As one studies the history of It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia, it becomes clear that each of the show’s main characters have regressed as human beings over the course of seven seasons. Dennis has become more vain, Dee more conniving, Mac more reckless and Charlie has shaved off about 30 IQ points. But none of the show’s principles have dropped in morality, behavior and basic hygiene in quite the same manner as Frank Reynolds (Danny DeVito). When introduced at the beginning of season 2, Frank was a successful, if shady, businessman. His appearance was tidy and his behavior was reasonable. In the time since he’s joined the gang, his vices have gone from gambling on children‘s basketball and running Russian roulette games to invading homes and eating cake mix (while in a dog cage). The only thing more shocking than Frank’s character arc is how consistently it descends from season to season. Join us in examining twelve defining moments of Frank Reynolds devolution, from wealthy entrepreneur to Rum Ham-enjoying bed pooper.
Frank makes his first appearance, and promptly tells his children, Dennis and Dee, that their mother is dead. He then admits that their mom is only divorcing him, and the death hoax was his way of softening the blow. Frank decides to remake his life as “part of the gang,” hanging out at stripclubs with Mac and Charlie and even moving into Charlie’s disgusting apartment.
When Frank learns that the children he had raised as his own were fathered by another man, he goes off the deep end. He also suffers a mild stroke, which could explain some of his behavior in recent years. This episode also features Frank recklessly firing a gun indoors, something which would become a hilarious staple of seasons to come.
Frank once again tells Dennis and Dee that their mother is dead, only this time it’s the truth. Any normal person would be saddened or at least shocked, but Frank is so elated by the news that he pops open a bottle of Champagne. Later, his joy crashes hard as learns his dead ex-wife has left most of his fortune to her former lover (and the biological father of the twins). Frank launches a con in order to get the money back, which leads him to almost marry Dee, the woman he raised as his daughter. He really wanted that money.