“The Gang Gets Analyzed” is a classic episode of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia; it gets the Gang all in one place, irritated and ready to snap over the latest trivial argument they’ve worked themselves into a frenzy over (in this case, who’s going to do the dishes), which is really where they’re at their
worstbest. However, the episode offers only a shallow dive into the psyches of our favorite psychotic Philadelphians. I would like to offer my own psychoanalysis of each of them.
Poor Mac was doomed from the moment his parents named him Ronald McDonald. His father lived a life of crime, and never seemed to love Mac. His strict religious upbringing worked in direct contrast to this life, but nonetheless it made a rather big impact on young Mac. In his adult life, he shoehorns God and his beliefs into discussions whenever possible, claiming a moral superiority over the rest of the Gang. Unfortunately, this dooms Mac to a life of confusion and frustration, as he so clearly represses his attraction to other men that would directly conflict with his worldview. Most of what Mac brings to the group is a result of his insecurities. He plays (or tries to play) the role of the macho bodyguard to compensate for his fear of being in any way un-masculine, and he inserts God into arguments to compensate for issues of spiritual inadequacy. In order for Mac to resolve his issues, he would need to first admit to himself that he’s gay- and that’s okay.
Frank does not have donkey brains. He clearly lagged developmentally as a child, and during the time he grew up this led to him being institutionalized. During this traumatic experience, he began hallucinating that he had a “Frog Kid” roommate that he cared for, a delusion that stuck with him until his doctor revealed the truth.
Frank is a ruthless businessman, but also has a love of filth. He left his business life behind to live in squalor with his “kids”, dwelling well below his means. Each season he sinks deeper into the filth, and deeper into senility. At this point, Frank is content with living out his life just screwing around with the Gang.
Dennis is a goddamn sociopath. As I covered in a previous post in more detail, his rage has been growing over the years and threatens to boil over at any moment. His narcissism only serves to feed into this rage, causing him to feel righteous in any course of action he takes.
Sweet Dee is the most frequently abused member of the Gang, and she is unfortunately used to mockery. She spent much of high school in a bulky back brace, being known among her classmates as “The Aluminum Monster”. She has extreme issues of insecurity as a result; she sleeps around and manipulates men to get attention, and she seeks reassurance that she’s good enough. She wants to be an actress but can’t get quite past her stage fright, causing her all the more anguish. It is clear that the insecurities weigh heavily on Dee, as she has been known to act out violently. She did, after all, attempt to set her college roommate on fire. Nonetheless, Dee often appears to be the most practical member of the Gang.
Oh, Charlie. Charlie’s life has been complicated since the very beginning, having apparently survived an attempted abortion. His mother was (and still is) a whore, and would often service her clients while young Charlie sat patiently downstairs huffing glue. Adding further complication is the frequent implication that Charlie was molested as a boy, presumably by his creepy Uncle Jack. Between the abuse and the glue, Charlie turned into the illiterate, dangerously naive adult he is today. Charlie just wants to be happy and show his love for the Waitress, but his poor social and intellectual skills leave him unable to do anything but terrify her.
Ultimately, the entire Gang is deeply troubled, but also likely blacklisted among Philly-area therapists. So alas, they are doomed to live on in confusion, chaos, and anger, terrorizing the streets of Philadelphia but entertaining us all.