Entertainment

Rob McElhenney Will Be Totally Ripped This Year on 'It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia'

mac sunny
FXX

Attention, It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia fans: You've seen Fat Mac. Now get ready for Ripped Mac. At the panel for the show's 13th season at the Television Critics Association summer press tour, Rob McElhenney unveiled his character's new, extremely muscular body in a clip from an upcoming episode.

So why did McElhenney take his abs to Chris Hemsworth level? For a joke, of course. McElhenney told the audience of reporters that the decision came out of his personal bafflement at the state of the male form in pop culture these days. "I don't understand why guys that are playing teachers and engineers and food delivery guys all of a sudden they take their shirt off and they're just fucking ripped," he said. "I thought, man, there's something really funny with playing with vanity of that."

He worked for six months for what is ultimately a quick gag. "I just thought it would be funny if an actor put that much time and effort and energy into looking a certain way and then the first episode taking my shirt off and none of the characters are impressed," he said. "They tell me to put it back on." He explained doesn't take it off again until the scene we saw: an intensely dramatic shirtless dance number.

When asked what she thought about the significant changes to McElhenney's physique, his co-star and spouse Kaitlin Olson said: "I love Rob's body." She quickly added, "I liked Fat Mac, too, though."

Meanwhile, McElhenney and Charlie Day confirmed on stage that Glenn Howerton -- whose fate on the show has been something of a mystery since Dennis left town -- will be back for a majority of the episodes this season. Despite the fact that they spilled the beans to a room of reporters, speaking after the panel McElhenney said he hopes they can keep up the ruse of Howerton's absence. "We're not really going out of our way to keep it a secret, but it just seems to be happening that way," he said. Olson added they just are just avoiding posting pictures with Howerton on set.

Outside of the world of Sunny, the couple is gearing up for another collaboration as well. Yesterday, Fox announced that Olson is set to star in a pilot co-created by McElhenney and loosely based on his upbringing. She'll be playing the wife of a conservative woman with two children (Leah Remini).

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Esther Zuckerman is a senior entertainment writer at Thrillist. Follow her on Twitter @ezwrites.