After something like a decade of teases and okie-dokes, some somewhat subtle and some the equivalent of a flashing neon billboard hooked up to a foghorn, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia finally went ahead and did it. All the way. No turning back. (Probably, although who really knows with this show. Stranger things have happened. Scott Bakula played himself as a singing janitor a few weeks ago.) In the sixth episode of season twelve, “Hero or Hate Crime?” (and the spoilers are coming fast from here on out, so jump ship now if you want to avoid them), Mac came out of the closet. Mac is gay. There it is.
But before we get to that, a brief discussion about how we got there, because the episode as a whole was really something, and it would be a shame to brush all that aside to discuss its big reveal. A rundown: A two-dollar scratch-off lottery ticket blows out of Dee’s purse. It comes to rest on the sidewalk at Mac’s feet, because he and Charlie have stopped due to Charlie’s decision to step in dog crap, on purpose, for reasons that include a skunk and cologne and cigarettes. A piano breaks free from a rope and falls from the sky. Frank, seeing this, on a brief break from peeping up women’s skirts (“bird watching”), shouts a gay slur that start with “F” to get Mac’s attention. Charlie hears it and drop kicks Mac out of harm’s way with his poop-covered shoe. Everyone is safe. But who has the rightful claim to the ticket?
(Dennis makes a claim to it, too. His has to do with money given to Dee for the purpose of seducing a very young convenience store cashier. It involves a lengthy discussion of “making deposits” to prepare for “a hefty withdrawal,” and that second phrase is said in the classic Dennis Reynolds Implication voice. lt’s a whole thing. You should watch it.)
What follows is a twisting, turning episode that takes place almost entirely in a conference room as they cycle through arbiters. It’s always fun when the gang interacts with the law because it puts a spotlight on the differences between upright society and their amoral, lunatic behavior. This is that, but more. The arbiters’ faces as the five of them have a legitimately thoughtful discussion of free and hurtful speech — the Always Sunny version of thoughtful, which includes C-words and N-words and at least one other word I’m kind of shocked FXX let them say — were a priceless mix of shock and exasperation. And the end result of it all was that Frank and Mac would have to split the value of the ticket, because if Mac is straight, then the warning was an insult and not hate speech.