The Mick blog: How they got a smoking-centric episode on network TV
- TV Show
Every week, the cast and crew of Fox’s The Mick — the new comedy series that follows Kaitlin Olson’s reckless Mackenzie “Mickey,” who’s tasked with caring for her on-the-lam sister’s three children — is taking EW behind the scenes of the latest episode. This week, writer Brian Keith Etheridge takes us inside the fifth episode, “The Fire,” which he co-wrote with creators and It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia vets John and Dave Chernin.
Smoking is awesome! …is not the message we were trying to deliver with “The Fire” episode of The Mick.
As you likely know, network television has more restrictions than cable, especially when it comes to a socially frowned upon topic like smoking. Imagine that network television is sort of like… your parents. They want you to have fun as long as you don’t swear, have sex, drink, smoke, etc. Cable, on the other hand, is like that drunk uncle who let you drive his van when you were nine.
When the Chernin brothers first mentioned to the writing staff that they wanted to do an episode about Mickey (Kaitlin Olson) and Sabrina (Sofia Black-D’Elia) smoking, we knew it would be a challenge. On cable, the characters can smoke themselves into oblivion, but on network television — let’s just say Mom and Dad don’t approve.
So, how did we get the network to agree to a smoking episode? And why?
Simply put, we were all excited about telling a story where Mickey and Sabrina’s bad habit and selfishness would affect the family, specifically Ben (Jack Stanton). We just had to convince the network that this wasn’t an episode glorifying smoking; it was an episode condemning it. Thankfully, Fox is like the cool parent of the network world and believed in our take enough to let us push the boundaries and show the characters actually smoking.
This episode also allowed us to explore a different dynamic between Mickey and Sabrina. They’re usually at odds, so we wanted to find something for them to bond over. But it had to make sense in the world of The Mick. Smoking and torching the neighbors guest house fit perfectly. Seeing the two of them find common ground over such a nasty habit and be forced to work together to protect Ben was just the right amount of f—ed up heart.
Having Alba (Carla Jiminez) and Chip (Thomas Barbusca) act as the moral compass in the episode helped immensely. Through their characters, we were able to tell Mickey and Sabrina what a-holes they were for smoking around Ben in a comedic way and avoid sounding preachy.
Point is, don’t smoke. Do watch The Mick.
The Mick airs Tuesdays at 8:30 p.m. ET on Fox.