Editor’s note: The Fourth Wall 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 Mick season 2 walkthrough looks at episode five. Previous installments can be found here. In this installment, showrunners Dave and John Chernin are joined by the episode’s co-writer, Daniel Libman.
The Mick Season 2 Episode 5 – “The Invention”
“When Mickey finds out Ben takes medication to keep him focused, she is determined to prove that he is a perfectly functioning kid without it. She and Alba take over his struggling science fair project, but become overly invested, while Jimmy helps Chip make his secret boys club cool again.”
Written by Matthew Libman & Daniel Libman; Directed by Rebecca Asher
DEN OF GEEK: The topic of medication is a big field to get into, with a lot of characters weighing in on it with different opinions. Why did you want to open up this conversation in regards to Ben?
JOHN CHERNIN: I think it’s just something that we found ourselves talking about in the writers room a lot. We always want to put these heavy things on Ben because he’s such a sweet, innocent child and everybody always wants to do what’s best for him. They all just don’t realize that they’re messing up his life that much more.
While walking to an Acorn Boys meetings, Chip says that he feels like he was followed and there’s a sound of a squirrel in the background. Is this some connection to the squirrel that’s living with Chip?
DANIEL LIBMAN: It wasn’t, but if it makes us seem smarter, then absolutely. That was unintentional, but we’ll take credit for that.
I like the idea of woodland creatures slowly having it out for Chip and keeping tabs on him all season.
DANIEL LIBMAN: Clearly we’re doing a big arc with that squirrel this season. The big “animal arc.”
What do you think about Chip’s tendency to hold onto tradition and loyalty with the Acorn Boys and how he has such strong opinions on the group’s need to go on or to disband?
DANIEL LIBMAN: I think that Chip is just a stand-up guy. One of my favorite things about him is that sure, he can be annoying sometimes, but he still believes in tradition and values. I love his desperation and how he doesn’t want to give up on this group and ostensibly, grow up.
Was Jimmy’s saving grace here always a crossbow, or did you bat around other ways he could save the Acorn Boys?
JOHN CHERNIN: I feel like we came up with a crossbow pretty quickly. It was a crossbow right from the start because it’s something you can get easily at a hardware store. We’ve always thought that a crossbow is a funny, weird way to take something to new heights. We’ve been living with the idea of this crossbow for so long, but then when we finally saw it on set it was so shocking. It’s so intimidating and violent that of course that makes it even funnier for all of this.
The conclusions of both the Acorn Boys and invention fair storylines go out in some really over the top ways. Talk a little on breaking these stories and how they dovetail together in the end.
DAVE CHERNIN: I think sometimes we’ll start with an idea for the episode to end in a really big place so we’ll challenge our writers to try and come up with that scenario and build to it in a really grounded fashion. Sometimes we pull it off and sometimes we don’t, but for this one I think we had this big ending in mind very early on.
It’s a strong visual, but you guys always earn it like in some of the best Always Sunny episodes.
DANIEL LIBMAN: Yeah, we always want that. The Acorn Boys stuff was a lot of fun.
JOHN CHERNIN: It was basically all of us when we were kids. How we tried to gain access to anything that could possible be cool, but not actually having anything worthwhile or dangerous. It’s funny because every now and then some women on the writing staff would be like, “Why is it so important that they find tampons and maxi pads?” And it’s just because they’re the objects that are the “closest to sex” that they can get.
DANIEL LIBMAN: All the guys get it instantly though and there was a lot of contributing to that storyline.
Using the tampons in the end to absorb Feldstein’s blood is a great touch that brings things full circle, too.
JOHN CHERNIN: It is!
DAVE CHERNIN: This was just a fun one to film in general. It’s always great when Kaitlin [Olson] and Carla [Jiminez] are together. The scene where they’re on amphetamines and going to town on everything is just so funny. Carla leads such a straight-edged life but she taps into that character so damn well.
JOHN CHERNIN: We also wanted to work in a bit of commentary regarding how parents can take over their kids’ schoolwork and make it all about themselves. To touch on that topic on some level seemed like an interesting area for us to be able to explore for once.
Our walkthrough of The Mick’s second season will continue next week.