Kaitlin Olson has been playing the unapologetic, hilarious lowlife Dee Reynolds on It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, for 12 seasons. On Fox's new comedy The Mick, she plays an unapologetic, hilarious lowlife with one big exception: She's now a mom.
Well, not technically. She's actually a mother figure, thrust in the position of being caregiver to her estranged sister's kids when she and billionaire husband have to flee the country to escape federal fraud charges. Just minutes in the first episode, Mickey (Olson) shows up at her sister's picturesque Greenwich, Conn., estate and learns she'll have to take care of 18-year-old Sabrina (Sofia Black D'Elia), a pretentious liberal snob; 13-year-old Chip (Thomas Barbusca), who's something like a 21st century Alex Keaton; and Ben, a 7-year-old fragile nerd. They're all rich, entitled, spoiled and sheltered — the absolute worst (or perfect, for the premise) people Mickey could be supervising, given that she specializes in drinking during the day (and night) and coasting by with minimal effort.
Having already earned four more episodes after being on air for just two weeks, The Mick is a gut-busting Uncle Buck-type exploration of what happens when a person who is in no way fit to be a parent is put in charge — and how someone can parent kids who have unlimited money. (Which the kids will not lose, by the way, in spite of their parents' troubles with the government.) Initial episodes feature Mickey plying Sabrina with alcohol to keep her from leaving the house, Ben swallowing Mickey's birth control pills, and a clown appearing to have overdosed on heroin at a birthday party. Sparks are flying all over the place, and bodies too. Besides being genuinely outrageously funny, The Mick takes physical comedy and stunts to an impressively shocking height.
"It's not often you get physical stunts like this in comedies," said executive producer and director Randall Einhorn at at the Television Critics Association winter previews in Pasadena, Calif., Wednesday. "We pride ourselves on doing it right."
That said, Olson has her limits. "I did not throw myself over the side of [the] yacht," Olson said about one of many gasp-worthy scenes on the series. "I wanted to. That would have been really funny."
Though the team uses expert stunt doubles, Olson is more than game for offering up her body as a prop for The Mick's insane pratfalls. In another scene coming soon, she falls and lands face-down on top of a car, and, while filming, she told her co-star Scott MacArthur (he plays her freeloading boyfriend) that he could turn on the wipers. She ended up with a black eye.
"We treat her like she's Wile E. Coyote," said Dave Chernin, creator and executive producer. "She cannot be hurt or maimed or killed."
Not that Olson would take too many chances. Despite her character's initial disdain for being a guardian, she is a devoted mom in real life. "My kids are always going to be my first priority," she said. Sunny films for about two months in spring, so the shows don't overlap, but she still was reluctant to take on this role for fear it would cut into precious family time. But producers and Fox helped make it work; her nanny will often bring her kids to set. "I have a full time job like millions and millions of women in America."
The Mick airs Tuesdays at 8:30/7:30c on Fox.