The Mick

Jimmy’s unexplained absence last week was more of a blessing than a distraction. Though The Mick certainly has no qualms with offensive, filthy humor, Jimmy is so cringe-inducing without really adding to the show. It doesn’t help that Scott MacArthur is a weak link in the ensemble. While The Mick is best at its most over-the-top and deranged, Jimmy’s brand of disturbing doesn’t really fit that vibe. He’s more annoying than funny, and his only real purpose on the show is to remind us that no matter how far she comes as a person and parent figure, Mickey is still very capable of making bad, self-deprecating decisions.

But at least she doesn’t really hesitate to drop his ass when she feels like it. After he ruins a fancy spaghetti date and almost chokes to death, Mickey leaves him for the man who saves his life: Teddy Grant, a wealthy Greenwich heir who lives on a yacht. Alba, thankfully, speaks for us all in this episode by repeatedly pointing out how bad Jimmy is, especially in comparison to Mickey’s sweet and handsome new love interest. After Mickey ruins her first date with Teddy by accidentally getting fucked up on anti-seasickness, Alba helps Mickey do whatever it takes to win Teddy back.

The writers are still trying to figure out exactly how to use Alba, but the character has strengthened a lot over the course of the season so far. She works best when she isn’t just the butt of the joke but rather is on the same playing field as Mickey. She makes an excellent partner in crime. Any humor about her past in Guatemala usually falls completely flat and reminds me of the subtle racism behind every time Gloria on Modern Family talks about her life in Colombia. But this episode stays away from that. Watching Alba overdo the staged butt dial to Teddy makes for one of the character’s funniest moments. Carla Jimenez kills it with great delivery and physical comedy.

The Mick does technically shake things up in this episode by giving Mickey a new love interest. It also gives her a taste of her own medicine, as she drugs herself without meaning to. Mickey certainly has a propensity to get fucked up, but this time it’s an accident. Mickey’s tendency to drug others has always been my least favorite part of the show. And seeing her as messed up as she is on her date is similarly more uncomfortable than it is funny. I’d much rather be disturbed by little Ben calmly removing a stiletto heel from Teddy’s eyeball, completely unfazed thanks to the desensitization that comes from his all-day movie marathon of classics like A Clockwork Orange, House Of 1000 Corpses, and The Exorcist.

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Despite new developments, it’s a weirdly static episode, especially when it comes to Mickey’s plotline. The show has been making interesting strides in the character development department, but that doesn’t come through in this Teddy storyline, which doesn’t add much to the story or even land enough laughs. It’s too simple, weirdly grounded. Again, The Mick is best when it’s off-the-rails. Which is why the sheer absurdity of Ben’s foray into horror movies—though a small part of the episode—makes for great comedy. Ben getting creepier and more messed up the longer his parents are gone is actually making for one of the best running gags. He has gone from being cute and precocious to a kid straight out of the horror movies he now loves. It’s fucked up character development, but hey, it’s character development! And this might be a bold statement, but Jack Stanton might just be giving one of the best comedic performances on the show week-to-week, up there with Kaitlin Olson. He oscillates between cuteness and disturbia with eerie precision. And his reactions are always great. Just watch his face when “butt dial” is said for the first time.

As Mickey’s most formidable opponent, Sabrina is easily the most compelling of the children, especially since there are some genuine layers to her. She has a lot of Mickey’s fight and erratic behavior in her. But she can be vulnerable, too, which usually comes out when she’s overcompensating for how supposedly chill she is about her parents’ absence. Chip had his whole entitled, litigious rich boy thing going on for a while, but as of late, his main schtick has just been that he yells a lot, and that isn’t working. There are only so many times the show can land laughs with his voice-breaking scream, and yet it keeps relying on it. Thomas Barbusca does whiny rich boy well, but he isn’t given enough material to really make the character stand on his own.

That said, the best throughline for the episode is watching Chip gradually unravel as he reconciles with the permanence of his parents’ absence. The Mick ultimately grounds some of its absurdity with real emotions. His all-out fight with Sabrina goes on a little too long, but it has solid payoff, ending on a touching moment that doesn’t feel cheap. Chip finally realizes he needs to move on, and Sabrina reminds him that their parents on there for him but she is. These kids can be monsters, but The Mick still manages to make them real kids. Yes, the show is best at its most over-the-top. But it still has enough emotional honesty to it to make it feel like a sitcom about family at the end of the day. Its sentimental moments might be soaked in vodka and Nyquil, but that grimy voice works in The Mick’s favor.

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Stray observations

  • I love that Mickey still uses a flip phone.
  • Mickey’s reaction to Ben watching Alien is the funniest part of the episode.
  • But Alba slowly closing the door when she walks in on Sabrina and Chip trying to kill each other is a close second.
  • “They are majestic animals.”
  • So the feds now know where the Pembertons are. It will be interesting to see exactly how The Mick goes about the more serialized storyline of the search for the parents…especially since the premise works best the farther away they are.
  • Ugh, and by episode’s end, Jimmy is back.

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