It’s Not Always Sunny In Philadelphia: The Story of Charlie Kelly

While many It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia fans enjoy the show for its crude and inappropriate humour, very few actually know of the darker aspect.


While many It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia fans enjoy the show for its crude and inappropriate humour, very few actually know of the darker aspect.

It took me two years to finally piece it all together, and frankly (no pun intended), it ultimately brought me to tears. The main focus of this entire piece is on Charlie Kelly and his life. 

Before you start saying “it’s just a TV show; no need to get analytical,” understand that this is not a crucial, need to know thing, but it helps you understand and sympathize with Charlie a bit more. Face it, Charlie is one of the most beloved characters of It’s Always Sunny, but behind that goofy smile and his crazy antics, there’s a past so dark, you may need a tissue–or two. 

Charlie makes references, however small, throughout all eleven seasons that seem trivial and unimportant.

Things most people don’t pick up on, because unless we’re watching some sort of crime drama, no one really cares about a character’s background or life. Very rarely does any show, especially a crass comedy like It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, open its audience up to the background of their characters, especially with a past like Charlie’s. So where do we start?

Charlie Kelly is uneducated, poor, and makes terrible life choices (like many, many people) but I feel they created his character so we could see the contrast between him and perhaps a child. Charlie is basically a man-child, and it shows frequently with his actions. While he strives to do his best and keep the gang on their feet, he fights his personal demons that not even the gang knows about. 

He’s repressed memories of a childhood trauma that is vaguely mentioned throughout the seasons. The first, and blatantly obvious hint at childhood trauma is when he writes “The Nightman Cometh.” 

“But the Nightman Cometh is funny.” Indeed it is, but once I am finished with this you will understand why this show is as funny as it is depressing. Charlie states that he wrote the play just to write a play, and in a way, I feel as if he still has these memories repressed, hence he writes a play. The Nightman Cometh is a metaphor for Charlie’s life, from the waitress to the “troll toll” which will come into play later. 

While the gang jokes around about the Nightman/Boy “rape scene,” it is clear Charlie’s rage is much more than him being irritated with the gang. It may seem innocent, but I feel this is where he realizes his repressed memories and it begins to eat away at him. 
In the episode “Sweet Dee Is Dating A Retarded Person,” Charlie is found in his apartment, high on paint fumes writing a song. It’s not obvious (until later) when he mentions handsome hands. We’re meant to think this is funny, but once I get more in depth, you’ll see why it’s tragic. 

In a later season, Charlie is seen speaking with his mother. While he asks to stay with her, she mentions she had sublet his room to Uncle Jack. He explains to her after she says she needs money that she owns the apartment and doesn’t need it. She replies again with “I need money.” Seems innocent enough until Uncle Jack refers to the past and brings up wrestling to Charlie. He is overwhelmingly interested in sharing a room with Charlie, yet again. 

“So, your point is?” Remember how uncle Jack is obsessed with hands, especially his own. Remember Charlie mentioning handsome hands in the original Dayman song? Remember the Troll Toll and how Frank conveniently mistakes “boys soul” with “boy’s hole”? Uncle Jack is the Nightman. Charlie’s mother is the troll. Charlie is that little boy who becomes the Dayman. 

Uncle Jack paid Charlie’s mother to let him stay with her and Charlie when Charlie was a child. Charlie was molested for years by Uncle Jack, all while his mother knew and continued to accept money from Charlie’s “uncle.” My initial thought was that while Frank and Bonnie did have sex, I have an inkling Uncle Jack was Bonnie’s boyfriend at one time, and that he may be Charlie’s father. We are pointed in the direction of Frank being Charlie’s dad, but something tells me he isn’t.


Back to Charlie:

Charlie has been a victim of sexual abuse for many years as a child, and while his personality seems quirky and innocent enough, many of his issues stem from the prior abuse. He shows signs of an abuse victim (wanting to be accepted by his peers, drug abuse, self-destructive behaviour, being obsessive and clingy to others) but that isn’t where it ends. 

Charlie’s obsession with the waitress may seem innocent, and I believe his intentions are innocent. However, because of his past abuse, he has this overwhelming love and attachment to a woman he will never have. Charlie wants to be loved. He wants approval and acceptance of those around him. He doesn’t care if the attention is bad or good; so long as someone notices him. Notice that while he does stalk the waitress, all of his intentions to love her are childish. He has no thoughts of explicit sex with her, which is shown in a later season when the gang gets caught up in a store robbery.

Charlie’s mind is like that of a child, as stated earlier. He has this deep yearning to be a child again since he was robbed of his childhood. We, as viewers, assume that Charlie is just dumb, when in fact, the child-like state he remains in is his way of coping from the trauma of the past, and that in itself is truly tragic. Victims of sexual assault, especially those who are assaulted as children, never really grow up. They like to, subconsciously, stay in that childish state to hang onto what was lost. This leads me more into believing that Charlie was in fact, sexually assaulted as a child. 

While we continue to laugh at the quirky jokes, a part of anyone who reads this will sympathize more with Charlie than ever before. Charlie is by far, out of every person in the gang, the most innocent, and to be honest, when I made my initial discovery and put the pieces together, it brought me to tears.

Please remember that while the show itself is hilarious, sexual assault is more common than anyone would like to admit, and it has adverse effects on the victims.

Stay sunny, turkeys. 

Season 12 will be airing January 2017 on FX. 

My Life, My Rules

“Oh, you have a great personality,” “you have a pretty face,” and “I prefer larger ladies like yourself.” These are some of the things I’ve heard repeatedly from friends, family and guys who are interested in me. You’d think I would be enthusiast about these comments, but in fact, it hurts more than just saying “you’re fat.” 

I haven’t been a healthy weight since I was roughly six or seven, and while most people blame the parents at that age, it was my own doing, and as an excuse, it was a coping mechanism for childhood trauma I had experienced. It was excuse after excuse for me, up until a few months ago when I finally accepted the fact that I needed to change. Excuses only work once, and after that, everyone knows you’re pretty much full of shit.

I continued for years to gain, and lose repeatedly until I reached an all-time low in my mental illness. Sure, losing weight boosted my confidence a little, but not much. No amount of weight off of my body would suffice. I’ve dropped 76lbs since August of last year, and am currently stuck in a plateau stage. I’m still far off from where I want to be, and it will be at least another year to a year and a half for me to get there. 

I’m glad other people are confident and happy being overweight, but I am not. I see the damage it causes and how utterly disgusting can be. I don’t want to lose limbs from gangrene, I don’t want to end up wearing tarp like clothing just so something fits, and frankly, I am disgusted with myself for getting as heavy as I was, and currently am. I don’t want to die young, especially from something preventable. What is glamorous about heart disease, lack of mobility, and diabetes?

Absolutely nothing.

After watching my mom deal with type one diabetes, even with her being an overall healthy woman, I don’t want that. She suffers day in and day out, and if I can physically prevent it, I will. I refuse to continue to be another statistic. I deserve true happiness and I will continue to drop weight until I have achieved it. I am not happy in my current state no matter how much I’ve tried to pretend I have been.

I’ve developed PCOS, which could have been prevented. Once I lose that weight, I know it will go away and my chances for any of the obesity related diseases will go down. My only hope is that once I’m done, I haven’t already developed these diseases. I have a lot to live for, and I want more than anything else to play music for a living because it’s been a dream of mine for 20+ years. No one takes you seriously, especially being female, if you’re overweight. Sure, they may like your vocals, but any other interest in you is simply materialistic. What can she give me if she gets anywhere?
I’ve spent days in bed because of my

depression and anxiety. I was terrified to go out and be around people because I didn’t want to be ridiculed. I hate the way m clothes fit, I hate looking at myself in the mirror, and I hate this feigned happiness I’ve been portraying. Since dropping 76lbs, I’ve got lose skin, and it’s especially noticeable in my arms. It’s humiliating. I know that lose skin is inevitable, and there are ways (light weights, more reps) to rid of it. 

I’m sure I’ll catch shit for this because I’m technically “body shaming” even though it’s just myself. The reality is, is that I am NOT body shaming, but I am talking about the cold, hard reality of being overweight. I want people to like me for me, not just ‘like’ me out of pity.
One other thing: please, for the love of all things sacred, stop telling me to accept and love my body because you enjoy being fat. Stop telling me that people will use and abuse me if I lose weight. I’ve been used and abused being overweight, and I’d rather be confident in myself and happy with my body the way I want to look. I refuse to stay fat to fit your agenda. I am my own person, and I deserve a life in a body I like and happiness in who I am.