Alternative Character Interpretation: Occurs in-universe and lampshaded/discussed in "The Nightman Cometh"; the rest of the gang notes multiple times that Charlie's musical reads more like the account of a child being molested by an adult in his sleep than the romantic epic fantasy he envisioned. This also raises some distressing questions about Charlie and his relationship with his increasingly Creepy Uncle both in and out of universe.
Award Snub: The closest the show has ever come to an Emmy has been a few nominations for Stunt Coordination (which it never won). The fact that the show has never been considered for a more prominent Emmy, the cast and crew's indignation over it, and the possible reasons it's been consistently passed over were highlighted in the episode "The Gang Tries Desperately to Win an Award."
Broken Base: Some fans were upset by the fact that by season nine, Mac's basically canonically gay rather than just implied to be. Some people also think that it's an invention of the later seasons, despite the fact that there's an implication of his homosexuality right off the bat in the pilot episode. Other fans debate about whether Mac's homosexuality being made more obvious is less fun than when it was merely implied.
His The Fundamentalist traits were also ramped up, which also displeased some fans as they felt as they felt those kind of jokes were getting too overplayed in other sitcoms already.
Dee literally does in "Dennis & Dee's Mom is Dead".
Charlie eating cereal and watching cartoons in his underwear while wearing the Nazi uniform cap that belonged to Dennis and Dee's grandfather at the end of "The Gang Finds a Dead Guy."
What Frank does to cheer himself up, going off "Mac Kills His Dad". He rents a limo and goes around throwing water balloons full of champagne at homeless people, asking them how they like a taste of the good life.
The Gang having the Paddy's Pub gloryhole double as a Confessional booth so they can trick Psycho Pete into confessing to multiple murders and even cannibalism to Rickety Cricket. He didn't even do it — it was a rumor the gang spread of him in high school. Cricket then doubles down by saying a confession would be free, but anything else would have a price.
In "PTSDee", Dee tricks a male stripper into shoving his crotch into his estranged daughter's face during a performance as revenge for him caller her his "rock bottom".
Darkness-Induced Audience Apathy: The Gang are hilarious dicks but they are certainly not the type of people you want to come across if they exist in real life. If they are not busy stabbing each other in the back, they'll do to others who are unlucky enough to stumble across them. When a serial killer is portrayed more sympathetic than our heroes, you know how bad these Unsympathetic Comedy Protagonists are.
The "Birds of War" theme performed in "The Gang Wrestles for the Troops".
Boom, I got your money! Boom, I got your credit card!
All the '60s stock music used as scene transitions, especially "Blue Blood", "Derby Day", "Captain's Table", "On Your Bike", and "Take the Plunge". And a special mention to "Grand Central", which played in the Christmas special when Charlie goes berserk at the mall.
Dennis and Dee's biological dad also counts. Or did...
Despite only showing up a few times so far, the Lawyer has gained a following due to being one of the only outsiders who's gotten a handle on how to deal with the gang's outrageous behavior, trumping them consistently and effortlessly since the entire Gang is legally clueless.
Agent Jack Bauer, the indestructible junkyard cat.
Ben the soldier, despite not being the brightest bulb on the tree, is liked for being one of the few genuinely nice and good characters on the show who hasn't had his life ruined by The Gang, in part because he's Too Dumb to Fool.
The Ponderosas count as of "Mac Kills His Dad". They're somehow even more of a dysfunctional family than the Reynolds...
Da'Maniac, the insane former pro-wrestler played to perfection by "Rowdy" Roddy Piper and yet another reason to mourn Rowdy's untimely passing.
Fountain of Memes: Charlie and Frank, most memes and jokes within and outside the fandom are usually associated with quotes or actions of these two.
Friendly Fandoms: With Pacific Rim, due to the presence of Charlie Day (and possibly the fact that Newt is basically a smarter and saner version of Charlie).
Growing the Beard: The show really came into its own during the second season, adding Danny DeVito as a contrast to the main four, turning Dee away from the Closer to Earth trope and generally going for more manic, darker, exaggerated tone.
Any scene featuring the saintly Bruce Mathis is now very uncomfortable after Stephen Collins was revealed to have molested/exposed himself to at least three underage girls. Especially since a big part of Bruce's character is that he loves children and is great with them. And of course, there's this exchange:
Dee: What are you expecting to find?
Frank: Lot of shady shit.
Dee: Like what?
Frank: Like maybe Bruce is banging dudes!
Dee: Why would that be shady?
Frank: Maybe the dudes are babies!
Dee: What?! Bruce is not banging any baby dudes!!
When "Charlie Got Molested" aired it was a standard humorous misunderstanding plot (except with child abuse) in which the gang mistakenly believed Charlie had been molested. Later once it starts being implied he was actually molested, the episode becomes harsher. This is particularly true of the ending where he talks about going somewhere and crying now everyone in his family believes he was molested.
A movie about 2 cops that have to work with a cat has actually happened called Keanu.
The episode where Mac and Dee become the adoptive parents of a baby they found in the dumpster is this now that Rob McElhenney and Kaitlin Olson have children together.
A prominent part of Charlie's America song in "Charlie Goes America All Over Everybody's Ass" is the words "rise up". Bonus points for Charlie singing them basically the same way Lin-Manuel Miranda does in Hamilton's death song.
Dennis has a thing for much younger women and is all but stated to be a sexual predator. In Split, one of the villain's split personalities is named Dennis, and he likes to kidnap teenage girls and force them to dance naked for him.
Jerkass Woobie: Really, everyone in The Gang has their moments of being one.
Launcher of a Thousand Ships: Charlie. He got shipped with all 4 of the other main cast (yes, sometimes even with Frank), his obsession the Waitress and even with ScienceBitch (an unnamed scientist in "Flowers For Charlie" who gave him fake intelligent pills). His entry on the Woobie (see below) probably a big contribution to why.
Magnificent Bastard: The Lawyer. In one episode, the gang repeatedly pesters him for different legal reasons, like for patents and a job contract, their tactics involve assaulting his secretary, stalking him, hiring him a hooker, threatening to rape his wife (as an act of good faith), up until he gives in, resolves all their troubles legally, and gets the inventions to patent. Then at the end, he reveals that the contracts everyone signed gave him the profits from any and all sales of the inventions, as well as a restraining order from them (and back-up copies, because the first was eaten in an attempt to stop him).
I'm THE TRASH MAN! I start eatin' garbage!Explanation Frank Reynold's description of his character for an exhibition wrestling match. This one's popularity mainly came about as a result of Vinesauce Joel repeatedly bringing it up in his streams, to the point where he is often linked with the meme.
Oh whoops… I dropped my MONSTER CONDOM that I use for my MAGNUM DONG!Explanation In the episode where Dennis describes his system for picking up women, Frank reveals a much more direct system of his own; drop a magnum condom on the ground and loudly announce this while picking it back up. A later step involves "a wad of hundreds."
Uncle Jack's massive insecurity about his small hands has led people to draw a lot of comparisons with the similarly oversensitive Donald Trump, particularly after "McPoyle vs. Ponderosa: The Trial of the Century".
Frank's pronunciation of certain words with DeVito's heavy New Jersey accent, mainly "tresh" (trash), "hoor" (whore), and "Chawlie/Chollie" (Charlie).
Rewatch Bonus: A lot. If you're not paying attention you'll miss a bunch of character important lines, hints at future events, and small, easy-to-miss jokes. For example, "Who Got Dee Pregnant?" is even funnier upon rewatch because you know that Dee's lying about one of the gang being the father of her child.
Signature Episode: "The Nightman Cometh" is probably the most well-known episode and is frequently cited as one of, if not the best episode so far.
Nearly every aspect of Charlie and Frank's living habits. Charlie has such bad oral hygiene that he can effortlessly pull out his teeth without feeling anything, and he presumably doesn't change or wash his underwear as it started to fall apart after a failed attempt at a wedgie. Frank poops wherever he feels like it because it's funny to him, and he clips his toenails with a steak knife which he also uses peel fruit.
Gail the Snail giving Frank, her uncle, a handjob under the table. Thankfully, they aren't biologically related.
Tearjerker: While the show is largely comedic, some episodes can hit hard.
In "The Gang Broke Dee", the episode opens with the rest of the gang making fun of Dee, who appears to be legitimately depressed; downing month-old birthday cake and cheap hooch while dejectedly accepting their insults. It's one of, if not the only time she's ever been a straight-up Woobie in the series to date.
Dee: "I'm just going to go home."
Charlie: "Good! Go home! I hope you-"
Dee: "You hope I get hit by a bus?""
Charlie: "Dee, come on-"
Dee: "What difference does it make? I can't get any lower than I am already. I might as well throw myself in front of a bus, because I'm so ugly I can't even get a bus to hit on me."
Frank's mental breakdown in "The Gang Gets Analysed" where he remembers his traumatic stay at a mental asylum when he was a kid is genuinely sad while also being completely ridiculous.
Again in "Psycho Pete Returns", Frank again has traumatic flashbacks when revisiting the now abandoned mental asylum he went to as a kid and even though this was a product of his mental disorder, he seemed to show genuine care for "The Frog Kid": his supposed roommate who was half frog. He seemed genuinely panicked when he spent the episode trying to find him.
The Gang Goes To Hell: Part 2. Mac just collapsing when he finds out Dennis had been keeping his father's letters from him. Especially when Dennis admits that his dad never said that he loved him. He can't even bring up the energy to attack Dennis over it.
The Gang in what they believe to be their last moments in the sinking ship. Dennis tells Dee he loves her before going underwater; she rolls her eyes but still holds hands with her brother and father as they wait to drown. Last to dive under are childhood friends Mac and Charlie. "Let's go be with the gang."
In "Who Got Dee Pregnant?" the episode begins with the guys discussing a plan to spend the night at the city museum, dodging security and generally enjoying themselves. Though the episode was also funny, it's a shame this never came to pass.
Charlie and Dee working at a high school, which lasted for all of two episodes.
Too Cool to Live: Country Mac. But it's less an example of him being killed off because he will make the gang look bad in comparison and more because it's unspoken rule that no one cool can be a part of the Gang.
Charlie the Butt-Monkey is often so pathetic that the viewer is intended to feel sorry for him and the Gang is even moved to pity him on a few occasions. In contrast, Dee is another Butt-Monkey, but she's so shrill and spiteful that she often brings her misfortunes on herself (though she still gets some sympathetic moments; as such, she counts more as a Jerkass Woobie).
Rickety Cricket, who is introduced this way and grows steadily worse with each appearance.
Psycho Pete, who instantly jumped from The Dreaded into this trope with the reveal that he is a sad, lonely Gentle Giant who desperately craves friendship, developed anxiety and suicidal tendencies and the rumor about him killing his family is false.