In an episode in season 11 of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, called “Mac and Dennis Move to the Suburbs,” Dennis (a sociopath) rejects a bowl of mac and cheese from his friend Mac by throwing it down the hallway. The metaphor isn’t exactly subtle.
For those who need a refresher, here’s the backstory of that scene: now that the two men are suburban roommates, Mac has taken on the cooking duties while Dennis commutes to work in the city. Mac is starting to get burned out on making his “famous mac and cheese” for Dennis every night, and Dennis is getting sick of eating it. Basically, Dennis doesn’t appreciate what a good thing he has, and he’s literally throwing it away.
A screengrab of that scene is now an image labeling meme—similar to the Distracted Boyfriend meme. Mac represents the offerer, the bowl is the thing being offered, and Dennis is the idiot turning it down.
The meme has become especially popular on Reddit, where it’s already accelerated to the self-referential “meta” stage. In other words, people are turning it into a meme about memes:
It didn’t escape the notice of veteran meme-heads that this meme is basically a twist on the “Scroll of Truth” webcomic meme from 2017, in which a character finds a scroll that reveals an ultimate truth but doesn’t like or accept what it says:
The Always Sunny meme has a few advantages over the scroll format, though. The thing Dennis is throwing away doesn’t have to be an uncomfortable truth—it can be any concept or even a physical object. Also, the recognizable Always Sunny characters make this meme more broadly appealing (more “normie,” if you will) than an obscure webcomic meme. Always Sunny memes, while not as popular as, for example, SpongeBob SquarePants memes, are already well-liked online. Memes starring Danny DeVito’s character are considered especially dank, and the show’s title cards are also highly meme-able:
Always Sunny memes strike a good balance between mainstream appeal and being too off-color or misanthropic for popular social media accounts or brands to co-opt and ruin them. And with a dozen seasons of material to work with, they’re also a nearly limitless resource.