Despite the fact that most sitcoms have historically possessed a soft and gooey center, there is an alternative, a sub-species that makes comedic hay out of the meanness and selfishness of its characters. Seinfeld embraced that, The Larry Sanders Show embraced that, and It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia certainly follows that same path. The thing is, after a while, you run out of road, and that may soon be the case with It's Always Sunny.
In a new interview, show star/executive producer Glenn Howerton (aka Dennis) indicated that the show was coming to an end after the 10th season (season 9 starts up this September), essentially citing the same reasons that Seinfeld had thrown into the media chum bucket when his show ended back in 1998. That said, 10 seasons may not be enough for Dennis, Sweet Dee, Frank, and the rest of the gang after all.
Here's the initial quote from Rolling Stone. The question is: "Are you really quitting after ten seasons?"
Yes. There’s a certain point where you wear out your welcome and we don’t want to do that. We want to leave them wanting more. We spend a lot of time trying to find new lines to cross. We’re not trying to offend people…but we’re looking to surprise them. I think we’re proud of what we’ve done so far, so it’s time to stop. I’m sure there are already a few people who are like ‘Jesus Christ is that show still on? Go away.’”
Later in the interview, when Howerton was asked about the show's lack of Emmy success as well as if he would be attending the Emmys, he reiterated that next season was going to be Always Sunny's last.
I don’t know, maybe in the 10th season, just because it’s the last season and for the sake of the show, maybe we’ll try to butter some people up. But then again part of me wants to be like [curse-word x3]
That all sounded very cut and dry, but apparently, it was all a big misunderstanding. Here's Howerton's response via Twitter from last night:
That was a misquote in Rolling Stone, y'all. We're signed on through 10 seasons, but may do more [...] It's a great article in Rolling Stone. I just think he misunderstood when I said we're only signed thru 10. We still might sign on for more [...] Easy on RollingStone, you guys. It was an honest mistake.
Kudos to Howerton for not jumping up and down on the journo for "an honest mistake," but this whole escapade makes us wonder when we'll actually see last call at Paddy's Pub.
Ten seasons is a long time for any show and it is virtually unheard of for a cable show, especially one that hasn't always been a juggernaut. Couple that with the challenge of moving to FX's new channel, FXX, and perhaps the time is drawing near and perhaps Howerton, Kaitlin Olson, Rob McElhenney, and Charlie Day want to flex other muscles or take some time off.
Day is already establishing himself outside of the show, playing a part in the cancellation of the apocalypse in Pacific Rim and he'll reprise his role in the Horrible Bosses sequel in the near future, so clearly he has other options besides the show and that Dayman/Nightman: The Cinema Film project that we're all secretly hoping for.
Remember, Howerton said that they "might" sign up for more of It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, which means that they also might not.
For now, though, fans can take solace in the knowledge that they have at least 2 more seasons with the gang and few interesting surprises on the horizon like an episode written by Game of Thrones creators David Benioff and D. B. Weiss and the possibility that Mad Men creator Matthew Weiner might do one as well. Will those guys be able to get down with Always Sunny's penchant for crude-y rude-yness? Probably, but if nothing else, it shows that the Always Sunny team really wants to topple their Emmy jinx.
It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia returns on September 4th @10PM on FXX.