The first season finale of “The Mick” literally exploded when the mansion that Mickey (Kaitlin Olson) and her niece and nephews were living in burned down. Now the second season finale is poised to present another “What in the world are they going to do to get out of that situation?” promises series star and executive producer Olson.
“I’m not a really big fan of shock value, but big is OK with me as long as we earn it,” Olson tells Variety. “I just want to do stuff that I haven’t seen before because those are the kinds of things in my life that make me laugh — when you can’t see it coming.”
In the episode entitled “The Graduate” Mickey learns Sabrina (Sofia Black-D’Elia) isn’t planning on attending college after all and sets out to change her mind — first for selfish reasons to get the teenager out of the house but then to teach her not to let fear control her life. It’s a chance for the character — and the show by extension — that so often reaches for physical comedy to be a bit softer, even if only momentarily.
“It is all about the balance,” Olson says. “Mickey’s arch-nemesis in this whole series is this 17 year old girl, and it’s so ridiculous that she won’t admit that she’s a rival. But I think in order for that to pay off and in order for us to be able to buy their negative dynamic you have to be able to see how much she loves her — without beating the heart stuff over the head because it is a comedy.”
Olson is often the one taking on the most physical bits on the show, a style of comedy she says comes from series creators Dave and John Chernin having previously written for “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia,” where it “cracked them up” whenever she’d have to do something physical. Now they write to it more, and Olson is eager to take it on.
“Those are just fun days,” she says of getting the pages that describe something like Mickey diving into the shallow end of a pool, getting hit by a car or trying to break into a locked police car that then rolls into a lake. “Anything that makes me look ugly or physically ridiculous is fun to do. I’m all for it.”
Olson says being able to play physical comedy is “freeing” because she never set out to be a “glamorous actress” but rather just wanted to make people laugh.
“People coming in to touch up your hair and makeup between takes, subconsciously, starts to add a pressure that I never signed up for. So on the days when I’m either drunk, hungover, bloody — those are the best,” she says.
Even though Olson is an executive producer on “The Mick” she notes she doesn’t always have final say in which stunts she can actually take part. There are often discussions on set with the line producer and production manager because she admits she is “breakable.”
“Just for the record I have had a bone density test, and my bones are dense as hell, so let’s just get that out there,” she laughs. “I want to go for it, and I want it to look real — I like when I’m the one doing it — but there are certain things they’re not going to let me do, and I have a really amazing stunt double to sub in.”
One of the things Olson is most proud of about how “The Mick” has evolved in its first two seasons is how the writers are able to write to the strengths of the kids in the cast. “Getting to know them this season has been our greatest asset,” she says of Black-D’Elia, Thomas Barbusca, and Jack Stanton.
But she has also been glad to get to know her own character a bit better, too.
“At some point we needed to make it clear that Mickey needed to stay, but I really didn’t want it to be that oh, she fell in love with these kids and didn’t want to leave them alone. I wanted it to be that she’s staying because she’s trying to prove to them that she can do it — and selfishly she doesn’t have anywhere else to go,” Olson says.
While Olson thinks it’s important that the show doesn’t harp on the “why” behind Mickey’s behavior, she admits she needed to understand such things to be able to fully explore the complicated dynamics she has with characters like Sabrina, her longtime boyfriend Jimmy (Scott MacArthur), and her sister Poodle (Tricia O’Kelley).
“I like the idea that Poodle abandoned her. She went to New York and then Connecticut and she had this rich life and [Mickey] got left behind,” Olson says. “I needed to make it that Mickey was abandoned by her family. She doesn’t trust anybody, she doesn’t need anybody, but deep down she’s still trying to belong. I would never write a story about that because it wouldn’t be funny, but of course I needed to figure that out for myself to be able to play it.”
A key second season episode touched a little deeper on Mickey’s past when she traveled to her hometown of Warwick, Rhode Island, and should the series see a third season renewal, that is one area Olson hopes to explore further.
“I just think where she comes from is so ripe with fun, interesting characters. I’d like to dig a little deeper into that. She probably has a lot of amazing friends from her past,” she says. “But I’m sort of just making the best show I can and the show I want to watch and I hope people are liking it and we get a chance to make some more.”