It’s Always Sunny boasts some of the funniest television characters I’ve ever seen – even the side characters steal the show more often than not.
I’m going to be ranking all of the recurring characters – they have to have appeared multiple times, and have to be memorable enough for me to recall them (so hopefully I haven’t missed any!). With all that out of the way, how would I rank all the characters in this excellent show?
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23 – Barbara Reynolds
Of all the side characters in It’s Always Sunny, the matriarch of the Reynolds family was always the one that felt out of place.
She’s just a really mean and unfunny woman, acting as a sort of antagonist for the other more interesting characters to rally against. Maybe if she was still in the show they would have improved her character, but since she died so early on all we saw was her worst side.
22 – Carmen
Carmen is a fairly interesting character to test Mac’s sexuality and identity, but she wasn’t handled very well by the writers.
Season 1 Carmen is played as a joke against transgender people, and it got slightly better as the seasons went on but the damage was already done. I’m not surprised they never brought her back.
21 – Z
One of the strangest and most insignificant characters in all of Sunny, Z usually just appears for a few seconds in an episode before dipping almost instantly.
He has some funny lines and moments, but it’s hard to get invested in his character when he’s only been on-screen for about five minutes total.
20 – Rex
Every character from now on is one I’d consider to be good, and Rex certainly has his moments.
He doesn’t appear too often, and he only became truly funny once Mac’s wavering sexuality was established, but he’s always fun to have around.
19 – Gail the Snail
Gail doesn’t have as many appearances as I remember, but she’s popped up in some fantastic episodes over the years.
She’s great in “The Gang gives Frank an Intervention”, but she’s at her funniest in “The Gang Squashes Their Beefs”.
18 – Maureen Ponderosa
Other than Cricket, Maureen had one of the craziest and most disturbing character arcs of any of the side characters. Unfortunately for her, she’s nowhere near as engaging as someone like him.
She starts off well as a sort of foible to Dennis, but as soon as she morphs into a cat her character gets too ridiculous for me to get behind.
17 – Bill Ponderosa
Just like his sister, Bill Ponderosa has cropped up a lot and always seems to get worse over the years. In Bill’s case, his downward spiral actually makes him funnier.
He starts off as a pretty boring side character with a slight connection to Dee, but once he turns into a drug-fuelled maniac the real fun can begin.
16 – Artemis
One of the first side characters we ever meet, and Artemis hasn’t lost any of her weird charm in the many years since her debut.
Her relationship with Frank is great, and she always seemed to pop up in the best episodes like “The Nightman Cometh” and “The Gang Tries Desperately to Win an Award”.
15 – Bonnie Kelly
Everyone knows an attached parental figure like Bonnie Kelly, and her genuine affection towards her son is both endearing and borderline creepy.
I don’t think she truly flourishes until she gets paired up with another character, though. Speaking of which …
14 – Mrs Mac
The Bonnie Kelly / Mrs Mac combo is a great one that I’m glad the writers have stuck with, and Mac’s mom is my favourite of the two.
She never has much to say, but an angry glance and a subdued grunt are more than enough to make me laugh every time.
13 – Ben the Soldier
Possibly the nicest and most innocent character in the whole show, it’s great how Ben the Soldier is the only person to not be negatively influenced / corrupted by the gang.
His thick skull and happy-go-lucky demeanour are a breath of fresh air in a cynical show like this, and I love how he’s almost always seen in Frank’s jorts whenever he’s onscreen.
12 – The Waiter
One of the best recurring gags on the show is how the gang can never recognise this poor guy, and the fact he keeps popping up by accident makes it even better.
I do think his character has run its course a little bit, but his interactions with the gang never fail to get a chuckle out of me.
11 – Luther Macdonald
Luther was a hard character to rank – while he isn’t exactly the most hilarious character, the effect he has on the plot and the reactions he draws from other characters more than makes up for it.
The episodes centred around him tend to be classics, and he’s such a depraved menace that I can’t help but laugh.
10 – The Waitress
The side character that has appeared the most (other than Cricket, maybe), The Waitress has been a major player and object of Charlie’s desires since the very first episode.
Some of her scenes and interactions are great – made even funnier by the fact the two actors are married in real life – but the plotline is getting a bit stale after fifteen whole seasons.
9 – The Lawyer
The Lawyer is a character that I wish we got a lot more of, but what we did get was always hilarious.
His dry humour and ability to counteract the gang’s absurdity made him one of the most competent characters in the show, and he always seemed to be the victor in any given situation.
8 – Uncle Jack
I wasn’t expecting a probable child molester to be one of my favourite characters in a TV show, but Sunny just has a way of making the most ridiculous things work.
His back and forth with Charlie is uncomfortably hilarious, and his infatuation with big hands is the oddest and funniest character quirk I’ve ever seen.
7 – Liam & Ryan McPoyle
Just as a quick note – I couldn’t be bothered to rank every McPoyle separately, so you can assume I like them just as much as Liam and Ryan.
Both of the incestuous brothers are the type of creepy that makes your skin crawl, but their absurd reactions to situations and over-the-top line delivery made them an instant classic.
6 – Cricket (Matthew Mara)
You would think that having Cricket be in every other episode would get old fast, but somehow he never fails to entertain.
He’s the best side character for a reason – his downward spiral is both genius and tragic, and his disgusting sense of humour and depraved actions fit perfectly with the tone of the show.
5 – Dee Reynolds
Even though Dee is the “worst” (my least favourite) member of the gang, she’s still one of the funniest television characters of all time.
She’s regularly the butt of the joke, and yet when she does get her moment to shine it’s absolutely glorious. Her stunts are second to none, and the level of abuse she’s withstood from the gang is worth some serious praise.
4 – Mac
He can be a little overbearing and needy at times, but Mac’s desire for identity and recognition from Dennis is one of the funniest character arcs in the show.
Some of the show’s most endearing moments have come when Mac embraced his sexuality, yet he also has some of the stupidest lines of dialogue in sitcom history – “Science is a liar sometimes!”
3 – Frank Reynolds
It cannot be understated just how much Danny DeVito brought to the show – regardless of the fact it wouldn’t have been on air anymore, it just wouldn’t be the same without the Reynolds’ depraved patriarch.
He’s been memed to death over the years, and his various shenanigans of being pure and busting out of couches naked have fuelled my nightmares. On the whole, he’s a character that wouldn’t work on any other show.
2 – Charlie Kelly
Every sitcom has an oaf character that loses braincells over the course of the show, but I don’t think any of them compare to Charlie Kelly.
His descent into stupidity only gets more hilarious as the seasons go on, and the random lines and songs he throws out have me in hysterics more often than not.
1 – Dennis Reynolds
In my eyes, Dennis is the main character of the show – he’s the glue that holds the group together, he’s a sort of “straight man”, and his descent into a crazed psychopath is the most engrossing arc of them all.
He started off innocently enough, with a pursuit of women that could only vaguely be described as psychopathic, but the more we learn of his twisted mind the more hilarious he ends up being. I had to put him number one … y’know, because of the implication.
Aaaand that’s my list! You can check out some of my latest blog posts below:
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