THE MICK: Tuesday 8:30PM on FOX – Change the Channel
FOX has ushered in network TV 2017 with a show that feels less than fresh: THE MICK, a sitcom that’s basically a not-quite-cable retread of Uncle Buck.
The irresponsible relative is an aunt this time, and Mackenzie (Kaitlin Olson) is meant to be edgier, a sharp-tongued grifter rather than a simple goofball, with a tone that’s more It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia (from which both Olson and series creators Dave and John Chernin come) than John Hughes. But as in Uncle Buck, Aunt Mick is called upon in a pinch to take care of her sibling’s kids, bitchy entitled teen Sabrina (Sofia Black-D’Elia, the murder victim in The Night Of), dork Chip (Thomas Barbusca) and young’un Ben (Jack Stanton), and she’s instantly out of her depth, but basically good-hearted.
The intent here is to imbue the formula with some subversive social consciousness: instead of a middle-class couple who have to go out of town for the weekend, Mick’s sister and her husband are a super-rich pair who flee the country one step ahead of an indictment for fraud, so Mick can display her salt of the earthiness in opposition to the wealthy arrogance around her. It’s an approach that sort of backfires when Mick interacts with the family maid Alba (Carla Jiminez), who is somewhat queasily depicted as a dopey sociopath, and the community’s ridiculed security guard. Mick herself isn’t much more likable than the rich locals, since she’s depicted as more ruthless than Uncle Buck would ever be, especially when she’s out to foil Sabrina, plying her with booze and sleeping pills to keep her at home, and later having Alba cook the owl Sabrina freed from her private school and feeding it to the unknowing family.
All of this would only be truly funny if it were pushed to an extreme, but FOX isn’t the venue for that, and The Mick doesn’t delve beyond a Seth MacFarlane level of inappropriateness, cushioning the commentary with lots of slapstick (Randall Einhorn’s direction of the pilot never quite obscures the several times Olson is replaced by a stunt woman). The Mick is even more limited by the fact that Mick has no worthy opponents, as she vanquishes Sabrina without working up a sweat, and the rest of the surrounding characters are mere cardboard. There’s nothing in the pilot to suggest the kind of ensemble that makes Philadelphia work.
Populist obnoxiousness is certainly the politics of the moment, and perhaps there’s a wide audience for The Mick. But the show feels like a bad fit with the aging and more conventionally likable New Girl and Bones on Tuesdays, and while Philadelphia has been a big hit by FX and FXX standards, Olson’s fan base is still small in network terms. Unless it can find some personality of its own, The Mick feels like a miss.
SHOWBUZZDAILY Series Premiere Review: “Bordertown”
BORDERTOWN: Sunday 9:30PM on FOX – Change the Channel BORDERTOWN adds a light dusting of politics to its Seth MacFarlane factory settings. Produced by MacFarlane, and created by Family Guy writer/producer Mark Hentemann (the writing credit on the pilot is shared with “La Cucaracha” cartoonist Lalo Alcaraz, but since…
SHOWBUZZDAILY Series Premiere Review: “Insecure”
INSECURE: Sunday 10:30PM on HBO – In the Quene HBO introduces a promising new voice to TV comedy with Issa Rae’s INSECURE, which she created with Larry Wilmore (who left after pilot to concentrate on The Nightly Show). Rae’s vision is strongly R-rated (a key word from the Donald…
SHOWBUZZDAILY Series Premiere Review: “The Grinder”
THE GRINDER: Tuesday 8:30PM on FOX – If Nothing Else Is On… THE GRINDER has something no other network sitcom this fall can claim: an original, promising premise. (It’s the execution that needs some work.) Jared Paul and Andrew Mogel’s comedy gives us Dean Sanderson, Jr (Rob Lowe), longtime…
SHOWBUZZDAILY Series Premiere Review: “The Great Indoors”
THE GREAT INDOORS: Thursday 8:30PM on CBS – Change the Channel Fall TV has a mystery even greater than exactly what’s going on at Westworld: Joel McHale’s presence in the cardboard CBS sitcom THE GREAT INDOORS. It’s one thing when multi-camera veterans from the 1990s like Matt LeBlanc, Matthew…