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 eighteenth episode from The Mick’s second season. Previous installments can be found here.
In this installment, we chat with The Mick’s showrunners, Dave and John Chernin
After two seasons of dysfunctional antics, Mickey and the Pemberton clan have all been put through enough insane obstacles to break any regular family. “The Car” puts everyone in uniquely strained situations that nearly kill some of the cast, while the rest just spend a small fortune as they try to mentally break each other. Some innocuous gestures where Jimmy buys a clunker of a car from a police auction and Chip creates some fake online profiles develop into impossible problems.
Mickey has had to deal with a lot through The Mick’s second season, but bloody, half-naked, and wedged in car leather is definitely her at rock bottom. The way in which both Chip and Sabrina are so willing to use human lives as currency is also not them in their best light. We had the opportunity to talk to the show’s creators, John and Dave Chernin, about how this unpredictable episode came together and why Mickey’s attempts to save Ben from peril are always such gold.
Episode 18 – “The Car”
“After Jimmy purchases an old beat up car from a police auction, he and Mickey accidentally lock Ben inside. Meanwhile, Alba catches Chip secretly pretending to be Sabrina’s online crush and SHE encourages him to keep it going.”
Written by Scott Marder; Directed by Michael McDonald
DEN OF GEEK: Chip catfishing Sabrina is pretty perfect and continues to muddle their relationship. Talk on putting that storyline together.
DAVE CHERNIN: That storyline was probably put together about 48 hours before it was shot! How did it come together…
JOHN CHERNIN: It started with Alba and it was more about a story where Alba is pulling the puppet strings and gets to hover around a few different areas. In terms of Chip catfishing Sabrina, we just loved how far he’s willing to go to get close to her friends. He doesn’t care if it also rubs against some sketchy areas with his sister.
DAVE CHERNIN: I also think that once upon a time this episode was very much about technology. I still think it’s in there to some degree, but it fell out a little bit. We really wanted to do a computer episode, but there was just something really funny to us about Alba really enjoying drama and not having an exciting life, so she turns to the only source of drama that she has in her life, which is these two kids.
Well it’s funny that you say that because I think that’s still in there. There’s this whole Mickey versus machines theme through the episode is great. It’s pretty fantastic that it’s machines that end up saving her in the end.
JOHN CHERNIN: Yeah, I think that was always the core of the idea. That Mickey ultimately does have to rely on machines to get out of this jam.
Alba operating as this agent of chaos between Chip and Sabrina is a lot of fun. I thought that might have been a later addition here, so it’s interesting to hear that it was actually centered around her.
DAVE CHERNIN: Yeah, it always started with Alba and she was definitely the key to it all rather than an afterthought.
This is a throwaway line, but the fact that Alba’s take on the real world is “politics and pranks” is pretty wonderful.
DAVE CHERNIN: We think as Alba as someone who’s out there living her most exciting life, but in reality she’s really just watching a lot of television.
Did you consider a version of this where Sabrina does believe Chip and this goes in a different direction, or was she always savvy to him here?
JOHN CHERNIN At one point we did have it get to the point where she believed it up to the point where Chip actually gives her a tattoo. However, we felt like the idea of Sabrina being onto Chip from minute one allowed Alba to have more fun here. She’s the mastermind here.
This Mickey story with Ben is so much fun. Did you start with the idea of Ben getting trapped in something or Jimmy buying the car? What was the process here?
DAVE CHERNIN: The original idea for this episode before we had a story or anything else was that we liked the idea of Ben getting trapped in a car on the hottest day of the year. So that was on a note card that was on a wall for most of the year until we could finally do something with it and work it in.
JOHN CHERNIN: Those are always the kind of episodes that we love. These episodes that begin from a simple, relatable place, like the fear of a child getting locked in a car. So once we had this new car for Jimmy that he was in love with and wanted to prevent Mickey from ruining, it suddenly gained higher stakes and more meaning.
DAVE CHERNIN: Yeah, it started from, how does Ben get trapped in a car? I don’t know, maybe it’s a cop car. How do they get a cop car? Maybe Jimmy buys one at a police auction…So we kind of just reverse-engineered it from there.
Were there any other methods that Mickey and Jimmy went through in their efforts to get into the car? Was there anything that didn’t make the cut?
JOHN CHERNIN: That was a hard sequence to edit just because it’s really incredible what Kaitlin [Olson] is capable of doing just by contorting her body into a car. It’s just so funny and it’s tough to edit because you go through takes and you just have this embarrassment of riches to go through. That’s a pretty common “problem” with Kaitlin-heavy episodes.
We really loved filming this one because we just get to take one of the funniest people in comedy and let her loose. I don’t know if her methods of trying to get into the car changed at all, but the edits of the takes were definitely a changing process.
The Jimmy material with Gary feels like a bit of an afterthought. Was this always a part of the episode? Did it change at all throughout the breaking of the script?
DAVE CHERNIN: I think that played into more of the technology angle of the episode. Both Mickey and Jimmy think of themselves as people that don’t need technology and then they both get kind of moved by technology one way or another in this one. So Jimmy meets this guy and his extreme resistance to technology is put aside by this cool car.
JOHN CHERNIN: And it’s just really stupid, simple stuff that he falls in love with like satellite radio.
Our walkthrough of The Mick’s second season will continue next week