It has happened to us all, “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” fans. You’re catching an episode of “Louie,” about to head for a pit stop during the commercials, when you see it: Fat Mac. “Whoa,” you think. “Dude got chunky.”

But rest assured — in the warped mind of creator/star Rob McElhenney, the whopping 50 pounds he packed on for Season 7 were all in the name of art.

Inspired by the actors in “a very popular sitcom” getting “new hair and new teeth” as seasons progressed, McElhenney decided to take the founding ethos of “Sunny” one step further. Or, one giant leap beyond common sense.

“I always thought that what we were trying to do with ‘Sunny’ is a sort of deconstruction of the sitcom,” he says. “So instead of making the characters as likable as possible, we’ve always tried to make them as unlikable as possible. I thought maybe the same could be done with the aesthetics. … I tried to look as ugly as possible, basically.”


How to ‘bulk up’

Martial arts enthusiast Mac thinks he’s “bulking up.” But he doesn’t have the advice of Phillies star Chase Utley guiding him to “mass.”

McElhenney did. He says that Utley, who has appeared on the show, mentioned that he works with a sports nutritionist whose specialty is bulking up linemen. The actor soon signed up for a similar weight gain plan that required serious discipline. “You need to eat about 5,000 calories a day to put on that kind of weight,”?he says. “Over the course of five months I ate ... five meals [per day] at 1,000 calories each.”

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