One of my roommates recently got me hooked on It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, a sit-com about four horrible people who own a bar together, and the hilarious hijinks which ensue. The characters on the show are consistently petty, racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, and on, and on, and on. But since they always lose in the end, you feel OK laughing at them.
Intermittently, starting in the first season, one of the boys in the show becomes involved with a ‘tranny,’ as seen here (sorry it’s not a great clip – someone lemme know if there’s a higher quality version):
While I was skeptical at first (and my roommate warned me of the “tranny” jokes before I started watching the series) I’m liking the show’s handling of things a lot more than I liked How I Met Your Mother. Because the trans character, Carmen, is totally unapologetic about being trans. In the above clip, Mac says “Is that a penis?” and she replies, “Um, yeah?” And when he says “You lied to me!” she says “No, you lied to me!” (About going to the gym…)
Likewise, in the episode I’m watching (midway through season 3) Carmen again uses Mac’s shallowness to compete with with his, um, shallowness. That is, he’s creeped out by the fact she has a penis. (Shallow!) But he’s drawn to her because she’s hot and plays into his insecurities. (Also shallow!) It’s kind of delightful to watch, particularly because she – even as a trans character – undeniably has the upper hand.
In the same episode, Charlie and Mac get into an argument. Mac thinks Charlie is trying to convince him to stop dating Carmen. Charlie is, in fact, trying to convince Mac to stop murdering people. (Mac’s not a murderer, but Charlie thinks he is. It’s that kind of show.) There’s a big back and forth of “You have to stop this!” “I don’t know if I can!” with both of them completely misunderstanding the situation.
Finally, when Mac breaks up with Carmen, he tries to justify it by saying “I’m not ashamed of you! I’m ashamed with myself,” prompting her to give a really great look of disgust. And then is really cute later when talking about having sex with her, saying “I’ve been doing some reading! She tapes it back – it’s complicated.”
I’m really curious to see how Carmen plays out, as searching for the video I included in this post hinted that she’s still around in later seasons. And while I’m certainly not thrilled with Carmen’s portrayal, I do kinda love her place as a ridiculous character in this show populated entirely by ridiculous characters.