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 walkthrough looks at the ninth 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 Season 2 Episode 9 – “The Divorce”
“After finding out that he is the product of an affair his mother had a long time ago, Chip decides to seek out his biological father. Meanwhile, Mickey and Jimmy re-examine their relationship.”
Written by Dominic Dierkes; Directed by Matt Sohn
DEN OF GEEK: This episode circles back to the whole biological father thing with Chip that’s been teased a few times in the show. What’s exciting about taking Chip down this path and introducing a new father figure for him?
JOHN CHERNIN: I think it was just that we always set Chip up as almost being aggressive in his pride for his heritage. So it was really exciting to take that away from him this year. Earlier this season, during the prison episode, where Chip is talking about how he’s his father’s son and how he’d do anything to protect him. So we were always looking forward to the opportunity to take that away from him and let Tommy Barbusca show off his acting chops a little bit.
By the end of the episode, do you think that this information makes Chip feel more or less special than Sabrina and Ben?
DAVE CHERNIN: I’m not sure, but one of the things that I love about this episode is when Sabrina is making fun of Chip for his new dad. Chip is so quick to immediately turn on his old dad. “My dad’s not some jailbird loser like yours.” That’s Chip in a nutshell. Anything he’s doing is superior to everyone else.
JOHN CHERNIN: He just wants to be on the winning team.
Did you consider going in any radically different directions with Chip’s biological father? Were there any ideas there that appealed to you but ultimately weren’t worth pursuing?
JOHN CHERNIN: Yes…I don’t want to say too much because this is just the tip of the iceberg with all of the Chip’s father stuff. We definitely explored other areas, both in the writers’ room and in the show, in future episodes.
DOMINIC DIERKES: This is also particularly ironic because Chip isn’t a man’s man and this guy is like an outdoorsy guy. We absolutely wanted to set him up with someone that would be an off match in those ways.
I have to say, I’m pretty devastated to see that Chris has teeth when we touch base with him. I’m glad that this joke continues to get to evolve though.
JOHN CHERNIN: I was bummed! I remember you telling us that you hoped we never gave him teeth again and we had just shot this scene at the time. But yeah, we can knock them out again for you.
Make it happen! Talk a little on the divorce angle of this episode. Mickey points out that it seems a little impractical to happen now, so why go there?
JOHN CHERNIN: I think our logic there is that they just hate each other so much that they need a divorce even though they’re not going to see each other any more. That was just a funny idea to us. That they’re going to go through all of this trouble that really won’t affect their lives either way.
DOMINIC DIERKES: I think that might have been the kernel of the idea, actually. We always joked in the writers’ room that they’re getting divorced even though they live in separate prisons and that always made us laugh. Once we landed on the Chip having a different dad angle it just all made a lot of sense.
DAVE CHERNIN: I love that when they drop that bomb nobody gives a shit because it really has no effect on anyone’s lives, but Chip. He has this beautiful idea of family and he’s still fully invested in that relationship.
Well it also helps segue into Mickey and Jimmy’s break-up. The first half of this season shows off a lot of different dimensions to their relationship, but this very much feels like the culmination of that. Did it feel like time to address what had been going on?
JOHN CHERNIN: I think so. I think any time that we do things with their relationship it can get very heavy. We think it’s funny when the show can get so serious when it’s talking about the most dysfunctional relationship known to man. At the same though, we do realize it’s a comedy and that’s why we threw an episode in between the Warwick one and this one, for a bit of a breather.
Also, that masturbation scene where Mickey walks in on Jimmy, those were Scott [MacArthur’s] sides that he auditioned with! So those were written before we even shot the pilot. We thought now was a good time to work them in.
DAVE CHERNIN: I think the original version actually goes on for about two and half a minutes so we had to scale it down here.
The conclusion of the episode doesn’t mean that Jimmy is leaving the show, does it? Is this just another new dynamic that Mickey and Jimmy will have to get comfortable with or is he leaving the Pemberton home?
JOHN CHERNIN: Jimmy is leaving! Scott’s still a writer on the show, so it’s not like he’s completely leaving us.
That’s what I figured. It’s certainly easier when he’s still involved with you guys in a writing sense.
But yeah though, that’s a real break-up.
It’s really sweet that Alba is the one that sort of steps up here to help Chip with his biological father. It’s nice to see you guys playing with different pairings and combinations of characters.
JOHN CHERNIN: For sure. Our whole cast is just so strong. Sometimes it’s all just random. I think this episode, it just so happens that Sabrina ends up with Ben in a smaller story, so Alba was there for Chip. I think that scene where she’s honking as Chip makes out with his new sister is one of my favorite moments of the season. It’s just so funny.
DAVE CHERNIN: He’s also just so rude to her. She straight up goes out of her way to be nice to him and he’s still such an asshole. I think that any time they interact–and we don’t do it often–that the appeal is in watching them butt heads.
On that note, Chip has an interesting history with confusing feelings over his sister. Things certainly don’t get any easier for him in this episode.
JOHN CHERNIN: Yeah, I think that was a moment in the writers’ room that got us really excited about the story. What if Chip makes out with his sister?
Do you think that Howard or Holly might continue to appear down the road?
JOHN CHERNIN: Howard, I can tell you, will definitely appear down the road! We’re not done there.
Our walkthrough of The Mick’s second season will continue when the show return’s from its mid-season finale on January 2nd during its new timeslot of 9:30 pm.