Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Cricket Had A Major Transformation On It's Always Sunny

When "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia" was renewed for its 15th season in 2020, it made history to become the longest-running live-action American sitcom. Over those record-setting fourteen seasons, the gang has done a lot of horrible things to a lot of people, but one character has gotten it worse than anyone.

Cricket, played by "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia" writer and producer David Hornsby, is a long-suffering former classmate of Dee (Kaitlin Olson) and Dennis (Glenn Howerton). He first appears on the show during the second season, when the mild-mannered priest's life takes a sharp left turn thanks to the gang's influence. From that point forward, every time Cricket shows back up, his life seems to be going just a little bit worse, usually as a result of something the owners of Paddy's Pub have done to him.

Cricket's never-ending downward spiral has gone to some pretty dark places over the last decade, and the character has undergone some shocking physical changes, as a result. Here is Cricket's major transformation on "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia." It's not a journey for the weak-stomached.

Cricket entered It's Always Sunny as Matthew Mara, an ordained priest

Cricket first reconnects with the gang after water damage in the bar creates a stain that Mac (Rob McElhenney) believes resembles the Virgin Mary in the Season 2 episode "The Gang Exploits a Miracle." Cricket, whose real name is Matthew Mara, arrives in the bar after hearing about the stain from a local news report.

In this episode, fans get some of their only hints to Cricket's backstory, as the gang recounts the time they spent in high school together. Viewers learn that Cricket's name derives from the cruel nickname, Rickety Cricket, which he earned for the small crime of wearing leg braces as a child. Critically, he was also once wildly in love with Dee (a crush that more-or-less persists, despite the ordination). He received a master's degree in theology while studying to become a priest, so the guy's obviously educated.

While Cricket initially rejects the gang, who try to get him to bless the water stain, he eventually falls for Dee's advances, casts off the priesthood, and returns to admit his love for Dee. Of course, Dee is forced to disclose that she was not actually interested, and only made those advances because she knew he couldn't reciprocate. Pretty mean trick, especially in light of everything that happens to Cricket after casting off the holy raiments of his station.

Cricket becomes homeless in Season 3 of It's Always Sunny

When Cricket reappears in the Season 3 episode "The Gang Gets Whacked (Part 2)," Charlie (Charlie Day) and Dee at first think he has successfully rejoined the priesthood due to his outfit. However, it is soon revealed that he has become homeless. Instead of setting out to make amends for turning this man of the cloth into a man of the streets, Charlie and Dee introduce Cricket to drugs.

Charlie and Dee give Cricket a large amount of cocaine to sell, which Cricket instead consumes. This puts him in conflict with the mobsters to whom the drugs originally belonged. They break both of Cricket's legs after the gang blames the entire fiasco on him.

From there, things go downhill quickly. Cricket appears once more in Season 3, in an episode centered around a dance-off competition that will determine the new owner of Paddy's Pub. At this point, Cricket has abandoned the priesthood, is wearing dirty clothing, and walking with the aid of what he refers to as "bionic legs," which he received after being attacked by the mobsters.

The gang continues to make Cricket's life on the streets difficult

Cricket looks essentially the same, disheveled and dirty, during his next appearance on the show in the Season 4 episode "Mac and Dennis: Manhunters." The man they decide to hunt, of course, is Cricket — the most dangerous game. At this point, Cricket has regained full use of his legs, which allows him to acrobatically escape from Mac and Dennis, at least for a while.

After a few minor appearances in other Season 4 episodes, Cricket's next life-changing event occurs in the Season 5 episode "The Gang Wrestles for the Troops." In that episode, Cricket shows up opposite the gang in a wrestling match dressed as a cartoonish stereotype of a terrorist — the perfect heel for the show's staunchly pro-military fans. Cricket does surprisingly well in the match, managing to incapacitate most of the gang, but suffers a severe injury when a trash can thrown by Frank (Danny DeVito) leaves a horrible wound on his neck.

When viewers next see Cricket in Season 6, he has grown a beard, possibly to cover the neck wound he received from Frank, and his voice is noticeably lower and scratchier. He is missing at least one tooth, but seems to be dealing with the challenges of living without a home, although he does mention that he has had one of his kidneys stolen.

Cricket learns to adapt to the difficult situation of being homeless

In Season 7, Cricket appears twice, first in the bar's basement where Frank shoots him in the hand after assuming he is a looter, and then dressed in his priest clothing at his high school reunion. However, it turns out Cricket has not returned to the church, but is wearing the outfit to conceal the theft of his former classmates' jewelry. Cricket's next major transformation comes in Season 8 when Mac and Charlie find him working, and perhaps living, at the dog pound. Cricket's left eye has been damaged after getting in a fight with a chocolate lab, and his entire face has a massive scar covering it.

As they always do for Cricket, things only get darker from there. He is trapped in an apartment during a fire on Thanksgiving in the Season 9 episode "The Gang Squashes Their Beef," which leaves him with massive burns on the side of his face, as seen in the Season 10 episode "Psycho Pete Returns." At that point, Cricket's physical evolution is largely complete. When he reappears in Season 11, Cricket has grown his hair out to primarily hide his burned skin.

For now, it appears that Matthew Mara has gone as low as he can go in his transformation into Cricket, an identity he decides to accept in the Season 13 episode "A Cricket's Tale." Fans of "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia" will just have to wait and see what the upcoming seasons of the record-breaking show have in store for the surprisingly resilient former priest.