TV

Kaitlin Olson Is Still Laughing At Dee’s Desperation On ‘It’s Always Sunny’


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It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia is back and (spoiler alert) so is Dennis Reynolds, ending months of curiosity over whether actor Glenn Howerton would maintain a regular (or semi-regular) on-screen presence in this, the show’s 13th season. But how close did the show come to having to deal with an extended, week in and week out absence? Uproxx spoke with actress Kaitlin Olson (Dee Reynolds) prior to the season premiere to talk about that, her reaction to Dennis’s creepy “replacement,” Dee’s continued pursuit of the gang’s respect, the show’s inclusion of new voices, and her continuing behind-the-scenes ambitions following her run producing (and starring in) The Mick.

Were plans set in stone for what the show was going to be without Glenn Howerton or did that all come together before you got to that stage?

Kaitlin Olson: We kind of tossed a bunch of stuff around. By the time they were in the writer’s room, that was in January, and a lot of time had gone by. Glenn had sort of had time to think about what exactly he wanted to do. I’m not in the writer’s room but I’m married to the guy (Rob McElhenney), so I know that they tossed around the idea of the sex doll being a big character. And then they tossed around the idea of replacing Glenn with somebody else. There were a lot of ideas and ultimately, by the time they had to sit down and figure it out, Glenn had decided that he was back on board for a handful of them.

Do you think that there is some expectation from fans where they want to know what happened there with North Dakota or is that something that you don’t think fans are really going to worry too much about?

I think there are so many things that kind of go unexplained. I really love that we sort of allude to the fact that maybe Dennis did something horrible to his family because he has to go now but you’re never really going to know for sure. I don’t know, the whole thing is hilarious to me.

What was your reaction when you saw that sex doll for the first time? Because it really looks a lot like Dennis.

That sex doll sat in the hair and makeup trailer for weeks and it was very disturbing. You’d walk around and just want to say hi to Glenn and he wasn’t there. It was very upsetting. I was like, “is there any other place that this doll can live?” I was scared getting ready next to it. It’s so weird. I took a bunch of pictures of Glenn and the doll standing next to each other that I really enjoy looking at. I’m very excited to post.

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It was just there engaging in psychological warfare with you guys.

Yeah! Can this just sit in the prop closet? Why does it have to be in the hair and makeup trailer? Get out of here.

Can you talk a little bit about where Dee is this season? Give us a little idea of what here “arc” goes this season. As it were.

I think one of the great things about our show, that I love, is that the characters don’t really have much of an arc. Well, that’s not true, I guess. Dennis’s character certainly does since he leaves and then comes back and then Mac is gay now and fully embracing it. Dee’s just still trying to impress everybody and trying to prove to them that she’s good. I think that’s hilarious. Just her insecurity and how desperately she needs to be a valued member of the gang is so funny to me. If that’s underneath all the stuff that I’m doing, I feel like I can always make that funny.

You act in the show, but, as you said, you’re not in the writer’s room. With The Mick, you were involved behind the scenes on the creative side of things. Is that something you’ve ever wanted to do with It’s Always Sunny?

No, I really am in awe of the scripts that get handed to me. I cannot believe how fresh it still it is, how the story still twists and turns and surprises me and I have no idea how it’s going to wrap up. To me, personally, it’s just my exact sense of humor. I’m not reading it thinking, “Ugh!” I mean, I always screw around with my dialogue a little bit and punch stuff up. But I never on Sunny have the little, “Oh, I really could get in here and make a difference for the positive.” So, I really haven’t wanted to write on Sunny. But I wouldn’t mind directing it. After going and doing The Mick and being involved in every part of the process, I wouldn’t mind maybe directing an episode at some point.

I really love producing. The Mick really was… I was really proud of it, it really was the show I wanted to make. I was heavily involved in the casting and every aspect of production and I really liked that. It made it feel much more personal. It made it feel like it was more my project.

Sunny is like a well-oiled machine. I’m happy to just show up and do my job.

The project that just got announced a month ago that you’re doing with Rob and some of the other folks from Always Sunny, is that something that you’re producing as well, or is that solely an acting gig?

That came about because I just wanted to do a very different character. I also wanted to try a multi-cam and see what that was like. One of the advantages of the multi-cam is that I can get up in the morning and make my kids breakfast and then take them to school and then go to work and then come home from work and make them dinner and put them to bed.

We tossed it around. I really went back and forth. It was actually really hard for me to not produce that, especially after just coming off of many years of being in charge of everything and having an opinion on everything. But I would have to be there all the time. It’s one of the perks of doing a multi-cam that you get to also be a pretty full-time mom. So, I decided to not produce it but I really feel like I’m in good hands with my husband and Rob Rosell.

What do you think the main reason is for Always Sunny‘s staying power?

I’m legitimately impressed every season when I read the episodes. That they’re all so funny and so fresh. There are differences in there too, you know? We did a musical once and then we are doing a flashback episode this year. We’re trying to keep it interesting so that we don’t get bored.

Also, by the way, keep in mind that we write the episodes all before we start shooting them. That’s pretty awesome, also. Most shows can’t do that. You’re under a deadline and you’re writing and shooting at the same time. The guys can go in and write and perfect the script and know that they’re all exactly where they want them to be before we can even start shooting. That’s a huge advantage, also.

I think the willingness of the show’s core group to bring in other voices also helps to keep the show fresh without really changing up too much. Some of the other writers that have come along like Megan Ganz and Danielle Schneider.

Absolutely. Absolutely. And bringing in a whole bunch of women. We’ve had, I think this year we had more women than men on staff. It was amazing. I was just so proud of that. I mean, the #MeToo episode was written by a woman, and the Boggs reboot, the all-female reboot. Having fresh writers and having diversity and having women is all such an advantage.

It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia airs Wednesdays at 10 PM on FXX.

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