking performance of Mac’s masculinity. Mrs. Mac rarely speaks in full sentences, but prefers to communicate in grunts and moans. Mac’s incessant devotion to her is the comedic crux of her character, as Mrs. Mac doesn’t really seem to care much about her son.

Mrs. Mac is so low on the list because she’s a pretty forthright character. She just wants to be left alone and smoke her cigarettes. Mrs. Mac is a realistic character, an irritable old woman who prefers silence and doesn’t have many friends. She doesn’t get involved in any schemes and she doesn’t say much other than your usual old woman epithet with racist undertones.

13. Ben the Soldier & Rex (TIE)


Dee met Ben online during Season 5, and his first appearance was the episode “The Gang Wrestles for the Troops.” Though sweet and well-meaning, Ben is not the sharpest tool in the shed. The gang often tries to take advantage of his ignorance, although it doesn’t always work to their advantage.

Beautiful, dumb Rex is on the same level as Ben. Similar characters, Rex is a model who competes to be on Paddy’s Pub billboard in the Season 4 episode “America’s Next Top Paddy’s Billboard Model Contest.” He frequently gets caught up in the gang’s antics, whether he’s a willing participant or not. In theory, he’s not characterized as having enough intellectual agency to make those decisions.

Because they’re so nice and empty-headed, Ben and Rex are relatively low on the unhinged list. They’re certainly not manic, but they’re not necessarily completely straight in the head either.

12. The Lawyer


The Lawyer is indeed a nameless lawyer who often gets entangled with the gang. At first, they start to go to him for law advice, where he makes his hatred for the gang known. He’s characterized as one of the few intelligent characters in the series, and is considered to be a good lawyer due to his knowledge of the law. He first appears as the executor of Barbara Reynolds’ will, Dennis and Dee’s mom, after she dies.

Afterward, the gang comes to him several times for law advice and proceedings. After being annoyed and taunted consistently by the gang, the Lawyer then goes out of his way to make their lives miserable, including representing people to stand against their interests, like Dennis’ ex-wife Maureen and the family they are trying to evict in one episode.

Although he is technically a straight man amidst the gang, the Lawyer is a bit more unhinged than the previous characters because he willingly engages with the gang after a while. He gets involved in whatever scheme they have going on, and seems to develop some personal vendetta against them. Any person in their right mind would realize that the best thing to do is get a restraining order and move on with their life.

RELATED: Every Season of ‘It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia,’ Ranked

11. Luther McDonald, aka Mac’s Dad


Luther McDonald, also known as Mac’s dad, is a convicted felon who spends most of the series in and out of jail. He frequently has entire episodes dedicated to him, as Mac is desperate for his approval and love. Luther’s response varies from clearly not wanting anything to do with him, to wanting to kill him, to actually showing him love and affection.

His intimidating appearance and demeanor fit in perfectly with the rest of the series. His changeable personality and temperamental attitude put him higher on the unhinged list, as well as his status as a certifiable murderer. For instance, he notably killed a state’s witness by decapitating him with a stop sign (which is technically bad but also kind of cool).

10. The Waitress


As the most frequently recurring character outside of the gang, you would think that the Waitress should be higher on the list. But instead, she inspires nothing but pity. It’s quite easy to argue that all of her misfortune in life is due to the gang, particularly Charlie’s continued obsessive behavior.

The Waitress went to high school with the gang, and initially worked at their local coffee shop. Charlie is deeply in love with her and stalks her daily, despite the Waitress’ multiple restraining orders. She works a number of side jobs to make money and she usually gets fired because of the gang’s antics. She is also an alcoholic, who was able to maintain her sobriety until intervention by the gang.

Now, initially, this seems like a relatively straight character who has the misfortune to get involved with the gang frequently. However, she often engages in dubious and unhinged behavior, particularly towards the later seasons as her sanity decreases. Most recently, she even slept with Charlie, a man she has loathed for a long time, in an attempt to conceive a baby.

9. Bonnie Kelly, aka Charlie’s Mom


Up next on the list is Bonnie Kelly, also known as Charlie’s mom. A nice but nervous woman, Bonnie constantly worries about Charlie and wishes he’d spend more time with her. She is attracted to bad men, and has had trysts with Mac’s dad and Frank. She’s a bit more unhinged than the other parents because of her many phobias and episodes of hysteria. For example, she’s afraid of dogs because she believes they will “eat her face.”

Bonnie also has a colorful background, to say the least. A recurring joke throughout the series is that she engaged in sex work when Charlie was younger, and Charlie refuses to acknowledge this fact. Additionally, Bonnie allowed Jack Kelly, her brother, to stay with them often, when it is made very clear that Jack is a prostitute and possibly molested Charlie as a kid. Her personality and background make her one of the more unhinged characters, and certainly the most unhinged of all the parents that appear in the series.

8. Z


Z is one of Charlie and Frank’s friends that they meet under the bridge. Although he doesn’t have too many appearances and we don’t know much about him, Z makes quite an impression. Any friend of Charlie and Frank’s is bound to be unhinged, and given the bits of dialogue we do get from Z, he fits the bill.

The best bit we get from Z, and one of the few things we know about him, is that he used to own jean shorts and he would wear them all the time, even sleep in them. The only time he ever took off the jean shorts was when he “blew the crotch out of them things.” That should give audiences enough of a look into Z’s psyche to understand where he is mentally.

7. Jack Kelly


Jack Kelly is Bonnie Kelly’s brother, and uncle to Charlie. It is strongly implied that he is a pedophile, and that he molested Charlie when he was a child. He is a lawyer, and is often used in legal cases by the gang (i.e. he represented Dennis when he divorces Maureen). Jack is soft-spoken and quite creepy, saying inappropriate things about Charlie and young children often.

He is high on the list of the unhinged recurring characters mostly because of his demeanor. Besides the upsetting fact that he is most likely a pedophile, Jack also has quite a few idiosyncrasies. He dislikes his small hands, and has the Lawyer’s hands cover his in one photo. In one episode, he wears giant fake hands and duct tapes them to his. He’s also constantly taking photos for “his website,” whatever that may be.

6. Gail the Snail


Gail the Snail is Dennis and Dee’s cousin, and first appears in Season 5 after the gang attends her father’s funeral. Her most notable quality is that she slurps her saliva instead of swallowing, and makes very gross sounds while doing so. Dennis and Dee gave her the nickname “Gail the Snail” because they would throw salt at her to keep her away.

Gail doesn’t appear that often, but if she did, she would probably be ranked as one of the most unhinged recurring characters. She is characterized as not too bright, and often makes questionable choices and says weird things. She engages in a brief, strange sexual relationship with Frank and his landlord in two different episodes. Strange, awkward and just freaky, Gail the Snail is one of the most unhinged characters on the show.

5. Bill Ponderosa


Bill Ponderosa, affectionally called “Pondy,” is a former high school classmate of the gang, who used to be very fit and popular when he was younger. As an adult, he has let himself go and becomes a sex, alcohol and drug addict after his wife and family leave him when it is discovered he has been having an affair with Dee. His downward spiral continues with each appearance, as he becomes more of a horrible person and less of a redeemable individual.

Bill is very unhinged, and is involved in a myriad of compromising scenarios including spiking his own sister’s wedding with bath salts. He does loads of drugs, engages with prostitutes, breaks into Dee’s apartment to sniff her panties, and shows no real remorse for his actions or behavior. It’s hard to imagine more unhinged characters than this.

4. Matthew “Rickety Cricket” Mara


Ah, poor Cricket. Like the Waitress, Matthew Mara initially had a solid and good life. That is until the gang got involved. Cricket is the second most recurring character besides the Waitress, and went to high school with the gang. He wore giant leg braces in high school, thus receiving the nickname “Rickety Cricket,” and had a huge crush on Dee. Mac and Dennis used to bully Cricket by teabagging him, and continue to do so later in life.

Cricket’s first appearance is in Season 2, in which we find out that he became a priest but still holds onto his crush on Dee. The gang tries to get him to bless a water stain that looks like the Virgin Mary, and Dee finds that she now likes Cricket since she can’t have him. In order to be with Dee, Cricket leaves the church, only to find that Dee no longer wants him.

Like Bill Ponderosa, Cricket’s life goes on a downward spiral from there, and he soon becomes a disfigured, homeless addict who turns tricks and may or may not have consensual sex with dogs. With numerous hilarious quotes and a plethora of crazy moments, Cricket is almost as unhinged as they come. However, his journey was not an instant one, as the gang ruined his life by getting him to leave the church, getting him addicted to cocaine, being teabagged and many other terrible acts. He’s an object of pity for the most part, because he’s just another character who delved into madness after being consistently exploited and tortured by the gang.

3. Artemis Dubois


Artemis is Dee’s friend from acting class who often shows up and participates in the gang’s shenanigans. She has an on-and-off sexual relationship with Frank, and has a very bizarre and confident personality with many quirks. Because of her willing participation in the gang’s antics, her terrifyingly weird sexual relationship with Frank and her many weird personality traits, Artemis is one of the most unhinged recurring characters of the series.

She is very open with her body, often offering personal information to strangers like the fact that she has a bleached asshole. Artemis engages in many strange sexual encounters with Frank, often involving fetishes like food play or gross locations like a dumpster behind Wendy’s. Because she retains her sanity and doesn’t really inspire much pity, Artemis is an unusual character and a truly unhinged person, willing to do or say pretty much anything.

2. Maureen Ponderosa


Maureen Ponderosa was another high school classmate of the gang, and one of Dennis’ high school girlfriends. In Season 6, they are reunited and quickly get married, and then quickly get divorced. She is characterized as being quite pretty, except for her dead tooth that causes bad breath.

Maureen is quite unhinged for several reasons. She spends Dennis’ apparently heft alimony payments on incredibly weird and nonsensical buys. In Season 7, she reveals that she used the money to put a diamond on her dead tooth, instead of just paying the money to fix it. In the next season, she also gets breast implants, and cheats on her fiance with Dennis on her wedding day.

However, she truly becomes unstoppably unhinged after Season 10 — when she decides to identify as and physically become a cat. Maureen begins to use Dennis’ alimony money to get plastic surgery to become more like a cat, as she is obsessed with them. After that, she delves more and more into catlike behavior, only speaking through meows, using a litterbox and changing her name to Bastet, the Egyptian goddess of cats. Unhinged doesn’t even begin to cover this level of insanity.

1. The McPoyles


And finally, the McPoyle family are the most unhinged characters in It’s Always Sunny; they’re truly frightening creatures albeit wildly entertaining. The three main McPoyles we spend time with are Liam, his brother Ryan and his sister Margaret. Liam went to elementary school with Charlie and Mac, and was first seen as early as Season 1.

The McPoyle family are, bluntly, disgusting and weird. They are sweaty. They have unibrows. They like to drink warm milk. They wear bathrobes daily. They have incestuous relations with each other. They are not pleasing visually, as it is implied the entire family is built from inbreeding.

Any episode in which any McPoyle appears, audiences can expect a truly unhinged episode. They are crass, upsetting and strange, which all makes for good television given their crazy behavior and demeanor. Unfortunately, we haven’t seen or heard of the McPoyle gang since Season 9, and here we are six seasons later. Hopefully, the writers will decide to bring back at least one McPoyle in the next couple of seasons.

The Top 50 ‘It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia’ Episodes, Ranked

Grab your finest rum ham, get the green man suit out of the closet, and say hi to Mac while you’re in there.

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https://collider.com/its-always-sunny-recurring-characters-ranked/ It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia Recurring Characters Ranked

Bobby Allyn

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