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Characters / It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia : The Gang

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The Gang

You are the most horrible people alive.
—Bruce Mathis

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     In General
Left to right: Mac, Dee, Frank, Dennis, and Charlie
  • The Alcoholics: All of them (except for Frank) come to the realization that they're alcoholics after experiencing terrible withdrawals. Frank becomes more of an alcoholic in "The Gang Gives Frank an Intervention." Although the reasons the Gang gives him an intervention aren't necessarily normal.
  • Alcohol-Induced Idiocy: The entire Gang has this in spades as a direct result of their addiction, but Dee is probably the worst offender.
  • Animal Motif: The Gang are frequently associated with crows. Described in-universe as a "trash bird", the pack-based garbage-scavenging animal reflects the group's general behavior quite well. It also alludes to the idiom "to eat crow", which refers to the humiliation felt after being proven wrong regarding something that you took a strong position on; something that the Gang experiences in just about every episode.
  • Anti-Hero: At their absolute best, they manage to be these.
  • Attention Deficit... Ooh, Shiny!: It's a common occurrence for them to come up with one hair-brained scheme only to completely forget about it after latching onto another.
  • Badass Longcoat: Mac's duster is worn specifically for this effect. The other male members of the group frequently steal it from him and wear it themselves in order to invoke this trope. Since none of them are very badass, it never really works.
  • Bad "Bad Acting": Technically applies to the whole Gang at certain times, but Sweet Dee is arguably the in-universe champion of this one. Kaitlin Olson's ability to portray a bad aspiring actress and stand-up comic is nothing short of genius.
  • Big, Screwed-Up Family: Frank is Dennis and Dee's legal father and is most likely Charlie's biological father, and all four of them are disgusting, awful people. Dennis and Dee's mother also manages to surpass the four of them in sheer despicableness, while Charlie's mother displays many of the same psychoses that he does. Outside of immediate relatives, Dennis and Dee's grandfather was a Nazi and their cousin is an emotionally-stunted weirdo. And don't even get us started on Charlie's uncle Jack... Mac's family is just as messed up, but not quite as big and tangled as the rest of the Gang's are.
  • But for Me, It Was Tuesday: Ties in with Wrong Genre Savvy below. Their belief in Negative Continuity and that their actions don't have lasting consequences leads to them forgetting and/or generally being indifferent to the lives they've ruined and the spirits they've crushed, and when they bother acknowledging them, their responses usually amount to "get over it." Even amongst themselves, they will often have forgotten their own transgressions against each other by the time the victim gets their revenge.
  • Butt-Monkey: The Gang are one of the most pathetic and dysfunctional groups on TV, and frequently end up humiliated and/or injured. Dee stands out as the biggest butt monkey of the group, often being blamed for things that aren't her fault and receiving no due reparations when someone wrongs her.
  • Can't Get Away with Nuthin': They nearly always fail at their schemes, and none of their dreams and ambitions ever come true.
  • Can't Take Criticism: As a group. Despite incessantly ragging on each other, the moment an outside perspective is rightly critical of their terrible bar, unhealthy lifestyles, amoral schemes, dysfunctional codependence as a group or collective substance abuse and dependence, the whole Gang will respond with cooperative denial. Many an episode entails the characters giving each other a hard time for a flaw but coming together to disregard whoever else points it out, such as for Frank's intervention.
  • Childhood Friends: Dennis and Dee grew up together in Frank's house, Charlie and Mac were a duo from an early age, and the younger four all attended high school together. By the time the series starts, everyone, barring Frank, has known each other for over a decade.
  • Chronic Backstabbing Disorder: The members of the Gang never hesitate to betray one another if there's something to be gained in return.
  • Comedic Sociopathy: The show as a whole is this thanks to them.
  • Comically Missing the Point: Through a combination of narcissism, insecurity, stubbornness and stupidity, every member of the Gang is quick to take innocuous advice as insult or criticism as praise or nonsense. This is perhaps best exemplified by the episode The Gang Gets Analyzed, where each member speaks to a therapist and hears only what they want to hear or most fear to hear.
  • Comic Trio: Dennis, Mac and Charlie switch between four distinct set ups depending on the episode:
    1. Dennis as the clueless leader, Charlie as the dumb follower and Mac as the ignored voice of reason.
    2. Dennis as the clueless leader, Mac as the dumb follower and Charlie as the ignored voice of reason.
    3. Mac as the clueless leader, Charlie as the dumb follower and Dennis as the ignored voice of reason.
    4. Charlie as the clueless leader, Mac as the dumb follower and Dennis as the ignored voice of reason.
  • The Corrupter: Just interacting with the Gang consistently causes Sanity Slippage or some other life-ruining outcome, almost completely without fail. Victims of the Gang's corruption include Rickety Cricket (goes from a clean-cut priest to a horribly mutilated Crazy Homeless Person), Maureen Ponderosa (has become a literal Crazy Cat Lady), Bill Ponderosa (Dee helped ruin his marriagenote , and with Frank as his AA sponsor he's become a drug-fueled suicidal maniac), Mac's dad Luther (whose interactions with the Gang usually land him back in prison or endangered by other inmates), The Waitress (is driven insane by Charlie's stalking and Dennis' sociopathic manipulation, and also gets fired from her job, causing her to sink further and further into poverty), and The Lawyer (despite outsmarting the Gang on multiple occasions to his own benefit, they've ruined at least one of his marriages and indirectly caused his eye to be pecked out in court).
  • Dirty Coward: All members of the Gang are miserable wimps who will stab each other in the back to save themselves. A classic example is the ending of "The Gang Goes To Hell" where the group are holding hands and accepting their apparent deaths... until rescue arrives, at which point they begin kicking and fighting each other to see who gets saved first.
  • Dumb Is Good: The borderline illiterate Charlie is the closest thing the group has to a decent person. In contrast, Dennis, the only member of the group who has had a higher education, is easily the worst of the bunch. As a whole though, they avert this trope because they are both immoral jerks and idiots.
  • Dysfunction Junction: Between the lot of them, everyone in The Gang has a variety of health problems (notably, they're all alcoholics), mental health problems (Dee and Frank have both been institutionalized, Dennis has borderline personality disorder, and Charlie has... whatever it is he has), trouble coming out (Mac), parental issues, anger management issues, toxic co-dependence on each other, and a general inability to sustain meaningful relationships outside of their group.
  • Eagleland: They all heavily embody the Type 2 flavor.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: The Gang are a bunch of crass, scheming, petty, vain, self-centered assholes who will screw over anyone at a moment's notice, but whenever a clearly immoral issue like racism pops up, they will immediately distance themselves from it, talk at length about how wrong it is, and attempt (in their limited understanding of the world) to dissect the problem like mature, rational people. Of course, they are all racists, but it's more of an unconscious ignorant prejudice than genuine malice. They also draw lines at Nazism, direct homicide, and pedophilia, though this too is clearly more due to their awareness that these things are seen as negative by society at large than out of any sort of genuine moral conviction.
  • Everyone Is Related: Frank is the legal father of Dee and Dennis and is very likely the biological father of Charlie. Mac, the odd one out in this respect, was apparently adopted by Frank in season 10, though whether this was a one off joke or actually canon has yet to be confirmed.
  • Flanderization: Played with. Every member of the Gang gets more extreme in their characterizations as time passes, but it's justified by their deteriorating mental health, decreasing ability to maintain relationships outside the Gang, ungraceful aging, and overall spiraling deeper and deeper into delusion and toxic codependency. It's also lampshaded heavily in season 10's episode "The Gang Misses the Boat", where they all become conscious of their traits that have become most heavily flanderized.
    Dennis: By the way, all of us have become so goddamn weird.
  • Four-Temperament Ensemble: It varies between episodes, but for the most part, Charlie is sanguine, Dennis is phlegmatic, Mac is choleric, Frank is leukine, and Dee is melancholic.
  • Freudian Excuse: As detailed below, all of them have one.
  • Freudian Trio: Charlie is The McCoy, Mac is The Kirk, and Dennis is The Spock.
  • The Friends Who Never Hang: Generally averted as every potential duo in the Gang gets a few episodes together, but Dennis and Charlie rarely have storylines together without Mac or Frank acting as an intermediary between the two, and Mac and Dee, who hate each other vehemently, only have a handful of episodes centering around just the two of them.
  • Global Ignorance:
    • In "The Gang Hits the Road", the main characters pass the time by playing a game that involves drinking while naming all 50 states in America. Among the incorrect guesses that Mac, Dee, and Charlie throw out are East Virginia, North Virginia, South Virginia, Philly, Milwaukee, and Detroit.
    • In the episode "Frank Falls Out the Window", after Frank falls out of the window in his apartment, The Gang asks him "obvious" questions to see if he has a concussion:
      Dennis: What is the capital of Pennsylvania?
      Frank: Philadelphia.
      Dennis: Yes... no...
      Mac: I don't think that's right.
      Dennis: Is it Pittsburgh?
      Charlie: At one point, it was Philly. I'm pretty sure.note 
  • Heroic Comedic Sociopath: On a good day. And the "heroic" part is usually accidental.
  • Hidden Depths:
    • A minor one, but singing appears to be the one thing all of them are actually any good at, which they each show off pretty frequently.
    • "The Gang Hits The Slopes" reveals that Dennis, Mac and Dee are all world class skiers.
  • Hustler: While their main line of work is (ostensibly) running the bar, more often than not they abandon their duties in favor of some Short Con or other. On very rare occasions, their schemes actually prove to be successful.
  • Hypocrite: All of them are quite adept at pointing out the others' flaws, while completely ignoring their own glaring problems.
  • Hypocritical Heartwarming: Despite being perpetually trapped in a mutual network of manipulation and abuse, the Gang will sometimes rally together as a unit against third parties who offend or annoy any of them.
  • Inferiority Superiority Complex: Mainly Dennis, Dee and Mac. Their narcissism and delusions come from their insecurity.
  • Insufferable Imbecile: The entire main cast fall into this to varying degrees, as the premise of the show is that they are all self-deluded, idiotic degenerates.
  • It's All About Me: Nearly every scheme they ever concoct that have even the slightest chance of succeeding usually winds up sabotaged in-part by their inflated and conflicting egos. For instance in "Wolf Cola: A PR Nightmare", Dennis comes up with the plan of give impartial answers in a public news interview and while Dee and Frank stand there quietly, only for Dee to butt-in and give a public apology (something Dennis expressly told her not to do) and Frank to make multiple pro-terrorist comments. In the second interview, Dennis struggles to prevent the interview from derailing, only to immediately go into a savage rant of how much he hates dogs.
  • Jerkass: They're spiteful, vain, petty and obnoxious all around.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Jerk: Whenever they do anything remotely heroic, it's for selfish reasons.
  • Know-Nothing Know-It-All: Whenever their Wrong Genre Savvy assumptions lead them to making the wrong conclusions about something or gives them bad ideas, they will follow through with it no matter how obvious the incoming failure is. Whenever anybody - whether it is each other or someone outside of the Gang who knows better - tells them they are wrong, at best they will either ignore them completely, thinking The Complainer Is Always Wrong. At worst they will snap and attack you with hurtful words and physical violence. Mac and Charlie, being dumbest and most impulsive out of the five of them, are the worst at this.
  • Lack of Empathy: The entire group has a very hard time understanding the emotions of others. And when they do, they don't care enough to take them into account when creating plans.
  • Large Ham: All of them are prone to ranting while shouting at the top of their lungs. Dennis is easily the best at ranting while Charlie is the best at shouting.
  • A Lighter Shade of Black: Corrupt as they are, they can't even compare to the McPoyles in terms of depravity. Somehow they still manage to be much greater threats to society.
    The Lawyer: My client [Liam McPoyle] is odd. You might even refer to his family as very creepy. But they are saints compared to [this] sordid lot of degenerates.
  • Loser Protagonist: No matter what Dennis says about himself, all of the Gang are just horrible and toxic people who will find no success in life.
  • Lower-Class Lout: While they technically have millions of dollars at their disposal (thanks to Frank's Arbitrarily Large Bank Account), they definitely fit the bill of being unintelligent white trash who regularly engage in petty theft and violence. Dennis and Dee like to think of themselves as above this, but they really aren't.
  • Manchild: Aside from Frank, none of the Gang have matured past their teen years (at most). While sometimes it does seem like there's an endearing aspect to this (usually in the case of Charlie's good-natured love for some things), it's shown as a horrible thing all around - the Gang are demanding, selfish, uppity monsters with no self-control who can barely take care of themselves.
  • Manipulative Bastard: This is Dennis' main dynamic, but everyone in the Gang gets up to it at some point or another, to varying degrees of success. Even Charlie has surprising cunning when sufficiently pushed.
  • Never My Fault: None of the Gang ever takes any responsibility for their own flaws. If they're ever called on it, they'll immediately dismiss it or try to steer the conversation in another direction. Charlie is adamant that he's not illiterate and can't see that most of his life problems are caused by his own "solutions" to said problems, Dee can't admit she's terrible at her dream job of acting and unpopular with men, Dennis doesn't understand why women tend to run away screaming from him as often as not, Mac insists upon his own masculinity and competence, and so on.
  • Nice, Mean, and In-Between: In the core trio (see Comic Trio and Freudian Trio), Charlie is the nice (the closest thing the Gang has to a Token Good Teammate, if only by comparison), Dennis is the mean (the most sociopathic of the Gang), and Mac is the in-between (a jerk who can be arrogant but is still less manipulative and cruel than Dennis, and calls him out on his more sociopathic behavior).
  • No Social Skills: Only Dennis has anything even close to normal social skills, and that's simply in comparison to the others.
  • One-Hour Work Week: The reasoning for them being bar owners was that it'd free them up for daytime antics (since most barflies show up at evening), but they're usually busy with the Zany Scheme in the evenings as well. Pretty much the only one who's actually shown doing their job on a somewhat regular basis is Charlie. It's not hard to figure out why Paddy's Pub is such a dive.
  • Pet the Dog: The five of them are highly unpleasant people and the friendships within the group are strenuous, but all of them (even Dennis) are capable of demonstrating genuine kindness and concern towards each other on (very rare) specific occasions.
  • The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything: The members all own/manage/work at Paddy's (in theory Frank is the manager, Dennis is the bartender, Dee is the waitress, Mac is the bouncer and Charlie is the janitor) but they rarely do their actual jobs. This is lampshaded in one episode where Dennis suggests they just spend the night running the place and serving customers instead of doing a zany scheme, but the others are confused and assume it's all part of a scheme he has cooked up.
  • Politically Incorrect Villain: All five of them have displayed racist/sexist/homophobic/transphobic/anti-Semitic/Islamophobic/ableist tendencies at one point or another, though the four younger members are all generally shown to be Innocently Insensitive and prone to stating And That's Terrible when they're aware that the group that they're talking about is an oppressed one. Frank, however, is shown to openly possess backwards opinions regarding just about everything.
  • Psychopathic Manchild: All of them act like immature children and get worse and worse every season.
  • Schemer: While Frank and Dennis are the standout examples, all members of the Gang are prone to hatching (usually ill-fated) plots in virtually any given episode.
  • Selective Memory: All five of them are prone to completely rewriting history in their own minds to either make themselves look better or to avoid taking responsibility for something.
  • Serial Rapist: Nearly the entire Gang have been guilty of predatory behavior at one point or another. None of them realize this, however, as they only see their actions as 'playing the game', with only Dennis being fully conscious of what he's committing (something which disturbs even the rest of Gang). Charlie is the only exception, but this is due to him settling on 'merely' being a Stalker with a Crush.
  • Seven Deadly Sins: Lampshaded in "The Gang Goes To Hell Part 1", each of the Gang are guilty of some cardinal sin. While they may be protagonists, they are all too horrible to collectively count as Mr. Vice Guy.
  • Sir Swearsalot: All of them swear like sailors. Dee even considers "cocksucker" to be her favorite word, and she takes great pleasure in cursing on national television when the Gang competes on a game show.
  • Small Name, Big Ego: All of them fit this description, though Dennis really stands out.
  • Smart Ball: Any character within the Gang can play the role of the Only Sane Man for a scene or two. From most common to least, the people likely to get the Smart Ball are Dennis, Dee, Mac, Charlie, and then Frank though this can and will change at a moment's notice.
  • The Sociopath: Every character is a sociopath. They're frequently doing things that are unethical if not illegal, stabbing each other in the back, and no one in the Gang is able to stick to a plan. Dennis deserves a special mention.
  • Static Character: Deconstructed. Their refusal to grow up or even remotely change as people becomes more pronounced over time as their actions continue to ruin the lives of those around them with the Gang being seemingly oblivious to it. Later seasons heavily imply that they all subconsciously recognize that something is wrong with them, but choose to keep it out of their minds.
  • Straw Misogynist: All of the male members are incredibly disdainful towards women, with Mac even outright saying that he hates them. While Dee likes to think of herself as a passionate feminist, she's also more likely than not to form one-sided rivalries with any and all women she interacts with.
  • Tall Poppy Syndrome: Probably closer to "crabs in a bucket" than tall poppies, but whenever one member of the Gang seems to be pulling things together to potentially escape the squalor and misery of the others, the rest of the group will sabotage them.
  • Three Plus Two: Dennis makes it clear in an early episode that "The Gang" is just him, Mac and Charlie. Frank quickly blackmails his way into the group in the same episode and is the only member who considers Dee, who the others choose to mock and ignore, as an "official" part of the Gang. Notably, the original pitch of the show only featured Dennis, Mac and Charlie; Dee was added early on into the series' development in order to give it a major female character, while Frank was added at the start of Season 2 to increase the show's middling ratings. By the later seasons they seem to have accepted Frank and Dee (not that it otherwise makes their treatment of them, mostly Dee, any better).
  • True Companions: Very deeply dysfunctional, yes, but a fellowship nonetheless. The bizarre co-dependence that the group has cultivated over time only becomes more pronounced as the show progresses and they become more and more wrapped up in their own strange little world separate from the reality. In a major subversion of this trope, it's debatable whether or not this is in any way a good thing. True Companions or not, the Gang loves to back-stab one another and sell each other out, which only winds up reinforcing their co-dependence.
  • Theme Twin Naming: Dennis and Deandra Reynolds.
  • Ultimate Job Security: Actually justified in-universe. Frank is incredibly wealthy and can keep the bar afloat no matter how little actual business they do, and Charlie always manages to miraculously prepare the bar before health inspections to ensure that it gets a decent grade.
  • Unsympathetic Comedy Protagonist: Their rude, immoral behavior and misfortunes are Played for Laughs. The most sympathetic being Charlie and the least sympathetic being Dennis.
  • Villain Protagonist: Don't hang out with these guys, or they'll crush your spirits and make you as vile as them.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: At best.
  • With Friends Like These...: They constantly sabotage each other with dangerous stunts and yet they're still close enough to sing a cappella every once in a while.
  • Wrong Genre Savvy: All of them seem to believe that, should they desire it to, the universe will bend itself to follow the structure of whatever movie or TV series they currently wish to emulate. Similarly, they tend to act as though the world is governed by Negative Continuity, and that nothing they do will ever have any lasting consequences.


Dennis Reynolds
"I'm going for that Jesus on the cross look."
Played By: Glenn Howerton

"My nose was chiseled by the gods themselves, Frank. My body was sculpted to the proportions of Michelangelo's David."

One of the co-owners of Paddy's Pub and Dee's twin brother. The most sociopathic of the characters, Dennis is abrasive, narcissistic, self-absorbed, manipulative and callous. Much of his inflated ego is perpetuated by his Ivy League education at the University of Pennsylvania where he minored in Psychology.

  • Alliterative Name: Uses the pseudonym "Hugh Honey" in "The Gang Exploits the Mortgage Crisis".
  • Ambiguously Bi: Although Dennis is a serial womanizer, he also delves pretty heavily into this area as well:
    • In "Frank's Back In Business", he's willing to have sex with the Asian boy he mistakes for a prostitute (albeit more because he was trying to see how far he could go using another person's identity). Turns out the boy's a caddy, and Dennis backtracks.
    • He thinks he knows absolutely everything there is to know about gay sex, as seen in "The Gang Sells Out." And he considers himself to be a power-bottom. What really helps reinforce this trope is that he's actually quite accurate about the gay slang he brings up.
    • In "The Gang Reignites the Rivalry", he tells Frank that back in college, he would stick the tip of his penis in his frat brothers' mouths and stick bananas up their asses. He also puts his balls in Mac's mouth in "Mac and Dennis: Manhunters."
    • He always wanted to be a male model, and whenever this ambition of his resurfaces, campiness ensues.
  • Ambiguously Evil: May or may not be a serial killer and/or rapist. At the very least, he certainly seems to want to be the latter.
  • Attention Whore: He's very vain, and only feels validated when he's the center of everybody's attention.
    Dee: You don't care about the money, you just like the attention.
  • Badass Boast: Dennis is incredibly skilled at giving these.
    Dennis: [after Dee accuses him of having "peaked" in high school] Peaked? Peaked, Dee? Let me tell you something: I haven't even begun to peak. And when I do peak, you'll know. Because I'm gonna peak so hard that everybody in Philadelphia's gonna feel it.
  • Bad People Abuse Animals: He's noted that he thinks people should be able to eat dogs, and he once snapped the necks of multiple crows as a kid.
  • Bastard Bastard: The illegitimate son of Bruce Mathis, and easily the cruelest of the Gang.
  • Beauty Is Bad: In-Universe, he's thought to be the most attractive member of the Gang. He's also the cruelest, and uses his good looks to prey on women.
  • Berserk Button: Claiming that he peaked in High School, questioning his success with women, or suggesting that he isn't the social God he believes himself to be is not a good idea.
  • Berserker Tears: He has a tendency towards crying and shouting when undergoing a Villainous Breakdown (see "High School Reunion" for a particularly vivid example).
  • Big Man on Campus: He believes himself to have been this in both high school and college, referring to his college self as "a goddamn legend." It's outright stated that he was never one of the popular kids in high school, and the evidence leans against his college days as well (considering he was utterly shocked to find I CHUG DICK graffitied on his picture there).
  • Break the Haughty: Several times throughout the series. Dennis holds his looks, his intellect, and his skills as a ladies man in high regard. Whenever any of these qualities gets called into question, the results tend to be spectacular.
  • Butt-Monkey: More so as the series progresses. By season 10, Dennis's mental health has deteriorated to the point where he has lost his position as the de facto leader of the Gang, repeatedly strikes out in social situations, suffers from severe anxiety and sensory overload, and is overall a pathetic mess.
  • Can't Take Criticism: To the point the buzzer in "The Gang Goes on Family Fight" gave him an absolute breakdown.
  • Camp Straight: Dennis is obsessed with his own body and wears make-up.
    Charlie: Are you wearing makeup?
    Dennis: I'm always wearing a little bit of foundation, but that's not the point.
  • Casanova Wannabe: Dennis does well with women, but he isn't the magnetic charmer that he considers himself to be. Later seasons reveal him to be an emotionally manipulative serial rapist targeting women too dim, vulnerable, trusting, or young to know better. When his seduction techniques do fail, he is quickly reduced to pathetic desperation or disturbing rage. He considers these women to have been wrapped around his finger, when the reality is that they usually figure out he's a bastard whenever they aren't in the moment.
  • Catchphrase: "I don't give a shit", said whenever the Gang reels him in yet another Zany Scheme.
  • Characterization Marches On: Largely as a result of his Flanderization. In the early seasons, Dennis was a vain, albeit relatively stable, Jerkass Casanova who has a desire to be a veterinarian, and even has a Pet the Dog episode with a cat. His vanity is also played more sympathetically, with him starving himself and becoming a victim of Frank pimping him out. The later seasons portray him as a degenerate narcissist and borderline sociopath who is heavily implied to be a sexual predator, abuses Frank instead of the other way around, and loathes animals.
  • The Charmer: Considers himself to be this and, to his credit, is generally pretty good at making a good first impression on people.
  • Commuting on a Bus: In season 13. He returns at the end of the first episode following months of speculation about his continued role in the show, but his appearances throughout the rest of the season are fairly sporadic with him being entirely absent from four of the ten episodes.
  • Control Freak: To the point of ordering dishes for the other members of the Gang at restaurants. A therapist becomes rather interested when he reveals that he's been keeping psychological dossiers of the Gang, having started Dee's 'file' when they were children.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Tends to snark on the others' idiocy with callous indifference.
  • Deconstructed Character Archetype: Of the Only Sane Man, namely what kind of person they would have to be to want to hang out with a group of insane assholes.
  • Depraved Bisexual: While his sexuality is ambiguous in-universe, Dennis has committed non-consensual sexual acts against both men and women and is easily the cruelest member of the Gang.
  • Dirty Coward: When getting mugged, he, like most of the Gang, ran away and pushed Dee closer to the mugger.
  • Double Standard: Rape, Female on Male: He firmly believes that women can't rape men because A Man Is Always Eager. He was raped at fourteen by the school librarian, though he refuses to call it rape because he "wanted it".
  • Ephebophile: He has an obsession with younger women: e.g. he only dated freshmen in High School, and in his mid-thirties still likes to go for 18-year-olds. Charlie points out that's kind of weird. While he has been shown to be disgusted and disturbed after learning that a woman he was seducing was underage, "Hero or Hate Crime?" reveals that he keeps track of the birthdays of the younger women he targets to ensure that he is able to have sex with them immediately after they turn 18, showing that, while he's willing to obey laws concerning age of consent, he really pushes them as much as he possibly can.
  • Epic Fail: Some of his attempts to seduce women end up going horribly, hilariously wrong. For example, in "Charlie and Dee Find Love", he tries to make a move on Charlie's new girlfriend by claiming to be good at tennis, and then removing his shirt in front of her to show off his body. Not only is he an embarrassingly bad tennis player who gets winded immediately, but the only thing Ruby has to say about his bare upper body is that he's very pale and in need of sunscreen.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones:
    • For all of his horrible treatment of Dee, he appears to hold some amount genuine brotherly affection for her that only comes up in the worst of times. In "The Gang Broke Dee", he is the only member of the Gang who seems legitimately worried about Dee's now suicidal depression and, in his own twisted way, attempts to cheer her up. His fantasy in "The Gang Saves The Day" is also notably the only one besides Dee's herself that doesn't have her abruptly dying at the beginning of it. In "The Gang Goes to Hell: Part 2', right as he thinks they're all about to die, he turns to Dee and says, "Sis? I love you."
    • "Dennis' Double Life" ends with him deciding to go to North Dakota and raise his son, though he returns by the end of the next season premier, while implying he hasn't completely burned his bridges.
  • Even the Guys Want Him: When Paddy's briefly became a gay bar. Mac also has feelings for him, which Dennis adamantly does not reciprocate.
  • Evil Mentor: To "Abby" in "The Gang Goes to a Water Park," teaching her how to hone her affinity for conning and manipulating people.
  • The Face: He's the only member of the group who can function in certain social situations.
  • Faux Affably Evil: Dennis is quite capable of appearing charming and even likable, but there's a definite sense of cruelty to his actions.
  • Fetish:
    • Filming people (including himself).
    • Anonymous sex, particularly glory holes. Major plot point of "Mac & Charlie Die Part 2".
    • Controlling someone else's life. Before it he was just creepily controlling over minor things like meal decisions, but season 8's "Frank's Back in Business" confirms that it's a sexual thing when Dennis attempts to "get off" by impersonating a dead businessman.
    • The season 7 finale reveals he also has a thing for bondage, which actually ties in quite nicely with the control-freak tendencies mentioned above (though it's also implied the reason he uses duct-tape and rope for sex is that he's dealing with women who are... less than eager).
    • By season 13, it's revealed that he transformed his bedroom into a sex dungeon and Dee outright says he gets off at the idea that his victims have no escape.
  • Flanderization: Like the rest of the Gang, Dennis' character traits become more exaggerated as the series progresses. Over time his interests in women have taken a dark turn into sexual predator territory, his behavioral patterns have become increasingly erratic and unstable, and his already massive ego has been inflated to A God Am I proportions.
  • Freudian Excuse:
    • His amoral father Frank relentlessly emotionally abused him. On the other side, his mother heavily favored him over Dee, constantly feeding his ego to the point that by high school he referred to himself as a "golden god."
    • It is revealed that he lost his virginity to his high school librarian (basically, he was a victim of statutory rape, but convinced himself that he wanted it anyway), which certainly explains a lot about his misogyny and unhealthy sexual behavior.
  • The Friend Nobody Likes: The season 13 premiere has everyone agree that he is a "bastard-man," but are so codependent on him that they welcome him back with open arms the minute he returns.
  • Future Loser: Frequently states that he was the Big Man on Campus while in high school (Dee spitefully notes that this was also the time when he peaked). The season 7 finale reveals that this was all a lie; Dennis was no more popular than Mac and Charlie. He was just deluded.
  • Gibberish of Love: Dennis is usually smooth and elegant in his attempts to attract women, but in the episode "The Storm of the Century", the buxom Jackie Denardo turns him into a stammering creep when he tries to hit on her.
  • A God Am I: For some reason, realizing that he controls his own life in "Charlie Rules the World" leads to this mindset. Later episodes show that he's believed himself to be a "Golden God" since at least high school and will take any excuse he can get to confirm it.
  • Going Cold Turkey: Dennis and Dee get addicted to crack in a season 2 episode, and then go cold turkey to get back to normal. Seasons later Dennis still occasionally gets the urge to smoke crack (which he suppresses).
    Mac: What do you want more than anything else in the entire world?
    Dennis: Crack.
    Mac: Oh. I thought you were going to say pizza.
  • Hair-Trigger Temper: While he starts the series as a fairly cool-headed person, in later seasons even the slightest provocation sets him off. See Sanity Slippage, below.
  • Handsome Lech: Although Dennis isn't nearly as much of a Casanova as he thinks, he is still a serial womanizer. And he gets plenty of women and gay men interested in him. Just not as much as he thinks. In fact, many women are turned off his behavior, either thinking he's a jerk or Camp Gay.
  • Has a Type: Seems to have a particular affinity towards blondes with comically oversized breasts. On the opposite end of the spectrum, he usually seeks out younger, petite girls, though it's often not clear if he finds them attractive for their bodies or because they're often more trusting and easier to manipulate.
  • Heel Realization: Mixed with a Jerkass Realization at the end of "Dennis' Double Life, where after holding his son for the first time, Dennis realizes what an asshole he's been and how he's wasted his life in the process, and leaves to make sure his son never grows up like him. At least until "The Gang Makes Paddy's Pub Great Again", where he returns to the pub to go back to his old ways.
  • Heroic Comedic Sociopath: He has his moments, though the "heroic" part is usually accidental.
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: With Mac. The two live together, work together, spend all their free time together, and check in with each other several times a day to make sure the other is okay. The commentary for "Mac and Dennis Break Up" has the staff (possibly jokingly) talk about the fact that Mac and Dennis are possibly gay and in a pre-sexual romantic relationship that neither is completely conscious of.
    • It's then deconstructed in "Mac and Dennis Move to the Suburbs." The two buy a suburban home, with Dennis commuting to work and Mac being the "house-husband." As the weeks go by, the two take on all the qualities of a married couple—and this drives them both completely insane. Mac is so frustrated by his lack of attention that he kills the dog Dennis bought to keep him company and feeds it to Dennis in his macaroni and cheese, while Dennis is sucked dry of his already-limited emotions thanks to the stress of commuting (plus not being able to participate in Frank and Charlie's schemes) and becomes an unfeeling, unblinking wreck ready to murder people at a moment's notice.
  • Incest Subtext: On one hand, he has a weird habit of calling his sister "baby", "babe" and "babygirl". They also slow-dance in "The Gang Dances Their Asses Off". On the other hand, he also is the loudest of all the Gang when it comes to insulting Dee and pointing out her every physical flaw (real or not), and when the guys were trying to figure out who got Dee pregnant and the signs were starting to point to him, Dennis literally would not stop vomiting. Most notably, in "The Gang Broke Dee", when Dee's about to leave, Dennis decides to go beyond subtext and gives her a speech about how he's perfect for her and loves her. It's possible he was just trying to manipulate her into taking him with her to Hollywood, but his reaction at the end of the episode implies some part of it was genuine.
  • Inferiority Superiority Complex: Dennis' extreme vanity and over-inflated sense of self-importance are shown to be a front for intense insecurity and self-loathing, and the smallest critiques tend to disproportionately distress him (e.g. Dee saying he has a "fat face" leads to Dennis not eating for three days). This is further illustrated in "The Gang Goes on Family Fight", where he is rendered near catatonic whenever he hears the wrong answer buzzer. Glenn Howerton has said that Dennis is actually the most fragile and insecure member of the Gang. He claims Dennis isn't a sociopath, but has strong emotions he can't handle and can only express it by getting angry. By this logic, his desire for control and manipulation of others is his way of assuring himself he'll always have their love and devotion (or at least their company).
  • Instant Expert: Thinks of himself as a cultured and multi-talented renaissance man who can pick up nearly all things with ease, but the reality is otherwise.
  • It's All About Me: He couldn't care less about his friends most of the time.
  • Ivy League for Everyone: He went to University of Pennsylvania and, unlike his sister, he graduated.
  • Jail Bait Wait: Keeps track of the birthdays of under-aged girls so that he can have sex with them as soon as they turn 18.
  • Karma Houdini: The most likely member of the Gang to occasionally escape punishment.
  • Know-Nothing Know-It-All: Acts like he knows better than the rest of the Gang at almost all times, when in reality he is, at best, only marginally smarter than the rest of them and just as ignorant.
  • Lack of Empathy: He seems perfectly okay with horrible things happening to regular people. See The Sociopath entry for more details.
  • Large Ham: Dennis is by far the most theatrical member of the Gang. The long-winded rants that he gives whenever he feels wronged make up a sizable chunk of the show's most often quoted dialogue.
  • The Leader: While the Gang constantly attempt to wrestle power from each other, Dennis, due to his comparative intelligence and status as a Manipulative Bastard Control Freak, tends to assume the position of leader most frequently. His power over the others is usually circumstantial at best, however, and he can just as often come across as more of a Leader Wannabe.
  • Manipulative Bastard: The D.E.N.N.I.S. system is a masterclass in heartlessly manipulating a woman into having sex with you, stringing her along in a semi-relationship and then dumping her for the thrill of having her fall in love with you. (The acronym stands for Demonstrate value, Engage physically, Nurture dependence, Neglect emotionally, Inspire hope, Separate entirely).
  • A Man Is Always Eager: He seems almost completely dominated by the whims of his dick, using his seduction system on every attractive woman he comes into contact with whether he consciously knows it or not.
    • In "Wedding Massacre" , he spends the whole episode trying to get his ex-wife Maureen (who was just getting married) to sign a contract to free him of alimony. By the end of the episode, he sabotages his own plan by having sex with her solely because she had a boob job. He then proceeds to cry out for help post-coitus when this causes Maureen to want to get back together with him.
    • In "Charlie and Dee Find Love", Dennis takes off his shirt and asks Ruby what she thinks of him. Mac then questions him why he did this (since they are trying to encourage her relationship with Charlie) only for Dennis to point out that he must have done it unconsciously.
    • In a slightly darker and more serious case of this trope, it's later revealed that Dennis was a victim of statutory rape as a teenager when he was taken advantage of by an adult in high school. When Dee tries to point this out to him he insists that it couldn't be rape due to this trope, despite how flimsy it sounds.
  • Masculine Girl, Feminine Boy: With his sister Dee. Dennis is a Non-Action Guy, the more polite and cultured of the two (as far as someone like him could be), and Camp Straight. Also, unlike his more overtly aggressive sister, he normally demonstrates cruelty through snide put-downs and manipulation.
  • Mistaken for Gay: His Ambiguously Bi, Camp Straight tendencies make him a frequent recipient of this attitude:
    • In "The Gang Gets Racist", Terrell, Dee's friend from acting class, is quite interested in Dennis. When they turn the pub into a gay bar, the vain and greedy Dennis is perfectly comfortable with letting all the guys flirt with him as long as he's making cash and feeling good about himself.
    • In "Charlie Wants an Abortion", a woman at the free clinic assumes Dennis is gay and waiting for his HIV results.
    • In "The Gang Cracks the Liberty Bell", his 1776 counterpart gets called a "sodomite".
    • In "High School Reunion", a married woman who he's hitting on is confused when he says that he wants to show her what a boring piece of shit her husband is by doing sexual things to her: she thought he's gay because he gossiped about her husband and wore makeup and a girdle.
  • Mistaken for Murderer: In "Mac is a Serial Killer", Dee and Dennis pretend to be serial killers and stalk The Waitress. They get really into it, especially him.
  • Mistaken for Pedophile: In "Dennis Looks Like a Registered Sex Offender", Dennis tries making neighborhood relations to distinguish himself from Wendell Albright, a sexual predator who moved in nearby (and happens to look exactly like a fatter version of Dennis). Dee suggests he take off his shirt and wear a fake mustache to avoid looking like Wendell. Then she tells him to show that he cares about the kids at a playground by showing them fitness exercises. Dennis is convinced to do just that, and while he does so, Dee goes directly to the fathers to point out the half-naked sex offender hanging around their children.
  • Mr. Fanservice: Certainly considers himself to be this, and while Glenn Howerton is quite attractive, Dennis' obsession with remaining slim and trim to the point of anorexia is frequently played for Fan Disservice.
  • Narcissist: For the ultimate example, in "Charlie Rules The World" he blows himself in a state of realization that he is God of his own universe. An example that is surprisingly true to the myth from which the term "narcissist" is derived is from "The Aluminum Monster vs. Fatty Magoo," when he considers himself the only model beautiful enough to show off his dress designs to Ingrid.
  • Neat Freak: Keeps everything he owns in pristine condition, and freaks out when this gets threatened.
  • Non-Action Guy: While none of the Gang are particularly good fighters, Dennis is not only shown to be useless in a fight but in terrible shape, to the point of getting winded after playing a few seconds of tennis.
  • Normal Fish in a Tiny Pond: Dennis is only really socially adept in comparison to the other members of the Gang. When speaking to ordinary people, his Hair-Trigger Temper and fragile ego cause him to Freak Out constantly, making his instability obvious.
  • Not Good with Rejection: Dennis gets rejected hard, to his face, when he tries to woo Mac and Charlie's respective mothers, and starts to break down emotionally because of it.
  • Not So Above It All: Dennis, apparently the most normal of the Gang, is steadily revealed to be the most sociopathic of them all over time.
  • Of Corsets Funny: Dennis is so obsessed with primping that he wears a girdle when he wants to look his best.
  • Only Sane Man: Tends to play this more frequently than the rest of the Gang, being generally the most rational and intelligent one among them at any given time. However, this is horribly subverted just as frequently, as Dennis' Not So Above It All moments almost always verge into The Sociopath territory.
  • Pet the Dog: His friendship with Jack Bower the cat. Also with Charlie, who he treats with slightly more patience than he does the rest of the Gang.
  • Pluralses: In the episode "Flowers for Charlie", The Gang (minus Charlie and Frank) is trying to catch a mouse in the bar. Eventually they get sidetracked, sniff some gasoline to get high, and watch cat-vs-mouse cartoons. Dennis comments that, based on watching the show, "There's no winning with mices."
  • Politically Incorrect Villain: Aside from his sexism, several episodes imply he has some serious racist tendencies. He does have enough awareness to keep his racism "presentable", though.
  • The Pornomancer: Although Dennis doesn't necessarily live up to his ego, a lot of people have shown attraction to him. He has drawers full of sex tapes he's made of him and his partners.
  • Present Absence: Despite him being absent throughout it, "Make Paddy's Great Again" revolves entirely around showcasing the stranglehold Dennis has over the rest of the Gang, to the point where they allow a sex doll in his likeness to completely dominate their lives. His grand return in the final few minutes quickly undoes any lingering changes to the status quo his absence had caused.
  • Promiscuity After Rape: His hypersexuality and disturbing notions about consent and women in general are implied to have come about as a result of him subconsciously attempting to cope with having been raped by a librarian when he was 14.
  • Psychopathic Manchild: While Mac and Charlie are more openly immature and childish, and Dee is more impulsive, aggressive, and drama-hungry, Dennis' immaturity takes form in the spiteful way he reacts when not given his way, his lack of responsibility and self-awareness and his inability to see the considerable psychological damage he inflicts on everyone around him as anything more than a game.
  • Put on a Bus: Subverted. He leaves Philadelphia in the season twelve finale and moves to North Dakota in order to be a father to his infant son. He returns in the following season's premiere, though not without making a point of saying that he's only back "for now".
  • Rape as Backstory: Season 11 reveals that he was the victim of statutory rape at the age of 14 by a librarian 40 years older than him.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: Blue Oni to Mac's Red, though it's played with a bit. Dennis is generally more controlled and calculating than Mac is, but is also extremely prone to having full on screaming mental breakdowns whenever things don't go his way.
  • Sanity Slippage: While Dennis starts out as the Only Sane Man of the group, he is slowly revealed to hide anxiety, feelings of emptiness, anger issues, disordered eating, and mood swings beneath his Mask of Sanity. As he grows older, he finds it harder and harder to keep these issues under wraps, and he is eventually diagnosed with borderline personality disorder and prescribed medication.
  • Schemer: The D.E.N.N.I.S. system for seducing women. Demonstrate value, Engage physically, Nurture dependence, Neglect emotionally, Inspire hope, Separate entirely.
  • Security Cling: Has a tendency to cling to Dee when he's particularly distressed or scared, such as when they dig up their dead mother.
  • Self-Serving Memory: Numerous times, most notably how he truly believes he was a "Golden God" in high school when in truth, everyone just thought he was a loser and rarely gave him any thought at all.
  • Sensitive Guy and Manly Man: Played with in his dynamic with Mac. Despite being a waifish metrosexual, Dennis is clearly the more dominant, coldhearted and controlling half of the pair.
  • Serial Rapist: Frequently Played for Laughs, but the most notable example is probably his horrifying explanation of "the implication".
  • Seven Deadly Sins: Lust, Wrath and Vanity.
  • Shirtless Scene: In nearly every episode of season 3, Dennis "pops his shirt off."
  • Show Some Leg: Much like his sister, Dennis often volunteers to seduce (or is tasked with seducing) somebody in order to further the Gang's plans.
  • Sissy Villain: A rare Villain Protagonist version.
  • Slowly Slipping Into Evil: While he's not a nice person to start with, over the seasons Dennis slowly becomes more unhinged and sociopathic. (See Sanity Slippage, above).
  • Small Name, Big Ego: So much that this could probably be renamed The Dennis. He has amounted to absolutely nothing in his life beyond having rich parents, yet has been referring to himself as a "Golden God" since high school!
  • Smug Snake: Nowhere near as smart or charming as he clearly thinks he is.
  • The Sociopath: Frequently implied throughout the first nine seasons (as evidenced by the examples below) but eventually subverted in "Psycho Pete Returns" when he's officially diagnosed with borderline personality disorder, not sociopathy/antisocial personality disorder.
    Dennis: I am having - this is crazy - but I'm having feelings again, like some kind of 14 year-old kid or something. I mean, you remember feelings, right?
    Mac: Yeah. I have feelings every single day of my life.
    Dennis: Do you?
    Mac: Are you saying you don't have feelings?
    • It gets really creepy in "The Gang Buys a Boat", where Dennis tells Mac the reason they bought the boat would be so he could bring women on it and have guaranteed sex with them. By his logic, a woman would never say no to sex on a boat because of "the implication."
    • His session in "The Gang Gets Analyzed" has him reveal to the therapist that he keeps "psychological dossiers" of the Gang (he started Dee's in second grade), and proceeds to make a speech about how controlling people is like "standing next to the executioner's switch and knowing that at any time you could pull it".
    • His whole subplot in "Charlie's Mom has Cancer" revolves around how he's stopped feeling emotions; lack of emotion is one of the biggest (if not the biggest) signs of a sociopath.
    • When he reveals that he has an entire system for emotionally manipulating and abusing women, Dee straight up calls him one, with good reason. Other gags in various episodes imply he's perfectly comfortable with outright raping women, to the point of having a special hidden compartment in his car for duct tape and ropes.
    • In "Psycho Pete Returns", Dee tries to con a psychiatrist into giving them a drug prescription (which they would then give to Psycho Pete) by pretending she's schizophrenic. Dennis, fed up with her bad acting, says the following with what appears to be complete sincerity, and everyone in the room is understandably horrified:
      Dennis: Dee... I swear you would be of more use to me if I skinned you and turned your skin into a lampshade... or fashioned you into a piece of high-end luggage. I can even add you to my collection!
      Dee: ... are you saying that you have a collection of skin luggage?
      Dennis: Of course I'm not, Dee. Don't be ridiculous. Think of the smell. You haven't thought of the smell, you bitch! Now, you say another word and I swear to God I will dice you into a million little pieces... and put those pieces in a box. A glass box... that I will display on my mantel.
      Dee: [gasps in horror]
    • "Making Dennis Reynolds a Murderer" reveals that he ripped off the heads of an entire murder of crows as a child for fun, as well as the fact that he is capable of sitting in total silence for several hours without fidgeting even slightly. While he's revealed not to have been responsible for the death that the episode focuses on, even more evidence is provided to suggest that he has killed a person in the past, or is at least fully capable of doing so.
  • Soft-Spoken Sadist: During his creepiest moments, Dennis speaks in an eerily calm and quiet voice.
  • Spoiled Brat: Probably the worst possible example of what can happen to one. Not only is he incredibly vain and incapable of doing anything for himself, but he also has an enormous god complex, is totally amoral, and is heavily implied to be a serial rapist with sociopathic tendencies.
  • Stepford Smiler: His affable, attractive exterior masks mental illness and feelings of emptiness.
    Dennis: I need something. I mean, I got this, uh, this giant, gaping hole inside me. And I'm... I'm always trying to fill it with something. I like to call it my, uh... my "God Hole". And I think a lot of people in this world, they fill it with religion. But I don't believe in God.
  • Straw Misogynist: Considers Susan B. Anthony an example of a "bad woman."
  • Tenor Boy: Plays one of these during the production of "The Nightman Cometh" and in general isn't afraid of showing off his incredible falsetto.
  • Terrible Artist: His "sketches" of women amount to little more than stick figures with comically oversized and simplistic-looking breasts.
  • They Look Just Like Everyone Else!: A darkly comedic example. Dennis appears to be the most well-adjusted, competent, and personable member of the Gang at first glance. Under the surface he's a sociopath whose favorite activities include manipulating women into sex and exercising total control over his friends' lives.
  • Tin Man: Dennis considers himself to be "the only rational and emotionless" person among his friends and claims he's incapable of feeling anything (see The Sociopath, above), but he's actually the member of the Gang most governed by emotions (albeit negative ones) and the one most likely to break into tears, rage or manic laughter at the slightest provocation.
  • Token Evil Teammate: While the whole group is made up of horrible people, Dennis is regularly proven to be the most despicable of them all.
  • Toxic Friend Influence: While technically each member of the Gang is guilty of this to some extent, Dennis deserves special mention. He is constantly being a domineering and manipulative bully who abuses his friends to a point where they are essentially barred from growing as individuals. More often than not, the rest of the Gang tends to be much more enthusiastic and supportive of one another whenever Dennis isn't around to crush their self-esteem.
  • Tranquil Fury: Usually, when Dennis gets angry, he's a Large Ham who screams abruptly. In "The Storm of the Century", however, he gets upset when he hits on two girls who are then revealed to have boyfriends:
    Blonde girl: Sounds like fun. Can our boyfriends come too?
    Dennis: [after his smile immediately turns into a scowl] ... you two have boyfriends? [in a low, calm voice] How did you not know... that the reason I invited you back to my bar... was to bang you?
  • Trauma Button: The buzzer that goes off when someone gets an answer wrong in Family Fight. Hearing it over and over caused him to have a nervous breakdown during the "Fast Money" round.
  • The Unfettered: There isn't a character in the series who comes close to fitting this trope as well as Dennis does; "the ends justify the means" could be his motto. As long as the result is one that he desires, he will do whatever it takes to get there, including (but not limited to) deliberately hurting other people so he can swoop in and be their savior. He's made girlfriends think someone is stalking them so Dennis can "save them" from said imaginary stalker, and he coerced Charlie into getting The Waitress stabbed (going as far as to specifically state that it's better if a major artery is hit) so Charlie could save her. In "Mac's Mom Burns Her House Down", Frank, under Dennis' advisement, gets Dee to drink so much cough syrup that she sleepwalks and falls down a flight of stairs, all so he could look like a good father by nursing her back to health.
  • Villainous Breakdown: And each one is more glorious than the last.
    • When he's rejected by the wife of the man who had sex with his prom date at his high school reunion, he rushes out to his car and fetches items including ropes and duct tape. When questioned, he begins screaming that he needs his "tools" and that he needs to "bind and be bound."
    • When he's rejected by his old fraternity, he becomes increasingly unhinged, screaming in harsh falsetto that they're all "idiots!" and he's "a goddamn legend!"
    • In "The Gang Group Dates", he drives himself crazy over a dating app's rating system.
    • Don't call his Range Rover (Eddie Bauer edition) a "starter car."
    • In "Mac and Dennis Move to the Suburbs," the combination of his daily commute, not being able to scam people, and Mac's obsession with attention drive him so far over the edge that he's ready to murder people with a fireplace poker.
  • Weight Woe: He has a very unhealthy relationship with food and with his body image, and on occasion starves himself to boost his attractiveness.
    Dennis: I am going to be 20 forever, Mac, because the older I become, the more vigilant I am. I don't eat lunch anymore, for instance. And on odd days, I don't eat breakfast.
  • What If the Baby Is Like Me?: His concern about his son having as bad of a childhood as he did is what motivates him to leave Philly to help raise it. Time will tell if it sticks.
  • Worthy Opponent: When tutoring a young girl in the art of deception, he is initially shocked but then very impressed when he realizes she was conning him the entire time.
  • Wouldn't Hurt a Child: When he's listening to his cassette tapes of his sexual encounters in "Thunder Gun Express," both the Dennis on the tape and the present Dennis are shocked and horrified when Allison, the subject of one of the tapes, says that she's actually 16. You can hear Dennis on the tape insisting that she leaves of his apartment right that second before current Dennis cuts it off and wonders aloud why he kept it.


Deandra "Sweet Dee" Reynolds
"Good luck with those kegs, boners."
Played By: Kaitlin Olson

"See, this is the part where I would volunteer to be the girl on the billboard, and you guys would find some reason not to, and compare me to some sort of animal like a giant bird."

Dennis' twin sister, the head bartender at Paddy's Pub and the show's main female character. Dee dreams of becoming an actress although she lacks any apparent talent and occasionally suffers from debilitating stage fright. She wore a back brace in high school, leaving her with the nickname "Aluminum Monster". She majored in Psychology at the University of Pennsylvania but failed her classes. Dee lives in an apartment alone, although she had a cat at one point until it became trapped in her wall.

  • All of the Other Reindeer: Dee was mocked in school for her back-brace, and was given the Embarrassing Nickname of "Aluminum Monster".
  • Animal Motifs: Is often compared to a giant bird due to having a skinny, gangly and fragile body.
  • Attention Whore: Dee desperately craves approval, affection and attention. She has trouble gaining approval and affection, so she's happy enough to settle for (usually negative) attention.
  • Back from the Dead: After Mac, Charlie and Dee fake their own deaths, they hide in the office of Paddy's. When Frank and Dennis come in, they run out — carrying sparklers — and Sweet Dee yells "Surprise, bitches! We're alive and it's blowing your MINDS right now!"
  • Beauty Is Never Tarnished: Averted. Dee tends to get made to look hideous and disheveled just as much as (if not more) any other member of the Gang.
  • Butt-Monkey: While all of the members of the Gang suffer frequently, Dee and Charlie are by far the most prone to Amusing Injuries. Dee is probably this even more so than Charlie given she's The Friend Nobody Likes.
  • Cannot Tell a Joke: The attempts Dee makes to get her standup career off the ground inevitably fall into this. Most of the time, she starts retching out of stage fright halfway through her first joke. When she can get one in, it's inevitably rambling observational humor or references to her vagina, delivered either in a halfhearted drawl or while stammering profusely. Yet somehow, it's still better than her non-standup "character work."
  • Character Tics: Kicks in the air when she's angry. Stems from Frank asking to be a part of The Gang, and Dee threatening to "kick the pillars [of Paddy's] in" while kicking at Frank.
  • Characterization Marches On: Sweet Dee's character was originally written to be the voice of the reason or the "useless chick". Kaitlin Olson described the dialogue as "Charlie says something hilarious. Mac says something hilarious. Dennis says something awesome. And Sweet Dee goes 'You guys! That won't work!' " By the end of the first season, Kaitlin had Dee become just as deranged and depraved as the guys.
  • The Chew Toy: She's guaranteed to most likely suffer in a lot of episodes.
  • Commander Contrarian: Having originally started out as the Straight Man of the group, the trope would later twist into this, usually being the first to question a plan and quickly abandon it mid-execution and do her own idea to predictable effect.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Probably the biggest one of the Gang. Of course, that comes with having to put up with the boys' shit.
  • Diary: Dee kept a written diary in school and keeps a video diary in her adult years.
  • Delusions of Eloquence: She's nowhere near as classy as she thinks she is.
  • Distaff Counterpart: Revealed to have her own gender-reversed equivalent of Dennis' infamous "implication" in later episodes, wherein she threatens men into sleeping with her by claiming that she'd lie about them raping her if they did otherwise.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: Very much so, and best shown in "PTSDee." Sure, Mike the Stripper was a Jerkass to her, but manipulating him into stripping in front of and on his estranged daughter is pretty extreme.
  • Does Not Know Her Own Strength: Most notably in "The Gang Goes on Family Fight". Where she attempts to buzz in the answer but accidentally destroys the buzzer with her own bare hands. (Like she has hands made of anvils.)
  • Eats Babies: Or, at least claims to in "Hundred Dollar Baby."
  • Fag Hag: In "The Gang Gets Racist" the man she is interested in is gay. In turn, he is very interested in Dennis. She's also well versed in gay culture and slang.
  • Faking the Dead: In "Mac and Charlie Die Part 2", Dee leads Dennis to believe she has been murdered.
  • Female Misogynist: Downplayed somewhat, but still there. Dee generally gets along very poorly with other women, and almost always attempts to instigate some kind of rivalry with any that she spends any significant amount of time with. In "Make Paddy's Great Again", she admits that she prefers being the only woman in the group because it makes her feel special.
  • Femininity Failure: Played with - Dee has no trouble looking feminine, but whenever she tries to act like a lady, the results are bound to be disastrous.
  • Freudian Excuse: Like Dennis, she had Frank as a father and her mother criticized everything about her and verbally abused her, called Dee a "mistake", favored Dennis over her (despite them being fraternal twins) and would often say, "Worst is first," because Dee was the first one of them to be born. This has given her very poor self-esteem (not helped by her having to spend most of her teenage years walking with heavy back braces due to Scoliosis), a laundry list of neuroses and some pretty bad anger management problems. On top of all of that, the Gang considers it their duty to beat her down emotionally on a daily basis..
  • The Friend Nobody Likes: The Gang are always criticizing everything about her; from her appearance, to her voice, to her sense of humor. At one point, their treatment of Dee finally gets to her and she becomes extremely depressed. They appear to feel bad about what they did, but most of it is all a part of their plan to sink her even lower then before to show her that "things could be worse." Outside of the Gang her two "best friends" are the Waitress, who hates her guts, and Artemis, who is willing to sell her out in a second when it benefits her. To be fair to them, she only ever spends time with them when she has an ulterior motive.
    • "The Gang Misses The Boat" reveals that Charlie does value her friendship and only rips on her because he knows that if he doesn't, they'll do it to him.
  • Giftedly Bad: She fancies herself a performer, and throws herself into acting, stand-up comedy and def poetry with passionate abandon. Too bad she's not particularly good at any of those things.
  • Going Cold Turkey: Dennis and Dee get addicted to crack in a season 2 episode, and then go cold turkey to get back to normal.
  • Hair-Trigger Temper: She is violent, aggressive and often angry or at the very least annoyed.
  • Hidden Depths: "The Gang Beats Boggs: Ladies Reboot" shows that she has a knack for mental arithmetic, being able to quickly convert Bogg's 70 beers into the equivalent amount of wine needed to complete the challenge.
    Waitress: Nerd.
  • Huge Schoolgirl: A grown-up version of this trope. Dee is tall (5'8") and lanky, with size 13 feet, and very uncoordinated as a result.
  • Hypocrite: Although Dee considers herself to be a compassionate liberal, in truth she is incredibly greedy and manipulative and can sometimes be just as biased as the rest of the Gang.
    • Dee is the quickest and most frequent critic of the morality of rest of the Gang's schemes... Right up until she finds a way to benefit from them herself.
    • She also is often the first one to point out that Dennis is either a borderline/actual rapist......then she straight admits she rapes men herself in "The Gang Goes to Hell".
  • I Just Want to Have Friends: Her desire for acceptance among the Gang is so strong that she's content to be included in the Gang's plans even if it involves her working at a fish factory. She's also the only main character who goes out of her way to cultivate friendships outside of the Gang (namely, The Waitress and Artemis, both of whom admittedly dislike her).
  • Inferiority Superiority Complex: While Dee likes to talk herself up as a multi-talented, elegant and hilarious humanitarian, it doesn't take much for her to break down and admit her extreme self-loathing. She even keeps a nightly video diary that basically consists entirely of her talking about how much she hates herself.
  • Informed Deformity: In-universe. The Gang constantly insult her appearance despite the fact that she is actually quite pretty. This has less to do with her genuine looks than it does with the Gang being dicks, as she has managed to entice quite a few attractive men before driving them away with her awful personality.
    • Lampshaded in "Chardee MacDennis 2" when Andy (an outsider) questions why Dennis and Mac are so disgusted at having to keep a hand on Dee's body.
    Andy: What is so hard about keeping one hand on this woman? [...] She's a very, very pretty woman.
    Dennis: Don't sexualize her, dude.
  • Ironic Nickname: She's anything but sweet.
  • Is That Cute Kid Yours?: After finding a baby in the Dumpster behind Paddy's, she and Mac decide to raise it and put it into showbiz. When a passerby asks his name, Mac replies with D.B. — which is short for Dumpster Baby.
  • The Klutz: Dee is incredibly uncoordinated, resulting in a lot of physical comedy for the character. She did not possess this quality in early episodes, which actually portrayed her as being reasonably athletic, but she began to be written as uncoordinated after her actress realized the comedic potential that making her clumsy would have.
  • The Lad-ette: She chugs beer and swears like a sailor like the rest of the boys, though she still pretends she is a fine lady.
  • Lady Swears-a-Lot: Dee is easily the most foul-mouthed member of the Gang, which is saying something.
  • Lame Comeback: Dee will often parry an insult by repeating it back: e.g. when Mac calls Dee's new car a "piece of shit car", Dee responds with "You're a piece of".
  • Malicious Misnaming: In "Mac and Charlie Join a Cult", Dee refers to the titular group, Ass Kickers United, as "Ass Blasters Incorporated".
  • Manipulative Bitch: We find out in "Dee Gives Birth" that she emotionally abuses men into sleeping with her (which mirrors the behavior of her brother).
  • Masculine Girl, Feminine Boy: With her brother Dennis. Dee is The Lad-ette, and is the more uncouth, uncultured and overtly aggressive of the two. Also, she's fairly fit and athletic, especially in comparison to her Non-Action Guy brother.
  • Mistaken for Murderer: In "Mac is a Serial Killer" Dee and Dennis pretend to be serial killers and stalk the Waitress.
  • Mistaken for Pedophile: In "The Nightman Cometh", Dee is cast as the Love Interest to the protagonist. The problem is, the protagonist is referred to as the "Little Boy" and wears a costume consisting of footie pajamas, overall making him seem as though he's supposed to be a child (Charlie insists that he's a young man). Dee spends the entire episode worried that people will assume she's a pedophile because of this, and goes as far as to ad lib a new verse to her musical number that consists of assuring the audience that she is not attracted to children.
  • Not So Different: For all of her outward disgust at her brother's date rapist tendencies, it's been shown on more than one occasion that she employs similar tactics of emotional manipulation and coercion to get men to sleep with her. In the season 11 finale, she immediately understands the "implication" without Dennis even having to explain it to her, and in the same scene she outright admits that she sometimes threatens guys who seem less than eager with a False Rape Accusation.
  • Odd Friendship: She actually gets along comparatively well with Charlie, to the point where he could be considered the only member of the group who is actually her friend. This is most notable in "The Gang Misses the Boat." When the Gang breaks up, she and Charlie spend the time bonding, encouraging each other, and eventually making out/sleeping together.
  • One of the Boys: She is The Lad-ette who hangs out only with guys, and is just as loud and crude as they are. However despite being very much "one of the boys", she's the Gang's resident Butt-Monkey and The Friend Nobody Likes.
  • Only Sane Woman: In the first season. By season two they made her just as depraved as everyone else, because otherwise there would be no reason why she would even associate with the rest of the Gang. That said, she still has a fairly high tendency of playing Straight Man in any given scene.
  • Parental Incest: She and Frank pose as an engaged couple, and even go as far as getting married. Although Frank isn't Sweet Dee's biological father, it's still creepy.
  • Performance Anxiety: Dee suffers from debilitating stage fright which cause her to dry heave while performing in front of a crowd.
  • Pet the Dog: Her pregnancy turns out to be from her being the surrogate for Carmen the Transsexual and her husband Nick. While it was likely motivated by the financial compensation she received, it still was very kind of her.
  • Phrase Catcher:
    • "Dee, you bitch!" in the more recent seasons, usually said by Dennis.
    • "Shut up bird" is also commonly thrown her way.
  • Politically Incorrect Villain: All of Dee's 'crazy characters' that she's created are outrageously racist, despite the fact that she considers herself a sensible liberal. One of them even uses Brownface. Also Charlie has expressed some dismay upon seeing her Asian character. Also, in "The Gang Goes to Hell: Part 2," while doing impressions to pass the time, her impression of Obama is very "hood." Additionally, she dumped Li'l Kev when she thought he was a "retard" and called a bar critic a "fag" for ordering a fancy drink.
  • Psychopathic Womanchild: Next to Charlie, she is easily the most emotionally underdeveloped member of the Gang, as her pathological emotional neediness and insecurity, insatiable need for attention, and Not Like Other Girls tendencies and irrational hostility and competitiveness towards other women make her come off as an overgrown teenage girl. She also has the "psychopathic" part down pat, as she is every bit as selfish and unscrupulous as the rest of the Gang, in addition to being extremely and unpredictably violent and quick to anger.
  • Punctuated! For! Emphasis!: In "Bums: Making a Mess All Over the City", she completely loses it when a homeless man masturbates (in plain sight) behind Paddy's while smiling at her:
    Dee: You know what, asshole?! [beats the bum with a baseball bat] You like that, bitch?! I am not your little pinup girl for you to [picks up a trash can lid and strikes him repeatedly with it] TUG! YOUR ROTTEN! PECKER AT!
  • Really Gets Around: When the guys try to find out who the father of Dee's baby is in "Dee Gives Birth", they're impressed by the amount of the action she gets and decide to step up their own game to match her success in getting laid. In "The Gang Group Dates" she is the only one to have any actual success in getting dates and is shown bringing home multiple men, to the point where Paddy's becomes littered with guys hoping to score with her.
  • Serial Rapist: Like her brother, it's revealed that she emotionally berates and forces men (including Charlie) into sleeping with her, though she doesn't consider it rape because she's a woman.
  • Seven Deadly Sins: Wrath and Envy.
  • She Cleans Up Nicely: While Dee is always good-looking, her strong aversion to the Beauty Is Never Tarnished trope and general tendency to dress down often conceals this. On the occasions where she dresses up for a special occasion, her looks become much more apparent. This is frequently zig-zagged, however, as Dee often falls victim to her most unsightly and humiliating slapstick when she's at her most done up.
  • She's All Grown Up: Played With. She had to wear an unflattering back brace throughout high school and was thus incredibly unpopular. Whenever she encounters one of her former schoolmates they're quick to point out how good-looking she's become, only to realize that while she's outwardly much better than in high school, inwardly she has remained stunted and has only become more twisted over time.
  • Ship Tease: With Charlie, surprisingly enough. They actually kiss when the Gang is being held hostage by the McPoyles and Dee is genuinely disappointed when Charlie doesn't give her a valentine after she made one for him in "The Gang Tends Bar". "The Gang Misses the Boat" shows how well the two click when away from the group's influence and they spend most of the episode hanging out and being very supportive of one another, which culminates in them making out and sleeping together. However, Season 13 reveals that the sex was actually non-consensual on Charlie's end, possibly turning this into a case of Ship Sinking. Considering that Dennis is Dee's brother, Mac is gay and hates her guts and Frank is Dee's legal father, Charlie's really the only viable member of the group for her to have any kind of romantic chemistry with.
  • Shoe Size Angst: Has size 13 feet. The clerk at the shoe store insultingly suggests her try a Big n' Tall store when she learns Dee's shoe size.
  • Show Some Leg: On more than one occasion, Dee dresses as a prostitute.
  • Slap-Slap-Kiss: Invoked in "The Gang Tries Desperately to Win an Award", where Dennis forces her and Mac to have this dynamic to draw in customers a la Sam and Diane. Unfortunately, rather than flirty sexual tension, Mac and Dee's tension is much more aggressive, violent and founded on mutual hatred rather than any sort of attraction.
    Dennis: "This isn't 'will they or won't they.' This is 'I know they won't and I know I don't want them to.'"
    • In "The Gang Gets Held Hostage," Charlie literally slaps her twice and then kisses her (and then slaps her again).
  • Slapstick Knows No Gender: Body humor, pratfalls, and Amusing Injuries are Sweet Dee's signatures.
  • Small Name, Big Ego: She thinks she's lady-like and compassionate. But in reality, she's crude, rude, and trashy. She also thinks she's more talented at acting than she actually is.
  • The Smurfette Principle: She's the only female member of the Gang. Justified in that none of the guys seem to have any interest in women beyond sex and only hang around Dee because A) they're forced to since she works with them, and B) they like to use her as a personal punching bag. It's invoked in "The Gang Makes Paddy's Great Again" where Cindy asks Dee why she'd pick Dennis over her when it would just lead to the guys constantly shitting on her all over again and that it would be more advantageous to stick together as women. Dee replies that she kind of likes being the only female in the group and that it makes her feel special.
  • So Unfunny, It's Funny: Her stand-up comedy falls right into this, when she can get more than five sentences into her routine without vomiting from stage fright.
  • STD Immunity: Averted.
    Sweet Dee: It seems like I have a rash in a place where a sexually active person can have a rash.
  • Tank-Top Tomboy: Often seen wearing tank tops, befitting her ladette nature.
  • This Is for Emphasis, Bitch!: Punctuates many of her remarks with the word "bitch".
  • Thrill Seeker: Becomes one in "The Gang Chokes" after realizing that watching Frank almost choke to death and nearly getting hit by an uber excited her.
  • Token Good Teammate: In Season 1, she was easily the most morally sound and rational member of the Gang. Averted in all other seasons, where she regularly displays despicable and idiotic behavior.
  • Tomboy with a Girly Streak: She is an aggressive and sometimes violent ladette who drinks, swears, and hangs out only with guys, but she is also an aspiring actress and is seen to be concerned about her appearance.
  • The Unfavorite: Her mother thought Dennis could do nothing wrong and she could do nothing right.
  • Vanity Plate: When she buys a scooter in "The Gang Gets Audited", its license plate says "$CAMMING".
  • What, Exactly, Is His Job?: She tends to flit somewhere between "bartender" and "waitress", and all indications are that she barely does either. She considers "can open a beer bottle" to be enough of a skillset for tending, and it's indicated that she not only cannot make mixed drinks, but thinks people who would want one are pretentious.
  • Who's Your Daddy?: The boys spend most of a season trying to figure out who got her pregnant. Turns out she was the surrogate for Carmen the transsexual and her husband Nick.
  • Women Are Wiser: She usually tends to be the most logical schemer of the Gang. Unfortunately for her, that's only in comparison to the rest of them.
    • Subverted in that if she was actually smarter, she would have left the Gang at some point. Female characters with common sense, such as Cindy in Season 13, disassociate with the Gang after they realize that the Gang, with its various deficiencies, would never get anywhere meaningful in life.
  • You Go, Girl!: In "The Gang gets Invincible", Dee dresses as a man and takes part in an open audition for the Philadelphia Eagles along with Mac and Dennis, in order to prove that girls can play football. She does, in fact, get farther than the very unfit Mac and Dennis, in part due to her excellent kicking abilities. Too bad she breaks her foot, rendering her chances null.


Ronald "Mac" McDonald
"I gave him an ocular pat down."
Played By: Rob McElhenney

"The streets are flooded with the ejaculate of the homeless, and you people are counting on the police?"

One of the co-owners of Paddy's Pub and its self-proclaimed head of security. He is Charlie's childhood friend, and Dennis' high school friend and later roommate. The son of a convicted felon, Mac is frequently trying to demonstrate his toughness and refers to himself as the "sheriff of Paddy's". He also often brags about his hand-to-hand combat skills, although he typically flees any type of physical confrontation.

  • Alliterative Name: Calls himself "Vic Vinegar" whenever he needs a pseudonym. Also, he's referred to as Ronald Reynolds in "The Gang Goes on Family Fight".
  • Ambiguous Disorder: In various episodes, Mac shows symptoms of Histrionic Personality Disorder; his rapidly shifting (and incredibly passionate) mood-swings, his tendency to attract everyone's attention, his gullibility, his lack of impulse control, his obsession with his appearance (maintaining his glamour muscles and false action-hero persona) and pathological lust for the approval of others (from Dennis and his dad especially). A real-life therapist even brings it up when observing "The Gang Gets Analyzed".
  • Ambiguously Gay:
    • In earlier seasons (1-7), Mac regularly sleeps with women, but it's hinted that he's into men as well (he gushes over the male physique, particularly that of Chase Utley, enjoys a homoerotic friendship with Dennis, and while dating a pre-op MTF transgender woman (twice!) says that her penis makes him feel weird things).
    • Later seasons throw the ambiguity out of the window, with Mac losing whatever attraction he felt toward the opposite sex: he gets aroused only by dudes, actively seeks situations where he can feel up beefcakes, fantasizes about a Heaven filled with sexy shirtless guy angels, and tries to kiss Dennis on two separate occasions. The creators have confirmed that Mac is, indeed, queer, and from season 8 onwards he is firmly in Armoured Closet Gay territory (see below).
    • As of season 12, Mac no longer hides his sexuality.
  • Anguished Declaration of Love: He abruptly confesses his love to Dennis when the Gang is held hostage by the McPoyles. The admission goes unreciprocated and is never mentioned again.
  • Anything That Moves: Had sex with Margaret McPoyle, a woman he's openly disgusted by, simply because she offered. In general, during the early seasons, if Mac has the option of having sex with something, he'll have sex with it. This may count as Fridge Brilliance when viewed from the lens of him being a closeted gay man; he was so adamant about proving his non-existent heterosexuality that he was willing to have sex with any woman who would accept him, regardless.
  • Armoured Closet Gay: He tries to cover up his attraction towards men by being a Heteronormative Crusader, up until finally admitting he's gay in the season 11 finale... only to backpedal on it and claim that he's been "cured of it" at the very end. As of mid-season 12, he's finally out for good, but even then he remains adamant that there were no hints he was gay prior to him admitting it.
    • There's an episode called "Mac Fights Gay Marriage," in which Mac uses homophobia as an excuse to be jealous that some guy married Carmen, a transgender woman. It is repeatedly pointed out that Mac had sex with Carmen back when she still had a penis, so his objections make even less sense.
    • In "Mac Day", he apparently spent 5 hours lecturing the Gang about the evils of homosexuality (and at one point claimed that AIDS is God's punishment for gays). Everyone else just points out the incredibly blatant boner he had the entire time. Later in the episode, he has himself and the Gang grease up male bodybuilders, during which the Gang notes he has a boner again.
  • Aren't You Going to Ravish Me?: A retroactive example. In "Charlie Got Molested" he's genuinely offended when he hears that the McPoyle Brothers and Charlie were molested by their elementary school gym teacher but he wasn't, seeing himself as being much more attractive than them.
  • Author Appeal: The movie that he writes in "The Gang Makes Lethal Weapon 6" is so rife with homoerotic undertones that it gets confused for gay porn.
  • Back from the Dead: After Mac, Charlie and Dee fake their own deaths, they hide in the office of Paddy's. When Frank and Dennis come in, they run out — carrying sparklers — and Sweet Dee yells "Surprise, bitches! We're alive and it's blowing your MINDS right now!"
  • Badass Beard: Considering he's in a perpetual state of trying to be a badass, this is most likely why he has a beard.
  • Badass Longcoat: "It's not a jacket, it's a duster. It's like a jacket, only it's longer, thicker, and far more badass. I look like Lorenzo Lamas, and women find it irresistible." Subverted though, in that Mac is anything but a badass.
  • Beard of Evil: Has a beard and is a prejudiced ass.
  • Berserk Button: He has many, usually relating to insults directed at him or his mother.
  • Big Eater: To the point of gaining a significant amount of weight in season 7.
  • The Big Guy: Seems to think that he's this, what with his constant claims of being the sheriff of Paddy's, but everyone else is all too aware that he's anything but. In the episode where his role in the Five-Man Band is determined, he fights for the position of "The Muscle" before settling on "The Brain", while in reality he's more or less The Lancer.
  • Blatant Lies: In "The Gang Misses the Boat", Mac hooks up with an attractive woman named Dusty (she's, in her own words, "super into angel dust") and spends multiple scenes with her in private. Towards the end of the episode, Dennis storms into Paddy's back office, from where everyone can hear Mac and Dusty having sex... except when he opens the door, Mac and Dusty are simply reading magazines while making sex noises.
    Dennis: [barges through door] ... what the hell's going on in here? What is this?
    Mac: Oh... we totally just banged or whatever.
    Dennis: You're fully clothed, Mac! Have you been pretending to bang this chick the entire time?
    Mac: ... no.
    Dusty: He can't even get it up with me.
  • Boisterous Weakling: Mac's always eager to fight, but in the instances where he doesn't simply run away, his fights are always Curbstomp Battles in his opponent's favor. At one point he knocks himself unconscious when trying to remove Charlie from the bar.
  • Bouncer: His self-appointed position at Paddy's Pub, though he rarely attempts to ever do anything relating to it and proves to be utterly incompetent at it during the few times when he does. When he tries to throw Charlie out as a demonstration of his skill he fails miserably and somehow manages to choke ''himself'' out.
  • Butt-Monkey: The later seasons play up his patheticness and self-delusion to such extremes that even the other characters begin to discuss what a loser he is, often directly in front of him. It has reached a point where he now regularly contends with Dee for the spot of The Friend No One Likes, a title that she held uncontested for most of the show's run.
  • Catchphrase:
    • "What's up, bitches?"
    • Many episodes start with Mac entering the bar and saying "Guys, I've got news!" or a variation thereof.
  • Celeb Crush: Has a thing for Chase Utley, to the point of writing him love letters (which he claims are platonic). "The Gang Gets Extreme: Home Makeover Edition" also reveals that he wants to impregnate Danica Patrick.
  • Character Development: Actually manages to accept his homosexuality for good in "Hero Or Hate Crime?". While coming to terms with being gay doesn't do anything to affect his horrible personality, his insecurities about who he is are a defining part of his character, and so overcoming them, even if it's only slightly, is still a big step for him.
  • Characterization Marches On: In earlier seasons, Mac is portrayed as straight (with a fetish for older women). In later seasons, he's a closeted, bigoted gay man. This is possibly an example of negative Character Development: presumably, as Mac's attraction to men grows more pronounced and harder to deny, he becomes more reactionary and pseudo-religious in defense.
  • Churchgoing Villain: He's a member of the Gang but still regularly attends church.
  • Coming-Out Story: Over seasons 11 & 12.
  • Competition Freak: He finds opportunity for competition in the most ridiculous of things - e.g. proving that he is the least fond of smashing things up - and whenever he's excluded from said competition, he tries to foster rivalries between other members of the Gang, as seen in "The Gang Beats Boggs".
    Mac: Yeah. I need you to start a McGwire/Sosa-like rivalry with Dee.
    Charlie:"Look, I think you're getting, like, too worked up about this thing. Can we just drink the beer and hang out, you know?
  • Desperately Craves Affection: As a result of growing up with an absentee father and an indifferent mother, Mac clamors for positive attention whenever he can get it.
  • Depending on the Writer: While he's always presented as far, far less skilled of a fighter than he claims to be, the show switches between whether he is physically pretty strong but lacking in any stamina or fighting ability, or completely weak in every sense of the word. He can also range anywhere from showing explicit interest in women (and having no standards) to being in a Transparent Closet depending on what's funniest.
    • Mac's intelligence is another attribute that is subject to variation. Some episodes depict Mac as being fairly crafty while others portray him as a hopeless ditz.
  • Dirty Coward: Only Dennis can compare to him in terms of sheer cowardliness. In one instance, he decided to beat up Bruce Mathis but freaked out and bailed before confronting him; in another, he pushed Dee forward and ran away when threatened with a mugging.
  • Do Not Call Me "Paul": Doesn't like being called by his real name, Ronald McDonald.
  • Dumb Muscle: On the occasions where he actually is shown to have some strength, he's still too dimwitted and unskilled to put it to much use.
  • Eat the Evidence: He has eaten paper contracts in order to make them invalid. It hasn't always worked.
  • Egocentrically Religious: Only ever seems to remember that he's Catholic when he needs to rub it in his friends' faces. Otherwise, he's perfectly fine with completely going against the teachings of his religion. Likewise, whenever he prays it's always for fulfillment of his own selfish, ugly desires (typically in the form of asking for divine retribution against his so-called friends).
  • Embarrassing Nickname:
    • In high school, he was called Ronnie the Rat.
    • When he joins The Mafia in "The Gang Gets Whacked", the gangsters take to calling him "Pussyhands".
  • Even Bad Men Love Their Mamas: Mistreatment of mothers is one of the many things that set him off.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: Mac is the only member of the Gang who is consistently openly affectionate with his parents. This is directly tied with his "Well Done, Son!" Guy nature, as both Mrs Mac and Luther generally respond to him with indifference or outright annoyance.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: He is typically the only one to protest a scheme that the Gang cooks up if it's too morally reprehensible and when he wants out, he sometimes just leaves and says "I'm washing my hands of the whole situation!" He normally comes back to their schemes after leaving, though.
    • He also finds Dennis's predilection towards Date Rape disturbing, and once told Dennis and Dee off for their plan to go on welfare after their unemployment runs out.
    Mac: Welfare is for people who need it, like drug addicts and single mothers. It's not for over privileged pieces of shit who want to waste millions in taxpayer dollars.
  • Fake Band: Chemical Toilet.
  • Faking the Dead: "Mac and Charlie Die" Parts 1 and 2. He and Charlie fake their death in order to escape from Mac's father, who they believe is trying to kill them.
  • Fat Bastard: In season 7, where he gains a rather grotesque amount of weight.
  • Fetish: A recurring trend with Mac is his interest in various niche fetishes, such as older women and transexuals. The staff describes him as "spinning around, trying out different things, but inevitably ending up on a dick".
  • Fighting Irish: He is a very hot-blooded and confrontational Irish-American.
  • Flanderization: While Mac's homoerotic obsession with muscles and Dennis was always a thing, it steadily increases across the series, to the point where he is outright confirmed to be a closeted gay man in the later episodes and his repressed sexuality has become one of his defining character traits. Charlie lampshades this in "Time's Up For The Gang", where he struggles to define Mac's role in the group before settling on him being "just, like, our gay guy now".
  • Freudian Excuse: His parents' neglect led him to constantly seek approval and attention in adulthood.
  • The Friend Nobody Likes: He becomes this in "Mac Day" due to his repeated denial of who he really is. Later episodes show the Gang expressing more consistent frustration with him, to the point of openly stating that they hate him several times.
    • Also hinted to be this in season one before Dennis, Charlie, and Dee went through major Flanderization. Back then the Gang would never hesitate to point out what an asshole he was and people outside the Gang could never stand him.
  • The Fundamentalist: Moreso as the series progresses. Dialed Up to Eleven in "Mac Day".
  • Fun T-Shirt: Punny/funny T-shirts are a staple of his wardrobe.
  • Global Ignorance: Apparently thinks Philadelphia and Detroit are states.
  • Gym Bunny: Mac shows shades of this stereotype, e.g. his love of sports stems partly from his obsession with the male physique, and he only ever goes to the gym to ogle beefcakes and work on his glamour muscles.
  • Has a Type: While he's not picky about who he has sex with (see Anything That Moves), he has consistently shown a preference for beefy hunks (making his implied attraction to unfit and waifish Dennis very ironic).
  • Have I Mentioned I Am Heterosexual Today?: When in the closet, Mac would vent his repressed homosexuality either with a sense of Catholic homophobia or would try and make his gay urges seem straight by roping his friends into it, such as when he tried making all his friends oil up body builders in "Mac Day" or insisting there be a shower scene (complete with an unnecessary ass-shot) in "The Gang Makes Lethal Weapon 6". After he officially comes out as gay in "Hero or Hate Crime?", he ends up completely switching gears and frequently bringing up his sexuality to justify things in his favor whether it actually makes sense or not.
  • Heaven Seeker: Much to the incredulity of his friends, Mac will occasionally refuse to participate in the Gang's schemes if he believes they compromise the likelihood of him getting into heaven (which, for him, is populated by hunky angels and a buff shirtless god). See Raised Catholic, below.
    • Played for extreme drama in "Mac Finds His Pride," when Mac tries to communicate to his father the tension he feels between being gay and wanting to be accepted by God through a beautiful and genuinely moving contemporary dance routine, with a woman representing God as his partner.
  • He-Man Woman Hater: While all the male members of the Gang are pretty misogynistic, Mac's the only one to explicitly state that he hates women. Out of the Gang, he also has the worst relationship with Dee. It's to the point that even Charlie of all people acknowledges that Mac has "really weird women issues".
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners:
    • With Dennis, though "heterosexual" is debatable in this instance. The commentary for "Mac and Dennis Break Up" has the staff (perhaps jokingly) suggest that Mac and Dennis are possibly queer and in a pre-sexual romantic relationship that neither is completely conscious of.
    • Mac plays the trope straighter (...ha ha) with Charlie, who he has known since childhood.
  • Hidden Depths: He comes out to his father via an interpretive dance routine that's both technically impressive and genuinely moving. In general, there's an implication that most of what makes Mac a bad person is that he feels the need to obsessively live up to his ideal of masculinity and to look cool in front of the rest of the Gang.
  • High School Hustler: A negative example. He dealt weed in high school in a selfish bid to be popular, and ratted out his competition to clean up the market, earning him the nickname "Ronnie the Rat".
  • Holier Than Thou: Mac is prone to being very self-righteous, though he's definitely not a shining pillar morality.
  • Hot-Blooded: He is quick to anger, and has a tendency to act first and think never (e.g. he offers to take a Blood Oath and slices his hand before anybody actually agrees to it).
  • Hypocrite: Mac considers himself to be a very devout Catholic but demonstrates a poor knowledge of the church's beliefs and rituals and lives by absolutely none of the church's teachings. Most notably, he joins an anti-abortion movement until he believes that he got a girl pregnant, then suggests that she get an abortion. Later on, he goes to confession with the intention of asking the priest to smite the rest of the Gang, even as the priest explains Mac is supposed to be repenting for his own sins.
  • I Am Big Boned: In the seventh season, after putting on 50 lbs., he kept insisting that it was muscle, or that he was "cultivating mass", even after discovering he had become diabetic because of his weight gain. He finally admitted that he was fat later in the season.
  • I Just Want to Be Badass: Mac possesses a desperate desire to emulate the tough-as-nails macho stars of the 80s action movies that he's obsessed with. Unfortunately for him, his Dirty Coward nature and lack of real strength makes that nothing but a distant dream.
  • I Just Want to Be Loved: Along with his desire to be an ultra-badass, Mac is also deeply insecure about the possibility that his friends and parents don't care about him, and will pathetically do whatever he can to earn their affection. However, his actions tend to only lead to them disliking him even more.
  • Implausible Deniability: Mac has a tendency of making ridiculous and blatantly false subconscious justifications for things about his life that he doesn't like (most commonly, his weakness, his cowardice, his sexuality and his parents not caring about him).
  • Incompatible Orientation: He has a thing for Dennis, who is at least ostensibly straight and outright tells Mac that it's never going to happen.
  • Incredibly Obvious Bug: When he and Charlie fake their own deaths, they hide in the air-vent during their joint funeral at Paddy's, talking at full volume. This alerts Dennis that they aren't actually dead.
  • Inferiority Superiority Complex: Likes to hype himself up as an ultra-tough man's man, but is actually a deeply insecure person who constantly worries (and not without good reason) that his friends and family don't care about him.
  • Instant Expert: Often believes himself to be this but he really, really isn't.
  • Is That Cute Kid Yours?: After finding a baby in the dumpster behind Paddy's, Dee and Mac decide to raise it and put it into showbiz. When a passerby asks his name, Mac replies with D.B. — which is short for Dumpster Baby.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: While not as evident as Charlie, Mac can come off as this occasionally. For example, underneath the overblown transphobia he seemed to genuinely have feelings for Carmen. Additionally, he has the best parental relationship out of the Gang (even if the affection is mostly one-sided), and multiple They Really Do Love Each Other moments with Dennis and Charlie.
  • The Kirk: Mac is temperamentally directly in between the mindlessly impulsive and aggressive Frank and Charlie and the rational-yet-calculating Dennis and Dee. It varies depending on the episode which one of these extremes he gravitates closer towards.
  • Know-Nothing Know-It-All: With respect to religion, Mac likes to act like he's spiritually wise, but it's clear that most of his knowledge of faith is what he's gleaned from Small Reference Pools. He is utterly blindsided when Carmen's boyfriend manages to counter his attempts to cite the Bible to justify homophobia with a Biblical passage about beating slaves to death.
  • Like Father, Like Son: Mac tries to deliberately invoke this trope by dealing drugs, emulating his father's appearance and acting tough. Subverted in that Luther used to be a genuinely terrifying and capable criminal whereas Mac is a cowardly, incompetent small-time crook. See "Well Done, Son!" Guy below. A later episode does reveal, however, that Luther is bisexual, further highlighting Mac's own repressed attraction to men.
  • Likes Older Women: As a result of sleeping with Dennis and Dee's mother.
  • Love Martyr: Later seasons increasingly portray him as harboring romantic feelings for Dennis, who routinely abuses, belittles and demeans him.
  • Manchild: While Dennis, Charlie, and Dee show shades of this as well, Mac is by far the biggest example. He's constantly doing childish stunts for his "Project Badass" videos, and notice how he acts anytime he shares the screen with his parents.
  • Manipulative Bastard: He was a drug dealer in high school and ratted on all the other dealers to free up the market.
  • Manly Gay: Played with. While Mac, who is attracted to men, has an obsession with the male physique and stereotypically masculine hobbies such as sports, extreme stunts and actions movies, his interest in these pursuits is distinctly framed as being the result of his extremely childish concept of manliness. So while he in reality isn't actually this trope at all, he very much wants to be.
  • Martial Arts and Crafts: Inserts arbitrary roundhouse kicks and karate chops into pretty much everything he does.
  • Miles Gloriosus: He brags about being a great martial artist. In reality, he's a Dirty Coward who knows nothing about fighting. He did block a punch from a black belt once, but only to get knocked out shortly afterward.
  • Mistaken for Gay: Seen in the original pilot that was pitched to FX. (The scene didn't make it to the series proper, wherein he is, in fact, canonically gay).
  • Mistaken for Murderer: The episode "Mac is a Serial Killer." He's actually banging Carmen the Transsexual. Again.
  • Mistaken for Racist: In "The Gang Gets Racist."
  • Mood-Swinger: In "The Gang Gets Analyzed."
  • Mr. Exposition: Generally gets left with the duty of explaining the Gang's various rituals to Frank and the audience, as well as quickly informing the others of any events currently going on in Philly in order to get the plot rolling.
  • Mr. Fanservice: Season 13 has him acquire an impressively chiseled physique, which is shown prominently in promotional ads for the season.
  • Muscles Are Meaningful: In Season 13, his new muscular physique makes him strong enough to lift Dee up by the crotch one-handed.
  • Neat Freak: Much like Dennis, he's very clean and organized where his living space is concerned. He even cleans Charlie's apartment when he moves in with him for an episode. He and fellow Neat Freak Dennis do, however, manage to trash Dee's apartment and the suburban home they buy to escape it.
  • Never My Fault: Whenever he fails to perform well in something he brags about, whether his fighting prowess, bouncer skills, religious knowledge or physical toughness, he always has an excuse. These range fron the light in his eyes to an undetected slope in the terrain, but often revolve around somehow being too strong, fast or smart to properly react to the problem.
    • After coming out as gay, he blames his lack of a boyfriend on how "it's difficult out there."
  • No Bisexuals: Despite showing overt interest in women in the first seven seasons, Mac is only ever described as being gay after his sexuality begins getting discussed in-universe. While the idea of the Gang simply being too ignorant to even consider the possibility of bisexuality is very plausible, Mac himself notably stops showing interest in women after this point. Given the kind of women he used to pursue, however, it's not hard to imagine these were simply The Beard.
  • No Shirt, Long Jacket: Sports this look in "Make Paddy's Great Again" with his duster in order to show off his new physique.
  • Not Helping Your Case: Mac has a tendency to prove people right when they point out his character flaws.
    • From "The Gang Dances Their Asses Off":
      Frank: I put us all on a ranking system so you kids would care about your jobs.
      Mac: What's my rank?
      Frank: You're third.
      Mac: What? Why am I third?
      Frank: Too volatile.
      Mac: BULLSHIT!
  • O.O.C. Is Serious Business: After finding out Dennis, his best friend, has been keeping letters from his incarcerated father from him (and ripping them up). Rather than become angry and trying to attack Dennis, like he normally would, Mac is totally quiet and sadly sits on the floor, despondent.
  • Only One Name: Mac. Just Mac. It was believed to be his last name, because his parents are referred to as Mrs. Mac and Luther Mac to keep the gag going. But in "The Gang Cracks The Liberty Bell", in which Mac, Dennis and Charlie tell the story of The Gang's 1776 counterparts cracking the Liberty Bell, he is referred to as "MacDonald." "The High School Reunion" gives us the whole thing: Ronald McDonald.
  • Only Sane Man: Despite his greed, overblown self-confidence, stupidity and cruelty, he's often this trope at times. He's generally more rational and sensible than both Frank and Charlie while also being much less sociopathic and insensitive than Dennis and Dee, making him the closest thing the Gang has to a "regular guy" and allowing him to have a slightly greater amount of lucidity in certain situations. This is best shown during Dennis' infamous "implications" speech, which he reacts to with understated horror (compared to Dee, who is shown to not only approve of, but have her own variation of the scheme), and Charlie's assault on a mall Santa, where he attempts to restrain him. The last few episodes of season 12 emphasize this in him.
  • Oral Fixation: Has a habit of chewing/sucking on pens, probably as a manifestation of his repressed homosexuality. It gets so bad that Dennis has to keep all the pens in their apartment hidden.
  • Paper Tiger: To his credit, Mac is fairly impressively muscular, but Dennis claims that he only works out his "glamour muscles", meaning he only builds muscle to look good and is actually worthless physically. From what we see of Mac's athletic abilities, Dennis wasn't lying. Somewhat subverted in Season 13 in which he manages to lift up Dee by the crotch with one hand; however, despite his improved physical abilities, Mac is still a terrible fighter as in Season 14, Charlie manages to overwhelm him in a fight.
  • Politically Incorrect Hero: He's a homophobic fundamentalist. And he not only thinks Blackface can be done tastefully, but has done it himself. He has also referred to Italians as "dagos" at least twice onscreen, started going to a different church when his regular one become popular with Vietnamese people, and believes that Mark Zuckerberg "and his Jews" are involved in a conspiracy to topple various governments. He appears to have loosened up his homophobia considerably following the events of "The Gang Goes to Hell", to the point of not only calling Frank out for using homophobic hate speech against him, but being able to eloquently and effectively explain why the slur that Frank used should be considered as hate speech during the events of "Hero or Hate Crime?". At the end of that same episode, he finally accepts himself as gay, seemingly removing his homophobia entirely in the process.
  • Progressively Prettier:
    • Inverted in season 7, where he suddenly gains 60 pounds and becomes a lot less good looking. Rob McElhenney was actually really annoyed at the trend of Progressively Prettier in television, especially for actors that play characters that would have no access to (blatantly obvious) plastic surgery or personal trainers, so he put on a ton of weight just to mock the practice.
    • Played straight in season 13, where he goes in the opposite direction and develops an extremely well-sculpted physique and becomes even more muscular than he ever had been previously. Rob McElhenney did this as another, more on-the-nose parody of this trope, noting the absurd number of male characters on television that possess perfectly chiseled abs, even when there is no logical reason for them to, for the sake of being able to do Shirtless Scenes.
  • Puppy-Dog Eyes: One of his signature looks, which he flashes whenever he wants to get his way or is feeling sympathetic or confused.
  • Raging Stiffie: A recurring problem for Mac, who gets easily aroused when in close proximity to beefcakes.
  • Raised Catholic: Played for Laughs since he only remembers his Catholic faith when he wants to complain or to criticize other people.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: The only member of the Gang to be deservedly and accurately called out by the others on a regular basis. His constant fibbing and bragging tend to get on everyone's nerves pretty quickly.
    Charlie: Learn how to kick. Take one karate class, if you're so into karate!"
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: The Red Oni to Dennis' Blue, though it's played with a bit. Mac is quick to get angry and resort to violence, but also tends to be one of the more reasonable and level-headed members of the group in times of crisis.
  • Religious Bruiser: Mac believes himself to be this. In reality, he's incredibly weak and cowardly and is only ever particularly religious when it immediately benefits him.
  • Schemer: The M.A.C. system for seducing Dennis' castoffs. Move-in After Completion.
  • Screams Like a Little Girl: Whenever he's really, really happy, he emits loud, high-pitched squeals of delight more befitting a five-year-old (best demonstrated in "A Very Sunny Christmas" when he's psyched about the Christmas gifts).
  • Sensitive Guy and Manly Man: Played with in his dynamic with Dennis. While Mac is obsessed with stereotypically "manly" pursuits such as body building, extreme stunts and martial arts, he's distinctly the more emotionally-vulnerable and submissive half of the duo.
  • Serial Rapist: It's stated early on that he took part in sexually assaulting Cricket during the Gang's teen years (where they would hunt him down and tea-bag him), which he outright points out is rape when Dennis performs it on him during his sleep, and he's actively assisted Dennis in his predatory pursuit of women (and would then "Move-in After Completion", as he put it). He's not quite as much a monster as Dennis, though, as he's actively disturbed by Dennis' more extreme and explicit sexual assaults/harassment, but he's still so much a predator that his problematic behaviour was outlined in "Time's Up for the Gang".
  • Seven Deadly Sins: Pride and Gluttony.
    • Pride: As a means of detracting from his homosexuality, Mac overcompensates by trying to make himself seem more badass than he really is. On multiple occasions he tries to make himself seem impressive and badass, building up his glamour muscles instead of physically useful muscles, trying to do martial arts moves that he does not know how to use and trying to turn everything into a competition that he himself thinks he could win, only for his attempts at accomplishing them to fall flat and make him look like a weak loser.
    • Gluttony: In season 7, Mac gains 50 pounds, becoming gluttonous to the point of carrying an entire trash bag of chimichangas everywhere he goes. This was meant to be a Deconstructive Parody of sitcom characters never seeming to age or change over years of the show’s timeline.
  • Slap-Slap-Kiss: Invoked in "The Gang Tries Desperately to Win an Award", where Dennis forces him and Dee to have this dynamic to draw in customers a la Sam and Diane. Unfortunately, rather than flirty sexual tension, Mac and Dee's tension is much more aggressive, violent and founded on mutual hatred rather than any sort of attraction.
  • Sleeves Are for Wimps: Mac usually wears sleeveless t-shirts in order to appear more badass and show off his tats, and even makes the rest of the Gang do the same when they have to all listen to him for the day in "Mac Day".
  • Smart Ball: Easily the biggest victim of this. Depending on the episode, his intelligence can vary wildly from being the most rational member of the Gang to even dumber than Charlie.
  • STD Immunity: Averted. Mac never uses condoms during sex due to his Catholic beliefs, and accumulates diseases as a result.
    Frank: Mac, you're too low-class. All those women are going to think they will catch something from you.
    Mac: They will.
  • Sticky Fingers: He often instinctively steals things he doesn't actually need (e.g. trying to pocket an ashtray in "The Gang Goes on Family Fight" despite having given up smoking by that time).
  • Stout Strength: This varies in season 7 when he puts on 50 pounds.
  • Straight Gay: Played with. While Mac doesn't ever display any stereotypically Camp Gay behavior, his uncanny ability to constantly spout out homoerotic innuendo still makes his attraction to men obvious. After finally coming out, he expresses pride in the fact that he shows no outward signs of his homosexuality, and gets angry when Dennis implies otherwise.
  • Strong Family Resemblance: Later seasons have him slicking his hair back, making him resemble Luther more closely.
  • Tattooed Crook: He has a number of "tribal" tattoos on his arms which he likes to show off. Subverted, of course, in that Mac's not the hardened criminal he pretends to be (although much like the rest of the Gang he has done a lot of illegal things).
  • This Is for Emphasis, Bitch!: Frequently greets the Gang with "What's up, bitches?!"
  • Throw the Dog a Bone: As Mac has become more of a Butt-Monkey in later seasons, the show occasionally makes an effort to be nice to him:
    • Downplayed in "Hero or Hate Crime?", when he finally comes out for good and the rest of the Gang is actually supportive. Of course, they all still hate him, but they decide to let him have this small victory and not ruin the moment for him until the next day.
    • In "Mac Finds His Pride", he actually manages to impress Frank and a large group of prisoners with his dance performance. The episode treating Mac's feelings seriously is also throwing the dog a bone in and of itself, since his religion and sexuality had both been treated as punchlines up to that point.
  • Too Dumb to Live: He tells a mob boss's wife that he won't sleep with her because she's gross in "The Gang Gets Whacked".
  • Took a Level in Kindness: He's still violent, short-tempered and misogynistic, but he's slightly less of a jerk in the later seasons, especially after he comes to terms with his sexuality and tones down his The Fundamentalist tendencies accordingly. This is particularly notable due to it being the only instance of positive character growth in the series.
  • Trademark Favorite Food: Blue Gatorade and Mac's Famous Mac and Cheese.
  • Transparent Closet: By season 9, Mac's sexuality is obvious to the rest of the Gang, even though he himself is still in denial.
    Charlie: I know we've never said this as a group, but Mac's gay, right?
    (the rest of the Gang agrees)
  • Underdressed for the Occasion: His idea of formalwear is a tie over a polo shirt. The occasions where he does dress up almost always have him ridiculously overdressed.
  • Unfortunate Name: Ronald McDonald. And his nickname was Ronnie the Rat for narcing on drug dealers in high school.
  • Verbal Tic: Tends to pepper his sentences with the word "bro" frequently.
  • "Well Done, Son!" Guy: Mac, still stuck on adolescence, desperately seeks the approval of his creepy wayward father Luther. While Luther is in prison, Mac tries unsuccessfully to show him that he's "hard." When Luther first gets out of prison, Mac becomes emotionally invested in getting his parents back together, sputtering, "This is about happy boys!" He even tries to bond with his father by driving him to the houses of everybody who was responsible for getting him convicted. In the end of "Mac & Charlie Die Part II," Luther leaves a note telling Mac that he still loves him, even though Mac has driven him away with his constant screw-ups.
  • What the Fu Are You Doing?: On the occasions where he shows off his martial arts skills it becomes painfully obvious that he has none. He also consistently uses the term "roundhouse kick" to describe what's closer to a leaping version of a Taekwondo-style spinning hook kick. An actual roundhouse kick involves no spinning or jumping whatsoever.
  • Wimp Fight: Frequently, given all the above tropes, but a highlight would be his "fight" with Charlie in "Frank Retires." Said "fight" consisted of Charlie going limp and Mac strangling himself into unconsciousness.
  • Would Hurt a Child: Definitely. After all, they can't really fight back that well, unlike their parents.


Charlie Kelly
"Wildcard, bitches! Yeeee-ha!"
Played By: Charlie Day

"Bro, I can handle my sedatives."

A childhood friend of Mac and later high school friend of Dennis and Dee. He is also Frank's roommate. Charlie does most of the dirty work (referred to as "Charlie Work") at the pub, is borderline illiterate, an alcoholic and substance abuser and is often seen huffing glue and paint. He suffers from deep psychological problems and lives in squalor. An abortion survivor, Charlie has extreme anger issues and often screams to get his point across. He also has a severely unhealthy obsession with "The Waitress", who finds Charlie repulsive and shows no interest in him.

  • Almighty Janitor: Charlie, who does most of the janitorial jobs around Paddy's, is actually the one keeping the bar afloat through his work ethic and bouts of ingenuity. This is especially evident in "Charlie Work" where he ensures a surprise health inspection goes smoothly and brings the bar a good grade. However, this has also been painfully subverted on occasion. In "The Gang Reignites the Rivalry", Charlie goes undercover into a fraternity, and assumes his janitorial skills will allow him to "Good Will Hunting" the frat brothers and impress them into letting him in. (They don't). In the two-parter "The Gang Gets a New Member" and "Dee Reynolds: Shaping America's Youth", Charlie leaves the bar and the Gang and becomes a janitor at a local high school, where he tries to mentor students. (Unsuccessfully).
  • Ambiguous Disorder: He's very brash, hotheaded, childish, has No Social Skills, and is very Book Dumb, though he's also quite cunning when he puts his mind to it. He's often described as a savant.
    • His strange habit of eating inedible things (pencil erasers, wolf-hair, stickers, sunscreen, paper and credit cards, etc.) imply that he suffers from pica.
  • Animal Motif: Rats and mice. Rodents are a recurring theme in Charlie-centered stories, mainly because he's the bar's exterminator, but his mannerisms and quirks have more in common with scavenger animals.
  • Anti-Hero: In his more humane moments, he is this, being a generally goodhearted guy who is also incredibly stupid and destructive.
  • Author Appeal: In-universe, the songs he writes almost always make mention of "spiders, ghouls, and rape."
  • Back from the Dead: After Mac, Charlie and Dee fake their own deaths ("Mac and Charlie Die Part 2"), they hide in the office of Paddy's. When Frank and Dennis come in, they run out — carrying sparklers — and Sweet Dee yells "Surprise, bitches! We're alive and it's blowing your MINDS right now!"
  • Bad "Bad Acting": In the Lethal Weapon sequels he's probably the worst actor as Da Chief, but he's otherwise decent while playing the henchmen.
  • Be Careful What You Wish For: Finally hooks up with the Waitress in the season 12 finale, only to immediately show signs of regretting it.
  • Berserk Button: People having sex with his mom or insulting/threatening the Waitress. Unfortunately for him, both of these things happen fairly frequently.
  • Beware the Silly Ones: When Charlie has been wronged, and is on his A-Game, he can easily become the biggest Chessmaster in the series.
  • Breakout Character: Probably the most iconic character in the series. Charlie Day has found the most mainstream success of the cast as a result.
  • Bumbling Sidekick: Charlie almost never comes up with the Gang's schemes, and instead generally serves as the incompetent lackey to whichever one of the other four is nearest to him at any given time. Of course, since the other four are also incredibly bumbling, he's hardly ever the only reason why their schemes tend to get screwed up.
  • Butt-Monkey: While all of the members of the Gang suffer frequently, Dee and Charlie are by far the most prone to Amusing Injuries.
  • Caught with Your Pants Down: Multiple times.
  • Chaotic Stupid: When the Gang determined that Charlie is the "Wild Card" of the group, Charlie took it as a cue to go completely insane. Not that he had far to go.
  • Characterization Marches On: A more subtle example than Dee or Mac. In the early episodes, Charlie's eccentricities were less pronounced, making him look more like an awkward loser than an illiterate lunatic. The later seasons have him fully embrace his Cloudcuckoolander tendencies.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Often has some sort of crazy idea, scheme or object whose meaning isn't clear until the very end, as in the episode "The Nightman Cometh."
  • The Chessmaster:
    • In "Mac Bangs Dennis' Mom," he orchestrates a Batman Gambit to go on a date with the Waitress.
    • Reaches new heights in "Charlie Work", where a surprise health inspection falls on the day the rest of the Gang decide to try a Zany Scheme involving a steak delivery man and a bunch of chickens. Charlie has to scramble to move the the health inspector, the rest of the Gang, and the delivery man to the right spots with pitch-perfect timing so that the health inspector won't notice the pub's innumerable code violations or the delivery man's suspicious grievances, the delivery man will think the pub is actually a steakhouse, and Mac and Dennis can contaminate the delivery man's steaks with chicken feathers. Charlie also has time to set up a Brick Joke by sabotaging a particular barstool Charlie knew Dee would sit on. To drive home the sheer skill this kind of tactical genius would take, the majority of the episode consists of an extended unbroken shot.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: His favorite food? "Milk steak". Hobby? Magnets. Likes? Ghouls. ("You know, funny little green ghouls?") Dislikes? People's knees.
  • The Cuckoolander Was Right: For his... oddities, Charlie can be fairly sharp at times.
  • Cluster F-Bomb: In "A Very Sunny Christmas" Charlie repeatedly screams "DID YOU FUCK MY MOM?!" at a mall Santa, and then takes a bite out of his neck.
    • In "The Gang Tries Desperately to Win an Award", he sings a mostly bleeped-out song.
    • In "Mac & Dennis: Manhunters" Charlie drops the F-bomb. It was (obviously) censored when it aired on TV, and disappointingly censored on the season 4 DVDs.
  • Creepy Crossdresser: In "The Gang Solves the Bathroom Problem", it's revealed that he can only poop while wearing a dress as a result of his mother's coddling.
  • Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: Despite being childish and ignorant, he can be a vicious Chessmaster when he wants to be. He's also generally the only member of the Gang besides Frank who ever does well in a fight. He possesses a savant-like skill in music and the ability to ice skate, among other things. Hidden genius beneath salient stupidity seems to be his specialty.
  • Deconstructed Character Archetype:
    • Of The Ditz, his terrible upbringing and his constant usage of drugs and inhalants render him the dumbest member of the Gang. His stupidity often ruins the Gang's plans, such as the time he cut the brakes of the Gang's car.
    • Of the Dogged Nice Guy, he is so enticed by the Waitress that no other woman will catch his interest; in fact, he rejects one in front of the Waitress to demonstrate his love for her. He also goes out of his way to impress her and win her heart; eventually, it gets to the point that he stalks her and invades her house, which forces her to get a restraining order against him. Ultimately, she gives in and has sex with him only because she wants to have a kid. Not ready for fatherhood, Charlie then proceeds to ditch her, which shows how shallow his "love" for her was.
  • Delusions of Eloquence: Horribly misuses various legal terms in an attempt to impress the Lawyer.
    Charlie: Look, buddy. I know a lot about the law and various other lawyerings. I'm well educated, well versed. I know that situations like this, real-estate-wise, they're very complex.
    Lawyer: Actually, they're pretty simple. The forms are all standard boilerplate.
    Charlie: Okay, well, we're all hungry. We're gonna get to our hot plates soon enough.
    Lawyer: I can see clearly you know nothing about the law; it seems like you have a tenuous grasp on the English language in general.
    Charlie: Okay, well... filibuster.
    [Dennis hangs his head in embarrassment in the background]
  • Department of Redundancy Department: Threatens to smack Dee's face off of her face in the episode "The Nightman Cometh".
  • The Ditz: While all of the members of the Gang are idiots, Charlie almost always comes off as near totally clueless, and frequently has trouble grasping basic concepts, much to the annoyance and frustration of everyone else.
  • Dogged Nice Guy: Genuinely thinks he's this: quietly loving The Waitress from afar and willing to do anything to win her heart. It's deconstructed in that he's actually a barely-contained stalker who regularly harasses her, breaks into her house, and interferes with her life.
  • Drunk with Power: Charlie is the Gang's least ambitious member and is, for most of the time, completely happy in his job as a janitor. However, on the rare occasions that he finds himself in a position of power, he completely flies off his rocker and turns into a veritable dictator. (The episode "Charlie Rules the World" is a prime example of this trope in motion).
  • Dumb Is Good: Charlie is consistently portrayed as being the least intelligent member of the Gang, but also the least morally bankrupt.
  • Explain, Explain... Oh, Crap!: In "A Very Sunny Christmas", after Charlie tells Mac about how men dressed as Santa Claus would come to "cheer up" his mom every Christmas:
    Mac: Charlie, I hate to break this to you, man, but based on the story that you just told me, I think your mother was a prostitute.
    Charlie: No, dude, they would just give my mom money and go...
    Mac: ... yeah. Chew on that for a second.
  • Extreme Omnivore: He doesn't deny the possibility of newspaper, credit card fragments, and wolf hair being in his stool in "Who Pooped the Bed?". In "The Gang Goes to the Jersey Shore", he drinks sunscreen. And he eats stickers "all the time, dude!"
    • He also swallows copious amounts of gasoline and a inhales a number of live hornets on separate occasions. Though involuntary, he doesn't see any reason for concern.
  • Faking the Dead: "Mac and Charlie Die" Parts 1 and 2. He and Mac fake their death in order to escape from Mac's father, who they believe is trying to kill them.
  • Flanderization: He went from "somewhat awkward, sometimes loud, and occasionally dim-witted, with a mild crush on this one waitress" to "entirely illiterate, possibly insane and definitely a savant, Stalker with a Crush and No Indoor Voice." The episode "Flowers for Charlie" actually gives an In-Universe justification for this change, as it is explained that the much of the work the Gang has assigned Charlie to around the bar involves him frequently handling a pontent cocktail of various dangerous chemicals, implying his increasing stupidity, illiteracy, and unhinged behavior to be the result of ever-worsening brain damage from exposure to said chemicals.
  • Friend to All Living Things: Charlie loves animals, to the point there having to clear out a rat's nest gives him a minor Heroic BSoD.
  • Freudian Excuse: He was an abortion survivor (may or may not have contributed to his impaired mental faculties) with no father (though Frank may be Charlie's missing father), an OCD, overbearing and sexually promiscuous mother, and was most likely molested as a child by his uncle. It explains a lot.
  • Funetik Aksent: Whenever Charlie's writing shows up, most of the words are written phonetically, as his borderline illiteracy forces him to guess how words are spelled based on sound. In "Bums: Making a Mess All Over the City", he leaves a note for the mayor of Philadelphia labeled "4 The Mare," and in "Charlie and Dee Find Love", his list of daily activities regarding The Waitress includes things such as "woch bad stoccer" (watch bad stalker) and "chek fud fer poizen" (check food for poison).
  • Genius Ditz: Charlie is good at piano, sewing, songwriting and ice-skating; wrote and directed a musical despite being functionally illiterate; and can pull off some very Machiavellian plots when properly motivated.
  • The Heart: He's easily the sweetest member of the Gang, and is the only one who has a genuine friendship with each of the other four.
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: With Frank. He's also this with Mac, who he has known since childhood.
  • Hot-Blooded: Pretty much comes with being the Large Ham that Charlie is.
  • Hypercompetent Sidekick: Along with his many hidden talents, "Charlie Work" reveals him to be the only reason Paddy's hasn't been shut down for its countless health code violations.
  • Idiot Savant: Charlie is an illiterate moron, but he has genuinely exceptional musical talent—he can sing, play piano, and write songs, and a brief scene in "Charlie Work" shows that he has perfect pitch. He occasionally displays skill in other areas as well, though music is by far the most common.
  • Incredibly Obvious Bug: When he and Mac fake their own deaths, they hide in the air-vent during their joint funeral at Paddy's, talking at full volume. This alerts Dennis that they aren't actually dead.
  • Innocent Bigot: Like the other members of the Gang, he often makes racist and sexist remarks, but that's largely due to his lack of social skills and being too dumb to know better, and he doesn't mean to hurt anyone.
  • Innocently Insensitive: Other than joining in on the guys' verbal beat downs and general mistreatment of Dee and Cricket, Charlie almost never intends to offend anyone, he's just really, really stupid and naturally violent. "The Gang Misses the Boat" even has him admit he only messes with Dee out of peer pressure.
  • I Want My Beloved to Be Happy: To the Waitress, but instead of letting another guy have her, he agrees to stop stalking her. This ends poorly for her, because his "activities" have actually been keeping her out of a lot of trouble. It turns out that him not stalking her was just a part of his plan to pull an Operation: Jealousy.
  • Jerkass Ball:
    • He often comes across as the nicest and most innocent member of the Gang, but at the end of "Charlie and Dee Find Love" he reveals that he was only dating a girl to make the Waitress jealous, and does so very publicly and insults her considerably.
    • His shocking cruelty and vindictiveness in "Charlie Has Cancer", "Mac Bangs Dennis' Mom", and "Charlie and Dee Find Love" are excessive, even by The Gang's standards.
    • Briefly mentions in the group dating episode that he once kicked a dog for barking at the Waitress and chuckles as if it's normal. In The Gang Goes To Hell: Part 2, he imagines a dog at their pretend dinner and starts kicking it despite the others telling him to stop.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: He shows more empathy than any other member of the Gang and seems to have slightly higher ethical standards.
  • Kavorka Man: He gets two very attractive girls interested in him, despite being a spastic weirdo. He has no interest at all in either, preferring to continue stalking the Waitress.
  • Keet: He has a near-limitless supply of energy and enthusiasm, which unfortunately goes misplaced most of the time due to his incompetence and selfishness.
  • Kind Hearted Cat Lover: Loves cats, eats cat food, and sometimes glues cat hair to the back of his neck and pretends to be a cat man.
  • Kind Hearted Simpleton: Well, "kindhearted" is pushing it, but Charlie is consistently shown to be the most decent member of the Gang in spite of his spectacular idiocy. Most of his mean-spirited actions also come off as him being more Innocently Insensitive than anything else.
  • Know-Nothing Know-It-All: This could be applied to the entire Gang, but Charlie gets it the worst. He's by far the least-intelligent member, but is desperate to play himself as well-read and knowledgeable. He'll often pass his own Cloudcuckoolander beliefs as fact and insist the people explaining the (very basic) logic needed to disprove it as idiots. He often parrots back terms and phrases he heard from more intelligent people (and episodes of Law & Order) without putting any effort into understanding their meaning.
    Dennis: As I've tried to explain before; you cannot get honey from a hornet's nest.
    Charlie: I just don't think there's any science to support that, trust me, pal.
    Dennis: There's some very basic science supporting this.
    Charlie: No, there's not!
    Dennis: I-It's actually a fact, alright, it's not even science- aargh...
  • Large Ham: In a world of hams, Charlie is one of the biggest. He often screams to get his point across or when he's met with resistance, and he describes his politicking within Paddy's as follows:
    Charlie: If you're not as educated or as informed, what you do is you start your own party and you yell the loudest!
  • Limited Wardrobe: Charlie is the only main cast member seen wearing the same clothes over and over, emphasizing his poverty. In one episode he states that he repairs his old clothes rather than buy anything new. Notable favorites include his black and red horse t-shirt, green army jacket and long thermal underwear. Some of these clothes are Charlie Day's actual property.
  • Lovable Coward: Downplayed. He does have some Dirty Coward moments note , but he is the most likable and pitiable member of the Gang by far.
  • Luke, I Might Be Your Father: In the finale of season 2, it is revealed that Frank may very well be Charlie's father. Season 10 reveals that the Gang didn't care enough to have it definitively tested.
  • Made of Iron: It is almost canon that Charlie cannot be killed or permanently hurt.
    • Charlie's mom had an abortion while pregnant with him, but he still managed to survive it, along with living through that hilariously revolting life style of his.
    • He's literally shot in the head by Dennis in "Gun Fever".
    • He's also been electrocuted "like, 500 times" according to Mac.
    • Charlie eats a brownie filled with drugs, even though Mac claims it has enough drugs in it to kill a gorilla. Charlie replies "I can handle my sedatives, bro." He ends up outlasting most of the contestants after several hours (despite being barely conscious), and manages to come in third place before finally passing out.
    • He mentions to Dennis in one episode that he's thrown himself in front of cars several times to swindle the drivers.
    • Mac and Dennis consider him to be almost indestructible. They train him to be a pit fighter by repeatedly smashing him with various objects.
    • In “Charlie's Home Alone”, he falls victim to a variety of his own Home Alone-like traps. He gets his leg caught in a spiked bear trap, burns himself on red-hot metal, accidentally drops a full can of paint on his head, steps on broken glass barefoot, and gets shot repeatedly with a nail gun. In the next episode, he gets his leg stuck in the bear trap again. He shows no signs of suffering from any long-term injuries afterwards.
  • Malaproper: Throughout the series, Charlie's illiteracy causes him to confuse words when they're spelled somewhat similarly, such as paragon/paradigm, pirate/private, pride/prize, and Coors/closed. In "The Waitress is Getting Married", he attempts to impress a date by telling her he works as a philanthropist, but struggles to pronounce the word and tells her he's a "full-on rapist" instead. It's also not just limited to single words:
    Charlie: [reading a sign] "Brett DeLawyer. A denial correlation." What does that mean?
    Mac: Pretty good. That's close. It's "Brett DeLawter. A dental corporation." Guy's a dentist.
  • Man Bites Man: Charlie realizes that his mother was a prostitute who slept with men at Christmas, and those men often dressed (sometimes shabbily) as Santa Claus to fool Charlie. He has something of a freak-out, and winds up sinking his teeth into the throat of a mall Santa.
  • Manchild: His general Cloud Cuckoolander personality, and the fact that he found himself to have plenty of things in common with a 12 year old all give this impression.
  • Manipulative Bastard: Not his most defining trait, but when he really puts his mind to it, he can be quite effective. Best seen in "Mac bangs Dennis' Mom" and "Charlie and Dee Find Love"
  • Men Can't Keep House: Played with. On the one hand, he can't be bothered to keep his apartment clean (and its horrible state reflects that). On the other hand, he shines in his job as a janitor at Paddy's.
  • Morality Pet:
    • A very mild example of this to Frank, as he appears to be the only person Frank genuinely cares about besides himself. This doesn't mean much most of the time, but occasionally causes Frank to back down.
    • For Dennis at times; Dennis seems to be the best at calming Charlie down when he's upset and he treats him noticeably better than he does the rest of the Gang whenever they're alone together.
  • Never Learned to Read: Charlie has difficulty reading and writing, which is often pointed out by the rest of the Gang as a learning disability or outright illiteracy. His writing is either garbled gibberish or at least partially in pictoral form, though he does manage to write a musical, albeit translated by Artemis to proper English for the rest of The Gang's sake.
  • No Indoor Voice: After the first season, CHARLIE SCREAMS ALL THE TIME.
  • Odd Friendship:
    • He gets along rather well with Dee, especially in comparison to how the other members of the group treat her. This is most notable in "The Gang Misses the Boat" where when the Gang breaks up, he and Dee spend the time bonding, encouraging each other and eventually making out and maybe sleeping together. This may no longer be the case as of Season 13, however, where Charlie admits that he was raped/molested by Dee, as she ignored him telling her to stop and told him to "be quiet and hold still" so she could get off. Dee doesn't deny that it was non-consensual.
    • His friendship with Frank seems to be this at first, until it becomes clear that they're Not So Different and actually closer to Birds of a Feather.
  • Only Sane Employee: While Charlie is about as far from sane as you can get, several episodes, most notably "Charlie Work", show that he's the only employee at Paddy's capable of doing his job (as a janitor) competently, albeit only in the form of a last minute game of Xanatos Speed Chess.
  • Paste Eater: Aside from his regular choice of foods, Charlie likes eating things that no one should be eating and has at one point asked to eat an eraser just because he's hungry. This earned him the nickname "Dirtgrub" back in high school.
  • Perpetual Poverty: While none of the Gang are financially secure, Dennis, Dee and Mac live in nice apartments and frequently spend far more money than they actually possess, putting them all in severe debt. Charlie on the other hand lives in an apartment that is nothing short of terrifying, lives off of cat food and wolf hair and generally never seems to have any money whatsoever.
  • Phrase Catcher:
    "God damn it, Charlie!"
    "So stupid, Charlie..."
  • The Pigpen: He lives in squalor and has limited personal hygiene. Mac says that he has never seen Charlie put on deodorant.
  • Rape as Backstory: Very strongly implied to have been molested by his uncle.
    Mac: You wrote a whole play about it!
  • Relationship Upgrade: He actually manages to maintain a relationship with the Waitress during the Time Skip between seasons 12 and 13. It doesn't last, and she breaks up with him in the season 13 opener.
  • Rejection Affection: The Waitress has told Charlie, point blank, on numerous occasions, that she will never ever go out with him. Despite this, Charlie continues to pursue her.
  • Renaissance Man: Surprisingly, despite his lack of intelligence, Charlie is shown to be the most artistically gifted and versatile of the group.
  • Screaming Warrior: While assaulting a mall Santa in the Christmas special.
  • Seven Deadly Sins: Wrath and Gluttony.
    • Wrath: To fit his Psychopathic Manchild tendencies, Charlie has a habit of shouting at random and acting without thinking.
    • Gluttony: He has a strange addiction to cheese, indulges himself by huffing paint and eats various inedible things including wolf hair, paper, erasers and gasoline (and this is not to mention his alcoholism). In "The Gang Goes To Hell Part 1", Charlie and Frank end up getting thrown in the brig in their efforts to find alcoholic drinks, something lampshaded by Dennis.
  • Single-Target Sexuality: The Waitress, obviously. In thirteen seasons, Charlie has dated exactly one other woman, with the sole intention of using her to make the Waitress jealous. When the Gang tries group dating, Charlie explicitly says multiple times that he's only doing it to improve his game with the Waitress. Despite this, he has also made out and slept with Dee (though the sex is later revealed to have been non-consensual on Charlie's end) in "The Gang Misses the Boat", as well as had very explicit sex with a prostitute named Tatiana while on a ski trip. The latter instance can at least be explained by the episode's central mantra of "things are different on the mountain".
    • After Charlie's relationship with The Waitress falls apart, he and Frank end up having sex with two co-eds they meet through Airbnb in "The Gang Gets Romantic".
  • Son of a Whore: In "A Very Sunny Christmas", Charlie reflects on what his childhood was like during Christmas. A bunch of Santas would come in, give him presents, then give his mom money and go upstairs with her to "cheer her up". Mac suggests that his mom was whoring herself out on Christmas day. Charlie doesn't take the realization very well.
  • Stalker with a Crush: Has been obsessed with the Waitress for years, to the point where he often has to live off of cat food because he spends all of his money paying spies to follow her. He even wrote and staged a musical to propose to her. She has multiple restraining orders against him. Ironically, the actress who plays the Waitress is Charlie Day's wife.
  • The Stoner: He huffs glue and spray paint, which is part of where his Wild Card and Butt-Monkey status comes from.
  • Straw Loser: Charlie manages to make Mac, Dee and Dennis look pretty successful and well-adjusted in comparison, as they all have fairly nice apartments and have had multiple relationships in contrast to Charlie's near literal Hell Hole of an apartment and fixation on a single woman who hates his guts.
  • Throw the Dog a Bone:
    • Dennis, Mac, and Dee spend an entire episode trying to do this to Charlie when Frank tells them it's his birthday and he seems pretty depressed. Though things like taking him to a movie and a spa backfire horribly due to his insanity, they eventually find a book where he catalogs his dreams in pictographs and recreate some of the items in it. Charlie feels pretty happy.
    • Gets a more legitimate one in "McPoyle vs. Ponderosa: The Trial of the Century" where the numerous antics from the rest of the Gang nearly cost Ponderosa the case. Through the whole thing Charlie is the closest thing to an Only Sane Man, and his seemingly ridiculous Bird Law-heavy approach to proving Ponderosa innocent turns out to be correct, with the case ultimately thrown out and the Lawyer losing an eye to add injury to insult.
  • Token Good Teammate: Charlie is the closest thing the Gang has to a moral compass and genuinely seems to have a good heart under his rage and idiocy.
  • Took a Level in Kindness: Combined with Took a Level in Dumbass; in season one, Charlie was a loser but not insane, and lied about having cancer and exploited an ex-girlfriend's child in order to win over the Waitress. After Flanderization, his actions seem more based in insanity than malisciousness, making it easier to sympathize with him.
  • Trademark Favorite Food: The mysterious "milk steak". His addiction to cheese is also a Running Gag. It's also lead to many fans to assume that "milk steak" is actually his terminology for cheese.
  • Unknown Rival: He believes himself to be the Lawyer's Worthy Opponent despite it being about as far from the truth as possible. The Lawyer frequently reminds him that this isn't the case but occasionally plays along to get him to leave him alone. Despite this, he actually ends up defeating the Lawyer the one time they actually go against each other in court in "McPoyle vs. Ponderosa: The Trial of the Century" (or rather, the judge threw the Lawyer's case out as a result of all the Courtroom Antics that went on).
  • Verbal Backspace: In "Mac Kills His Dad", while trying to get his mother to disclose information about a criminal with whom Luther associates:
    Charlie: Tell me everything!
    Bonnie: Okay. They were both here. They were both inside me. Eduardo was in my mouth, and Luther was in my butt.
    Charlie: Oh my God, no. Don't tell me everything.
  • Villainous Breakdown: He gets even more shrill and angry after gaining power in a social game in "Charlie Rules the World" and having his plans compromised.
  • Wild Card: Given the title of by Mac and Dennis in "The Gang Solves The Gas Crisis."


Frank Reynolds
"I may have started a money fire."
Played By: Danny DeVito

"I don't know how many years on this earth I got left. I'm gonna get real weird with it."

The legal father of twins Dennis and Dee, and possibly the biological father of his roommate Charlie. He used to be a successful businessman with a long history of illegal operations and dealings with sordid characters, but chose to abandon that life and redeem himself after leaving his money-grabbing, cheating wife. He now shares a tiny, filthy studio apartment with Charlie, where they share a pullout couch.

  • Abusive Parent: He was a terrible father who relentlessly emotionally tortured Dennis and Dee.
  • Affably Evil: One of the most depraved members of the Gang. Also one of the most pleasant, and arguably the highest-functioning.
  • Affluent Ascetic: Unlike the rest of the Gang who have to endure problems typically found with lower and middle-class people, their schemes being ways of moving up in the social and financial ladder, Frank is already rich and can join high society any time he wants. He does not however, feeling most comfortable as a sleazy Con Man living in squalor and financing the Gang's zany and legally sketchy schemes solely for the thrill of it.
  • Ambiguous Disorder: In the episode "Charlie's Mom Has Cancer", Dee tries taking advantage of Frank when she thinks that he is suffering from dementia, when really he is just faking it to lure her and the gang into a prank. In "Being Frank" however, it is made clear that he suffers from routine bouts of memory loss (having forgotten Dennis's name and fumbling his way through the Gang's scheme of the day with having no idea what it even is) and having some physical malady that - while preventable - could prove to be fatal if not treated. This clues us in that while Frank has not reached the late stages of any form of dementia, he is suffering from a degenerative condition brought on by his age and his poor diet, not to mention the copious amount of alcohol and drugs he consumes regularly.
  • Ambiguously Bi: Frank and Charlie have a bizarre relationship. In one episode he believes that Charlie is dead and makes a mannequin of him. Charlie claims that he saw Frank "banging that thing."
  • Arbitrarily Large Bank Account: His, in the words of Dennis, "seemingly infinite wealth" allows the Gang to do whatever crazy scheme they want without having to worry about money. However, his vow to live a life of depravity means that he only uses his money to finance zany schemes, and he otherwise lives in complete squalor with Charlie and acts like a major tightwad.
  • At Least I Admit It: While his younger companions are all to varying degrees delusional about who they are as people, Frank openly and proudly admits that he considers himself to be scum.
  • Ax-Crazy: He will pull out his gun and fire wildly into the air at the slightest provocation...or just no provocation.
  • Bad Boss: He used to run sweatshops in Vietnam. His management tactics haven't changed much since buying Paddy's Pub.
  • Bald of Evil: He's bald and evil.
  • Big Eater: He can really pack it away. He's so obsessed with food that he has a fetish for it.
  • Blood Knight: He seems pretty happy doing water torture and also wanted to kill a serial killer in the episode "Mac is a Serial Killer."
  • Brutal Honesty: In "The Gang Dines Out", Frank attempts to tip the hostess at a restaurant by placing a $100 bill in her cleavage, despite her resistance:
    Hostess: Um... you can just hand that to me.
    Frank: I was trying to feel your breast.
    Hostess: ... I got that.
  • Bunny-Ears Lawyer: Psychotic as he may be, Frank is genuinely competent as an underhanded businessman, which, compared to the rest of the Gang, makes him come off as something of a sage.
  • Catchphrase: Repeatedly says "What's the action?" in season 2 and "Bigtime!" in season 5.
  • Characterization Marches On: Frank's introduction in the second season sees him as a successful but very corrupt business man and an actual fuctional adult in society. His involvement with the Gang, and particularly becoming roommates with Charlie, has seen Frank become more depraved and suffer Sanity Slippage.
  • Chronic Backstabbing Disorder: Frank has no problem selling anyone down the river.... friends, good samaritans, business associates, even (actually, especially) his own children.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: Becomes this the more depraved he gets. He participates in some of Charlie's weird activities involving bridges, boiling denim, and many other things.
  • Combat Pragmatist: He never hesitates to use dirty tricks in a fight, which is why he generally wins them.
  • Corrupt Corporate Executive: Frank is an experienced company owner and operator who seems physically incapable of conducting business in an honest and ethical manner.
  • Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass:
    • Frank is completely insane and apparently totally illogical, but he did make millions through dirty deals and is an expert manipulator. The best example might be "Gun Fever Too: Still Hot." Frank goes on TV and describes how he was mugged, thanking the guns he always carries for saving him. He proceeds to whip all of Philly into a frenzy over their Second Amendment rights, appearing on radio and television programs and urging them to buy firearms from Gunther's Guns. At the end of the episode—and after he's arranged a huge gun rights march on City Hall—Frank reveals that he doesn't care about the Second Amendment at all; he bought a stake in Gunther's and brilliantly played on everyone's fears and insecurities to make himself a fortune. The episode ends with him preparing to pull the same scheme with a water filter he's recently invested in.
    • On a lesser note, he is a better physical fighter than most of the Gang. In "Hundred Dollar Baby", he knocks out two professional boxers, and in "The Gang Wrestles for the Troops", he knocks out Cricket, who had already defeated most of the Gang, with a trash can.
  • A Day in the Limelight: "Being Frank" is shown entirely from his perspective and depicts what a typical day in his life might look like.
  • Dirty Old Man: He's the oldest member of the Gang. He also hires prostitutes and has a food fetish.
  • Disease Bleach: His hair turns white in "Frank Retires" due to excessive blood loss.
  • Drop-In Character: Frank is the only member of the Gang who isn't guaranteed to be in an episode, and several episodes begin with him kicking off the plot by announcing something while walking into the bar.
  • Even Evil Has Standards:
    • Despite his ludicrous levels of depravity and cruelty, he's absolutely opposed to Dennis and Mac hunting Rickety Cricket in "Mac and Dennis: Manhunters." Why this specific sociopathic scheme bothers him isn't particularly clear, unless he really can't tell the difference between his life and John Rambo's.
    • He opposes dousing a 12 year old in a wet T-shirt contest, and jumps in the way so he gets soaked instead.
    • Although he has no problem using virtually any illicit substance that crosses his path, he thinks that only the true bottom of the barrel sells drugs, according to "The Gang Gets Whacked."
    • He's the only one who insists that Cricket is taken to a hospital, after his hand's been shot.
    • He's disgusted at the very notion of Dennis and Dee having sex as he considers incest to be too perverted even for him.
    • Frank overall seems to have morals and understand what it takes to be a good person, and is often appalled at the actions of others (despite consciously deciding to be scum himself).
  • Evil Mentor: Plays this to Mac whenever they share a plot together, such as teaching him how to run a sweat shop.
  • Executive Excess: Already an abusive, greedy and transparently criminal businessman (to the point it seems the majority of his wealth came from embezzlement, tax fraud and multiple illegal ventures rather than actual work), Frank Reynolds is likewise a massive hedonist who regularly sleeps with prostitutes, openly does multiple drugs and flat out refuses to spend his vast fortune on anything other than enabling the Gang's insane and depraved schemes. It's best demonstrated in "Franks Back In Business" when he's temporarily called out of semi-retirement in the hope of saving his company, Frank instead blows money on outrageous purchases such as eating sushi off a naked prostitute rather than actually trying to save the company.
  • Extreme Omnivore: He doesn't deny the possibility of newspaper, credit card fragments, and wolf hair being in his stool in "Who Pooped the Bed?".
  • Fat Bastard: One of the biggest bastards of the Gang, and is played by Danny DeVito who is fairly overweight.
  • Fetish: Has a food fetish. He has a fling with Artemis in "The Waitress is Getting Married." They put Bacon Bits in her hair to "make her feel like a Cobb Salad." This is also hinted at in "Mac & Charlie Die Part 2." when Frank and Dennis go to an orgy, and all Frank does is eat. In "Who Got Dee Pregnant" Artemis and Frank experimented with food while having crazy loud sex in a dumpster.
  • Flanderization: His behavior has steadily become more and more wild and depraved. Possibly justified, in that he joined the Gang in order to leave behind his successful-businessman lifestyle and embrace hedonism full-on instead, so has become progressively more addicted to any and all sorts of vice he can get his hands on, and more lost in his own life of depravity. "Being Frank" also heavily implies that he's dying from a malignant brain tumor, which may have something to do with his increasingly erratic behavior.
  • Freudian Excuse: He was institutionalized as a kid, and the resulting traumatic experiences probably contributed to his highly unstable personality.
  • Genius Bruiser: While he's old and crazy, he's also tough and deceptively crafty.
  • Gonk: The already rather strange-looking Danny DeVito goes out of his way to make himself look as bizarre as a real life human could look. Frank, who is barely half as tall as the rest of the cast, obese to the point of being egg-shaped and balding with only a few scraggly tufts of hair, looks about as much like a troll as a person possibly can.
  • Gun Nut: He loves to pull out his gun and according to "Reynolds vs. Reynolds: The Cereal Defense", he has several guns without a permit.
  • The Hedonist: See Dirty Old Man, Fetish, Ax-Crazy, Blood Knight, and Extreme Omnivore. He gave up his wealthy lifestyle for the sake of doing all the depraved things he wants to. He kept the money, though.
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: With Charlie.
  • Hypocrite:
    • Buys Dee's and Dennis's dream gifts for himself for Christmas every year in a twisted attempt to teach them that you have to earn what you get, a principle Frank claims made him a millionaire. Dee immediately points out that what made him a millionaire was embezzling from his partner.
    • Him constantly calling his wife a hooer - sorry, whore - is rather ironic given he frequently cheated on her with his secretaries and prostitutes.
    • His upset reaction to his wife's cheating becomes this after the reveal that he and Charlie's mother had an affair.
  • I Love the Dead: On two occasions he's stated that he doesn't care what happens to his corpse. In "Frank's Little Beauties," he says that he'd have no problem with someone having sex with his corpse.
  • Iconic Sequel Character: He isn't introduced until the season two premiere, but put someone in front of the TV who's never seen the show before, and start them on the first season, and they're guaranteed to ask "Where's Danny DeVito?"
  • Incredibly Obvious Bug: Plants a baby monitor in a man's apartment in "The Gang Solves The Gas Crisis."
  • Kavorka Man: Considering he's quite the Gonk, he's done pretty well for himself and is the only character to have a consensual, on-going relationship (with Artemis).
  • Kissing Cousins:
    • Frank hooks up with his ex-wife's sister's daughter. They're not blood-related, but she's still his niece. Though he describes it as "awful," he still was willing to accept a handjob from her later in "The Gang Squashes Their Beefs."
    • He specifically does this when he's trying to achieve the most depraved behavior possible. Originally, he wanted to bang his dead wife's sister (at her husband's funeral) but Mac convinced Frank that going after his own niece would be even more twisted.
  • Hypercompetent Sidekick: Before joining the Gang, he was a crooked businessman whose schemes actually succeeded. As a result, he is hands down the most competent and knowledgeable of the Gang at cheating people, but generally chooses to take a back seat to the rest of the group as he enjoys doing their incredibly depraved and ridiculous schemes more than he does doing one that would actually work.
  • Lack of Empathy: Not quite as bad as Dennis, but it's there. He has no problem with running a sweatshop, and is even willing to feed his employees the cooked bodies of their coworkers who died from exhaustion.
  • Luke, I Might Be Your Father: In the finale of season 2, it is revealed that Frank is Charlie's real father, though he denies it and the plotline is mostly dropped after the season 3 premiere. It is repeatedly mentioned in season 10, where the Gang reveals that they intentionally avoided confirming it after all this time due to it being "too much of a hassle". Charlie doesn't seem to really care.
  • Made of Iron: He falls out of a second-story window and lands on his head. Frank somehow manages to remain conscious during the entire ordeal.
  • Manipulative Bastard: Frank is a very shady business man. One time, he brought up the whole gun regulations debate up because he made a deal with a gun company and then decided to do the same thing with clean drinking water.
  • Messy Hair: His balding hair starts out combed down but as he joined the Gang and the seasons went on, his hair becomes noticeably disheveled, likely to match his depravity.
  • Mistaken for Pedophile: In "Frank Reynolds' Little Beauties". Frank gets offered to host a beauty pageant and agrees. So he can see some hot chicks. But it turns out to be a children's beauty pageant and the original host was a pedophile. So he starts to get worried people might think he's a pedophile. As the Gang points out, his obsessive attempts to try and prove he's not a pedophile just made him seem more suspicious.
  • Noble Demon: One of the biggest things that sets him apart from the other four. While he doesn't have much in the way of empathy, he has a distinct moral code that he generally tries to follow to some degree.
  • Parental Incest:
    • He and Dee pose as an engaged couple, and even go as far as getting married. Although Dee isn't Frank's biological daughter, it's still creepy.
    • Shares a bed with Charlie, his possible biological son. They sleep ass-to-ass.
    • After Charlie fakes his death, Frank dresses up a mannequin as Charlie and Charlie claims he saw Frank "banging that thing".
    • Additionally, In "Mac Fights Gay Marriage" him and Charlie try to get a civil union for the benefits.
    • A possible double-kill in "Mac and Charlie Die: Part 2." He not only almost gets into a glory-hole situation with Dennis, his adopted son, but also lets the mannequin he dubbed "New Charlie" watch.
    • In "Make Paddy's Great Again" he admits to having participated in an orgy with Mac, Charlie and a Dennis-shaped sex doll.
  • Paper-Thin Disguise: Occasionally dons these, with a dash of Bavarian Fire Drill for good measure. Surprisingly, they usually work.
    • In "Thunder Gun Express," he pretends to be a tour boat captain by running on to the boat when the real skipper leaves and stealing it.
    • His recurring persona of "Dr. Mantis Toboggan" includes wearing a shirt and tie and declaring that Dennis has HIV.
    • In one episode, he passes himself off as "Ongo Gablogian," an Andy Warhol-esque Caustic Critic and stereotypical avant-garde artist, by wearing a black turtleneck, pair of horn-rimmed glasses, and long white wig.
  • Parental Substitute: A twisted one for Mac and Charlie, particularly the latter, who didn't have father figures growing up. He tends to act more fatherly when dealing with them than he does when dealing with his legal children Dennis and Dee.
  • Pet the Dog: Assures a humiliated Charlie that his musical was very good after the Waitress refused his marriage proposal in front of the audience. Note that Mac, Dennis, and Dee were unconcerned as usual. This fits well with how far over the deep end he went when he thought Charlie was dead, going to the point of carrying around a dummy of him.
  • Pint-Sized Powerhouse: Frank is tiny, but stocky and incredibly strong.
  • Racist Grandpa: While everyone in the Gang can be pretty prejudiced, the other four don't hate marginalized groups, rather they are just ignorant due their sheltered upbringings. Frank on the other hand is a xenophobe who regularly uses slurs and treats people who are part of other racial groups as subhuman.
  • Rags to Riches: Rose from being gutter trash to a multi-millionaire through underhanded business scams. He prefers acting like gutter trash.
  • Reckless Gun Usage: The number of gun safety rules the man breaks is pretty astonishing; he's very fond of drawing and audibly cocking his revolver and then waving it around casually. You can count on it to go off, rarely hitting whatever Frank intended it to.
  • Red Baron: "The Warthog".
  • Retired Badass: He was a street fighting, drug dealing gang leader in his youth and still has several of his old connections.
  • Retired Monster: His first episode has him retire from being a Corrupt Corporate Executive. As the rest of this page implies, it wasn't a moral decision.
  • Sanity Slippage: "Being Frank" shows that old age, hard living and already straddling the line of sanity have all taken their toll on him to a point where, of the Gang he can only remembers Charlie's name and otherwise simply pretends to know what's going on while randomly reacting to his environment.
  • Schemer: Became a millionaire by screwing over his old business partner.
  • The Scrooge: Despite his Arbitrarily Large Bank Account, he rarely tends to put it to use in getting a scheme going and tends to penny-pinch. It's justified on his part, though; no scheme the gang makes could make him as much money as he already has, and if he wanted to, he could live comfortably the rest of his days with no need to connive. His refusal to spend money just means that the Gang is guaranteed to constantly be clawing for any scrap of cash, guaranteeing absolutely ridiculous schemes.
  • Self-Made Man: Albeit one who did a fair amount of backstabbing to scrounge his way to the top, it's nostalgia for his former desperate lifestyle that causes Frank to room with Charlie when he joins the gang.
  • Serial Rapist: While he normally remains 'depraved but not quite crossing into assault' when he tries to have sex, it's revealed in "Time's Up for the Gang" that he has sexually harassed and assaulted many assistants and female employees in his lifetime.
  • Seven Deadly Sins: As arguably the most depraved member of the Gang, it is no surprise that he embodies some of these traits. It is even implied that he is actively trying to see how depraved he could possibly become.
    • Lust: He has had various, incredibly kinky one-night stands with Artemis and ends up sleeping with his niece - the incredibly abhorrent Gail "the Snail" - in his efforts to have sex with her recently widowed mother.
    • Gluttony: Being a stout, fat slob and an alcoholic, Frank usually eats things that he shouldn't. His feces included wolf hair, paper and cut up pieces of a credit card, he pictures himself eating a hot dog as the convenience store he is in is being robbed at gun point and he even starts eating from a bag full of anthrax before he is told by Dennis that it is just powdered sugar.
    • Greed: While originally established as a Defector from Decadence, Frank seems much more interesting in the thrill of gaining riches through his shady dealings and scams than he is actually being rich. He created a 2nd Amendment scare just some could profit off of gun sales, he sells a company he founded after he was asked to help reform it (outsourcing hundreds of jobs in the process), has created and ran several sweatshops with terrible working conditions, etc.
  • Shirtless Scene: Emerges fully nude from a couch in "A Very Sunny Christmas".
  • Sixth Ranger: Joins the Gang at the start of season 2. Like any good Sixth Ranger, he also contrasts the rest of the group by being an old man actively trying to live a depraved life rather than a delusional thirty-something who is mostly oblivious to his own depravity.
  • Slumming It: While Frank is at least a multi-millionaire, he prefers living as cheaply and poorly as possible, and almost never uses his money for anything other than funding the Gang's antics.
  • Team Dad: To the group. Whether they like it or not, the Gang does turn to Frank when they need guidance and in a weird way actually respect his opinions and insight. This trope is twisted though, as Frank does nothing to protect the Gang from their worst instincts or manipulates them for his own ends, essentially making him an Abusive Parents version of this trope.
  • This Is for Emphasis, Bitch!: Very frequently uses an emphatic "bitch."
  • Token Adult: Despite all of the other members of the group being in their thirties, Frank is still treated like "the old guy" and is several decades older than everyone else. It helps that the other members of the Gang are manchildren whose emotional levels are (at their oldest) that of teenagers while Frank genuinely acts like a (mentally unstable and manipulative) adult.
  • Tomato in the Mirror: Frank and Froggy were one and the same the whole time.
  • Trademark Favorite Food: Eggs and rumham.
  • Trigger Happy: He's guaranteed to misfire a gun if he's holding one. He's a pretty terrible shot though.
  • The Vietnam Vet: Parodied. Frank indignantly claims to have gone to 'Nam, but Dee points out it was a "business trip" in 1993 to establish a sweatshop.
    "And a lotta good men died in that sweatshop!"
    • The closest Frank has seemingly ever come to actual service in Vietnam is his insistence in "Mac and Dennis: Manhunters" that he did a tour, came home, and was hitchhiking through Oregon when he was hounded by an army of state troopers. Everyone is very quick to mention that Frank is confusing the plot of First Blood for his own life experiences, and it's not even the first time he's done it.
  • The Watson: As the only outsider in the Gang, he frequently is used as a quick way for the others to explain their many weird traditions.
  • Wild Card: Frank fits the webpage's definition of this trope because he has no loyalty and is willing switch sides (and betray his own side) for his own benefit. He simply does what he thinks will give him the most profit. However in the Gang's definition of a Five-Man Band dynamic, he's less of the wild card and more of the muscle.


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