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 sixth 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, Lindsay Golder
Episode 8 – “The Teacher”
“Sabrina’s relationship with her poetry teacher has Mickey concerned, so Mickey takes matters into her own hands and humiliates the both of them in front of her peers. Meanwhile, Chip enlists Jimmy’s help to improve his ranking on the 8th grade hot list.”
Written by Lindsay Golder; Directed by Eva Longoria
DEN OF GEEK: Eva Longoria directs this one! How did that relationship come about?
DAVE CHERNIN: John is just a huge Desperate Housewives fan. No, FOX actually brought her up to us and we knew that she’s directed. We had seen a few things that she’s done. Her name actually came up during season one, but we didn’t get around to hiring her. She had a deal at FOX, everyone spoke really highly of her, and we met with her and really got along. She’s great. She was wonderful with everybody on set and really impressed us.
JOHN CHERNIN: We love working with Eva. She’s such a positive energy on set. She’s so constructive and just wants the best out of everyone and keeps everyone in a good mood for the whole day. We had a really good time shooting this episode.
DEN OF GEEK: This is another Mickey versus Sabrina story, which are always great. This feels like it’s more about Mickey needing validation than it is about Sabrina in the end.
LINDSAY GOLDER: I feel like Mickey had an experience in her past and this experience with Sabrina inadvertently brings a lot of those emotions back up for her. It’s a great way to see how some of Mickey’s past, which we haven’t touched on before, gets to affect her present.
DAVE CHERNIN: Our stories always work best when Mickey wants to do the right thing and does it in her own fucked-up-Mickey-way. I think episode is a really good example of that. She really does have a problem with Sabrina having an inappropriate relationship with her teacher. The lengths that she goes to in order to solve this problem though are totally wrong.
DEN OF GEEK: You mention how this storyline pulls a lot from Mickey’s past, but there’s a lot of that going on with Jimmy too and how he goes about solving Chip’s problem. Do you think this episode is a bit of a reflection on how a younger Mickey and Chip would solve these problems?
JOHN CHERNIN: I think that Jimmy was so cool in high school that he would never have to deal with problems of this nature.
DAVE CHERNIN: I also believe that Jimmy is making up a lot of these lessons as he goes along just because Chip was stupid enough to fork over 200 bucks.
DEN OF GEEK: As Chip enlists Jimmy’s help here with his problem, they seem to be officially bros at this point. Has it been nice to watch that relationship grow?
DAVE CHERNIN: I think that my favorite thing about it is that when Chip is desperate he’s willing to turn to anyone for help, but then he’s so ready to just cast them aside. He’s so quick to tell Jimmy off and express that he doesn’t need him anymore. That’s one of my favorite things about Chip.
DEN OF GEEK: Sabrina and an allegedly inappropriate relationship with her teacher is serious material to explore. Why did this feel like the right sort of story to get into here?
LINDSAY GOLDER: I think that it came from a lot of different experiences that writers in the room had had in high school or college. It seemed like something interesting to explore and territory that Sabrina might encounter.
JOHN CHERNIN: I saw us getting a hard time from some sites on the Internet that said that this story was appalling or inappropriate. Many of the women in our writers’ room had experiences with creepy teachers or teachers that were too flirtatious, so to us it comes from a very real place.
DEN OF GEEK: Well and you go in the complete opposite direction with it, too. The teacher is totally altruistic in the end and it’s Sabrina that wants the relationship.
DAVE CHERNIN: That’s one of my favorite moments of the episode. Sabrina is just revolted over how much this guy just wants to teach her about poetry.
DEN OF GEEK: When I originally saw promotional images for this episode, I thought that Glenn Howerton was playing Sabrina’s teacher for a minute. Obviously he’s not, but it made me think about whether you guys have considered using any Always Sunny actors in roles. Do you think it’d be distracting, or are you just waiting for the perfect roles?
JOHN CHERNIN: I think in season one we didn’t really want to go there. We wanted to establish ourselves outside of Always Sunny first. But now? Absolutely! Their names come up all the time. We’d love to work with them on here. It’s just a matter of finding the right role and something that feels different enough from what they do on Always Sunny. Plus, there’s always scheduling stuff; those guys are so busy. Absolutely though, I really, really really hope we get those guys on the show at some point.
DEN OF GEEK: This is a really great Chip episode with a particularly strong performance from Tommy. Have you guys found that Chip works best when he’s a punching bag and in over his head?
DAVE CHERNIN: I don’t think we know if we’ve found a particular area where Chip works best. Tommy just always brings his A-game. He’s really fun when you see that Thomas is really just playing a kid who wants to be cool and well liked. When you tap into those areas it allows you to get a little more freedom with the character, like him buying giant belt buckles or doing hand springs in front of the school.
DEN OF GEEK: Ben’s story is pretty dark here, but it all comes from a really loving place. It’s still a lot to see a child punching a bunch of other kids in the face. Was there any hesitation with this plot point?
DAVE CHERNIN: Zero hesitation! I read on the Internet a lot that everyone thinks Ben is a psycho. I take offense to that. We think he’s the sweetest kid and he always just wants to help people. He could probably use a better role model to help keep him in line, but I don’t think Ben does anything because he’s psychotic or wants to hurt anyone. It’s all out of curiosity or kindness and that’s what’s so great about that character. So when you find a story where he can be beating up nerds for the right reasons, that just hooked us right in.
DEN OF GEEK: It’s seriously so sweet that he targets all of the most unpopular kids so they can finally be popular. It’s beautiful outside of the horribleness of what he’s doing.
DAVE CHERNIN: It’s really sweet! Also, the whole “black eyes” poem that he does really made us laugh in the writers’ room, but we were hesitant to use it. We were like, is this too stupid? Is it going to feel forced? When Ben read the script, we didn’t give him any heads up towards what it’s supposed to sound like or what the gag is. He just read it normally and innocently and there were still such gasps and laughs. It was like a weird, delayed laughter.
DEN OF GEEK: By the end of the episode Chip is the 49th worst looking kid in the class. Any idea of what the 50th worst kid in Chip’s grade looks like?
JOHN CHERNIN: Ooh, good question. Well, Aaron Luber is in there. Aaron Luber we know personally.
DAVE CHERNIN: Yeah, he’s a friend of ours. It occurred to me as we were watching the episode that we didn’t give him a heads up that he’s the bug eater. But number 50? I don’t know, he’s got to be pretty gruesome to beat out double black eyes Chip.
JOHN CHERNIN: Keep an eye out for him. We’ll let him out of his cage one of these days.
Our walkthrough of The Mick’s second season will continue next week.