'It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia' has never shied away from pitch-black humour throughout its 13 seasons on air.
There's been entire episodes devoted to just the worst kind of behaviour and the depraved, violent tendencies of the gang has never been in question. One of the recurring jokes - if you can even call it that - is that Dennis Reynolds is in fact a serial killer. At the very least, he's got some kind of serious personality issues involving narcissism, delusions of grandeur, and is probably a sociopath.
While the renewed interest in Ted Bundy stems from Netflix's 'Conversations With A Serial Killer: The Ted Bundy Tapes' and Zac Efron's portrayl of Ted Bundy in an upcoming movie, the theory has persisted about Bundy and Dennis has persisted for years. A post from the 'It's Always Sunny' subreddit a couple of years ago, however, found that there's a pretty extraordinary amount of links between Ted Bundy and Dennis Reynolds.
For example, in the episode 'Chardee MacDennis 2: Electric Boogaloo', Dennis is asked to make a diorama of what he thinks "love" is and comes with a head in a box. While some people thought that was a reference to David Fincher's 'Se7en', Ted Bundy was known to decapitate his victims' heads. Like we said, it's... dark.
There's more. Both were considered handsome, relatively "normal" men who had extremely violent tendencies and were misogynists. Both majored in psychology in college, and both used these as tools to control and manipulate people to their own ends. Both of them had abusive relationships with their grandfathers, both were more than capable of creating fake identities to hide themselves and both had a different personality that came out when they were violent.
For Dennis Reynolds, it was the Golden God. For Ted Bundy, it was what he referred to as the Entity.
There's also how Dennis Reynolds seemed to "get off" on deceiving people, and most likely killed businessman Brian LeFevre in the episode, 'Frank's Back In Business'. Again, Dennis assumes another person's identity and when it's revealed that he's been impersonating LeFevre and found the dismembered finger to be sexual, he talks about "getting off" on the whole thing, and described it as "mostly sexual."
Here's probably the most obvious reference, and one that the subreddit post quite rightly picked up on. In the episode 'The High School Reunion, Part 2: The Gang's Revenge', an enraged Dennis goes to his Land Rover and pulls out his "tools" from a secret compartment. These include a torchlight, zipties and duct-tape, a camera, and rubber gloves.
Here's the scene in question.
When Ted Bundy was pulled over and arrested in Utah in 1975, police officers found various items inside of his car. Among them was - that's right - a torchlight, zipties and handcuffs, and rubber gloves.
Obviously, it's hard to actually know if the parallels between Dennis Reynolds and Ted Bundy was something that was intentional or if it was simply just a way of making Reynolds seem creepier by taking cues from serial killers. There's also the fact that Glenn Howerton, the actor who plays Dennis Reynolds, really does bear a physical resemblance to Bundy - right down to the curly hair.
When you look at the earlier episodes, the character of Dennis Reynolds is treated far more like a straight character among a gang of weirdos, but as the series progresses, he becomes creepier and weirder as time goes by.
Don't be in the least bit surprised if the final episode of 'It's Always Sunny' reveals him to be an actual serial killer all along.