It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia is no stranger when it comes to being involved in controversies. The show satirizes hot button issues by showing the worst possible example. Recently, one of this season’s episodes attempted to address past issues and took things a little too far.
Netflix decided to remove the gang’s Lethal weapon 5 where Mac uses blackface to play Danny Glover’s Character, Murtaugh. Hulu also removed five Sunny episodes from streaming. Fans were quick to defend the show by saying that the show actually criticizes racism through satire.
It’s understandable why they did it but Netflix’s decision to remove It’s Always Sunny episodes which actively undermine the “blackface” trope and pointedly ridicule the arrogance/carelessness with which it was used in the past would suggest there is no future for satire.
In the recent episode. “The Gang Makes Lethal Weapon 7,” the characters address the blackface controversy head on. Mac acknowledges he made a mistake on Lethal Weapon 5 while Dennis and Charlie remind Mac and Dee that they did blackface as the Murtaughs in 6 too. So the gang hires a local Black actor to play Murtaugh this time. This doesn’t add any quality to the production as it is still directed by the old cast.
“Obviously, we wanted to tackle it the same way we tackle everything which is through the prism of this very specific situation and these very specific people,” McElhenney said. “We knew that we wanted to do it in a responsible fashion and that’s what we did. Really it wasn’t until day one of the writers room before we really addressed it.”
Co-Creator McElhenney has also acknowledged that the show sometimes goes too far in remarks at an FX Network press conference in the past. He has also expressed his regret over the treatment of trans characters earlier. Times have changed and what was once deemed funny is now viewed differently in 2021.
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