Is that a plot point in your pants?

Mac’s girlfriend isn’t keeping it a secret

I’ve been watching lots of episodes of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia lately and enjoying the hell out of it as usual. You probably know about this bad-taste sitcom by now and just as likely have heard the comparison to Seinfeld . Like Seinfeld this show presents us with a cast of self-centred jerks. Unlike Seinfeld we aren’t expected to root for them. It’s kind of like Archer to Seinfeld ’s James Bond if you take my meaning. Mac Dennis Dee Charlie and Frank all behave like unbelievable pricks in every single episode so when their own awfulness comes back to bite them in the ass we laugh.

It shouldn’t work but it does. The world of It’s Always Sunny has plenty of nice people in it — virtually everybody outside of “the gang” is honest and principled — so we’re never tempted to feel that the gang’s various lies cheats swindles insults and overall selfishness could ever be justified. This is a show about five villains who get their delicious comeuppance every week yet never learn a thing.

Anyway the reason I’m writing about this well-loved but kinda old program (it premièred in 2005 and new episodes air on FX Canada) is that I stumbled across a rather unexpected acknowledgment of “Carmen” (played by Brittany Daniel) a recurring character in the show. In the season 1 episode “Charlie has Cancer” Mac (Rob McElhenney) is flirting with the gorgeous Carmen until somebody points out that she has a very large penis-like bulge in her jeans. Mac reacts badly at first storming over to her and pointing an accusing finger at her crotch:

MAC: Is that a penis in your pants?

CARMEN: (cheerfully) Yeah!

MAC: (fuming) You lied to me!

CARMEN: (flirty) No I didn’t. You lied to me. You don’t work out? Please. I’ve seen you at the gym. You’re ripped!

MAC: No don’t turn this around. (suddenly succumbs to his own vanity and smiles) Wait really? You think so?


MAC: (primping) I was afraid I was getting a little too ripped you know?

CARMEN: Oh no I like it!

MAC: (beaming) Wow. Well I gotta get back to work. But I dunno… maybe I’ll give you a call sometime.


After that Carmen becomes Mac’s on-again off-again girlfriend and the joke isn’t that she’s actually physically male but rather that Mac’s homophobia makes him way too uncomfortable with the relationship. He’s too smitten to dump her and whenever he tries she derails him by feeding his ego; a tactic that works every time.

There is an online resource called Bad Trans Jokes ( badtransjokes.tumblr.com ) that “collects horrible lazy transphobic jokes as told by your favourite comedians TV shows movies video games and comics.” About Carmen the website says “Despite some extremely problematic elements she is in my opinion the best trans character in a comedy that I’ve ever seen. Which is really sad to be honest.” A scorecard of good and bad elements of the show follows in which it is pointed out that Carmen is smart beautiful and usually gets the upper hand. The bad elements mostly relate to the gang’s attitude towards her and as we’ve already pointed out the gang are the villains of this show. So hey well done Carmen!

Incidentally Brittany Daniel is not the first actress to portray Carmen. In the unaired pilot episode of It’s Always Sunny the role is played by none other than Firefly temptress Morena Baccarin.