Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Frank Reynolds

Frank Reynolds is a fictional character on the FX television series It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia. Frank is the legal father of twins Dennis and Dee and the roommate and alleged biological father of Charlie. He is played by Danny DeVito.

Frank appears to be intelligent relative to the rest of The Gang, but quite possibly mentally unstable. In episodes his character frequently becomes paranoid, delusional and psychotic. He has also attempted suicide several times, and has consumed a large quantity and variety of drugs throughout the series. Frank styles himself as a master manipulator and frequently takes the lead in The Gang's schemes.

Introduced in the throes of a midlife crisis, he first appears in the season 2 premiere, "Charlie Gets Crippled." His background is as a successful businessman with a long history of illegal operations and dealings with sordid characters, some of whom vow to "skin him alive." In the second episode of season 2, "The Gang Goes Jihad," Frank becomes the owner of the land underneath Paddy's Pub after The Gang accidentally blew up the building next door to scare off an Israeli businessman who had attempted to evict them, giving Frank an opening to buy the properties from the Israeli and then threaten to turn Mac, Dennis and Charlie over to the police unless they agree to his demands. He uses this leverage to forcibly join The Gang and become their "Captain."

Frank claims to have his children's best interests at heart but he frequently exploits and insults them even more so after it is revealed that he is not their biological father. We learn that Frank made a tradition at Christmas of buying the gifts his children most wanted for himself just to see them suffer. It has been clear that Frank and his wife's greedy, indifferent and cruel parenting shaped Dennis and Dee's pathologies into the narcissistic, borderline-sociopathic way they are today. Over the course of the series he has pimped out his son Dennis for "no-rules" sexual favors and trained his daughter Dee to be a boxer so she could fight the daughter of his longtime nemesis. He is especially cruel to Dee, constantly remarking negatively on her age and looks. In "Dennis and Dee's Mom Is Dead" he convinces her to pretend to be engaged to him and almost takes part in sexual activity with her. When it is learned that Dennis and Dee were the products of an affair Frank's wife engaged in, Frank and his children mutually cease to regard each other as family and instead as just part of The Gang. Frank seems to take Mac under his wing, "mentoring" him on how to succeed in life via shady, unethical and sometimes illegal methods. It is observed that Mac looks up to Frank, perhaps more so than the rest of The Gang, with the possible exception of Charlie. Charlie has taken extreme measures to ensure that Frank remains his roommate, despite Frank's cruel, manipulative behavior towards him. It is revealed that Frank is possibly Charlie's long-lost father, due to Frank's affair with Charlie's mom 30 years before. Frank claims he was never told of Charlie's birth, and pushed for Charlie's mom to have an abortion, which Charlie somehow survived.

Though he clearly teaches life lessons and even offers valuable insights to The Gang, Frank's worldview is often very skewed. In the episode "Mac and Dennis: Manhunters," Dennis remarks that some of the stories Frank tells of his life come straight from John Rambo's life. In "The Gang Gets Held Hostage," Frank emulates John McClane from the Die Hard film series. In the episode "Mac Is a Serial Killer," Dennis says Frank "makes less and less sense as the days go by," and in the episode "The Gang Gets Lost in The Woods," Dee says to Frank "I just don't question the things you do anymore." Frank has displayed diminishing mental capacities as the show goes on, often seemingly to forget what he's saying in the middle of a sentence, which may be shaped by a life time of substance abuse. He has a tendency to trip on LSD, where he has manifested traumatizing experiences being trapped in the bathrooms of recreational vehicles. Like the rest of the Gang, he often drinks alcohol, but usually not to the excess that the others do, except in the episode "The Gang Gives Frank an Intervention." Frank is also notable for his recreational use of Marijuana, using the drug with a higher frequency than other members of The Gang. Frank has shown extreme violent tendencies and, unlike his cowardly friends, seems to relish physical confrontations and inflicting physical pain on others. He is known for carrying around a snub-nosed revolver on him at all times, producing it whenever and wherever he or others in The Gang feels it is necessary, pointing it around, even firing it, mostly at inappropriate times, such as when he thought there was a grease fire in Paddy's in the episode "The Gang Gives Frank an Intervention." In the episode "Mac is a Serial Killer", Frank is eager to use a chainsaw on Mac when he becomes convinced that he is a serial killer and appears to be about use the chainsaw on the real serial killer at the conclusion of the episode. In another episode, Frank waterboards Dee in order to gain information from her. In the episode "The Gang Gets Held Hostage," Frank tried to ensure Charlie be murdered to protect his own will and, in "The Gang Goes to the Jersey Shore", Frank nearly murdered Mac in competition over a "rum ham" when the two accidentially go adrift at sea.

Frank appears to be very wealthy, apparently making his fortune from his former real estate company ReyHam Properties, from which he swindled his business partner Eugene out of his share of the company, as well as foreign business deals, such as a Vietnamese sweatshop. Despite this wealth, Frank prefers to live in squalor as Charlie's roommate in an apartment referred to by anyone who dares step into it as "a shithole," which originally stemmed from his desire to hide assets from his then recently-separated wife. Since then, he has gone through a consistent and prominent devolution and becoming more and more cruel, selfish, and greedy as the show has progressed. He will do anything in his power to sleep with women (seemingly any woman), frequenting strip clubs, prostitutes and almost joining (along with Dennis) a group of swingers. Frank even happily bedding "the waitress", Charlie's long time object of unrequited love. Although initially aghast when he learns Dennis and Dee are not his children and upset over their divorce, Frank appears to be overjoyed when his long-time wife dies. At one point, Frank tries to have sex with his niece through marriage, the grotesque "Gail the Snail," but they only wind up dry humping after consuming several Monster-brand energy drinks. In "Frank's Pretty Woman", Frank was prepared to settle down with a nasty prostitute but was then completely indifferent when he learns that she died from a crack-cocaine overdose.

Though Frank is egotistical, diabolical, and maniacal, he appears to have some good in him; he seems to have loving feelings for Charlie, apparently more so than he does for Dennis and Dee. In "Mac and Charlie Die," he becomes grief-stricken when Charlie fakes his own death; he carries around a plastic likeness of Charlie through the streets while wailing and keening his love for him. Towards the end of the episode Charlie claims to have seen Frank "banging" said plastic likeness. Frank and Charlie were briefly married at the beginning of the sixth season.

Frank is a severe compulsive gambler, seen betting on everything from grade school basketball to Russian roulette, usually with his chain smoking, and high-stakes betting ring of Vietnamese friends. Sweet Dee once told Frank, "You can't just come in here and start running our lives like this, it's not fair!" to which Frank replied "Wanna bet?" Dee, confused, asks "On what? Whether or not it's fair?" to which Frank replies "Sure. Bet on whatever." This is a prime example of his boundless addiction to gambling, no matter how ridiculous the circumstances.

In one episode, Frank also is shown as member of a street gang called the "Yellow Jacket Boys." They appear to be leather jacket-wearing thugs, but the most menacing thing they are seen doing is enchanting the streets of Philadelphia with their doowop singing. "What's the action?" has at times been Frank's signature line. Frank's views on politics and government often tends to be libertarian in nature, when he isn't lost in a nihilistic fog; Frank did appreciate that, in "The Great Recession", the government inexplicably gave him a bailout that restored his fortune after he inexplicably went bankrupt in the first place.

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