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"Hero or Hate Crime?" is the sixth episode of the twelfth season of It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia. It aired on February 8, 2017 and was viewed by 551,000 people.


The Gang goes to a professional arbitrator to decide who's the rightful owner of a scratch off lottery ticket. While they're there they also try to clear up whether or not the events surrounding the scratcher prove that Frank is a hero or hate monger.


11:41 AM on a Monday, Philadelphia, PA

It's a typical Monday morning for The Gang. Frank is hanging around on the street, with mirrors on his shoes so he can look up women's skirts. Dee is reading from a massive medical book. Dennis has a bottle of champagne for some reason. Mac and Charlie walk up the street, and Charlie notices Mac is limping, which he says is from a new exercise bike he has. Charlie appears to intentionally step in dog shit, which puzzles Mac. Dennis asks Dee why she's reading the book, and Dee denies that she is reading it, then tries to put the huge book in her small purse, causing her to drop her purse and a lottery scratch off ticket to fly out. As Mac continues to try to figure out why Charlie would intentionally step in dog shit, Mac sees the scratcher blowing down the street towards him, and he goes to get it. Frank, across the street (having just had the mirrors on his shoes discovered), notices that Mac is standing underneath a piano being raised up to an apartment building -- and the rope hauling it breaks. He alerts Mac by yelling out "Look out, faggot!" at Mac, which gets Charlie's attention and he kicks Mac away from the path of the falling piano.

Mac's reaction to what happened is anger at the slur that Frank used to refer to him. So the question arises: did Frank just commit a hate crime, or is he a hero for saving Mac's life?

The Gang hires an arbitrator to settle the question -- well, actually, the question of who gets the scratcher. When the attorney suggests they scratch it off to see how much the ticket is worth, so if it's a loser, they don't have to worry about it. The Gang is horrified by this suggestion, because they say that as long as the ticket is unscratched, there's "hope" that it's a winner. The arbitrator says that his only rule is that they treat each other with "respect and common courtesy." So the Gang replaces him with another arbitrator.

The new arbitrator asks who bought the ticket. Dee says she bought it, which no one denies. She says that she actually bought it 2 weeks prior, but never scratched it "because as long as you don't scratch it, you're not a loser." Everyone else decides that's really sad. Dennis points out that she had many items in her purse, including cigarettes and gummy worms, that she shouldn't be able to afford on her salary. They ask why she was smoking, and she tells them it's because she thinks she has a risk of developing Parkinson's disease, and she's read that smoking reduces the risk of Parkinson's. Dennis points out that the only way she could have gotten the money was due to a deal they had: Dennis has been giving Dee money every morning to buy coffee from a cashier he is trying to impress -- she is to give the cashier a large tip and say "This is from my boss, Dennis." The champagne he was buying was to celebrate the cashier's 21st birthday. Dennis then says he followed Dee and caught her buying the cigarettes with the money that Dennis gave her for the tip -- and she must have purchased the ticket with his money.

Charlie then makes his case. He begins by admitting he intentionally stepped in the dog shit, so that he would smell like dog shit -- to cover up the smell of the skunk he let spray him, to cover the smell of cologne. The cologne, in turn, was to cover up the smell of cigarettes, and Charlie admits he was smoking with Dee. He then says he should get it because "if the shit shoe's a matcher, Charlie gets the scratcher!" He then presents the shirt Mac was wearing, still with dog shit on it. Mac tells Charlie that the question isn't whether or not he kicked him, since everyone saw that. The question is whether or not he saved Mac's life, and Mac says he didn't, because he was about to backflip out of the way. Frank then says that even if that were true (and everyone but Mac thinks it isn't), he still saved Mac's life by alerting him.

Frank tells his story. He says that he used the word "faggot" because he knew that it would "cut through" and everyone would know to look. Mac again says that he shouldn't get a part of the payment because the word was bigoted. Frank says it was "just a word", and then Mac asks Frank if he needed a word to call out to their arbitrator -- an African-American woman -- what would he use? Frank hesitates, but Charlie just blurts out the word "nigger". Mac wonders why that word gets such a negative reaction, but "faggot" doesn't. A discussion of words you can't and can use -- featuring frequent use of the words "cunt" and "cocksucker" -- follows.

Mac then says that Frank is a bigot for thinking he is gay, and the arbitrator is surprised to hear that Mac is not gay, or at least says he is. Dennis explains that Frank thinks he's gay -- because Mac is gay. They all tell him he should come out. Mac expresses amazement that everyone thinks he's gay, at which point Dennis brings up "the bike in the basement". Mac takes up Dennis on his offer to go get it, saying "I've got nothing to hide."

So Dennis gets Mac's bike. Mac demonstrates it, at which point we see that a large dildo with a fist on the end bounces in and out of the seat. Mac says it's not what it looks like (which is, according to Dee, "like you're fucking yourself with a dildo bike") and says it's an exercise bike. When Charlie says it looks like he added a penis to the bike. Mac says it can't be a penis, because it has a fist on the end. He says the name of the bike is the "Ass Pounder 4000", and the point of the fist is merely to keep you from resting if you get tired. (He gives its rather dubious tagline: "Ass Pounder 4000: Never Stop Pumping.")

The arbitrator says she will make her decision, but it will be based on "fairness and compromise." The Gang replaces her.

So the third arbitrator announces her ruling. She says that since Mac has possession of the ticket, he's entitled to it, but he would not have it if Frank had not saved his life, so the ticket should be split 50/50 between them. When the other protest how bigoted Frank's statement is, the arbitrator says that since Mac does not claim to be gay, it's not hate speech. So Mac asks if he comes out, he'd get the entire ticket, and he's told he would be. So Mac immediately announces he's gay. The others protest he'll go back in the closet as soon as he gets the ticket, but Mac says he won't. The arbitrator scratches the ticket, and it is revealed the ticket won $10,000. The others say he'll go back in the closet, but Mac says that this time, he might stay out of the closet, that he thinks that he will stay out, and he admits that he's gay. He takes the Ass Pounder 4000 and his ticket, and goes.

The others are presented with the bill -- since they used 3 arbiters, and 17 hours, the bill is $9,986. They decide that Mac should pay for it because arbitration was his idea, which will leave him with $14. They decide to let him have his day, and they won't tell him until tomorrow. They also say that while they are happy he's come out, they still hate him.



Guest starring[]

  • Kari Coleman as Margie
  • Karen Y. McClain as Faith


  • Amanda S. Hall as Pretty Woman


  • The opening scene is set in the same vicinity of where How I Met Your Mother is filmed. Charlie saves Mac's life outside the fictional McLaren's Pub and Ted Mosby's apartment.
  • The word "cocksucker" has been used on this show before, in the episode "Mac Kills His Dad", by Bill Ponderosa's son ("I don't call him 'Dad'. I call him Mr. Cocksucker because he sucks so much cock."), but "cunt" has never been. This is the second episode that did not censor the word "fuck" in the original airing, after "Making Dennis Reynolds a Murderer".
  • The word "cunt" is heard for the first time on the show, though Dee refers to someone as a "C U Next Tuesday" in "The Gang Goes to Hell".
  • The rest of The Gang thinks Mac is gay in the Season 9 episode "Mac Day". Mac briefly comes out in the Season 11 episode "The Gang Goes to Hell", but he is back in the closet by the end of "The Gang Goes to Hell: Part 2".
  • It was revealed that Dee makes less than minimum wage in the episode "Paddy's Pub: Home of the Original Kitten Mittens." She signed a contract giving her the merchandising rights to Paddy's Pub merchandise in exchange for agreeing to work for less than minimum wage.
  • When Charlie says to Mac "You have never once flipped." and he replies "In the pool?", Mac refers to the swimming-pool from "Mac and Charlie: White Trash".
  • What Dee is saying about smokers having a lower risk of Parkinson's disease is actually true. Of course, the increased risk of cancer, heart disease, and other diseases from smoking far outweighs this benefit.
  • The Ass Pounder 4000 may be a bit of a homage to the dildo chair that U.S. Marshall Harry Pfarrer (played by George Clooney) builds in the movie Burn After Reading. Like the Ass Pounder 4000, Pfarrer keeps his dildo chair hidden away in his basement.
  • Dennis and the Gang assure Mac that their (low) opinions of him will not change if he comes out of the closet, and that they'll accept that part of him; this echoes their relief towards Country Mac's comfort in his own homosexuality in "Mac Day".
  • Dennis says that even though he's happy for Mac, he still hates him, confirming Mac's fears of such a thing that he confided to Frank in "Being Frank".
  • This episode has an IMDb rating of 9.6/10. It's the second highest after "Charlie Work", which has a rating of 9.7/10.



Mini-Frank Reynolds.jpg   Look out, faggot!



Mini-Dennis Reynolds.jpg   You see, I was waiting for Cassie to mature. You know, much like an IRA. You put the money in, then you wait. And then you make a hefty withdrawal.



[Mac is demonstrating the Ass Pounder 4000]
Mini-Mac.jpg   I know what you're thinking, but it's not what it looks like.
Yeah, what it looks like is that you are fucking yourself with a dildo bike.   Mini-Dee Reynolds.jpg

Season 12 Episodes
  1. "The Gang Turns Black"
2. "The Gang Goes to a Water Park"
3. "Old Lady House: A Situation Comedy"
4. "Wolf Cola: A Public Relations Nightmare"
5. "Making Dennis Reynolds a Murderer"
6. "Hero or Hate Crime?"
7. "PTSDee"
8. "The Gang Tends Bar"
9. "A Cricket's Tale"
10. "Dennis' Double Life"