“It’s Because of the Implication”: Essays on the FX Series It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia

deadline for submissions: 
October 1, 2019
full name / name of organization: 
Ashley Szanter / McFarland Publishers
contact email: 

“It’s Because of the Implication”: Essays on the FX Series It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia

Edited by Ashley Szanter

Project Overview

Editor seeks original essays for an edited collection on the long-running FX comedy series It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia. This collection is under contract with McFarland Publishers and will address the cult following of this series as it goes into its 14th and 15th seasons on the lesser known network. Featuring a cast of outright detestable characters, IASIP has a tremendous online following and a very loyal fanbase that keeps it busy year after year. While many attribute the success of the show to its “low-brow Frasier-esque” appeal, this series has survived, even thrived, in a culture that has brought down shows for a lot less than the scandalous political, racial, and social commentary explored by Sunny. I welcome proposals on any facet of the IASIP series, including, but not limited to the ideas listed below. If you have other ideas or proposals for chapters, please feel free to email inquiries.

Chapters in the proposed collection can focus on one or more of the following categories:

  • Explorations of why the series seems to maintain such a fervent audience base in our current socio political climate?

  • Analyze how particular episodes incorporate or tackle extremely complex issues and modern day concerns. Of particular interest would be episodes like “The Cereal Defense,” “The Gang Turns Black,” “Dee Reynolds: Shaping America's Youth,” “The Gang Makes Lethal Weapon 6,” and “Charlie Wants an Abortion.”

  • Trace the trajectory of these characters as they seemingly reject any kind of meaningful character development. Consider side characters like Rickety Cricket, Artemis, Bill & Maureen Ponderosa, or The Waitress.

  • In what ways do Dennis, Dee, Frank, Mac, and Charlie help audiences reflect on the variety of political, religious, and social problems facing the average American?

  • In what ways does “The Gang” comment on the structure and fluidity of modern families in meaningful, or fairly artificial, ways. 

  • Discussion of how the show treats and addresses women and prominent female characters. Examinations of episodes like “The Gang Beats Boggs: Ladies Reboot,” “The Gang Buys a Boat,” and “The DENNIS System.”

  • Examinations of particular characters, episodes, or seasons through a particular theoretical lens. Of particular interest would be Marxist or Psychological interpretations. 

  • Discuss moments when the show completely eschews its established patterns and tropes. This is especially topical given the incredible left turn the show made with their Season 13 finale, “Mac Finds His Pride.” Other episodes could be “Dennis’ Double Life,” and/or “Hero or Hate Crime?”   

  • What is the function of a show like Sunny in the 21st-Century TV landscape? It seems to have no central goal or premise and no interest in character development, so what is the point? 

Abstract Due Dates

Preference will be given to abstracts received before October 1, 2019. Abstracts should be no longer than 350 words and be accompanied by a current CV.

Final manuscripts of 6,000-8,000 words should be submitted in MLA style by May 1, 2020.

Send questions or abstracts to Ashley at ashleyszanter@gmail.com