'It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia': Charlie Day Talks New Instant Classic Episode

Most comedies don't even make it to a 10th season. The gang on It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia is not only celebrating its 10th, the series is already a go for Seasons 11 and 12. And as Wednesday night's "Charlie Work" exemplifies, the comedy set in a bar in Philadelphia and often called "Seinfeld on crack" is unleashing some of its most creative — and just plain funny — stories more than 100 episodes into its FX (now FXX) run.

Series star/producer/writer Charlie Day, who portrays Paddy's Pub dweller Charlie Kelly, talks to Yahoo TV about the episode, sure to be a fan favorite, in which the man who embraces his role as the resident provider of grunt work proves just how integral he is to the continuing operation of the bar. He also offers his thoughts on how the show is maintaining its creativity and what he thinks about It's Always Sunny beyond Season 12.

Charlie is at his manic best in "Charlie Work," and a manic Charlie always makes for great fun. Was that the idea for this episode, as, without spoiling too much, a stressed out Charlie has to manage a surprise health inspection of the bar?
No, I think the spark of the episode was, we like to constantly surprise ourselves in ow to make episodes, and surprise the audience, and we wanted to try to see if we could do an episode entirely in one shot. We sat down and thought about how to do that. The more we talked about it, we thought, "Maybe it'll be a little bit more fun to start normal, and then jump into one long shot … half the episode done in one shot, the second half of the episode."

Then we just thought, "What would be a fun situation to do a [one-shot] in?" We just got to talking about all these schemes the gang gets into. It was married with our idea of doing an episode of "it's just a regular day at the bar," and then we started thinking about the Charlie character and what his "Charlie work" entails. Then we thought it would be funny to do a single shot, but at the same time have two opposing story points, where the [rest of the] group's trying to accomplish this one impossible task, and Charlie's trying to accomplish an even more impossible task, and making that happen while making someone else not realize anything's going on.

So the inspection... it really was one long shot?
That's right. With some sneaky edits, because you can't actually walk in and out of our bar, so we had to hide a few edits. For the most part, it's all one shot tied together.

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The scene is an instant classic — funny and chaotic, like a Marx Brothers scene. For you especially, you had so much to do in that scene. How did you prepare for it?
Mostly I felt okay with myself… I'd just gone over all the dialogue enough times to know that I'd be able to run it without missing any of that. I was more concerned about our poor camera guy, Adam Sklena, who's been working with us since the first season, and how he was going to have to do this whole thing walking backwards. We're not an expensive show… we didn't program any fancy camera with dolly rigs, nothing like that; it's just a guy holding a camera, following me and then walking backwards when I'm following him, and going in and out of doorways. Then some guest cast. Our main cast is able to balance the madness and the speed of our show, but then you throw in some guest cast with their first time on our set … it's like juggling, you're just trying not to drop any of the balls.

What's your favorite part of the scene?
I guess, for me, just that we pulled it off. I think it was a real testament to everyone that's been working on the show for as long as we have. The majority of our cast and crew have been with us since the beginning. I think just that the magic trick worked; that's the fun of doing something like that. It all just works so seamlessly. For me, that was the real joyride.

It's also so fun because, in the middle of these opposing goals, and all the chaos of the storylines, you also highlight the idiosyncrasies of these characters we know so well, and offer some surprises in the end. Hopefully the characters never lose who they are despite what circumstance they're put in. After doing this for 10 years, whether it's Danny [DeVito] or Kaitlin [Olson] or Rob [McElhenney] or Glenn [Howerton] or myself, I think everyone just knows how to walk in a room and say, "Hi, how are you?" as those characters. If it wasn't there in the writing, they found a way on the day to just breath more of their character into each moment so that you get to see the crazy one shot and the crazy scheme and the health inspection, and not lose who they are in the show.

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Congratulations on being in the 10th season and still being at a creative peak. Given that the audience does know these characters so well, does that make it easier or more challenging to come up with fresh storylines?
It's never been easy. From day one it wasn't easy. We were like, "How are we going to write seven episodes in the first season?" Then Season 2 we're like, "How are we going to do this again?" Season 3 we're like, "We're out of ideas." The funny thing is, speaking for myself and maybe for Rob and Glenn as well, we get so close to it that I can't tell. I'm certainly happy that people like this season and last season, and I agree, I feel they were strong. To me, the show is always the same, whether it's a random episode in Season 6, or 4, or 2, or 8. I think it's always just this great collaboration. I'm just glad that people still enjoy it.

When do you start working on Season 11?
We're in the office right now, and we're writing and trying to come up with more stories, ideas to keep people on their toes and keep doing what we're doing.

So you're working on 11 now, and you're set for 12… do you think about what happens with the show beyond that?
No, I can't think beyond that. Season 11 itself is overwhelming enough. It's almost like the more people like the show, the more overwhelming it feels. I think it's just one step at a time. We do Season 11, and hopefully the fans enjoy it as much as they're enjoying 10, and then hopefully we can do it again for 12, and then who knows after that?

With at least two more seasons after this one, are there things you haven't gotten to do with Charlie or with the other characters that you know you're going to do eventually?
No, every season I feel like we've done it all. Then we lock ourselves in a room, and we start talking and 10 new ideas pop up, or things happen in the world and we feel like we need to comment on them. After 10 years, I definitely feel fulfilled in what we've been able to do on the show.

It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia airs Wednesday at 10 p.m. on FXX.

Watch a sneak peek of the episode: