New year, new schedule fillers — and Fox doesn’t waste any time reminding viewers that the promises of mid-season TV can be a mixed bag.
“The Mick,” a predictably crude but sometimes funny comedy that airs on Tuesdays, could also be called “Aunt Buck”: Kaitlin Olson, who knows something about provocative humor thanks to 12 seasons and counting on FX’s fan favorite “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia,” stars here as Mackenzie (call her Mickey, or just Mick), a Rhode Islander of undetermined age who never grew out of her party-girl lifestyle and has no regrets whatsoever about that.
Hoping to borrow money by crashing a swellegant Labor Day party at the Greenwich, Conn., manse of her estranged older sister and brother-in-law, Mick instead arrives just in time for a raid by federal agents, who promptly arrest the couple for fraud and other crimes.
The couple flee the country at first opportunity, asking Mick to take care of their three spoiled children — teenage brat Sabrina (Sofia Black-D’Elia), pubescent prince Chip (Thomas Barbusca) and a requisite cutie-pie named Ben (Jack Stanton). Hilarity ensues, more or less, with just enough LOLs to make the show endurable rather than memorable. The tired, inept-parenting premise is matched with a heap of off-color jokes that feel at least a decade late, particularly those about liquor as a coping mechanism. (Screeners sent to critics were accompanied by a sippy cup and a box of cheap wine. Some days it seems like the only jokes left to make about maternal stress involve wine.)
“The Mick” is co-created by brothers John and Dave Chernin, who were also behind “It’s Always Sunny” and ably steered that show into successful cult status. Translating those comic sensibilities to a broadcast network is not entirely smooth sailing, but Olson seems to have an instinct for finding the right spot between trashy and amusing, especially in moments where the material isn’t providing much help. Her job is easier than that of Carla Jimenez, who quickly digs her way out of Latina-housekeeper stereotypes to play Alba, the overworked household help who quickly allies with Mick in exploiting the circumstances.
The first three episodes rely mostly on fart-scented slapstick and untoward jokes about class, entitlement, condoms, noisy sex and a hired birthday clown who ODs in a guest bathroom. The format sets in as Mick tries to reconcile her irresponsibility with her new role as legal guardian, even as she and her boyfriend (Scott MacArthur) avail themselves of some of the household’s dwindling creature comforts. Things already feel pretty picked over.