The Mick: Why The Show Pushed The Network For An Anti-Gun Message

The Mick creators recap all the stripping, lying, and school royalty in the latest episode.

The final few episodes of The Mick season 2 have featured some of the most extreme stunts and set pieces to date. “The Dance” continues that trend by dividing the episode into three storylines, all of which deal with growing up in one way or another. Mickey and Alba find themselves preoccupied with a turning point in Ben’s life where they appear to have caught the innocent child in a lie. Meanwhile, Sabrina let’s loose that she’s not nearly as coordinated as one may think and so she hesitantly enlists Jimmy’s help with dance lessons. Both of these plots push the characters down challenging paths that get a lot out of them. This is probably the best Ben storyline in a long time and Jack Stanton definitely gives his best performance in this episode.

Finally, Chip sets his sets on making sure his exit from high school is as momentous as it should be for a Pemberton. He also doesn’t care who else has to suffer in order for this to happen. All of these paths come together beautifully in the end and the episode’s final act features some of the more memorable sights from the season. We got the opportunity to talk with The Mick’s showrunners about what this episode means for Ben’s future, the extreme lengths Chip will go to for popularity, and Sabrina’s striptease.

The Mick Season 2 Episode 19 – “The Dance”

“When Mickey and Alba catch Ben lying and try to teach him a lesson, naturally their plan backfires. Meanwhile, Chip devises a spiteful plan to be crowned ‘Prince’ at his school formal, and Jimmy teaches Sabrina how to dance.”

Story by Laura Chinn, Written by Dave & John Chernin; Directed by Dave Chernin

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DEN OF GEEK: Do you see this threat that Principal Gibbons poses to Mickey carrying over into next season? Is a new school possible for Ben, while Chip and Sabrina also leave the place?

DAVE CHERNIN: I think it’s definitely possible. Them getting kicked out of Lockwood is something that’s come up a lot since day one of the show. We have no plans to do that yet, but it’s definitely on the table. We like to mix things up a little bit so yeah, it’s totally possible.

JOHN CHERNIN: We really like that Gibbons lays all of his cards down on the table and let’s Mickey know that she’s more the problem than anything at this point.

Ben letting the floodgates open with all of his lies as well as revealing his kleptomaniac behavior feels like kind of a big deal for the character. Should we look at this as a significant moment for him?

DAVE CHERNIN: I don’t know. We’ve kind of gone back and forth on this a little bit. In general we try to keep that character as blissfully ignorant as we possibly can. It seems like in this episode though he’s being bad and he KNOWS that’s he bad, which is sort of new territory for Ben. I think he’s still young enough that there’s still that sweetness to him, but it seems that Mickey’s influence might be beginning to have an effect on him.

Chip’s strategy of picking off all of the other “Prince” candidates is pretty perfect characterization. His fantasy javelin sequence made me scream out loud. Did you consider making that real at all? Should we worry about him?

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DAVE CHERNIN: No, no, we’re just having fun and that even goes all the way back to episode two of last year. This will be the third time  that we pop inside Chip’s head for a minute and see his homicidal tendencies. It’s really funny to us the places that that kid’s mind goes to when he’s frustrated and doesn’t get his way. 

We were all really excited to do more of those sequences, but then we all got gun shy and didn’t want to overdo it with the “Chip’s a psychopath” visions. So we’d constantly shoot them down in the writers’ room and then at the end of this season we realized that we didn’t even do ONE. This one seemed to fit pretty naturally, so we were able to throw it in at the end.

JOHN CHERNIN: There will be more though, I’m sure. Our special effects team just did a great job there, too. 

DAVE CHERNIN: It’s always funny to us that the people that Chip wants to murder are like the least capable people. Like he thinks about drowning the Colonel in the bath in the other one. He’s murdering a kid in a wheelchair… 

Mickey also gets shot in this episode! These final few episodes really up the blood and gore for the Pembertons! Was there any trouble with what you could or couldn’t show with that?

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DAVE CHERNIN: Yes, yes. Quite a bit, in fact. There were a lot of notes on this episode and a lot of disagreements on what was okay to show, especially in this current climate, but I think from where we sit it comes across as an anti-gun episode.

The network was just skittish about the content, and rightfully so. The episode did undergo a big re-write the day before it shot. So there was more gun stuff until the very last second that ultimately had to go. They didn’t want to do anything at all with guns, which we get, but we felt the opportunity to—not necessarily make a statement—but push a very anti-gun message and that guns are terrible. 

That’s a bummer, but it’s totally understandable and the episode does still come across as very anti-gun. Another big part of this episode is Sabrina and her dancing, which gets her and Jimmy together again. Was there a ton of more footage to that montage that got removed in the editing?

JOHN CHERNIN: There is a ton of dance montage footage that got left on the cutting room floor, which is a real shame because I think Scott (Jimmy) is very funny in that montage, but i hope that people can see that Sofia (Sabrina) is a phenomenally talented dancer. This whole episode started as a joke between Dave and I because we were convinced that Sofia didn’t know how to dance. So it was born out of us not thinking she could dance, but also that Scott is trained as a Russian ballerina. So he was always pushing us to do a dancing episode, but the closer that we got to shooting, the more we’d hear things from Scott like, “Look, my dancing is more of an acquired taste…” That’s when we knew that we were in trouble, but a week before we shot the episode, Dave and I went to a concert with Sofia and just noticed that she was dancing her ass off. We learned that she’s a VERY good dancer. 

DAVE CHERNIN: That montage is maybe two-and-a-half minutes, but we honestly we could have made it ten minutes and we wouldn’t have been sick of it. We’re just so pressed for time in these episodes.

JOHN CHERNIN: Scott and Sofia are also just so much fun and so game for anything that I think that it’s clear in a scene like that how much fun they’re actually having.

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DAVE CHERNIN: Sofia was also deathly ill when she shot that. She was a great sport.

I love how Jimmy is so opposed to Sabrina at first. He really seems to have no patience for her.

DAVE CHERNIN: It was funny to us because every time that we pair them together, it always seems that Sabrina is totally in control. So it was funny to us to flip that dynamic on its head and have Sabrina really need Jimmy and have to put up with his bullshit as a result. But he didn’t want Sabrina to dance unless it was for the right reasons.

Well on that note, this episode gets Chip’s dad back in the picture! It’s nice that you could connect some dots there and find a reason to bring him back without Chip involved.

JOHN CHERNIN: We were really excited to bring Jay [Mohr] back. He’s by far the funniest guest star that we’ve had on the show. He just has people bowling over in laughter every time that he opens his mouth, so it was a treat to bring him back.

DAVE CHERNIN: We hope to use him more and more!

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That’s also a pretty nice twist that Sabrina’s apprehension for dancing is all just for an amateur night at a strip club. Is there anything deeper to her performance there or is it just about the money?

JOHN CHERNIN: No, I think Jimmy is pretty spot on when he confronts her and says that maybe she’s angry or maybe it has something to do with her mom..I think it’s all of that, but it’s definitely not about the money.

DAVE CHERNIN: Yeah, the money is not a factor for Sabrina. it’s really just a show to get attention or who knows what’s up. I think she just wants to make a splash and be seen.

Our walkthrough of The Mick’s second season will conclude next week