The Best Dennis Reynolds Meltdowns on It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia

Through countless seasons, Glenn Howerton's Dennis Reynolds a.k.a. The Golden God is TV's best drama queen.

Dennis Reynolds (Glenn Howerton) and Dee Reynolds (Kaitlin Olson) in It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia Season 16 Episode 2
Photo: Patrick McElhenney | FX

It wouldn’t be odd to call Dennis Reynolds (Glenn Howerton) the Patrick Bateman of sitcom television. As the savviest member of the gang in It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, he’s witty, intelligent, and has the character traits of a would-be serial killer. Dennis is also incredibly vain — with an abundance of confidence regarding his charm and abilities — yet can rapidly turn insecure in certain situations beside particularly intimidating or famous people.

In addition to his comedic genius, Howerton is exceptionally gifted at delivering public meltdowns and giving us unforgettable moments that have become classics in the show’s history by now. Here, we gathered 10 of them that stand out for several reasons.

Dennis Embraces Running a Gay Bar

Season 1 Episode 1

Looking back at the very beginning of the series from the distance of time, it’s even more astonishing how boldly it began. In the pilot, the group meets Dee’s (Kaitlin Olson) new boyfriend, who brings a massive amount of new gay customers to Paddy’s Pub. At first, the three guys feel conflicted about running the hottest gay bar in Philly, but as soon as they count the profit they made the first night, their mind is quickly made up. 

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But Dennis doesn’t just do it for the money. As an attention freak, he embraces the flow of gay people bombarding him with compliments for being a “pretty boy.” And he doesn’t stop there. He also doubles down by wearing the gayest outfits while acting flamboyant and frisky behind the bar. Of course, in the end, his fake behavior bites him in the ass as the rest of the gang sets him up with a prank that immediately changes his mind about operating a gay bar.

The Implication 

Season 6 Episode 3

Some fans of the show think that “the implication” in “The Gang Buys a Boat” episode hasn’t aged well due to its crude distastefulness. But the truth is, IASIP always had a knack for overstepping boundaries and going extremely dark with its humor. Dennis and Mac’s (Rob McElhenney) conversation, as they shop for things for their new boat, is a prominent example.

Dennis tries to explain why picking up girls and having sex with them on a boat in the middle of the ocean have an inherent implication — which is that they can’t run or say no. Howerton’s delivery is creepy as hell despite acting casual, and Mac’s frightened reaction to his train of thought is so genuine and innocent that it makes the scene even more bonkers and hilarious.

Dennis Meets TV Reporter Jackie Denardo

Season 7 Episode 6

There aren’t many women who can shake Dennis’s rock-solid ego when it comes to flirting. The attractive reporter, Jackie Denardo (Jessica Collins), however, is one of the most memorable of them. As the gang tries to prepare for an upcoming storm, Dennis finally meets his crush in a department store. His nervousness and complete loss of self-esteem while wonkily following Denardo around to speak with her is simply brilliant. 

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He’s so hilariously star-struck by the blonde that he ends up foolishly uttering his words just can’t recover from such an awkward interaction. Considering his usually impenetrable confidence, this moment is one of his funniest downfalls when it comes to women.

The D.E.N.N.I.S. System’s Failure at the Reunion

Season 7 Episode 13

Speaking of seducing women and failing, the next spot belongs to the season 7 finale, where our weirdos attempt to take revenge on their former high school classmates at a reunion. Dennis’s idea on that is to have sex with his old sworn enemy, Tim’s (Ian Reed Kesler) wife, who supposedly slept with his prom date back then. He begins flirting with Christie (Frances Turner), using his infamous D.E.N.N.I.S. system. However, as he rushes and overdoes the execution, she swiftly turns him down and scurries away while Dennis goes on an embarrassing rant, claiming he’s the Golden God and the king of the mountaintop.

Once again, Howerton’s comedic touch as a rage-fuelled, vengeance-seeking sociopath makes this scene an absolute blast. It’s hard not to laugh at his desperation as he craves validation from people who clearly never liked him.

The Maureen Ponderosa Wedding Massacre

Season 8 Episode 3

In this horror-comedy-inspired episode, Dennis is on a mission to correct one of his past mistakes: marrying his high school sweetheart. Of course, he divorced Maureen many seasons ago but still ended up having to pay her alimony for years. Now, as she’s getting ready to marry one of the McPoyle brothers, it’s the perfect opportunity to have her sign the legal documents that exempt Dennis from paying.

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But the Golden God doesn’t see one thing coming: Maureen’s transformation. That being the giant breasts she got recently that literally mesmerizes Dennis as he stares at them. And as he tries to escape the chaos this event turns into due to someone drugging the drinks with bath salt, Dennis can’t resist sleeping with his ex-wife again. A decision he deeply regrets right after the intercourse ends, and he comes near to a nervous breakdown.

Living in Another Man’s Skin

Season 8 Episode 7

In the episode “Frank’s Back in Business,” Dennis, Mac, and Dee find a wallet in Paddy’s that has tickets to a Philly baseball game. As they get there, they realize the tickets are for a private box, and Dennis pretends to be the wallet’s owner, Brian LeFevre. LeFevre must be quite an important man because two businessmen turn up to talk shop with him. What they don’t know is that Dennis wouldn’t miss such an opportunity to “wear another man’s skin.”

He explains to Dee and Mac — who are about to ruin everything — in an explicit speech filled with weird sexual energy what a thrill is to get off by morphing into another man and stealing his identity. It’s creepy, bonkers, and undoubtedly hysterical.

Five-Star Man!

Season 10 Episode 2

In “The Gang Group Dates,” Charlie (Charlie Day), Mac, and Dennis join Dee on an online group-dating app. Dennis only agrees to participate to teach his buddies how his infamous dating system works in practice. Unfortunately, their first group date fails, and he gets a one-star rating which infuriates him beyond belief. To fix that, he goes on multiple dates but only makes things worse. Eventually, his rating goes down to a half-star, and as usual, he becomes obsessed with proving that he’s a five-star man. He rambles, shouts, and cries as all the women ditch him within minutes. If for nothing else, he surely gets five stars from us viewers for being ridiculous.

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Season 10 Episode 6

Perhaps Dennis’s most insane outburst (he has a few) comes when he tries to sell the car he previously drove into a river. Despite the unusual circumstances, there’s a buyer interested in his more than fine Range Rover. But the conversation quickly goes off the rails when the man says he wants to buy it for his daughter as a “starter car.” After hearing that, Dennis flips out and disturbingly unleashes his rage. Howerton’s delivery is terrifying as he gets all riled up and shouts that his vehicle is a “transporter of gods” and any woman is unworthy to have it. It’s outrageous comedy at its best.

Suburbs Meltdown

Season 11 Episode 5

After finally finding a place that suits their needs, Mac and Dennis move to the suburbs from Dee’s apartment. To make the new experience more exciting, they agree to take a bet with Frank (Danny DeVito) about whether they can live there for an entire month. They laugh at him, thinking how easy it’ll be.

Naturally, after a week, they both hate it there and want to move back. From the two, it’s Dennis who gets to at least go to work in the city while Mac stays home to do some chores. But he loathes the commute, can’t sleep because of the noisy pool filter, and soon begins losing his mind completely. This all comes to a head when he releases his fury in a mental breakdown, taking off all his clothes outside the house in front of their chatty neighbor, Wally (Steve Witting). We learn that it’s just a fantasy, but knowing Dennis’s constant anger problem, always bubbling under the surface, it could’ve easily been a real one.

Dennis Without Makeup in Dee Day

Season 14 Episode 3

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In “Dee Day,” the gang has an intricate plan to sabotage a councilwoman from voting against public urination. But the guys forget that it’s Dee Day — which means they need to listen to Dee all day and do what she asks without insulting her. One of her orders for Dennis is to remove all the makeup he’s wearing.

We all know how important appearance is for Dennis, but he does what he’s told, and the result is shocking. Without makeup, the Golden God looks like a sickly little man with final-stage cancer. Unluckily, that’s when the gang accidentally bumps into the councilwoman he promised to seduce previously. He takes a shot at it, anyway, which, of course, goes horribly. He comes off like a real creep who frightens the life out of the poor lady. Thankfully, Dee appears to save her (and him) right after Dennis tells her he can put another man’s face on if that would make her feel better while having sex. It’s a quintessential IASIP moment.

The It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia season 16 finale, “Dennis Takes a Mental Health Day,” premieres Wednesday, July 19 at 10 p.m. ET on FXX. All seasons are available to stream on Hulu in the U.S. and Netflix in the U.K.