This article contains information that could be considered too revealing according to our spoiler policy. Proceed with caution. You can't unsee it!Reason The show doesn't premiere until January 1; we got screeners.
Should You Give The Mick Custody Of Your Precious TV-Watching Time?
Kaitlin Olson takes a break from It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia to raise a few rich brats when her sister goes on the lam. Is this just 'Auntie Buck,' or is Sweet Dee finally getting a victory?
What Is This Thing?
Mackenzie "Mickey" Murphy (we get it, she's a drunk!) is just trying to mooch a little cash off of her rich sister, but when the Feds come to haul away sis and her hubby for fraud, Mickey ends up in charge of her niece and two nephews, and the queen of their multi-million-dollar castle. Can Mickey's hard-living lifestyle possibly be a good influence on the three brats she's suddenly supposed to care for?
When Is It On?
Fox is giving it a featured début on January 1 at 8 PM before settling into its regular time slot: Tuesdays at 8:30 PM.
Why Was It Made Now?
Because if we wait for It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia to get cancelled, we may never get to see Kaitlin Olson spread her wings on her own show. Olson has been the secret MVP on that show for a long time, yet aside from one (albeit great) scene in The Heat and some voice work (you may have heard her in Finding Dory this summer), she hasn't had much of a chance to break out.
Also it's been a while since we've seen the Uncle Buck/Raising Helen thing done on TV. ...Well, unless you count the Uncle Buck remake.
What's Its Pedigree?
Olson is an executive producer on the show, but the creators are John and Dave Chernin, who have been writers and producers on It's Always Sunny but otherwise don't have much in the way of shows they've created to give us a sense of what to expect.
As for the cast, I keep thinking that I should know who Sofia Black-D'Elia is, given how often I see her name attached to things, but she always falls right out of my head. (She was the murder victim on The Night Of.) Here, she plays the eldest of the three siblings, a spoiled high-school senior who instantly challenges Mickey's authority. The only other cast member you'll recognize is Thomas Barbusca as middle child Chip. Barbusca played the shittiest kid in Wet Hot American Summer: First Day Of Camp, winning himself a place in my heart forever. You might also recognize him from American Horror Story: Hotel (as one of the vampire kids) or Preacher or those Geico ads where he played a smarmy Peter Pan. He's the best.
Olson's an actress who can hold the center together, even if what she's holding together isn't yet anything all that fascinating, We've seen the fish-out-of-water stuff before, and The Mick makes sure to hit all the beats about a trashy girl suddenly living in a mansion. And thus far none of the stuff with the kids feels in any way unique. But "not unique" isn't the same thing as being "bad." I'm digging the adversarial relationship between Mickey and Sabrina. As of the pilot, this feels like a fair fight where each side can get one over on the other one. Sabrina is a good bitchy teen without being a bitchy teen I never want to see again. And Mickey's relationships with the other two kids feel differentiated enough to be interesting.
This is also a show that isn't afraid to let its characters be mean. Mickey's a mess, but she's not cute about it. She's a bitch. And thank God. It gives Olson a lot more room to work, and to work on some angles she never got to show much on Sunny. I love Sweet Dee to the moon and back, but she was always more slighted and victimized on that show. Mickey will fight dirty and win. There are moments in the pilot where she reminds me of a female Jimmy from You're The Worst: never a bad thing.
If TV is going to continue to make shows about rich people, they have got to get their shit together on the subject of Latina domestic help. There's this kind of second-wave thing that TV has started to do, where they think that just because they're acknowledging the racism and classism inherent in the system, they're free to write the same old Consuela-the-maid jokes. Carla Jiminez plays Alba, who takes a quick liking to Mickey but quickly falls into the tired role of (for lack of a better term) henchwoman, helping Mickey carry out and clean up after her schemes. Making Alba afraid of swimming does not count as a character trait. Do better.
It's not knock-your-socks-off funny thus far, but it's worth checking out. The family stuff isn't cloying, it's sufficiently mean, and Kaitlin Olson is throwing herself into the role. Give it until it introduces a love interest for Mickey (which doesn't happen in the pilot). If they can pull that off, it's worth sticking around for.