If you’re a fan of It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia, and who isn’t, there’s a decent chance you’re in the midst of re-binging the series that’s masterfully combined the best elements of Seinfeld and South Park to become TV’s best sitcom. A licensing agreement between 20th Century Fox and Netflix is coming to an end, which means Always Sunny is leaving the streaming service Friday.
So, anybody needing to catch up on the antics of Mac, Dennis, Charlie, Sweet Dee and Frank could be running out of time. While you’re watching you may come to a conclusion that, in hindsight, seems so perfect and obvious you have to wonder if it’s already in the works.
Joel Embiid must guest star.
Let’s lay out the case simply. Always Sunny is hilarious, and not only set in Philadelphia, it perfectly captures the essence of the city. Embiid is also hilarious, and as the 76ers star center and face of The Process, he’s the hottest thing in Philly right now.
For some shows, the setting is incidental, but Philly native Rob McElhenney, who stars as Mac and co-created the show, put Philadelphia in the title for a reason. The Philly vibe hangs over the show, from on-location shots to the way The Gang pronounces Poconos. Once you get away from the Main Line, Philadelphia is a city of hardscrabble, working class folks struggling to make it. Imagine if Rocky had never caught a break. He’d hang out at Paddy’s Pub.
Always Sunny wouldn’t work in San Diego or Minneapolis. It’s a Philly show and hardly anything is as importantly to Philadelphians as their sports teams. So it’s not surprise the writers have come up with multiple classic plots revolving around Philly’s pro franchises.
Mac and Dennis once tried out for the Eagles. Mac and Charlie thought their big break would come from a radio promotion at a Flyers game. Several storylines have centered on the Phillies, including The Gang’s attempt to get into a World Series game, and Mac’s childlike crush on Chase Utley is one of the series best running gags.
Even the Arena Football League has figured into a Sunny episode, with Frank and Charlie attempting to meet Philadelphia Soul owner and rock star Jon Bon Jovi.
Conspicuously missing is any mention of the Sixers. And that’s one area where Sunny misses the mark, because Philly is one of the world’s great basketball towns. From high school to college and the pros, Philadelphia’s hoop history can’t be beat.
It’s somewhat understandable. Always Sunny debuted in 2005, shortly before the end of the Allen Iverson era with the Sixers, and there’s been lots of lean years since. Interest in the pro team waned and The Gang doesn’t necessarily seem like the kind to head down to the Palestra for a Big 5 game.
But now is the time. Embiid has the 76ers on pace to make the playoffs and the city is abuzz. It would absolutely be true to the characters and the show if they jumped on the Embiid bandwagon.
There are plenty of ways the big man could fit into a Sunny storyline. Maybe Embiid would try to sell his signature Shirley Temple drink at Paddy’s. Perhaps in a flashback episode The Gang could tell stories about Philly legends and Embiid could play Wilt Chamberlain. What if The Gang needs somebody to replace Dennis?
I’m not a professional screenwriter, but if McElhenney and Co. wanted me to come by the writers room and brainstorm ideas I would probably be available. Even if they figure they can manage without me, it’s too ripe an idea to pass up.
NBA big men have been providing some of the best TV cameos for decades now, from Kevin McHale on Cheers to Shaq on Curb Your Enthusiasm. Anybody who follows Embiid on Twitter knows he has a similar kind of charisma.
The Always Sunny writing team returns to work in February, right around the NBA All-Star break in Los Angeles. It could be the perfect time to meet with Embiid and plan a storyline.
Just like The Process itself, it may seem like a far-fetched and desperate plan, but everything is lining up for potential greatness. For the sake of television watching world, Embiid and Always Sunny need to team up.