The Mick is never afraid to back down from touchy subject matter, but “The Juice” is an episode that covers a lot of sensitive material. The bulk of the story is concerned with Mickey’s efforts to indoctrinate Chip and his friend into the world of high stakes gambling so they—but more importantly so she—can feel a rush and get “the juice” to flow. In typical Mick fashion Mickey gets in over her head here and it’s only a matter of time until Russian thugs are a part of the picture and lives may be on the line.
Sabrina and Jimmy also find themselves tangled in a unique storyline where Jimmy worries over Sabrina’s new relationship due to what it may mean for her date’s professional sports career. This pulls from Jimmy’s past in an excellent way and it also highlights the smart character pairings that are present in this episode. On top of that, there are some genuine stakes and the fact that this is one of the funnier episodes of the season makes this an installment that’s quite the memorable entry.
In our writers’ room recap, we chat with The Mick creators Dave and John Cherin about this week’s episode.
The Mick Season 2 Episode 15 – “The Juice”
Written by Eric Falconer; Directed by Matt Sohn
DEN OF GEEK: Gambling is an interesting topic to tackle here, but one that makes sense with Mickey’s history. How did this story come about and are any of you big gamblers at all?
DAVE CHERNIN: We are not big gamblers. Some of our producers are, but the thing is that I’m just terrible at it. I’m the type to go to Vegas and just lose 200 dollars.
JOHN CHERNIN: I’m an excellent gambler, Dave doesn’t know what he’s talking about. This episode actually started with the fight at the end. This is something that we wanted to do last season. So we knew that we had this big set piece and then sort of worked backwards from there. When it came down to who he’d be in a fight with we came up with the idea of a girls’ soccer team and then led to Sabrina in sports. Typically we like when the A- and B-stories to have some relation to each other, so that kind of led us to sports betting on the other side of things.
DAVE CHERNIN: I think this whole episode kind of started from the fact that one: We wanted a fight; and two: We thought it would be funny if Sabrina was with a girl and that girl broke up with her in a really devastating way where she just sees through her to the core. Once we had that in place, we could fold the rest together with Mickey, but our episodes typically don’t come together this way.
JOHN CHERNIN: Yeah, this all really started from back in season one when Scott MacArthur said that he needed to win a fight, which we were adamantly against. However, then we thought, okay, he can win a fight, but he’ll have to beat up a bunch of teenage girls. Then by the end of the writing process it seemed a little vicious if it’s a complete win on his part here, so that ended up getting changed, too. It was the best move.
That’s interesting to hear that it all started with the fight because I think that’s not only my favorite Jimmy scene, but also the hardest that I’ve laughed all season. He doesn’t want to take them down, but it keeps happening.
JOHN CHERNIN: Scott is just so funny in that. Just every step of the way he’s apologizing to these girls—who he all knows by name—as he kicks their asses.
Before things turned violent, I almost thought that Jimmy might end up becoming their new coach by the end of the episode. It seems like he could really excel in a position like that. Any thoughts there?
DAVE CHERNIN: It’s actually come up a few times in the writers room. We’ve definitely talked about the idea of Jimmy coaching a girls’ sports team.
Talk a little on Sabrina’s sexual fluidity here and exploring that territory with her. Was this something that you had been thinking about for a while?
JOHN CHERNIN: It’s something that we’ve been talking about for a while, but it’s also something that Sofia has always been pushing. She’s been saying that she thinks it would be really cool and that it would make sense for that kind of character.
DAVE CHERNIN: There have also been a lot of fans say that they’ve assumed Sabrina is bisexual. It’s something we’ve kind of known for awhile. The first episode of this season she mentions how beautiful she thinks the prostitute is. There’s another episode where they’re at a strip club and she gives sultry eyes to one of the strippers. So we’ve peppered in these moments, but we thought that we should just go for it at some point.
Jimmy worrying over how Sabrina will “wreck” Alexis and his stake in her storyline is a really smart callback to his history with baseball and the decisions that he’s made. It’s nice to see that piece of him feed into something new.
DAVE CHERNIN: I think any time that you can find that kind of personal investment for the characters it will lead to better stories and honestly they’re easier to write.
You guys bring back Kirk Fox as Mickey’s former loan shark in a nice piece of continuity! Had you guys thoughts about bringing him back before, or was there any hesitation on his return and having him learn where Mickey and company live?
JOHN CHERNIN: We love Kirk and we’ve been trying to find a way to bring him back for a while and this is a story that made the most sense in the end. Really though, a lot of the hard work in this episode was just negotiating the math of it all. Like why do they need this loan shark? Can’t they bet with each other or someone else?
DAVE CHERNIN: It’s always fun when we can broaden our world a little more and we have a lot of fun characters that are like only in one episode. Kirk’s one of those guys.
JOHN CHERNIN: We also just really like that character because the two times that he’s been on before—the first time he mentions how he has to like pick his kid up from daycare and he then in this one he expresses concern over how these boys got messed up with Mickey. We like that we’ve shown that he has a soft spot for children.
That gag where Mickey searches for secret passages in the house is such a brilliant aside that doesn’t go anywhere. It’s really easy to picture her spending a day like that and I like to think that’s what she does when we don’t see her. Do you still try and think of new and creative ways to get humor out of their living situation?
DAVE CHERNIN: Absolutely! I’m glad to hear you say that because we love that joke. Ever since we moved them into this big house we thought that there must be so much opportunity for stories from that alone. So we keep it in the back of our heads and for this one we needed a way to start off the scene and we thought that was pretty great. Then we loved it even more when we can pay it off later in the episode when Jimmy is doing the exact same thing.
This Alba and the Colonel storyline in regard to whether he’s able to move or not is also really wonderful. Did you ever consider leaving that unexplained or even going in the opposite direction where it was the Colonel?
DAVE CHERNIN: The trick with the Colonel is that when he gets talked about he always has a lot more life when he’s off-screen then when he’s actually there. We do try to always keep things grounded with him though and to not push things too far with him, so we did always want to provide an explanation here.
JOHN CHERNIN: Originally the idea was that somebody had pitched it as an A-story where somebody gets left alone in the house with the Colonel and they just go mad because they can’t figure out how he’s moving around. We just thought it would work better as a C-story with Ben.
It’s such a great reveal.
Our walkthrough of The Mick’s second season will continue next week.