Access To Rock

Access To Rock

Access To Rock

When Rob McElhenney created It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, he struck gold by appealing to a local audience that found it funny to watch people from their city buy tickets for a cross country plane ride just for a drinking competition.

McElhenney is a South Philly native and a frequent guest on The Preston & Steve Show. The depiction of his hometown hit the nail on the head in a brutally honest way.

The location of Always Sunny is as central to its core as any other show on television. The non-stop references to Philadelphia neighborhoods, landmarks, sports teams, schools, and people captures the city accurately. Not bad for a show whose scenes are shot mostly in Los Angeles.

The show has wrapped up filming for Season 16, extending its run as the longest running live-action sitcom in television history.

While (hopefully) nobody from Philadelphia is digging up dead bodies to steal from people buried in their own jewelry, the absurdity of the main characters eliminates the need to take the grains of truth about Philly people too seriously.

References to the City of Brotherly Love stuck out the most in 11 cases.

  • Mac's Big Break (Season 6, Episode 4)- Preston & Steve

    Rob McElhenney and the gang paid tribute to MMR and Preston & Steve in “Mac’s Big Break” in Season 6. The episode begins with Mac calling into the MMR contest line and winning a chance to shoot a hockey puck on the ice at the Wells Fargo Center before a Philadelphia Flyers game.

    It ends with an appearance from both Preston and Steve and Mac dropping a line that Philadelphians will never forget after he hands the two MMR legends a cassette demo.

    “The future of radio, you jabronis.”

  • The Gang Hits the Road (Season 5, Episode 2)- Never Left Philly

    Philadelphia is one of the most provincial cities in the United States, and Charlie Kelly isn’t very open to new experiences. It should come as no surprise when he talks about how he’s never left Philly before a planned trip to the Grand Canyon.

    The episode includes scenes filmed at the Italian Market and a plan that falls apart and eventually keeps Charlie in his comfort zone without having to leave his hometown. 

  • The World Series Defense (Season 5, Episode 6)- Philly Sports Fans

    The Philadelphia Phillies broke a 25-year championship drought by the city’s four major professional sports teams when they won the 2008 World Series.

    “The World Series Defense” became famous because it introduced the running bit of Mac’s obsession with Chase Utley, but it included other great references to the rowdy passion of Philadelphia sports fans.

    The gang starts off the episode by making “riot punch” for the celebration. They enjoy a wild tailgate outside Citizens Bank Park and even watch a fistfight that gives the local fans a lighthearted jab.

    The most clever part of the episode was the way the gang spent a week that people in the Philadelphia area will never forget.

    A rain delay pushed the final game of the World Series back from Monday to Wednesday, and the championship parade didn’t come until Friday. The gang spent the time trapped in the old Holiday Inn near the sports complex after looking for a secret tunnel into the stadium.

  • The Gang Goes to the Jersey Shore (Season 7, Episode 2)- Summer Vacation Trips

    The Jersey Shore is the most popular summer vacation destination for people from the Philadelphia area, so the gang needed Charlie to leave Philadelphia to experience it.

    Dennis and Dee start the episode with conversations that sound like Bruce Springsteen songs romanticizing the Jersey Shore. However, their vacation goes wrong after a night out with some locals and a horrifying trip under the boardwalk. 

    Scenes filmed at the Ocean City Boardwalk were the most recognizable, but the best touch was the clever move by Dennis and Dee to pour their drinks into empty sunscreen bottles to avoid the strict open container laws on Jersey Shore beaches.

  • Charlie Catches a Leprechaun (Season 11, Episode 8)- St. Patrick's Day Celebrations

    In this episode, the gang makes their attempt to cash in on the young drinking crowd that goes crazy over the bar scene every year in March leading up to St. Patrick’s Day. 

    Most people in the city of Philadelphia are familiar with the Erin Express, which takes people on buses to different city bars. The gang’s version of the idea goes horribly wrong in “Charlie Catches a Leprechaun,” and a day on the Erin Express has unfortunately gone wrong (in a different way) for quite a few people from the area.

  • Mac & Dennis Move to the Suburbs (Season 11, Episode 5)- City Traffic

    A tough morning commute on the Schuylkill Expressway, Roosevelt Blvd., or the Vine Street Expressway is one of the most relatable problems for local workers. Mac and Dennis learn the struggle the hard way with a move to the suburbs.

    The funniest scene of the episode happens when Dennis commutes to South Philly in scenes at recognizable points on the Schuylkill and the stretch of I-95 that meets the Vine Street.

    Maybe he should’ve listened to a traffic report on The Preston & Steve Show.

  • The Gang Cracks the Liberty Bell (Season 3, Episode 11)- The Nation's Birthplace

    Beyond the comedy about modern day Philadelphia, the show also celebrated the rich history of the original capital of the United States with their own historical twist on the American Revolution. 

  • Mac and Charlie Write a Movie (Season 5, Episode 11)- M. Night Shyamalan Extras

    Dee’s role as a “preferred” extra in an M. Night Shyamalan movie feeds her misguided ego.

    The famous director grew up on the Main Line, and he’s filmed scenes from Hollywood hits like “The Sixth Sense,” “The Village,” and “Knock at the Cabin” in the Philadelphia area.

    Seemingly everyone in the area knows someone who played a background role in an M. Night Shyamalan movie. He is one of the best directors of the modern era, and he’s always leaned into his connections to Philadelphia.

  • Underage Drinking: A National Concern (Season 1, Episode 4)- Teenagers in Fairmount Park

    Mac makes an interesting case for letting underage kids into Paddy’s Pub by telling a story about his own experience in high school.

    “We’d get kicked out of some bar, and what would we do, Den? We would get a bunch of 40s from a homeless guy and go sit in some park, right?”

    His “concern” about these underage kids potentially getting attacked by a homeless man in Fairmount Park is legitimate in a weird sort of way. Almost every local neighborhood has had a problem at one point or another with teenagers drinking a park late at night. 

  • Dennis Reynolds: An Erotic Life (Season 4, Episode 9)- Charlie's Bizarre Routines

    It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia has filmed multiple times from the fountain at Logan Circle off the Ben Franklin Parkway. The funniest reference to Swann Memorial Fountain at Logan Circle comes in Season 4 when Dee tries to convince Charlie how weird some of his routines are.

    Dee: Well, I caught you stealing a bunch of coins out of the fountain at Logan Circle.

    Charlie: I was acquiring a little bit of cash to pay my spy, Dee.

    The scene is a great way to include a recognizable Philadelphia landmark in a way that lines up so well with Charlie’s character and places him accurately in the setting of the show. 

  • The Gang Reignites the Rivalry (Season 5, Episode 12)- Shoutouts to Local Schools

    People from the Philadelphia area rep their schools until they die. When the gang needs a replacement for Dee in the “Flipadelphia” tournament in the Season 5 finale, Dennis looks to his roots at his old frat house at the University of Penn.

    It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia has also filmed at Rob McElhenney’s alma maters Temple University and St. Joseph’s Prep. His grade school, Waldron Mercy, even got a quick mention in Season 3.


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