Editor’s note: The Fourth Wall is knocking down barriers between entertainment industry talent and the audience. This recurring feature 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 walkthrough looks at the eleventh episode from The Mick’s second season. Previous installments can be found here. In this installment, showrunners Dave and John Chernin are joined by the episode’s writer, John Harris.
The Mick Season 2 Episode 11 – “The Trip”
“Sabrina believes she’s a shoe-in at Yale, but on the day of her interview, she takes a risk that may ruin her chances and jeopardize her future. Meanwhile, Alba gets a visit from her cousin and must pretend to be a maid again, so her family doesn’t disown her.”
Written by John Howell Harris; Directed by Kat Coiro
DEN OF GEEK: I’m a big fan of acid trip episodes and this is pretty fantastic stuff. Was this an idea that you guys had wanted to do for a while or something that recently came together?
DAVE CHERNIN: We actually almost did this last year. We had the idea, but we either ran out of money or time in the end. Or maybe it was a thing with effects? But regardless, we had to boot it, but it was always something we wanted to do. It just wasn’t there last year, but this year it was.
JOHN CHERNIN: I think the original plan was that this was going to be the girls’ side of “The Implants” episode, but it became too cost inefficient so we scrapped it. We’ve talked about doing something like this for a while though.
I love that the obstacle here is so simple: Sabrina and Mickey just need to walk down a hallway, but it turns into the most difficult, complicated of tasks.
DAVE CHERNIN: That’s drugs for you!
I would have even been into if the entire thing was a bottle episode with them in the closet the whole time.
DAVE CHERNIN: When we started breaking it originally it was supposed to be a complete bottle episode in a closet. But the more we talked about it, the more it made sense to have them roam around the school. There’s also that great scene with Mickey and the cello. So we strayed a little from the original idea, but we’re still really into that sort of thing.
This ends up turning into a really great bonding experience for Mickey and Sabrina. They’re so often at odds with each other, was it nice to do a bit of the reverse here?
JOHN HARRIS: Yeah, for sure. This acid situation also seemed like the only situation where these two would be nice to each other.
JOHN CHERNIN: One thing that I think we like about them is that we think of them as very similar people, but just with different upbringings. So I love that conversation where Mickey says that she sees herself in Sabrina because I don’t think that she would admit that in any other circumstance. I also love that even when they are having this really nice moment Sabrina still can’t help but point out that that they are actually different.
Sabrina’s all over the place in this one. Do you look for storylines like this that get to show off your cast’s abilities in new ways?
DAVE CHERNIN: Absolutely, I think all of our cast members are such talented actors, Sofia especially. Any time that you allow her to get crazy, it’s also really fun because she’s often playing the straight man to Mickey. Absolutely though, we are very aware of our cast’s talents and it’s always nice when we let them stretch that a little bit.
JOHN CHERNIN: Sofia is such a great actress, but a lot of her humor comes from these really small moments. They especially crack us up in editing. When we have an opportunity to let her off her leash and go as big and crazy as some of the other characters on our show—it’s just really fun to get to see her do that.
JOHN HARRIS: It’s also just very hard to play high.
DAVE CHERNIN: She’s pretty method, so…
This episode deals with the topic of Sabrina going off to college. Have you thought about how that could change the next season of the show? Would you have Sabrina living away from these people if she goes away to school?
DAVE CHERNIN: That’s something that we’ve always talked about. Since the pilot episode we’ve said that she’s always going to go to Yale and that’s kind of barreling down on us right now. We have a couple of ideas that are up in the air. We’re not sure how we want to handle it but her high school career is quickly coming to a close.
I like that this episode gets a little into Alba’s family and the roots of the character. Did it feel like a good time to revisit that aspect of her character and how much she’s changed?
JOHN CHERNIN: Yeah, we were just talking about that the other day. She really has come a long way from where she began so it is nice every now and then when you can see where she came from or get frazzled over people from her past.
Do you think inhaling helium is Alba’s usual method of getting high?
JOHN CHERNIN: That was supposed to be nitrous oxide, but we cut that…
DAVE CHERNIN: It is nitrous oxide.
The record’s been set straight. Also, great job on the art department’s part for that merkin ring for Chip.
DAVE CHERNIN: The writers room did their research and they presented us with a version that we signed off on. There was just one. I will say, showing that was the hardest we’ve ever had to do something on this show in terms of standards and practices. It was the biggest obstacle that we’ve faced with them not wanting us to do something.
JOHN HARRIS: On set we’d say a lot, “Merkin hard, or hardly merkin?”
The scene where Mickey is on acid and plays Blind Melon’s “No Rain” on the cello and then everything shifts to the reality of it all just being trash is such a beautiful, big moment. How did that conclusion come about?
DAVE CHERNIN: I forget. I think it was something that we just talked about in the writers room in terms of the rules of reality and how Mickey can’t actually be good at playing the cello all of a sudden while on drugs. So we were trying to think of how to at least get a glimpse into her mind.
JOHN CHERNIN: Last year that was one of the beats that we loved about this. That while Sabrina is in the office and busy with school we had the idea of her playing cello. From that we really reverse engineered the whole “I want to be a musician” thing with Mickey.
DAVE CHERNIN: Truly my favorite part of the episode is that Mickey thinks being a musician just entails getting high and going to concerts. It was originally just a standalone beat but then John [Harris] reverse engineers the whole thing in his script and makes it bigger.
Well, I love that even when Mickey’s inspired at the end of the episode, her interpretation of how to be a musician is still to just get high and go to shows. She’s struggling to do things that aren’t even work.
DAVE CHERNIN: Absolutely. I love it.
DEN OF GEEK: I also love that the opposite goes down with Sabrina and the acid ostensibly maybe even helps get her into Yale.
DAVE CHERNIN: That’s just our belief that acid is good for you.
Our walkthrough of The Mick’s second season will continue next week.