Life rarely goes well for Kaitlin Olson’s character on It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia. This season alone, the FX comedy has seen her being made to believe she was a cannibal, undergoing waterboarding by urinal and seeing her embarrassingly pathetic video diary become an Internet sensation.
Offscreen, however, Olson couldn’t be happier. She’s in her fourth season playing Dee “Sweet Dee” Reynolds, and the show has been picked up for an additional 39 episodes beyond the current run, which ends Nov. 20. The outrageous sitcom — about a group of ne’er do-wells who run a dive bar in the City of Brotherly Love — lets her flex her comedic muscles while working with her best friends. Heck, she even married one of them! (She and Rob McElhenney, who created the show and costars as Mac, tied the knot in September.)
Olson shared with us the show’s approach to comedy, and how even bodily injury elicits no sympathy from her costars.
Channel Guide Magazine: So I just saw an episode in which Danny DeVito’s character waterboards you by holding you down under a urinal. Was this a professional highlight for you?
Kaitlin Olson: There’s nothing like being humiliated and drowned at the same time. My parents were proud.
The show is so fast-paced, and the dialogue is almost rapid-fire. Is that tough to keep up during shooting?
We are exhausted at the end of the day, but I wouldn’t say it’s tough to keep up. We all have things we want to say that we think are simply hilarious, so we have to really try not to talk over each other, unless the scene calls for it.
You broke your lower vertebrae and it caused a two-week delay in production. Seems like that’s something you could’ve written into the show and ridiculed. Was that ever considered?
It was not written in, but I was definitely ridiculed. Mainly because I broke my foot last year during production. We can’t write in stuff like that because we shoot five episodes at a time, out of order. Nothing is linear. So I’ve been planning what kind of awesome stunt I’m going to pull to really screw things up for next year.
You’re on this show with your husband and your friends. That sounds like it would be great, but are there some disadvantages?
There really haven’t been any disadvantages so far because we have a lot of respect for each other and each other’s opinions. It would get messy if I didn’t trust them or if they didn’t think I was doing my job well.
Speaking of which, how was it planning a wedding while you were shooting the fourth season?
Crazy. But also very fun. I had several months before we started production to figure out all of the big stuff. And I decided from the beginning I wasn’t going to turn into a monster during this process — I don’t know what the point of that is! It all came together really wonderfully.
The show’s been pretty subversive and somewhat under the radar. But now that you’ve got security (in 39 additional episodes beyond the current season), do you think that will change the show at all?
No, I think it will ensure that the show stays the way we want it. We are already picked up which means we don’t have to stress about ratings and pleasing everyone. We’ll just keep trying to make each other laugh and hopefully people like to watch it.
You’ve said that going too far with comedy would involve being mean. What’s the secret to this show doing the kind of humor it does — e.g. Dumpster babies, attempted cannibalism of homeless men — without crossing the line and being mean?
Our characters are a bunch of idiots who always end up losing in the end. I think it’s clear that we are making fun of people like our characters. We’re not making fun of homeless people or abandoned babies. It’s just that these topics are more interesting to find ways to tackle because they haven’t been done hundreds of times before. Things are funnier when they are surprising.