Kaitlin Olson has been a consistent source of joy through her decade-plus tenure as the irrational, bird-like Dee Reynolds on It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia. Olson’s performance in Always Sunny is such a highlight of the program that many fans were ecstatic when Olson was given her own vehicle to build and refine her unique brand of comedy. The Mick centers Olson as the guardian and “role model” for an affluent, spoiled family and it’s truly the perfect conduit for Olson’s fearless style of comedy, which can often feel like “Lucille Ball on bath salts.”
The Mick’s second season maintains the insane, dysfunctional status quo that was present in the show’s debut year, but it pushes the madness even further this season. Mickey and the rest of the Pemberton family go through a whole lot of bonkers exploits this year, many of which end with broken bones, dismembered limbs, or a raging inferno. At the same time, The Mick is still able to find emotional catharsis for its characters and the bulk of the cast overcome demons and learn new truths about themselves by the end of the year. The Mick proves that it’s possible to have an aggressive, shocking family comedy that still cares about character and relationships. The second season even goes out on a surprisingly tense cliffhanger that feels more at home on something like Homeland than a network comedy.
With the show’s second season recently finishing up, we got the opportunity to reflect back on the year with Kaitlin Olson and discuss the show’s growth, her favorite moments and gags from the season, what might be in store for Mickey’s future, and why everyone hates Chip.
DEN OF GEEK: I think you’re such a skilled physical comedian. Were there any physical comedy gags from this season that were your favorite?
KAITLIN OLSON: It’s true that the guys really love pushing the physical comedy, which I love, too. They love putting me in those situations, which is really such a compliment. Let me think though… there were so many! Okay, so one of my favorite physical comedy bits from this season was from “The Car.” Basically we were on location and we were running behind and so by the time we got to that scene I literally had two takes to beat that car up and do that whole thing before the sun went down. I had like ten minutes. It was such a balls-out attempt to try to do everything funny that I could possibly think of in those limited number of takes.
Another highlight too was just getting stuck in that car and trying to wiggle forward to reach Ben. Honestly, the more hideous I can look when I’m doing any kind of physical exertion, then the funnier and better it becomes.
I think one of my favorites is this simple scene where you trip up a flight of stairs when the police arrive and I think I watched it like a dozen times.
That’s so funny because they always bring in a stunt double for this sort of stuff, Kimberly Murphy, and she’s amazing. Like nobody wants me to get hit by a car. But they always bring her in for little stuff like that too and I’m like, “Are you serious? I can trip up the stairs and not hurt myself!” Everyone’s just so scared because I always end up breaking things. Going up the stairs was fun though because she did it a bunch of times and then I was like, “Cool, cool, cool. Now give me one chance to do it.” Stuff like that, I think it’s important because you always want to see someone’s face when they’re doing something like that so you know that it’s them. So we only had one take for that and they ended up using it.
Your chemistry with Sofia is so damn good and there’s always such an energy when Mickey and Sabrina are together. Describe their dynamic a little and how the two are actually quite similar.
Yeah, that’s one of my favorite dynamics in the show. I love that Mickey-Sabrina relationship. It really cracks me up that a grown woman is so threatened by a 17 year-old girl and how for the most part while Sabrina doesn’t like Mickey, she can sort of take her or leave her. That’s so maddening for Mickey. That’s sort of what I used at the end of this to make Mickey want to stay in this house. I didn’t want it to be this thing where she falls in love with these kids and responsibilities take over. It’s not that at all. A) it’s a place to be and it’s a great opportunity; and B) she wants to prove to Sabrina, who doesn’t believe that she can do this, that she can do this. So I sort of needed that as an actor, so those scenes with her become particularly fun for me.
And yeah, they’re very similar. They’re so similar, which is why they’ll never admit it. That’s why I love episodes where they do have to work together, like “The Trip,” where they go on this acid trip together. It was so much fun to shoot and even the sweet moments are really insulting, plus in the finale there’s some really sweet stuff as well. You buy it though because of how terrible they are to each other all year.
I really love that final moment from the season where Mickey starts to tear up over Sabrina’s condition. It’s great to see the year end with Mickey really embracing her guardian status and get to feel something. It definitely seems like one of the most significant moments for the character so far.
I loved that. To me it’s such a funny thing. I mean, it’s a horrific thing that happens, but it’s so funny to me. So to be able to have Mickey—I need the audience to be able to tell that Mickey ultimately really loves these kids. I don’t want them to get hit over the head with that because this isn’t a super emotional show, it’s a comedy. So when we do find those moments I really love it.
I really respected how this season got rid of Jimmy for a few episodes and played around with the audience on that front. Scott is great, but where do you fall there? Would you liked to have seen Mickey date a little more or are you happy she’s back with Jimmy? What does he bring to the table?
It’s so much fun for me to explore relationships and I do think it’s great when we can open this world up to new characters and actors whenever we can. So I wouldn’t mind Mickey exploring other relationships, but ultimately I love how weird Mickey and Jimmy’s relationship is, how undefined it is, and really how they’re okay with that. To me, it’s funny that she’s still dating people when he’s under the same roof in the same house. I would like to get into more of that stuff if we do get to do more episodes.
The Mickey and Jimmy relationship has always been a challenge for us as creators, so we almost tried to lean into that. Wedon’t really know what their relationship is, so the characters don’t really know either. It’s kind of funny that they don’t care and just accept that nobody gets them. Also, just that Scott is such a funny person. He’s such a good person to play around with and bounce off of. I like when Scott’s in the mix and there’s a solid Jimmy component to a story.
Your chemistry with Carla is also a real highlight of the show. Your characters are really in sync now, but talk about getting to that place and unlocking the secret to how their friendship works?
It’s so much fun and I love how we sort of explored what that relationship is this year. Exactly like you said, I liked that Mickey doesn’t want Alba to go to rehab because that’s a little too extreme. Just pop in and out of church and take care of what you need to take care of. But also in “The Dump” where Alba wants more of a partnership instead of being a sidekick and Mickey is all, “No, no. You need to let me handle that—You don’t know how to do that…” She challenges Mickey’s authority a little, which is fun.
I think it’s fascinating that still, after two seasons, Mickey is still truly trying to figure out her relationship with all of these people. Mickey is honestly used to being alone. She’s not used to anyrelationship. So it’s fun to watch Mickey figure out how she feels about Ben, or Sabrina, or Alba—she knows she hates Chip. He’s insufferable.
Everybody hates Chip. On the topic of “The Dump,” I think Mickey needs to be around more crowds of young children as much as possible.
Yeah, being overwhelmed by children is very funny. Mickey’s also getting used to the children that she lives with, so we need to up the stakes. I think you’re right, she needs more children to lower her resistance.
Is there anything that you’d like to see there be more of in a hypothetical third season or something you’d like to see happen with Mickey that hasn’t happened yet?
I think that Mickey’s past could be so ripe with guest star characters. I’d like to go back to Warwick more often and see more arch nemeses, old friends, old enemies, old family members. There’s just a lot to explore with Mickey and Jimmy’s past and where they came from.
I mean, there’s that great tidbit dropped in the finale about Mickey and Poodle’s mother just disappearing. I’m sure she’ll show up at some point.
I hope so. I have people in mind that would be so amazing at playing Poodle and Mickey’s mom. Plus, it would be so amazing to see Poodle and Mickey with their mother and Sabrina and give them all some sort of storyline.
Lastly, in your opinion, what was the most challenging scene or episode to shoot from this season?
Okay, so we have some that are certainly the most physically exhausting. The one that aired last week, “The Dance,” where I shoot myself in the leg was a really long—see, it got cut together in a way where I’m not sure you can tell how long that scene really is. However, shooting yourself, panting, and then trying to remain really calm while you sit quietly is just grueling to do.
But yeah, a lot of physically challenging things like beating the car and trying to get inside of it. All of that stuff I love so much though because it just brings your energy up. Okay, and there was this, which goes back to physical stuff, too. It felt like it was the coldest night in the history of Los Angeles and then Sofia and I needed to have freezing cold rain poured on us in that last scene. We are like, “Are you kidding me? I’ve never been this cold in my life!” And seriously, it’s 2018, can we not figure out a way to do hot rainwater yet? But that’s another thing that looks easy, but was a real gauntlet. Like I wanted to gesture with my arms, but they were frozen stiff at my sides.
The Mick’s entire second season is currently available on FOX On Demand and iTunes