The Mick blog: It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia vets Dave and John Chernin introduce new Fox comedy
'The Mick' creators and 'It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia' vets Dave and John Chernin discuss casting Kaitlin Olson, shooting the pilot, and the inspiration for the new Fox comedy series.
Every week, the cast and crew of Fox’s The Mick — the new comedy series that follows Kaitlin Olson’s reckless Mackenzie “Mickey” Murphy, who’s tasked with caring for her on-the-lam sister’s three children — is taking EW behind the scenes of each episode. This week, show creators (and brothers!) Dave and John Chernin, veterans of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, bring us into the series debut.
On their inspiration for the series:
The inspiration behind the show is two-fold. First, we grew up loving Fox sitcoms like Married…with Children and Malcolm in the Middle, shows that generally featured more bickering than hugging, but when push came to shove, you always knew the family had each other’s backs.
Secondly, we have always wanted to create a character inspired by our mother. No, she is not an unrepentant degenerate. In fact, she’s a wonderful and lovely woman. But when we were growing up, she was so crafty and clever in her parenting, and she always seemed to be a step ahead of us. Run-of-the-mill discipline was abandoned in favor of mental warfare that usually left us begging for punishment, if only to be spared any further psychological torture. We see Mickey as the kind of character who would take that style of parenting to the extreme. Ultimately, we want this to be a show about the least-equipped parent being forced to raise the most challenging children imaginable.
On first meeting their star, Kaitlin Olson:
We’ve had the pleasure of knowing Kaitlin for almost a decade now. From our earliest days on Always Sunny, we would always marvel at her ability to take any line and make it infinitely funnier than what we had conceived. However, as much as we are fans of hers as an actress, we simply adore her as a human being. She is one of the kindest, warmest people you could ever hope to meet, and we are grateful to call her a friend.
On casting the series:
To shoot a pilot with Kaitlin Olson as your star is like being a baseball manager with a Hall of Fame cleanup hitter in your lineup. She just makes everyone around her better, and we could rest a little easier knowing we had that much talent at our disposal. The real challenge was finding other actors who could hang with her.
Fortunately, we got very lucky. Sofia Black-D’Elia (Sabrina) is such a gifted actress, and really the only person we auditioned who could give it back to Kaitlin and push her buttons. Thomas Barbusca was our first choice to play Chip. One day, we both came into work and said, “I’ve got it, I found Chip. He plays Peter Pan in this GEICO commercial and he’s hilarious.” “No way. There’s this kid in the new Wet Hot American Summer episodes who crushes every scene he’s in. I promise he’s better.” When we realized we were talking about the same kid, we rushed to get Tommy in for an audition before he booked something else.
Carla Jimenez (Alba) was another first choice of ours. Really, the only choice as far as we were concerned. She was the first person who read for Alba, and everyone in that room will tell you it was the funniest audition they’ve ever seen. We all laughed so hard that it was impossible to hear her lines on the tape and we had to bring her back a second time. The scene itself is in the second episode, so everyone will get to see it.
Jack Stanton is so undeniably cute and everything about him so sweet and earnest. His take on Ben seemed like the perfect candidate to be left in Mickey’s care.
Jimmy was actually the toughest role for us to cast. Ultimately, we asked one of our writers, Scott MacArthur, if he wouldn’t mind popping in to audition for the role. It’s not easy to be both sweet and a scumbag, but somehow Scott pulls it off with ease.
On the best — and toughest — parts about shooting the pilot:
Getting to work with such a talented cast and crew was a real highlight. Randall Einhorn was the first to come onboard as director, and from the get-go we found ourselves in lockstep. We were always excited about the grocery store scene that opens the pilot, but it was Randall’s idea to strap a camera to Kaitlin as she tore through the aisles. He also taught her to slurp down a slice of bologna in one gulp. We shot all of that on day one and from there things just got funnier and funnier.
As for the most difficult aspect of filming the pilot, that’s easy: Not laughing or ruining takes. And trying to make Los Angeles look like Greenwich, Connecticut.
On the name The Mick:
We had our hearts set on Aunt Whack-a-Doo, but unfortunately, it didn’t test well with focus groups. Actually, we never had any other title ideas. It’s a tip of the cap to another larger-than-life Mick, Mickey Mantle.
Following its Sunday, Jan. 1 premiere, The Mick will air Tuesdays at 8:30 p.m. ET on Fox.