The Mick

One of The Mick’s ongoing strengths is its skewering of the lifestyles of Connecticut’s privileged elite. Here, the show is razor-sharp in its comedy, making the details specific and weird. “The Snitch” continues that work, this time focusing in on a particular subset of wealthy, white life: lax bros.

Right off the bat (or stick, if we’re sticking to lacrosse language), Chip’s varsity teammates embody over-the-top caricatures of typical lax bros, pumping their fists, performing masculinity, and feeding off of each other’s insular antics. Resident meathead-in-chief Stewart likes to get slapped on the chest until he bleeds, insisting he can’t feel a thing. The rest of the boys lap it up. And, unsurprisingly, they’re disgusting when it comes to how they talk about women, passing around a naked photo of a girl to the whole team with little regard for her privacy and autonomy. Chip gets busted and faces the choice of snitching on the rest of the team in front of the honor board, on which Sabrina serves, or keeping his mouth shut to preserve his new status as “Beaver Dog.”

For as funny as some of the lacrosse team satire is (the “monkey business” bit is especially great because it’s so strange and dumb and yet seems like the exact kind of bullshit mean teen boys would pull), a Chip-centric main storyline doesn’t really show The Mick at its best. I respect the writers’ solid attempts at making these kids real characters within the story. The show could easily rely solely on Kaitlin Olson and relegate everyone else to the sidelines, but it doesn’t, and that makes The Mick surprisingly more layered than meets the eye. The show is as much about these kids navigating their new realities as it is about Mickey doing so. But of the children, Chip is the least interesting, and even though the storyline presents the perfect opportunity to develop both Chip and Sabrina as well as their relationship with one another, Sabrina ultimately doesn’t play a major role in the episode, and her place in the plotline feels forced.

In fact, she only really seems involved in the storyline at all in order to pull off that final twist, which doesn’t have much payoff. Maybe it’s because I saw it coming from a mile away, but the incestuous turn things take at episode’s end just doesn’t land the laughs it should. It turns out the girl in the leaked picture Chip has been lusting after is Sabrina. Sure, it’s in line with The Mick’s overall tone and sense of humor, but it’s sort of a cheap ending to an otherwise promising setup. Again, that’s mostly just because it’s predictable. And by the time the big reveal is made, there isn’t any time for Sabrina to destroy the gross dudes (they get expelled, but that happens off screen), which would have helped to make it seem like her character had a more active role within the plot. Ultimately, the episode just uses her for a gross punchline. The Mick does comedy at the expense of every character on the show, and that’s fine usually. But this time, it’s just extra gross with little payoff.

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Some of the stuff that comes before the big reveal though is quite good, like Mickey’s bizarre, rambling speech that mixes references to various prep school movies, her own overwrought parable about some guy named Brendan Carthis, and general bullshit. The cut after the speech to an auditorium full of perplexed teens is great, especially if you notice Chip’s little pal pumping his fists and beaming amid the sea of frowns and raised eyebrows. Olson plays a rather passive role in this episode, but it’s a refreshing change of pace, fleshing out some of the world beyond Mickey. And Olson still manages to milk every moment with hilarious delivery and reactions.

The episode’s B-plot, though much more simple, is actually a more effective display of the show’s fucked-up sense of humor. After Mickey warns the kids of the dangers of snitching, Ben takes the lesson to heart and refuses to tell Alba anything about the man he saw key the Rolls-Royce. The mostly silly subplot plays to the strengths of both Carla Jimenez and Jack Stanton. They’re a magnificent duo. After living it up at the country club last week, Alba has officially transcended her previous status in the Pemberton home. She’s on the same playing field as the rest of them, and she’s living her best life. Self-possessed, flippant Alba is so much more fun than the timid and wary Alba introduced at the beginning of the series. Nowadays, she’s causing almost as much trouble as Mickey. Olson isn’t the only one with spot-on delivery. When Alba spits back at Sabrina threatening to relegate her back to the mini-van (“Why you gotta put me in a cage?”), I nearly choked.

And then there’s Stanton, who is scary-good at playing little Benito with equal parts malice and cuteness. Ben is one messed-up kid, and the more the show plays that up, the funnier it is. Jimenez and Stanton play well off of each other, and it helps that they have some great material to work with. At first, Alba tries to coax the truth out of Ben in a scene with all the markings of a serious interrogation, the tension broken when she reveals that her torture technique of choice is tickling. That’s funny in and of itself, but it’s not very The Mick. Then, right on cue, things take a turn for the darker. Ben starts hyperventilating, so Alba rushes to get his inhaler, only to realize she holds the answer in her hands. She agrees to give Ben the inhaler if and only if he snitches. Jimenez commits to the bit with a grave seriousness. Ben and Alba are the stealthy superstars of “The Snitch.” Even just their looks at one another at the end of the episode when Mickey asks what they did today are hilarious. Their camaraderie is shaping up to be the most interesting dynamic on the show.

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Stray observations

  • Despite complaining a couple weeks ago about the show over-relying on Thomas Barbusca’s screaming voice, I laughed out loud at his owl call during the cold open.
  • Mickey saying Deep Blue Sea “totally holds up” is one of the funniest parts of the episode. The Mick’s pop cultural references are always very on point, though nothing will top the Alien/Aliens joke from a couple weeks ago.
  • Sabrina can barely hold in her disdain for the lacrosse dudes all episode, and I love it.
  • Sabrina goes full Katherine-Parker-from-Greek during the honor board meeting, which I also love.

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