Editor’s note: The Fourth Wall is a platform for creators, actors, and industry insiders to bring the readers behind the scenes of the production process. In our latest installment, we removed the curtain on the writers’ room for the second season of Fox’s The Mick.
This part of the writers’ room walkthrough looks at the second episode from The Mick’s second season. Previous installments can be found here.
The Mick Season 2 Episode 3 – “The Visit”
“Mickey takes Sabrina to visit her mother in jail to gain closure, but it turns out Mickey may be the one who needs it the most. While visiting his father, Chip learns that his father is in danger behind bars and enlists Jimmy for help. Meanwhile, Ben inadvertently distracts the bullies.”
Written by Scott Marder; Directed by Kat Coiro
Was the plan to always periodically catch up with Poodle and Christopher throughout the show as Mickey and this family continue to evolve? Have you thought at all about them even getting out of prison and how the show could change in that sense, too?
DAVE CHERNIN: Yeah, we always had some sort of plan for them. We knew we had these characters that were very much in the background during season one, but the more we worked with those actors—we just love Laird and Trisha—we definitely wanted to return to them in some capacity. I don’t know if we’ll ever want them to be fully in the mix, but it seems fun to keep having them pop up. Also to keep changing their location–in the first season they were on the lam, this year we make a point to see them in prison, and maybe at a certain point we’ll move them somewhere else. We like having them around though.
JOHN CHERNIN: Originally in the pilot we actually killed off the parents, but by the time we got around to pitching the show, we thought that would ultimately be too dark and depressing. So we definitely don’t want Christopher and Poodle to overtake the show or anything, but we love using them when we can.
Poodle’s change is pretty substantial here. Do you think her growth is genuine, or is she just wearing prison-tinted glasses and this is just temporary?
DAVE CHERNIN: We talked about that a lot, actually. It’s certainly the most sympathetic side of her that we’ve seen. It felt true to us though. When we were originally breaking this episode and we had her in prison and still being an asshole, it rang a little false to us. So we took a step back to sort of analyze what the real reaction would be here. Regardless of how terrible she may be, it still seems like she’d have some regret about how everything went down.
On the other side of things, Jesus Christ, Christopher not having any teeth is one of the boldest jokes I’ve seen on network TV in some time. Was there any pushback regarding this and do you generally see a lot of notes regarding content?
JOHN CHERNIN: I don’t know if there was a lot of pushback on that specific joke. There was definitely some apprehension in regard to Christopher’s storyline just being really dark in general. That teeth joke was a sword that we were prepared to die on though if we had to. That was a joke that we actually came up with during the off-season when we were joking around. Just that line, “My roommate took them. He said I won’t be needing them any more,” is something Dave and I would say to each other to make ourselves laugh. We don’t get too much pushback from Fox, but rather they just wanted to have a conversation about what we’re doing. I don’t think there’s ever been a hard time where they’ve said, “You can’t do that,” unless it’s dealing with language.
DAVE CHERNIN: There were definitely a lot of comments about that story being too dark, so we were aware of that every step of the way. It was quite pleasing to come out of the other side of it with what we did.
Did you think it was important to reflect that Mickey seems to need just as much closure with Christopher and Poodle as the children do?
JOHN CHERNIN: I think that’s what really attracted us to the story. Whenever Mickey has an opportunity to do something for the kids, but then you realize she’s really just doing it for herself. So yeah, she wanted to help the kids and help them through this, but once she’s there it becomes clear it’s all about her. She’s the one that needs closure more than anyone.
DAVE CHERNIN: Any opportunity we have to delve into the backstory of Mickey, it’s always smart for us to go in that direction. Whether it’s stuff with her and Poodle or her and Jimmy, it’s always fun to uncover more truths about her life. Kaitlin, specifically, is always talking about wanting to break stories about exploring what exactly happened with Poodle and where it all went wrong between them.
Was there a version of this episode that had Alba involved at some point? There’s a ton going on as it is, but did you try to work her in too?
DAVE CHERNIN: Not really, no. One thing that we really strive to do on our show is that if a character doesn’t fit into a storyline then we don’t feel the need to jam them in there. Just having Alba bring up how much she’d like to go and knowing how Mickey would address that sort of thing is enough. Like there are episodes where Sabrina only has a few lines, an upcoming one that Ben is barely in, it’s just whatever suits the story. Servicing six characters in 21 minutes is a lot to do, so we just try to be aware of that. It’s not worth including everyone into something if it’s coming at the detriment of other storylines.
Ben’s story with the inmates is a lot of fun. Is it challenging to find new outrageous situations to put him in?
DAVE CHERNIN: No, haha. The fun thing about that character is that you can put him in the most dangerous of situations and as long as he’s largely oblivious to his surroundings it never feels too dark.
JOHN CHERNIN: Kat Coiro, who directed this episode, had the idea to put him in that cute, little hat. I think that small detail ends up going a long way and adding a lot.
Is that tattoo on Ben sticking around?
JOHN CHERNIN: Tattoos are forever.
DAVE CHERNIN: It may not be as big as we’d like, but if you zoom in you’ll see that there’s a lot going on there.
Our walkthrough of The Mick’s second season will continue next week.