From Charlie’s plot to win the attention of strippers by dressing as a war hero to Mac developing PTSD from playing too many video games, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia has a history of hilarious military-themed moments. On the most recent episode of their new podcast, the gang speculates regarding which branch of the military they would join and why.
The FXX comedy show is the longest-running live-action comedy series in television history, and after signing on for at least three more seasons, the It’s Always Sunny gang shows no signs of stopping. Expanding on their wildly popular television series, the show’s creators — Rob McElhenney, Charlie Day, and Glenn Howerton, who also star as three of the five main characters — recently started a podcast, which immediately shot to the top of the charts.
On the most recent episode, Day, McElhenney, and Howerton revisit one of their most iconic television episodes: Charlie Goes America All Over Everybody’s Ass. The satirical plot centers around topics of patriotism and freedom and even includes an original anthem. Sticking to the patriotic theme of the episode, Howerton asks Day and McElhenney, “If you were to fight for this country and join one of the armed forces, which branch of the military would you have been inclined to join?”
Day is the first to answer, wasting no time in announcing he’d join the Marines.
“Just to have gone through that and been able to say, ‘I’m a Marine. Don’t fuck with me,’” Day explains. “My buddy Carl is a Marine, and when shit goes down I know he can snap into action and take care of business. And I don’t just mean in a bar fight — that means in any kind of situation.”
Day goes on to fantasize about having the ability to win a fight with a grizzly bear, which Howerton is quick to point out is not a fight even a Marine has a good chance of winning.
“But your attitude is different,” Howerton adds. “You’re not screaming and running away, you’re screaming and running at the bear.”
While Howerton says that tongue-in-cheek, it’s pretty damn close to the Marines’ actual doctrine for reacting to a near ambush.
Howerton then answers the question and says he’d join the youngest branch “by default.” His father was an Air Force Academy graduate and a Vietnam War veteran, and his grandfather flew a bomber in the Army Air Force during World War II.
“After almost every single mission, my grandfather would bring his B-52 back and land it, and it would just look like Swiss cheese,” Howerton says. (While Howerton says the plane was a B-52, the B-52 was not in use until the early 1950s.)
He explains how his grandfather joined the Army Air Force with the idea that being in the sky would be safer than fighting on the ground — a misconception McElhenney is quick to address.
“My grandfather thought it would be safer in the sea, and it wasn’t,” McElhenney says.
He describes how his grandfather’s aircraft carrier was strafed by enemy aircraft on a near-daily basis and how he was wounded while underway. Unlike McElhenney’s grandfather, who survived being wounded, Day’s grandfather was killed during WWII when his plane crashed during a training exercise. Howerton chimes in, recalling a time when his own grandfather had to hold the body of his best friend and co-pilot still just to prevent it from falling forward onto the plane’s yoke. He continued to fly and land the plane with one hand.
“That’s the kind of thing I can’t even wrap my head around,” Howerton says.
While none of the three cast members are military veterans, the episode makes clear that they all have deep familial ties with the military. McElhenney never chooses a branch to hypothetically join, but based on his character’s deadly skills in hand-to-hand combat, he’d probably make a good MCMAP or Army Combatives instructor.