Is Glenn Howerton Leaving It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia after season 12?

Warning: This article does contain spoilers for season 12.

The season 12 finale of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, “Denis’ Double Life” was a fairly noteworthy season finale. Charlie Kelly finally scored with The Waitress. Season 12 also revealed without any shadow of a doubt that Mac is, in fact, gay. However, the biggest news centred around Dennis Reynolds. Finding out he had a son would have been a big enough reveal. The fact that he tried to weasel out of raising his son should be no surprise.

The biggest bombshell came at the end of the episode – after having a bonding moment with his son, Dennis decides he needs to re-evaluate his life and exits Paddy’s Pub while the rest of the gang callously ignores him.

Watching the episode, this could be mistaken for a sardonic end to the episode and season. However, Dennis abandoning the gang could be more real than viewers realize:

In an interview with Uproxx, Glenn Howerton said he may be leaving It’s Always Sunny.

By his own admission, Howerton was mum about details. While his relationship with co-stars and co-creators Charlie Day and Rob McElhenney is good, Howerton vaguely said it is more about creativity.

It’s Always Sunny fans should not panic yet. Howerton said he is still on the fence about leaving the show completely. So Dennis Reynolds may return after all.

Glenn Howerton said it is very likely that there will be an extended hiatus between seasons 12 and 13. This sort of thing has precedent as there was a year long gap between seasons 9 and 10. This was actually for the better as the show seemed to be running stale in 2012 and 2013, but came back with renewed vigor in 2015.

IMDB lists the show as lasting until season 14, scheduled to air in 2019, so Howerton’s departure does not mean the end of the series.

Another possible reason for Howerton’s departure is his work on upcoming NBC sitcom AP Bio, co-starring Patton Oswalt.

One reason, it is shocking to hear Howerton is the one talking about leaving is because Kaitlin Olson (Dee Reynolds) is the one who recently took a leading role on the Fox sitcom The Mick. However, there have been no words on her leaving.

If Howerton does leave the FXX comedy, his presence would be a loss. Although Cheers is an example of a show that traded up, and MASH did just fine with replacement characters, most shows struggle when a major character leaves.

Dennis Reynolds is a unique character. A selfish narcissist like Dennis can be a hard character to pull off, but his success lies in the writers never pulling their punches. A lesser show might try to make the character sleazy but behaviour, but these guys have no problem making Dennis go all the way sleazy and take his awful behaviour in such bizarre directions.

Howerton brings a charisma that makes the sleazy character fun to watch… even if half the joy is watching his downfall. His friendship with actors McElhenny and Day is clear as he good chemistry on-screen with them.

Additionally, Howerton was one of the original creators and still remains a writer on the show. Howerton is credited with writing episodes such as “Sweet Dee is Dating a Retarded Person“, “The Gang Goes on Family Fight“, and “The Gang Turns Black“. Clearly, the man knows how to write a good story, and his presence might be missed in the story department.

Fortunately, the It’s Always Sunny gang was wise enough to not write themselves into a corner by killing off Dennis (a la Henry Blake on MASH). So with the story of Dennis finding out he has a son and re-evaluating his life can be fun. This team has proven time and time again they rarely go the obvious route with any idea.

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