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TV Series Review

Awful can come in many forms, which makes the degree of awfulness a difficult thing to judge.

A casserole made from liver, Fruit Loops and ketchup would be awful. But is it empirically more awful than, say, a neighbor who scatters tacks across your driveway? Is that, in turn, more awful than an abscessed tooth? Or the national debt? Or the guy who walks by your restaurant table and sticks his whole hand in your linguini? We may agree that all these things are awful. But what, of all these things, is the awfullest?

Take another example: Mackenzie Murphy, the title character for Fox's new comedy The Mick.

Mackenzie, or Mick for short, is awful. This is not a subjective judgment, by the way: I think we can state this fairly empirically. She's the sort of person who really might stick her hand in your linguini if she didn't like the cut of your jib. She might scatter tacks across your driveway for a little giggle. She drinks frequently and excessively. She hides in the bushes whenever she hears a siren. She's the last person that most of us would ever want watching our children.

And yet, here she is: watching children.

When one of those children, teen Sabrina, frets over the fate of a caged owl at school, she facetiously asks Mick how she'd like it if someone pulled her off her favorite barstool and locked her up.

"I cannot count the number of times I've been ripped off a barstool and thrown in a cage," Mick responds.

Just in the Mick of Time

What sort of parents would entrust their progeny to such a woman? Awful ones. Mick's sister (we know her only as Poodle) married a high-society millionaire who's now on the run from the FBI for fraud. They couldn't take their three children with them, of course, so they've left them in the care of their wholly unwilling, unsuitable and mostly un-sober aunt. It's about like entrusting the care of your dog to, say, one of those robotic vacuum cleaners: Both caretakers may move, make noise and consume a lot of trash, but that doesn't make them suitable for the gig.

Granted, it's not like Poodle and her hubby were exactly doing a bang-up job of raising their kids to begin with. Indeed, they're developing some fairly awful traits of their own. (Which, really, is not surprising here.) Sabrina is a stuck-up snob who drinks a fair share herself. Middle son Chip believes there are few problems that a healthy trust fund and an aggressive lawyer can't fix. And Ben—well, Ben's young yet. He's not developed a litany of horrible character traits. But give the kid time.

Is it possible that one type of awful person raising other, differently awful people might turn into a curious sort of math equation? When you add two awfuls together, do you get something … positive? Fox hasn't yet given us an answer to that. But one thing's for sure: All these awfuls do equal a pretty awful show.

Mick Your Poison

The Mick does have moments of wicked humor, of course. Star Kaitlin Olson, best known as Dee Reynolds on the foul, mean-spirited and completely unapologetic FXX show It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, knows how to pull laughs from inappropriate, horrific situations.

Sunny is explicitly about awful people doing awful things: That's the whole point. But there's a different vibe in play when children are in the picture, and doing their horrible misdeeds on a heavily promoted Fox show. And while I'd guess that the network eventually wants Mick and the kids to help each other find better paths, there's little evidence that day will be coming any time soon.

The content here is as bad as I've ever seen on any network television show. Alcohol is as plentiful as the chlorine water in the children's pool. Substance abuse is laughed at and, in a way, encouraged. Sexual content (mostly of the verbal variety) is rife. In the pilot episode, for example, Mick offers sex advice to prepubescent Chip. And while no one actually utters any f- or s-words, euphemisms for such profanities—along with a bevy of milder, un-euphemized, network-approved curse words—proliferate.

So even if Mick does accidentally impart a positive lesson or two to her young wards, she'll also likely teach them how to con, bully and shoplift their way to a living, all without doing a lick of work.

Positive Elements

Spiritual Content

Sexual Content

Violent Content

Crude or Profane Language

Drug and Alcohol Content

Other Negative Elements


Pro-social Content

Objectionable Content

Summary Advisory

Plot Summary

Christian Beliefs

Other Belief Systems

Authority Roles



Discussion Topics

Additional Comments/Notes

Episode Reviews

The Mick: Jan. 1, 2017 "Pilot"



Readability Age Range





Kaitlin Olson as Mackenzie Murphy; Sofia Black-D'Elia as Sabrina; Thomas Barbusca as Chip; Carla Jimenez as Alba; Jack Stanton as Ben; Susan Park as Liz






Record Label




On Video

Year Published



Paul Asay

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