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 fourteenth 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, Dominic Dierkes
The Mick is a series that is always eager to tackle a broad new topic and filter it through its twisted, dysfunctional perspective. “The Church” broaches the area of religion and the existence of God, with each of the Pembertons having their own muddy take on the matter. The focus of the episode is on how Alba learns to accept church into her life as a means of bettering herself, but Mickey soon begins to chip away at her resolve. The church’s priest, Father Zach, is also unconventional in his methods and seems to be winning over everyone except Mickey.
“The Church” examines some headier issues than a typical episode of The Mick, but it’s still full of the series’ trademark irreverent sense of humor. There may be an earnest conversation with Ben about the significance of God, but there’s also a gruesome car crash and Mickey gets set on fire by the end of the episode. Clearly a little religion isn’t going to change The Mick’s pagan behavior.
The Mick Season 2 Episode 14 – “The Church”
“Mickey and the gang accompany Alba to church, after she admits she may have a substance abuse problem. When she invites her priest over for Sunday football, the Pembertons take a liking to him. Meanwhile, Ben questions his belief in God, forcing Jimmy and Sabrina to guide him.”
Written by Dominic Dierkes; Directed by Matt Sohn
DEN OF GEEK: Religion can be a really tricky topic to approach in a comedy like this. Why did you want to try telling a story that puts it at its center and what were you hoping to achieve with this?
DOMINIC DIERKES: It felt like a good setting. I was raised very Catholic. My dad is an ordained Catholic deacon, so there were a lot of specifics to draw from there. I don’t know if we were trying to say anything in particular or make a big statement with this episode, but it just felt like a good environment to explore and that a priest would be a good foil for Mickey.
DAVE CHERNIN: We try to be equal opportunity offenders in the sense that we don’t want to shy away from a topic just because it might be dicey. I don’t think we really cross any lines with this one though.
JOHN CHERNIN: We’re also very careful to not be saying that religion is stupid or anything, but rather that each character tries to present a different side of the coin.
DEN OF GEEK: It’s a little painful to watch Alba asking for help with her sobriety and Mickey just ignores it because she doesn’t want her to lose her “zip.” Is it difficult to approach moments like this where obviously you don’t want to drastically change Alba’s character, but you still want her to be healthy?
DAVE CHERNIN: It’s not difficult for us, no. We were laughing a lot when we were writing those scenes because there are so many musicians who were whacked out of their minds on drugs and created this amazing stuff. We tried to think of one example of somebody who still turned out great stuff after becoming sober and we couldn’t think of one person. So it’s this issue of yes, you want this person to become healthy, but you still want them to be able to satisfy their creative needs.
DEN OF GEEK: Alba’s closeness with Father Zach seems like it could have gone down a romantic direction. Have you guys thought at all about the prospect of Alba having some recurring love interest?
DAVE CHERNIN: Absolutely.
JOHN CHERNIN: Yeah, we’ve definitely got something brewing there.
DOMINIC DIERKES: A priest felt like the wrong spot for it though
JOHN CHERNIN: We have a little Alba romance coming up later on in the season and we had a brief tease of that sort of thing earlier in the year, too. We have a really good idea for season three that revolves around Alba’s relationship status, so we’re getting there.
DEN OF GEEK: Jimmy’s jam band example is a lot of fun, but were there any other different approaches that you considered in regard to Sabrina and Jimmy trying to convince Ben about God’s existence?
JOHN CHERNIN: I’m sure we did, but that jam band scene is one of my favorite scenes that we’ve ever done in the show. It cracks me up so much and Scott MacArthur is pretty much that person in real life. He’s been to dozens of Phish and Grateful Dead shows.
DOMINIC DIERKES: We felt like really the only other angle would have been undergoing a near-death experience and that felt a little severe for Ben.
DAVE CHERNIN: I believe that that’s also Dom’s voice as the other person that argues with Jimmy over Ketamine on the recording.
DEN OF GEEK: There’s definitely some adoration from Chip towards Father Zach. It’s such overdone, well-trodden territory at this point, but did you consider going down the whole “predatory priest” angle at all when breaking this episode?
DAVE CHERNIN: Yeah, I mean it certainly comes up in the writers’ room, but we were pretty quick to cast it aside. It’s been done before and it didn’t really appeal to us.
JOHN CHERNIN: I just love that the actor that plays Father McCormick has this perfect look on his face when Mickey says, “I have to talk to you about a priest…” He’s so happy that it’s not about a scandal.
DEN OF GEEK: Father Zach doesn’t get shipped off to Baltimore at the end of the episode. Is it possible that he could return?
DOMINIC DIERKES: Sure! Anything’s possible. Maybe he helps rebuild the community in a time of need.
DEN OF GEEK: Is it possible that Father Zach could become The Mick’s equivalent to Matthew Mara from It’s Always Sunny and Mickey ultimately ruins his life in a Rickety Cricket sort of fashion?)
DAVE CHERNIN: I think that we still have a ways to go in that department…
JOHN CHERNIN: I don’t know if Father Zach is formidable enough of an opponent for Mickey. I don’t necessarily see them in head-to-head battle.
DAVE CHERNIN: Matthew Mara was a very special beast. He’s indestructible, whereas Father Zach is a bit more of a pushover.
Our walkthrough of The Mick’s second season will continue when the show returns.