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The Ultimate It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia Dennis Reynolds Sex Doll Oral History

Who almost puked on it?

Tim Surette

For a few brief moments, It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia expanded its cast and grew the gang. No, no no, not Mindy Kaling, who showed up in the Season 13 premiere in a guest role as the replacement for Dennis (Glenn Howerton), who left Paddy's Pub and Philly to be the dad of a child he fathered in North Dakota. I'm talking about Rubber Dennis, a sex doll made in the likeness of Dennis as a stand-in for their dearly departed friend, and the being that stole the show in the premiere.

The doll became a character befitting of the show as fast as anyone else has, thanks to the established chemistry of the gang and the shallowness of the characters, which allowed them to see an inanimate object that looked enough like Dennis that it "filled the Dennis-shaped hole" in their lives. The doll even managed to bang the waitress in its only episode. (It also almost certainly banged the rest of the gang minus Dee in an off-screen orgy.)

But its time on the show was short-lived; the real live Dennis came back, eliminating the need to keep it around (except for orgy purposes). But what's the story behind the doll? How did it get made? Where is it now? To find out, TV Guide asked the cast of It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia in what we're billing as the "Ultimate It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia Dennis Reynolds Sex Doll Oral History, Pun Not Intended But We're Keeping It in There."

It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia

It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia


How the sex doll come to be:

Rob McElhenney (Mac, series creator, executive producer): "We researched that there are companies that make these sex dolls, legit, and they're actually much more realistic than what we wound up portraying. They almost look human, and they cost $50,000 to $60,000. They're anatomically correct and posable, and apparently there's a market for it because the company exists. And there's some thing kind of sweet about it, also sad, but people are doing it for companionship and they are having sex with it. So, we looked into that and it was going to take like a year -- that's how long it takes to build these things to make them so perfect -- so we went to an effects house and said, 'Hey, can you make a version of this?' And as they started building it, we said, 'This looks too real!' It's going to look like he's sitting in the room, so we had to scale back a little bit and make it at least look like it's a doll."

Glenn Howerton (Dennis Reynolds, executive producer): "Obviously I'm involved in the entire process, so I knew it was coming. But it is pretty disturbing to see a very accurate depiction of yourself with your mouth open and ready for the penetration of what goes into that mouth."

Rob McElhenny: "Glenn went in and had to do some facial scanning. He loved the idea."

Glenn Howerton: "The mistake we made is that when I posed for the pictures that were going to become the doll, I didn't pose with my mouth open. That is not my actual 'mouth receiving' face."

What the cast thought of it:

Mary Elizabeth Ellis(The Waitress): "It was in the trailer getting its hair washed and I was like, 'Glenn's being really quiet.' That doll sat in the hair and makeup trailer for the entire time we were shooting. Every time we'd walk in in the morning, that doll was just there ready to go."

Charlie Day(Charlie, executive producer): "It was really unnerving. It felt like having Glenn in the room, you'd turn your shoulder and be surprised it was not alive."

Danny DeVito (Frank): "It was awful, it was horrendous. It was hideous. It was the most grotesque thing you've ever seen. I was repulsed by it. It's a good thing I didn't eat before or I would have puked on it."

Mary Elizabeth Ellis: "Have you ever touched one? If you've ever seen a [professional] latex [mask], it's a body made out of that. It had its arm around me, and I was like, 'I don't care for this.' I don't understand how people enjoy this, but you know what, do whatever you want to do. It's not for me."

Mac Is Getting a Boyfriend on It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia

Where is the doll now?

David Hornsby (Rickety Crickets, executive producer, writer of the Season 13 premiere): "I imagine [it's] somewhere in the Valley, as typical with most sex dolls in the industry."

Charlie Day: "I don't know [where it is], the sex doll has disappeared. I suspect that either Rob or Glenn has it, what they've done with it God only knows."

Mary Elizabeth Ellis: "I was suggesting we raffle it off for charity. There would be so many buyers."

Did they ever actually consider doing the show without Glenn?

Rob McElhenny: "We did originally [think about doing the show without Glenn] because he said he didn't want to do it, and Charlie and I sat and talked for a long time and tried to figure out if there was a way we could still make the show. And the truth is we didn't even engage for that long, because we just couldn't see a way through it. The show is the five of us. We had a show before Danny, but once you introduce that character in ... the second season, it just made everything kind of magic, and we realized that that's the show. And if one of us wants to leave, then most likely then that's the end of the show."

Note: The doll made an in-person/in-doll appearance Tuesday night at the Season 13 premiere screening in Los Angeles. Its current whereabouts are unknown.

It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia airs Wednesday nights at 10/9c on FXX.