If you're a big It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia fan and don't want any spoilers, just click away and get out of here because the premiere is great and the way the show handles the question of Dennis is great.
For 12 seasons, It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia has been one of the most consistently funny shows on television. It's also just been plain old consistent overall. The core cast has stayed the same (and through the magic of whatever is in the water in Hollywood, still looks the same) and the premise is still the same: four friends (plus Danny DeVito's Frank) are pretty much jerks to everyone and each other. It's comforting. It's hilarious. It isn't changing. And that's exactly how we like it.
But in the Season 12 finale, the series was shaken up in a major way when Glenn Howerton's character Dennis left Philly for North Dakota in order to be a dad to a kid he fathered during one of his overnight conquests. With Howerton now the star of NBC's A.P. Bio, it made sense that we were saying goodbye to Dennis for good. Even the FX blurb for Season 13 made it clear that Dennis would not be back. Tears were shed, and at least one big fan (me) was wondering whether the show would even be close to the same without one of its best characters.
Well, we were duped.
Howerton IS back on the show — pause for applause — and boy do I feel stupid for thinking anything else. At the Television Critics Association summer press tour, it was revealed Glenn Howerton would be back for the thirteenth season. He'll appear in most of the season's 10 episodes, but not all of them.
Howerton had previously been very secretive about Dennis' future on the show, saying that he would be helping out with the series behind the scenes but was unsure if he'd ever be in front of the camera again. He played us for fools, and we fell for it. Well done, you golden god.
I won't say how he comes back, but it is one of the better season premieres of the series and a meta exercise in how to address the elephant in the room in pure Sunny fashion.
It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia returns for Season 13 on Wednesday, Sept. 5 at 10/9c on FXX.