5 Life Lessons from It’s Always Sunny’s Frank Reynolds

Post by:
08 Jan 14

Of all of the colorful characters on It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia (currently airing on Netflix in the UK), Frank Reynolds may be the show’s most colorful. For much of his life, Frank was a feared and respected (albeit somewhat shady) businessman. A late-life crisis and a desire to be “part of the gang” transformed Frank into a man who blatantly embraced squalor and a life of unabashed debauchery. Although still rich enough to finance the bizarre antics of the Paddy’s Pub gang, Frank eschewed a life of luxury to live with goofball simpleton Charlie Kelly (who may actually be his biological son) and “live on the fringe.”

You can’t teach an old dog new tricks, but sometimes, you can learn from him. Here are five life lessons we can all learn from Frank Reynolds…

Life Lesson #1: Confront Mortality with a Sense of Wonder and Curiosity

In the immortal words of J.R.R. Tolkien by way of the wizard Gandalf, “All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us.”  Frank Reynolds seems to offer his own response to that sentiment: “I don’t know how many years on this earth I’ve got left, but I’m gonna get real weird with it.”

Indeed, Frank does take YOLO-ing to the next level. (Particularly, when you realize that he uttered these words at his ex-wife’s sister’s husband’s funeral, shortly before swilling wine from an empty soda can and proceeding to make a drunken spectacle of himself.)

From drunken benders to dalliances with prostitutes to pooping the bed because “poop is funny”, Frank Reynolds throws caution to the wind to bring light to the darker sides of life. Whether you’re in the prime of life or in your twilight years, Frank Reynolds teaches us to welcome the strange with open arms and live multiple lives in one (very, very sketchy) lifetime.

Life Lesson #2: Waste Not, Want Not…


Frank’s desire to live a simple (and skeezy) life spurs him to make the most of limited resources. Sure, Frank’s got enough money in the bank to pay the mortgage on a mansion, however, he chooses to live in a tenement apartment with Charlie and share a trundle bed. Together, the “Gruesome Due-some” make the most of their Spartan accommodations. Many of the spare furnishings of their apartment double as additional items. (For example, Frank prefers to use a paring knife to cut his toenails rather than invest in a set of toenail clippers.) And as Frank himself noted in the Season 6 episode, Dennis Gets Divorced,:  “Nobody washes the dishes! We eat the food directly off the coffee table and you know it!”

Life Lesson #3: … Unless That Waste Makes a Strong Statement


While Frank believes in eliminating the superfluous things in life (like utensils, plates, and even basic hygiene items), Frank does believe that there are some times when a little bit of waste can make a big statement. Rather than squash his beef with his landlord who failed to fix the tenement’s heater, Frank threatens to withhold the rent money until the matter is resolved. He then dangles the rent money in front of the landlord’s face and sets it on fire, throwing it at him. Frank has money to burn (literally). Rather than suck it up and pay his landlord, Frank uses his cash to send a message that while he does have more than enough cash to pay past-due rent, he refuses to do so unless the slum lord fixes the heater. Well played, Frank. Well played.

Life Lesson #4: Don’t Be Afraid to Open Up

Frank Reynolds is a complicated man, however, he’s never been one to hold back his innermost thoughts from the gang – or anyone else for that matter. Whether it’s divulging the details of his personal life (including fetishizing cobb salads) or discussing how his past has made him the man he is today, Frank recognizes the importance of opening up. This was most evident in the Season 8 episode, The Gang Gets Analyzed. Details of Frank’s past and time in an institution were disclosed, with Frank discussing how his first love and first kiss – with a fellow inmate – affected him and his time there:

As Frank breaks down in tears, his long-held defenses down, he just lets it all out from there and gives the gory details to his psychologist. Sometimes, you just gotta open up, remember the hard past, and let it go.
Note: This dialogue is a nice nod to Danny DeVito’s bit role as inmate Martini in the classic film, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.

Life Lesson 5: Always Be Proud of Who You Are

No matter what depths he sinks to, Frank Reynolds has never been ashamed to be Frank Reynolds. Nothing brings the man down. Not failed business ventures. Not finding out his children really aren’t his children. And certainly not his bizarre, everyday antics. Through it all, Frank holds his head high and is not ashamed of who he is or how the rest of society may see him.

In the Season 7 opener, Frank’s Pretty Woman, Frank prepares to propose to a prostitute and the rest of the gang tries to talk him out of it. Dead set on making crack-addled Roxy his wife, Frank gives a (semi) inspiring speech to Charlie:

If Frank Reynolds can love himself, so can anyone else.

In his short speech, Frank spells out everything about his life that he loves and how each of these great loves of his life are one part of the complex puzzle that is Frank Reynolds. He wouldn’t have it any other way… And neither would It’s Always Sunny fans!

About the Author:
Lana is a content author with Dish Systems, a provider of Dish Network bundles offering special promotions and pricing.