I’ve been watching a far amount of Everything’s Sunny in Philadelphia and one of the strange things is that it is impossible to hate the worst character on the show, Franke Reynolds. In fact, he’s beyond the worse, he’s possibly the worst human being on television in history. Bar none. Few other people would come up with so many schemes or devices to make it or simply get even with other people. So why is it that if I was to hang out with any one of the crowd from Always Sunny it would be both Frank and also never Frank.
It’d be never Frank for obvious reasons. He’d probably set me on fire.
But it’s also obvious from other reasons, he’s authentic. There is not a single thing about that is inauthentic. He lives life as he sees it and does what he wants and in a noble sense, that’s pretty admirable. So what if he digs around it in trash for days on end looking for lost treasure. Wouldn’t it be fun to have the kind of life where you had 5 days to look around trash for lost treasure? And in the end bring home nothing but trash but knowing a thousand and one uses for that trash so you keep it? Isn’t there a small part of you that wishes you could go toe to toe with frat guys and laugh at their edge?
Frank Reynolds is a fascinating creature in writing. He’s not lovable, not in the least. Lovable is the furthest thing from him. He gargles beer wearing several day old shirts so the foam dribbles down his chest in the middle of the day. There is nothing about this man that you want to be like. There is nothing about this man that is in any way enviable. He has terrible children and sleeps in one bed with a man who is best left described as questionable. One of my favorite things about him is when he’s on a movie set with sausages in his shirt pocket so he can shove them up a little bit and take a nice tasty bit.
Nauseating is the best word for him.
That ignores his trash habits.
And by trash habits I mean sleeping in trash.
There is nothing about this man that cannot be exaggerated. Actually, I’m going for it, I’ll go for over exaggerated and let the word nazis rule over this blog. This man is a pig. A true, honest, pig. And not just a pig, one that deserves to be shot. Not just shot, I mean begging for one between the eyes. That. That is Frank Reynolds.
So why the the hell do I like him so much?
Because he’s also 100% honest. Whenever I’ve gone to hollywood blockbusters I’ve been met with bad guys that are just not believable. I think of Frank. I wonder about Frank. Are they really that bad?
That is precisely why I’m writing this. Frank Reynolds is just the most horrible person you can imagine. He carries a gun, and then pulls it out whenever he feels threatened, even at an intervention that he later interprets as a roast. It’s hard to describe how horrible he is and the things that he actually does accomplish is pretty bad.
And that’s why I love him.
Frank Reynolds is authentic.
They didn’t half ass it, they didn’t try to make him a lovable curmudgeon, or really try to humanize him in any way. Rather, they saw his role in the story which is to just be a deplorable human being. And if they didn’t, I don’t think I’d like him half as much. Rather, I like that you put a line of coke in front of him and he snorts it without asking, or dumpster dives the city looking for useless things. In many ways, I want to be Frank. Someone who says that he lives on the edge, and as horrible as that edge is, he lives there wholeheartedly.
In the end, it inspires me and reminds me as a writer to let characters drive stories and interactions. Fitting a character to a plot line will only constrain the true splendor that could come from letting them roam free. Frank is a great reminder of that, he roams free, which leads him to being the more horrible person written.