Of the respective idiosyncrasies of The Always Sunny in Philadelphia gang — such as Charlie being illiterate and Dennis being a sexual predator — one of the funnier running gags throughout the series has been Mac’s latent homosexuality. At this point in the series they’re not even dancing around the issue. In Wednesday night’s “The Gang Group Dates,” at one point Dennis refers to Mac as “the gay one” and at another point when he turns to Mac and tells him that he derives his self worth from “convincing himself that he’s tough and straight,” Mac fires back “I am tough.”
Of course, what makes the joke work is that Mac himself is probably the only one that doesn’t know that Mac is gay. If he were just a guy struggling to bottle up his homosexuality, that would just be depressing, and a different kind of show. But as a strict Catholic, Mac has repressed his homosexuality so much that he doesn’t even understand his infatuation with badass tough guys is because he wants to have sex with them. When Mac says to Dennis, “I am tough,” he’s not intentionally leaving out the straight part — he’s just so reactionary to Dennis’ affront to his masculinity that he doesn’t even hear it.
FXX has renewed Always Sunny for two more seasons following the 10th, which I can only assume will finally be the series’ last, and I’m really hoping before it ends we get an episode called “Mac Realizes He’s Gay.” Until then, I’ve put together this timeline that outlines Mac’s homosexuality as it bubbles ever closer to the surface.
Season One — “Charlie Has Cancer”
At this point in the series, they probably didn’t yet have any intention to make Mac gay. Mac gets involved with a beautiful pre-op transsexual named Carmen, who he initially approaches for Charlie, who they all believe have cancer. Mac and Carmen date for the duration of the episode but she dumps him when he loudly states in public that she has a penis.
Season Three — Mac Is A Serial Killer
Mac starts dating Carmen again and begins a sexual relationship with her, but in attempting to hide it from the rest of the gang they all come to the conclusion that he’s a serial killer.
Season Four — “Mac’s Banging the Waitress”
Mac becomes upset when he thinks Charlie smashed a “Project Badass” tape he made for him and Dennis, so he schemes with The Waitress to make Charlie think they’re sleeping together as revenge for smashing the Project Badass Tape. The Waitress plays along because she wants the sex tape Dennis made of her back, which was actually what Charlie was smashing. After everything is sorted out and Dennis and Charlie realize how much effort Mac goes to to impress them, they come to the only logical conclusion that he “wants to bang” them.
Season Four — “The Nightman Cometh”
Let’s just say Mac gets a little bit too into “the rape scene” in Charlie’s production.
Season Six — “Mac Fights Gay Marriage”
Mac goes on a crusade against gay marriage because after completing her transition into a woman, Carmen married a man named Nick. Mac insists that Nick is gay since Carmen was born a man, seeming to miss the irony that he had sex with Carmen before she completed the operation, declaring their marriage to be a “gay marriage.” Of course, Mac is just jealous because Carmen got married.
Season Eight — “The Gang Recycles Their Trash”
“Let’s pull up our bootstraps, oil up a couple of asses, and do a little plowing of our own.”
Season Eight — “The Gang Gets Analyzed”
Dee brings the gang to her therapist’s office to help her resolve an issue, and her therapist decides to conduct one-on-one meetings with each of them. When it’s Mac’s turn, he accuses the therapist of leaving a pen out on the table because it “looks like a dick.” He later picks the pen up and puts it in his mouth.
Season Nine — “Mac Day”
This is the episode, in which the gang participates in a day that revolves completely around Mac, they finally and definitively realize: “I know we’ve never said this as a group, but Mac’s gay.”
Mac’s cousin “Country Mac” shows up — and not only is he tougher and more of a badass in every single way than Mac is, but he’s also openly gay. While genetics have never been scientifically proven to have a role in sexual orientation, it’s always been a strongly held theory, so it would make sense that Mac would have a gay cousin. (Actually two gay cousins, as Mac runs into another gay cousin in Paddy’s in the series premiere when they accidentally turn it into a gay bar.)
Season Ten — “Charlie Catches a Leprechaun”
When Charlie catches a leprechaun in a St. Paddy’s Day “leprechaun trap” in this holiday-themed episode which also may or may not involve Dennis abducting people on a party bus, Mac is initially skeptical that he actually just “kidnapped a little person.” But just to rule it out, he volunteers to see if the leprechaun might have a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow — in this case the “rainbow” being a fictional Philadelphia gay bar actually called The Rainbow, which he bravely volunteers to search solo. He does not find treasure, but instead returns covered in glitter and requiring a towel.
Season Ten — “The Gang Goes to Hell” / “The Gang Goes to Hell: Part Two”
When the gang decides to go on a booze-free Christian cruise, Mac is initially flummoxed to meet a married Christian gay couple, completely throwing a wrench into his constant internal struggle. Later attempting to convert the two men, Mac is the one who ends up coming out of the closet (in a mere five minutes), renouncing God because “there’s no way he would make me queer.” Unfortunately after the boat almost sinks with them locked in the brig, the near death experience leads Mac to believe that God was just testing him and he’s not gay after all. Glad that’s settled, then.