The genius behind It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia is that it doesn’t merely rely on its sordid, off-the-wall humor. What's more important to the show is the fact that the characters are willing to do almost anything for their own self-serving needs, especially when money is involved. No scheme is too absurd for the gang, which makes sense, since they are fictional. After all, who in their right mind would sell gas door-to-door or dress in reverse drag to compete as a professional athlete?

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However, like it or not, many of these crackpot schemes have been executed by real-life degenerates, the sort of which make Dee, Dennis, Mac, Charlie and Frank look like saints. Now, we can’t say if some of these are life imitating art or vice-versa, but chances are they happened organically, which gives me very little faith in humanity.

Here are nine examples of plots from It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia being implemented in real life.

The Gang Solves The Gas Crisis

Always Sunny: This is a classic episode of IASIP in which the characters each acquire a theme based alias: Dennis is the looks, Mac the brains, and Charlie the wildcard. And when this trifecta of awesome comes together, they devise one of their most lame-brained schemes of all time: reselling gasoline door-to-door in the short term while hoarding gas long-term in the basement of Paddy’s Pub and selling it once the price doubles. As you can imagine, everything goes very, very wrong.

Real Life: Likewise, Bridgewater, Massachusetts had a wicked hard controversy when the Department Of Water & Power Commissioner Dana Olson was caught on tape illegally purchasing gas from Amy Nobel. Nobel, like the gang, had stored gallons of gasoline in her home and was reselling it on the cheap. Unlike the gang, her husband stole the gas from his employer, Conoco Phillips in East Boston. If only the Looks, Brains & Wildcard had been there to guide them on their moneymaking quest things could have turned out just as poorly, but way more entertaining.


The Gang Gets Invincible

Always Sunny: When the Philadelphia Eagles hold open tryouts, Mac & Dennis use it as an excuse to settle who is the better football player. Eventually, it becomes clear the answer is neither of them, and the attention is turned to Sweet Dee. Dee uses this opportunity to dress like a man and prove that she can compete in football, eventually kicking a perfect field goal and gaining the attention of the Eagles’ coaches. But when she goes to show off her talents as a woman, her magical abilities disappear and she breaks her foot.

Real Life: 2006 Olympic silver medalist Santhi Soundarajan had her fair share of problems when her femininity, or lack thereof, was called into question by competitors. Unlike Dee, her genetic testing resulted in the conclusion that Santhi "does not possess the sexual characteristics of a woman." She was then stripped of her medal. People really do cross dress with the hopes of winning at sports; it wasn’t just a silly IASIP gag.


D.E.N.N.I.S System

Always Sunny: The D.E.N.N.I.S. System might be the most brilliant episode in IASIP history. Dennis breaks down his evil tactics for seducing and then abandoning a woman in order to make her dependent on him forever.

D- Demonstrate value
E- Engage physically
N- Nurture dependence
N- Neglect emotionally
I- Inspire hope
S- Separate entirely

This, of course ends tragically when Frank, Mac & Charlie all attempt their version of the D.E.N.N.I.S. method on the same girl and it becomes clear to her that she’s been used. The exact method that should have catapulted the gang to dating fame failed, per the usual, leaving them to chase down other lofty dreams.

Real Life: Another man employed his very own “system” for getting girls. You might know this guy as the dude in the stupid hats, but he also goes by Mystery. Yes, I’m talking about the Mystery Method, which holds many common bonds to the D.E.N.N.I.S. System. However, its success rate is apparently very high, even landing Mystery his very own show on VH1. If only the gang had been comprised of highly intelligent nerds instead of moderately good-looking asshats.


Sweet Dee’s Dating A Retarded Person

Always Sunny: When Dee starts dating a moderately successful rapper who may or may not be retarded, the whole gang wants to prove that they have what it takes to be a musician. When Charlie is rejected from joining the band, he returns to his apartment and starts huffing paint. After Dennis is kicked out of his own band he returns to Charlie’s apartment so that the two can team up. From this paint huffing and despair is born “Day Man.”

Real Life: Although not an exact match, Charlie most closely resembles the genius that is Alison "the huffer" from A&E’s “Intervention”.

Perhaps she wasn’t huffing paint with the hopes of composing some of the raddest tunes around, but the results of her behavior (an irrational fear of light) are identical to Charlie's.

Dennis & Dee Go On Welfare

Always Sunny: When looking for ways to jump start their nonexistent careers, Dennis and Dee team up and go on welfare in order to keep afloat while working to become a Broadway star and veterinarian, respectively. However, it's the lengths they go to in order to make this scheme work that really proves the true nature of their degeneracy. Dennis & Dee decide to start smoking crack to prove to the establishment that they are not over privileged brats.

Real Life: It turns out faking the government isn’t anything new. Like Dennis & Dee, Kim Johnson saw the opportunity of financial shortcut called welfare and had a $40,000 Escalade to prove it. Instead of saying she was addicted to crack like Dennis & Dee, Kim alleged that she was immobile and in need of 24-hour assistance. Too bad that was a lie and she got caught, proving once again, if the cast of IASIP has attempted a scheme with poor results, don’t bother trying it.


Dennis Looks Like A Registered Sex Offender

Always Sunny: When a registered sex offender who looks like Dennis moves to the area, he and Dee set out to make sure that no one in Philadelphia could mistake him for his perverted doppelganger. Of course, everything goes totally wrong. The plan is to prove that Dennis is not the molester (Wendell Albright). To do this, they put a fake mustache on Dennis and take him to a playground. Once there, he takes off his shirt to prove he isn’t the fat molester and tries to work with children on their fitness. As you can see from the picture, this plan was not well thought out.

Real Life: Similarly, Richard Bryan Smith had the misfortune of having the same name and birthday of a registered sex offender. After he cleared his own name and face, he left the California area he was living in to star new. His biggest mistake was when he casually told a neighbor that he had the same name and birthday and a registered sex offender, and that neighbor, like Dee, started a smear campaign, believing that Smith really was a sex offender. Unfortunately for Smith, intimidating the actual sex offender into leaving wasn’t an option, and he had to suffer through his neighbors harassing him.


Charlie Goes America All Over Everybody’s Ass

Always Sunny: When Dennis, Mac and Frank disagree about smoking in the bar with Dee & Charlie, the trio decide to uphold the constitutional right of freedom by banning all rules in the bar, giving rise to a lawless land in constant chaos. Frank starts an illegal gambling league with legion of Asian men who smoke and gamble constantly. Mac and Dennis eventually banish them to them to the basement where the gambling takes an even more bizarre turn involving Russian Roulette.

Real Life: It turns out the crazy world of underground Asian gambling is real, and although it might not end with a game of Russian Roulette or betting fingers in the basement of Paddy’s Pub, it’s out there. When a group of Chinese speaking robbers began targeting these illegal gambling operations in New York, the scene played out like an IASIP episode. However, most of the gambling was done with card games or mah-jongg. Instead of staying silent like the robbers assumed they would, these gamblers went to the police, exposing not only the thefts, but also the intricate ring of illegal gambling going on around the city. But since they cooperated with police, no one had to go to jail and the crime remains unsolved, which is as American as anything can get.


Underage Drinking: A National Concern

Always Sunny: One night at the bar, the gang notices two oddities: the bar is unusually packed and most of the people are underage. In order to fight underage drinking and maximize profits, the gang begins to market themselves to high school students. They give the kids a safe place to engage in elicit behavior while partaking in watered down and over-priced drinks. Everything goes awesomely until the gang falls back into their high school roles, competing with one another and going to prom with their underage patrons.

Real Life: Likewise, in New Jersey (of course) 26 people were arrested at Scarlet Pub when authorities realized that a majority of Scarlet’s crowd was underage kids. 23 people arrested were patrons, but three people, including the bouncer, were arrested for serving and aiding and abetting persons under the legal age. So basically, in this situation, the Scarlet Pub’s version of Mac, Charlie and Dennis get arrested while on IASIP, they get away with it.


Sweet Dee Gets Audited

Always Sunny: When Dee needs fast cash, she becomes a surrogate mother for Mac’s former flame, a tranny who cannot make a baby of her own. In a plan to screw the government, Dee then decides to pretend to keep the child and and declare it on her taxes. That is, until the IRS comes to audit Dee and asks to see the baby.

Real Life: Unlike Dee, one baby was not enough for Norma Coronel. The Northern California woman fraudulently claimed 19 non-existent children on her tax return. This is one case where reality makes IASIP look mild in comparison. Not only did Norma commit tax fraud, but she also had fraudulent Social Security numbers for those 19-made up kids, proving that if you’re going to try and scam the government, go big or go home.


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