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Every Season Of It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia Ranked

Since it first aired in 2005, the record-setting series "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia" has been one of the best-reviewed shows on TV. The cast includes Charlie Day as Charlie Kelly, Rob McElhenney as Ronald "Mac" McDonald, Glenn Howerton as Dennis Reynolds, Kaitlin Olsen as his sister Deandra "Sweet Dee" Reynolds, and — since Season 2 – Danny DeVito as their adoptive father, Frank Reynolds.

The main characters co-own a bar together, Paddy's Pub, where they all spend the majority of their time. Together, they come with hair-brained ideas and ridiculous schemes, which often tend to backfire spectacularly. At the same time, "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia" also deals with complex issues relating to addiction, sexual orientation, wealth inequality, and race. The show has certainly never shied away from controversy and has not been afraid to address what they felt were previous lapses in judgment regarding controversial issues (via Deadline).

So far, there have been 15 seasons of "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia," with the most recent concluding in December 2021. Some have definitely had more outrageous gags than others, but they have all been hilarious. To celebrate this long-running series, here is every season of "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia" ranked.

15. Season 15

The most recent season of "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia," Season 15, is also the lowest rated by audiences on Rotten Tomatoes. The entire second half of the season takes place abroad in Ireland, but the top highlight is "The Gang Makes Lethal Weapon 7." The show brings back fan-favorite character Pepper Jack to take over portraying Murtaugh's character in lieu of Mac doing blackface again.

The season also has a flashback episode, where we learn a couple of key details about the series. First, we learn that Sweet Dee's nickname was actually very apt, and she used to be an incredibly caring and kind-hearted person. At least, she was until Charlie loosened the wheels on her roller skates, causing her to suffer a severe head injury that irreparably changes her personality forever that turned her cynical and angry. It's also during this episode, "The Gang Buys a Roller Rink," that we learn about the origins of the gang buying their bar, Paddy's Pub. It's revealed that Charlie, Mac, and Dennis all buy the bar together, with Charlie fronting the vast majority of the money -– yet they all split ownership equally.

Overall, the season has some funny moments, but it's uneven. It has a relatively somber storyline and ending, with Charlie meeting and then losing his biological father due to COVID-19. The finale also has one of the show's saddest scenes, making it a much different season than previous ones.

14. Season 13

Next on our list is Season 13, which consists of 10 episodes and is one of the more unique in the "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia" canon. The season starts by addressing the massive cliffhanger from Season 12 when Dennis seemingly leaves the gang and the show to become a father. At first, it seems like the gang's newest member Cindy (Mindy Kaling) is on track to place Dennis, who has been absent, but in the end, Dennis sticks around and everything goes back to normal -– complete with bird jokes at Dee's expense.

Making the season unique is the show's use of the Philadelphia Eagles' real-life Super Bowl win as part of the plot. In "Charlie's Home Alone," the episode is shot entirely from Charlie's perspective as he agonizingly tortures himself while hallucinating, thinking he's helping the Eagles win the game. Meanwhile, in "The Gang Wins the Big Game," which takes place simultaneously, Mac, Dee, and Frank attend the game in person, watching the Eagles win live.

Season 13 ends with "Mac Finds His Pride," where Mac comes to terms with his sexuality and finally comes out to his father through an elaborately choreographed and emotionally charged interpretive dance routine. The season has a ton of very strong moments, but its large focus on secondary characters, as well as the inclusion of a clip show, caused it to slip a little in the ratings.

13. Season 14

Next is Season 14, which starts with "The Gang Gets Romantic," where both Charlie and Frank, as well as Dennis and Mac, attempt to rent out their apartments on Airbnb with the intention of hooking up with strangers. After those plans fall through, they find themselves as participants in a focus group for a new movie called "Thunder Gun 4: Maximum Cool." They criticize the film for having too much inclusivity and for the main character, played by guest star Dolph Lundgren, not exposing himself as he did in the previous films.

Other highlights in the season include the gang going to the zoo in "The Gang Texts," where they have repeated mishaps over different interpretations of various emojis while text messaging one another. As well as "The Janitor Always Mops Twice," which is shot in black and white and focuses on Charlie and the Waitress' complicated relationship. 

The season ends with "Waiting for Big Mo," with the gang playing laser tag together while defeating their new rival, Mo, an adolescent teenager. The season got relatively good ratings across the board, with most people praising the show's ability to stay relevant while in its 14th season.

12. Season 1

The inaugural season of "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia" comes next. The season only has seven episodes and is notable for being the only one without Danny DeVito, who would not join until Season 2. Even though it's only Season 1, the show immediately takes on controversial topics like abortion, racism, gun control, and sexual assault. The first episode, "The Gang Gets Racist," introduces the Waitress as Charlie's love interest and establishes the roles of the gang. Charlie, Dennis, and Mac are all friends from high school, while Dee is Dennis' sister who they constantly put down and ridicule.

In the first episode, the guys briefly turn Paddy's into a gay bar after a new friend of Dee's show's them how much money they can make, but the guys become too uncomfortable and Dee laments the lack of tips from not serving heterosexual men. Charlie briefly fakes cancer in "Charlie Has Cancer" — which reuses a concept from the cheaply produced original pilot – in hopes of hooking up with the waitress, and Mac briefly dates Carmen (Brittany Daniel), a transsexual he meets at the bar.

Though it's a little rough around the edges, Season 1 still garners overwhelmingly positive reviews. The characters are undeveloped, but still provide hilarious moments with series-defining jokes.

11. Season 12

Coming in just outside of the top 10 is Season 12, which has some of the most outrageous moments in the series, starting with "The Gang Turns Black." That episode features Scott Bakula as a guest star and has the gang singing several songs musical-style. In the episode, the gang finds themselves transformed from white to black characters, and they learn a lesson about modern-day racism. Of course, it turns out they never learn anything because this is "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia" — and it was all just a dream.

Another highlight is "Old Lady House: A Situation Comedy," where the guys plant hidden cameras inside Charlie and Mac's mom's shared house. Instead of just watching out for potential problems, the guys end up adding theme music and creating a TV show based on the footage from the home. In "Making Dennis Reynolds a Murderer," the show parodies the Netflix documentary "Making a Murderer," with Dennis being framed as being a serial killer for his entire life.

In "A Cricket's Tale" a day in the life of side character Matthew "Rickety Cricket" Mara is portrayed — until it turns out to be a drug-induced hallucination. The season was noted for the provocative choice of taking on the persona of black characters but still garnered praise for continuing to be outrageous and impressive.

10. Season 2

Beginning the top 10 is Season 2. This is the first season that features Danny DeVito as Frank, and he makes a huge impact on the quality and direction of the show. Not only is his acting phenomenal, but his character's outrageous personality and limitless wealth drive the show in much crazier and more hilarious directions. Some of the best schemes in Season 3 involve his faking of physical injuries and disabilities, making mock terrorist videos, exploiting Catholics, and trying to game the welfare system.

In "Charlie Goes America All Over Everybody's A**," Charlie and Dee object to Dennis' smoking in the workplace and briefly leave the bar to become street performers. In "The Gang Runs for Office," Dennis attempts to run for local comptroller until he learns that it actually involves doing work.

One of the most significant parts of Season 2 is the season finale, "Dennis and Dee Get a New Dad," where they learn that Frank is only their adoptive father and that a gentleman named Bruce Mathis (Stephen Collins) is their biological father. They try to begin a relationship, but their narcissism ends up winning out, and they ask Frank to be their father again –- only for him to tell him he's no longer interested. It's then revealed that he may be Charlie's father, though that later turns out to be false in Season 15.

9. Season 3

Season 3 originally aired in 2007 and consisted of 15 episodes –- the most of any "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia" season. The season features some of the most memorable episodes in series history, including the two-part episode "The Gang Gets Whacked." After Charlie and Dee find a pair of speakers on the side of the road full of drugs, the gang starts to sell them, only to find themselves mixed up in the world of jockeys, horse racing, and the local mob.

In "The Gang Gets Invincible," Dennis, Mac, and Dee try out for the Philadelphia Eagles, only for Dee to get seriously injured after first showing everyone up. In "The Aluminum Monster vs. Fatty Magoo," we get some backstory about Dee's life in high school, where her nickname was the Aluminum Monster because of her back braces from scoliosis.

In the season finale, "The Gang Dances Their Asses Off," everyone has to participate in a winner-takes-all dance competition where the prize is Paddy's Pub. Charlie had inadvertently signed up at the bar, thinking the "prize" section said "pride" due to his illiteracy. The Sklar Brothers make hilarious guest appearances as co-DJs, and it's one of the series' best episodes. The show was still finding its footing in Season 3, but it remains incredibly memorable.

8. Season 6

Season 6 is the next entry on our list at number eight. The season starts with a bang in "Mac Fights Gay Marriage," when everyone in the gang starts contemplating newlywed life. Mac is upset that Carmen is getting married to a man who isn't him, Dennis and Dee rekindle their relationships with the Ponderosa family –- who make their series debuts -– and Charlie and Frank consider getting married for the tax benefits. Dennis and Maureen Ponderosa end up getting married, only for Dennis to divorce her in the following episode after realizing his mistake.

Later in the season, Dee reveals she's pregnant to a stunned gang who somehow missed her baby bump in "Who Got Dee Pregnant?" and the guys struggle to remember what happened the night she allegedly got pregnant. Later, it's revealed that Dee was acting as a surrogate for Carmen and her husband, who are unable to have biological children.

The season ends with the two-part finale special "A Very Sunny Christmas." During the special, the gang confronts their past, as Dennis and Dee try to make Frank realize what a terrible person he used to be, while Mac and Charlie seek to rectify childhood wrongs. There is hardly a moment in Season 6 that is not hilarious, making it an easy addition to the top 10.

7. Season 5

Coming one step ahead of Season 6 is its immediate predecessor, Season 5. There are 12 episodes in Season 5, starting with "The Gang Exploits the Mortgage Crisis," where Mac and Dennis create Honey and Vinegar Realty to quickly flip houses that have gone to foreclosure. Dee also starts interviewing people to become a potential surrogate mother, thoroughly lying to prospective families about pretty much every part of her life.

The gang briefly tries to step in when Frank's drug and alcohol use spirals out of control in "The Gang Gives Frank an Intervention," only for them to realize that his wine-in-a-can invention is actually genius. This episode also introduces the fan-favorite character Gail the Snail, who tries to hook up with Dennis constantly -– much to his annoyance.

In "The World Series Defense," the gang explains how the Philadelphia Phillies winning the 2008 World Series led to them sustaining various parking tickets, an argument the judge rejects. Other memorable moments include Charlie's invention of Kitten Mittens and Dennis' explanation of his utterly creepy D.E.N.N.I.S. system for luring women. Season 5 is definitely one of the funniest seasons of the series and easily deserving of its top seven status.

6. Season 10

Just outside of the top five sits the 10-episode Season 10, which has several hilarious celebrity cameos, including Wade Boggs in "The Gang Beats Boggs," Keegan-Michael Key in "The Gang Goes on Family Fight," and J.D. Walsh in "Frank Retires." For Boggs' cameo, the former Boston Red Sox third baseman is used as inspiration for a drinking contest on board an airplane, and he appears as an alcohol-induced hallucination that eggs Charlie on.

Key plays the game show host for "Family Fight," a parody of the famous "Family Feud" game show. During the episode, Dennis tries to curate a good image for himself and the gang, only for it to fail spectacularly when he can't stand the sound of the buzzer telling him he's wrong. J.D. Walsh plays a scientist that Mac and Charlie try to get to do bloodwork, though he is upset at the large buckets of blood they randomly drop off to him.

A hilarious plot line of the season is that Mac and Dennis have to move in with Dee after their apartment burns down in the Season 9 finale, causing all sorts of problems. Overall, Season 10 is one of the best of the entire series, and it just barely missed the top five.

5. Season 11

Beginning the top five on our list is Season 11. In the first episode, "Chardee MacDennis 2: Electric Boogaloo," the gang demonstrates their homemade board game Chardee MacDennis, which originally appeared in Season 7, to a Mattel executive. Unfortunately, the executive turns out to be someone Frank had hired trying to finally win the game — which Dennis and Dee still win. 

In "Mac & Dennis Move to the Suburbs," Mac and Dennis try to leave the city to experience residential life in suburbia, but the friendliness of the neighbors and lack of noise drive them crazy. Unable to make it, Dennis, Dee, and Mac all have to sleep in bed with an old man for a year, the result of a lost bet with Frank. Richard Grieco makes a guest appearance during "Dee Made a Smut Film," during which Dee tries her hand at being an arthouse director. Charlie tries to emulate Grieco by dressing as the 1980s movie star version of the actor to predictable reactions from the gang.

In "McPoyle vs. Ponderosa: The Trial of the Century," the gang is in court over the failed McPoyle-Ponderosa wedding from Season 8, and it's revealed that Bill Ponderosa caused the chaos by spiking the drinks. Season 11 has non-stop laughs from beginning to end, and pretty much every episode is incredible.

4. Season 9

Coming in at number four on our list is Season 9, which starts off with "The Gang Broke Dee." In this episode, a depressed Dee seemingly gives up on life by eating cake from a dumpster after years of merciless ridicule from the gang. Yet, things start to turn around when her previously unsuccessfully stand-up comedy career rapidly takes off. 

However, in the end, it's revealed the guys staged Dee's career resurrection after being upset over the negativity in her routine, wanting to show her "you could sink lower." Later in the season, the gang once again confronts the issue of gun control in "Gun Fever Too: Still Hot." In "Mac and Dennis Buy a Timeshare," the entire gang gets roped into participating in a multi-level marketing scheme, only to get out of the program just when it becomes profitable. 

In "Flowers for Charlie," Charlie becomes the subject of a science experiment that causes him to believe he has an inflated IQ and can fluently speak Mandarin Chinese, and the gang's "Lethal Weapon" franchise continues in "The Gang Makes Lethal Weapon 6." Overall, Season 9 is very strong and buoyed by diverse plots that have strong storylines featuring excellent secondary characters.

3. Season 8

Beginning the top three is Season 8, which begins with "Pop-Pop: The Final Solution." Here, Dennis and Dee learn that their grandfather used to be a Nazi and had them participate in disturbing rallies as kids –- much to their later chagrin. Dennis, still reeling from his divorce from Maureen Ponderosa in Season 6, tries to make sure her wedding with their nemesis Liam McPoyle goes through so he can stop paying alimony in "The Maureen Ponderosa Wedding Massacre." However, the entire wedding ends in chaos after her brother Bill spikes the milk at the reception with bath salts — as revealed in Season 11 — causing Liam to permanently lose an eye. 

In "The Gang Gets Analyzed," everyone goes to a psychiatrist to try and resolve who is going to do the dirty dishes at the bar, but the overwhelmed doctor gives up and assigns them to Dee. "Charlie's Mom Has Cancer" features P. Diddy as a guest star when Charlie's mom fakes cancer to cover up breaking the church's Virgin Mary statue.

The season ends with "Reynolds vs. Reynolds: The Cereal Defense," which pits Dennis and Mac against each other over damages to Dennis' car from when Frank had spilled milk -– and somehow, Dee ends up being held responsible. Season 8 is one of the strongest of the series and easily fits in the top three.

2. Season 7

The second-best season in the entire "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia" catalog is Season 7. The season starts off on a high note with the hilarious "Frank's Pretty Woman," where he decides to marry his preferred escort, Roxy. Unfortunately, Roxy dies from a drug overdose, causing the gang to leave her dead body in Charlie and Frank's hallway.

However, the season highlight is definitely "Frank Reynolds' Little Beauties," which features Frank throwing a children's beauty pageant. In an effort to prove he's not a pedophile after his partner gets arrested on sex offenses, Frank desperately tries to put on a clean show for the audience. Yet, the rest of the gang participates in the pageant on the side of various contestants, making it only about themselves and not the kids.

Later in the season, Frank tries to repair his broken relationship with his brother Gino, which was destroyed by their mutual competition over a woman named Shadynasty in "Frank's Brother." In the two-part season finale, "The High School Reunion," the gang tries to relive their past glories from high school, only to thoroughly embarrass and ostracize themselves once again from all of their peers. There is barely a dull moment in Season 7 as every episode is gold, and it is very worthy of being ranked number two.

1. Season 4

The crown for the best season in the "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia" series goes to Season 4, which features many of the series' most memorable episodes. It starts off with "Mac and Dennis: Manhunters," where Charlie and Dee get a taste for cannibalism after Frank tricks them into thinking they've eaten human meat. Meanwhile, Mac and Dennis are trying to track down Rickety Cricket so they can "teabag" him, and Frank takes on the persona of John Rambo.

In the two-part episode "Mac and Charlie Die," Mac and Charlie fake their own death after Mac's dad Luther is released from prison, fearing he is set out for revenge. However, Dennis and Dee instantly figure out the ruse, leading to an unenthusiastic funeral and halfhearted follow through on their last wishes.

In the season finale, "The Nightman Cometh," Charlie directs a rock opera based on "The Nightman," a song originally written and performed during Season 3. The whole opera is written for the Waitress, with Charlie proposing to her at the end of the performance. The Waitress turns him down, prompting Charlie to resume his stalking of her. With so many incredible episodes, including the ultimate fan-favorite "The Nightman Cometh," Season 7 is a clear choice for best in the series.