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The Sad Truth About Sweet Dee From It's Always Sunny

Much of the darkness present on It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia is played for laughs, but when you strip away the jokes and gags, it's hard not to feel sad for these characters — especially Dee Reynolds (Kaitlin Olson). She's constantly the odd person out whenever the rest of the gang concocts schemes, and even when they do include her, they typically resort to calling her a bird or some other horrible name. It all culminates in "The Gang Broke Dee," an episode in which she becomes so depressed that all she can do is smoke and eat old cake. 

As is the case with the rest of the sociopaths from Paddy's Pub, a lot of Dee's problems can be traced back to her childhood. Severe trauma is really the only way to understand a person who would be willing to ruin a priest's life or lie to their therapist about passing up the lead role in The Notebook. We gain a little insight into Dee's tortured psyche in "A Very Sunny Christmas," when it's revealed that Frank (Danny DeVito) never gave Dee or Dennis (Glenn Howerton) Christmas presents growing up, and would instead give himself wonderful gifts and rub it in their faces. That alone would be enough to leave some serious psychological scars, but as it turns out, Dee was getting it from both parents. Yikes to that.

Dee's mother emotionally abused her

In the third episode of season 3, "Dennis and Dee's Mom is Dead," we get a better look than ever before at the relationship between Dee and her mother, Barbara (Anne Archer). From prior appearances, we know she's not the nicest person in the world, but the depth of her disdain for her daughter is on full display when Dee, Dennis, and Frank go to a lawyer's office for the reading of her will. In the paperwork, she calls Dee "a disappointment and a mistake," which is particularly hurtful when you consider the fact that she and Dennis are twins. 

Her torture doesn't end there. When the guys discover Dee's old diary filled with personal secrets, Charlie (Charlie Day) has Ernesto (Jose Yenque) read it for him. They come across one passage in which Barbara forces Dee to wear a back brace to a school dance where all the kids proceed to call her "Aluminum Monster." It's hard not to go through the scene without imagining Barbara purposefully making Dee humiliate herself in front of her classmates, and that's not even the full extent of the harm caused by this monster.

Later, Ernesto and Charlie are literally in tears as they come across another page where Dee reveals that she was going to tell a boy how much she liked him, but never went through with it, because her mother told her, "Don't bother. He wants a pretty girl instead." After experiencing that kind of verbal abuse, it's easy to understand why Dee is so obsessed with her physical appearance in adulthood.

With Always Sunny getting renewed for several more seasons, there will be plenty more instances to come of Dee sabotage her own happiness to try to get back at her mother.