Rob McElhenney jokes about how the world has changed since ‘It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia’ premiered 17 years ago

Danny DeVito, Rob McElhenney, and Charlie Day arrive at the premiere of FX's "It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia" season 14 at TCL Chinese 6 Theatres on September 24, 2019 in Hollywood, California.
Morgan Lieberman / Stringer / Getty Images

It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia is now officially the longest-running live-action sitcom, having surpassed 14 seasons of The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet when the FXX comedy’s 15th season premiered in December 2021. And with the series renewed for three more seasons — bringing the total up to at least 18 — it doesn’t look like The Gang is going anywhere soon.

But with hiatuses and production delays, Thursday, Aug. 4 actually marked an incredible 17 years since It’s Always Sunny first came careening onto our television screens. To mark such a momentous occasion, series creator and star Rob McElhenney took to Twitter to reflect on how the world has changed in those nearly two decades.

“On this date in 2005…” McElhenney wrote. “Gas was 2 dollars a gallon. The iPhone didn’t exist. MySpace was the most popular social media platform in the world. Steph Curry was in high school. Mbappé was six years old. Charli D’amelio was one. Also this show premiered…”

Not to mention, George W. Bush was still president! And not even that many people outside of Illinois knew who newly-minted junior senator Barack Obama was.

But unfortunately, being on TV for that long with an evolving cultural landscape can present its own unique challenges. As such, the cast has been forthcoming about some episodes early into the series run that don’t, uh, hold up as well in 2022.

In a 2018 GQ oral history of the season 4 finale, “The Nightman Cometh,” Glenn Howerton admitted that “one of the few regrets” he had was over a season 3 episode title in which Sweet Dee (Kaitlin Olson) was dating a local rapper who the others believed had a mental disability.

“We thought it was terrible,” Glenn Howerton said of the episode in question, even at the time of filming. “I would change that title now. I do find that title offensive, personally. At the time I don’t even know what I was thinking.”

McElhenney likewise recalled his own regret over the mistreatment of a transgender character early into the series run in a 2020 interview.

“Carmen, who’s transgender on the show but we called her something else,” McElhenny explained. “We referred to [her] in a derogatory term which at the time we didn’t recognize was derogatory and that’s our own fault and ignorance because we didn’t do our homework and reach out to the community to find out. We just assumed it was appropriate to call this person this derogatory term.”

Well, with It’s Always Sunny running through at least 2024, it seems like they’ve got plenty of time to continue righting the ship.