There have been many great mysteries throughout human history. What happened to Amelia Earhart? What is the government hiding at Area 51? Who really built the Pyramids? But for anyone who has watched the fourth season of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, there is one mystery that trumps all the others. Who is Pepe Silvia?
After many sleepless nights wondering who Pepe Silvia was and what he might represent, I decided to dive into the dark recesses of the internet in hopes of finding an answer to this question. Could the secret of Pepe Silvia’s identity lead us to a greater understanding of the human condition? Might we understand our position in the universe a little bit better if only we could discover where all those boxes full of Pepe came from?
Who Is Pepe Silvia?
The character, or rather concept, of Pepe Silvia comes from one of the best episodes of the show — “Sweet Dee Has a Heart Attack,” the tenth episode of the fourth season. In the episode’s cold opening, Dee has a heart attack, which inspires sad Dee (Kaitlin Olson) and creepy Dennis (Glenn Howerton) to try to adopt healthier lifestyles, and causes Mac (Rob McElhenney) and Charlie (Charlie Day) to take up office jobs so that they can get medical benefits.
When Mac and Charlie apply for their jobs, they do so using a single resume for both of them. Eventually, the interviewer tells them that the only job available is a “mailroom gig” and that they only have one position. When Mac and Charlie offer to both work and split the minimum wage pay, they both get hired.
Once hired, Charlie begins working frantically to sort the mail. Mac, on the other hand, decides that his time is better spent “networking” and decides to sit in a guy named Johnson’s office and take his phone calls.
When Mac goes to check on Charlie in the mailroom, Charlie is chain-smoking and seems to be strung out. He says that he’s discovered a “major conspiracy” in the office, which is all centered around a mysterious character named “Pepe Silvia.”
According to Charlie, he had been receiving large volumes of mail addressed to Pepe. He was getting boxes full of Pepe. Fearing that Pepe would come down to the mailroom in an infuriated search for his mail, Charlie went up to Pepe’s office and knocked on the door. However, upon opening the door, he realized that there was no one in there. Things began to look even more suspicious from there.
Hoping that she could shed some light on the whole Pepe Silvia situation, Charlie decided to head over to Carol in HR’s office. After rapping on her door and calling her name several times, he was met with no answer. Charlie then decided to look into her office, and what did he discover? There wasn’t even a desk in Carol’s office.
For Charlie, these unexplained vacancies led to only one conclusion: that the company was “being bled like a stuck pig.” Now, in terms of what exactly he means by that, your guess is as good as mine. However, as the scene progresses, Mac enlightens Charlie to the fact that not only do Pepe Silvia and Carol exist, they’ve been asking about their mail frequently. Not exactly one of Charlie’s smartest moments.
Certain fans of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia aren’t buying that the conclusion to this mystery could really be that simple. Pepe and Carol are real people and just weren’t in their offices? There must be more to it than that! And so, fan forums have been lighting up with discussions over whether Pepe and Carol are real people or simply fabrications of Charlie’s mind, which has also come up with the insane idea of milk steak.
Is Pepe Silvia a Real Person?
Since this iconic episode aired for the first time on October 30, 2008, fans of the show have been floating around theories about whether Pepe Silvia is an actual person or just a figment of Charlie’s fantastical imagination.
At this point in the episode, we already know that Charlie’s mind has degenerated from stress enough to the point where he’s having hallucinations about characters that don’t actually exist. He tells Barney, his imaginary detective friend, to hand Mac a cigarette, only to turn back to Barney and realize that he’s no longer there, proving that he was only a hallucination. So, judged by that interaction, Charlie most certainly could have imagined Pepe Silvia altogether.
However, at the end of the scene, Mac says to Charlie, “Not only do all of these people exist, but they have been asking for their mail on a daily basis. It’s all they’re talking about up there.” That would imply that Pepe Silvia was a real person the entire time, as was Carol in HR, and Charlie was simply unable to find the correct place to put their mail.
Can we really trust that Mac is familiar with the other employees of the office, though? While he’s clearly the more mentally stable of the two of them at this point, Mac spent almost the entirety of the episode sitting behind Johnson’s desk and answering phone calls that weren’t meant for him. How would he know if there was a Pepe Silvia or a Carol in HR if he wasn’t interacting with the other employees?
Certain fans on Reddit have come up with another theory. According to certain discussions, Charlie, who is known to be dyslexic and essentially illiterate, may have misread the word “Pennsylvania” as “Pepe Silvia” and “Care of HR” as “Carol in HR.” This would certainly make sense, as the episode is set in the state of Pennsylvania, and “Care of HR” is a common letter heading that would be found in an office.
While this theory is certainly entertaining, one of the show’s writers took to Twitter to debunk it, saying, “Total coincidence, but I wish I’d thought of it.” The Tweet has since been removed from his account, but I think that pretty well proves that both Pepe Silvia and Carol in HR are real people working in the office.
The Pepe Silvia Craze
Since the “Sweet Dee Has a Heart Attack” episode came out, fans of the show have gone absolutely wild about Pepe Silvia, and with good reason. I’ve personally watched every episode of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia several times, and I would rank the Pepe Silvia scene among the funniest in the entire series.
Fans of the show will constantly quote from this scene or randomly start shouting, “Carol! Carol!” However, the fandom over Pepe Silvia and Carol in HR has gone beyond the scope of just reciting quotes.
There has been a flood of hilarious Pepe Silvia memes all over social media, commenting on topics from social anxiety to the experience of filling out a March Madness bracket.
A YouTuber by the name of Worthikids created a dubbed-over animation for the Pepe Silvia scene.
Martin House Brewing Company out of Texas named one of their beers “There Is No Pepe Silvia.” The beer is described as an “IPA with boxes full of coffee.” I haven’t had the chance to try one, but I sure would love to, maybe while enjoying an episode of It’s Always Sunny.
You can even buy some awesome clothes inspired by the Pepe Silvia scene! If you wear one of these shirts around, you’re going to get some major props from fans of the show. There are also unofficial stickers available to slap on your laptop or wherever you please.
Overall, this episode of It’s Always Sunny is hilarious the entire way through, but the Pepe Silvia scene is undoubtedly the star of the show. It’s easy to see why Pepe has gone so viral on the internet and why fans of the show absolutely love to quote from this scene. If you were to walk into a public forum right now and start reciting quotes about Pepe Silvia, I can almost guarantee you’d get a few laughs.
Will Pepe Silvia ever reveal himself in a later episode? Only time will tell. What we can expect, however, is for the fifteenth season of It’s Always Sunny to be just as ridiculous and edgy as the previous seasons. Rob McElhenney, a writer for the show and actor who portrays Mac, took to social media to assure the world that this next season will be full of “more dick jokes.”