‘It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia: The 5 Missing Episodes (and Why Hulu Removed Them)

For 15 seasons, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia has made a name by satirizing many serious real-world issues. However, the characters’ controversial antics have caused this no-holds-barred comedic TV series to be in hot water with streaming services.

The Gang, consisting of degenerates, Dee Reynolds, Dennis Reynolds, Frank Reynolds, Mac (Ronald MacDonald), and Charlie Kelly, are the worst people in the world — at least in the fictionalized Philidelphia where the show takes place. Apparently, their hijinx is a tad too much real world.

Glenn Howerton, Danny DeVito, Kaitlin Olson, Rob McElhenney and Charlie Day filming a scene for 'It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia' in Philadelphia, PA.
Glenn Howerton, Danny DeVito, Kaitlin Olson, Rob McElhenney and Charlie Day, ‘It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia’ | Gilbert Carrasquillo/GC Images

It’s Always Sunny in Philidelphia somehow managed to avoid cancel culture but didn’t escape it unscathed. The always controversial show had to sacrifice five episodes from its lineup. Here are the five episodes removed from Hulu (Netflix in the UK) and why they were taken down.

Season 4: Episode 3, ‘America’s Next Top Paddy’s Billboard Model Contest’

In this episode, Charlie accidentally makes Dee internet famous by publishing her private video diaries on YouTube. When Dee discovers her newfound fame, she tries to milk it by posting skits of her many (racist) characters, hoping Saturday Night Live will pick her up.

Hulu and Netflix removed this episode because it features Dee’s character, “Martina Martinez.” Dee is brown-fishing, wearing a curly black-haired wig with very tan makeup. In the episode, she describes her character: “Her name’s Martina Martinez, and she is a streetwise Puerto Rican girl who’s always quick with a sassy comeback.”

Another one of Dee’s racist characters makes a debut in this episode. “Taiwan Tammy” is a caricatured portrayal of an Asian woman who owns a nail salon and a laundromat, played by Dee in a straight black wig and large fake teeth. However, the show recognizes how bad this is, and even Charlie admits Dee’s characters are “extremely racist.”

Season 6: Episode 9, ‘Dee Reynolds: Shaping America’s Youth’

‘Dee Reynolds: Shaping America’s Youth’ is the episode where the Gang introduced their blackface characters in their fan film of the popular Lethal Weapon films in their short, ‘Lethal Weapon 5.’

In the film, Mac wears blackface to portray Roger Murtaugh’s character, originally played by Danny Glover in the original Lethal Weapon franchise. Frank portrays the villain, Chief Lazarus, a Native American casino owner who wears long braids and a tan.

In the episode, the gang discusses what it means to blackface before screening the film. Dennis suggests they do “reshoots” to eliminate the use of Mac’s blackface.

Dennis tells Mac, “I seriously regret switching parts with you halfway through and letting you play Murtaugh in blackface. I feel like it was in very poor taste, in retrospect.” However, Mac disagrees, saying, “I think it was in poor taste that you were doing Murtaugh in white face.”

Season 8: Episode 2, ‘The Gang Recycles Their Trash’

In ‘The Gang Recycles Their Trash,’ the show reuses old jokes from previous episodes within a new plot. Of course, there’s a nod to one of Dee’s racist characters, making it another episode dropped from streaming services.

The sanitation worker union is on strike, and Frank hatches a plan to exploit money from it. As the plan starts falling apart, Dee attempts to save it by dressing up as one of her characters, Martina Martinez.

During the scene, she wears much darker makeup on just her face and wears pads to make her breasts and butt look more curvaceous. To inflame racial tensions, Dee points out that the sanitation workers (who are almost entirely Black or Latino) are out there working while the “white men” negotiate their contracts. 

Season 9: Episode 9, ‘The Gang Makes Lethal Weapon 6’

In ‘The Gang Makes Lethal Weapon 6,’ the Patty’s pub gang goes around Philadelphia looking for sponsorship to fund their new movie. In the pilot for the movie, Mac reprises his role as Roger Murtaugh’s character with the use of blackface, yet again.

Of course, Frank also returns as the villain, Chief Lazarus, with the same long braids and tan while pretending to be Native American. He also performs a mock rain dance in one scene of the fan movie.

However, the controversial episode doesn’t stop there. Dee is featured in this film as Rianne Murtaugh, Roger’s daughter. She’s wearing full blackface as well.

Season 14: Episode 3, ‘Dee Day’

In ‘Dee Day,’ Dee is in charge of what the Gang does for the day. If they don’t do everything she wants, she will tack on another day, giving the boys incentive to do as she wants.

This episode was banned because Dee brought back all of her racist characters from banned episodes passed. She forces Frank to play Martina Martinez, which means Frank’s character is forced to wear brownface makeup.

Meanwhile, Mac is forced to play Taiwan Tammy, an Asian woman who owns a massage parlor. Of course, this is another example of yellowface with a costume consisting of cartoonishly large teeth and a black wig.

Many diehard It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia fans are disappointed at the removal of these episodes. While the racism portrayed in the show could be taken as satire, FX isn’t taking any chances. Many fans feel the show is actually mocking racist people rather than endorsing racism. Regardless, these episodes have been scrubbed from streaming services.

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