Television is Important now! We live in a time where television shows can be thought of as more than just pure entertainment. Not that they didn't exist in this capacity in the past, but the age of so-called Prestige Television has opened the door for a lot of shows that are interested in having Serious Conversations about Serious Topics. For the most part, the televised landscape has been made all the better for it. In particular, it's been neat to watch how television comedy has grown and stretched its legs over the course of the last several years. Some comedies have done this with meta-structure, where their episode-to-episode comings and goings are all in service of exploring some larger idea or philosophical statement.

Consider the way Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt uses its sitcom format to explore trauma survival and self-actualization or the way Last Man on Earth examines isolation, companionship, tradition, and community by way of Will Forte getting half of his face and head shaved off. Other shows like Always Sunny in Philadelphia are content to stick with a basic episodic structure, but take advantage of the current creative landscape to do some really boundary-pushing things within it. Consider episodes like "The Gang Takes Out Their Trash," or "The Gang Tries Desperately to Win an Award," that operate within a sitcom's "weekly reset" structure, working within it to explore some very dramatically-rich subtext.

The Mick, a Fox sitcom in which Kaitlin Olsen plays a lowlife who is asked to look after the three children of her wealthy sister after said sister (and said sister's husband) are forced to flee the country in the face of fraud and tax evasion charges, unfortunately can't decide which type of show it wants to be. It's poised to offer an interesting look at culture clash, the artifice of East Coast high society, the impact parents can have on their children even in absentia, or the implications of one generation's financial misdeeds on the one that comes after it, but isn't really sure as to whether or not it's interested in doing any of those things.

"The Country Club" is a good example of this indecisiveness, alternating between Sabrina's goofily elaborate plot to take revenge against a gossip columnist and Chip's struggle to deal with the fact that his parents' scandal has called into question his standing at the local country club (which totally existed this whole time but wasn't mentioned for six episodes). Each storyline could be a great way to work in some subtle thematics and character growth, but they both wind up going for only the barest of minimums.

Chip decides that he is being "boxed out" by society at large as soon as things stop going his way, prompting a club member of lesser standing to step in and offer a bit of life advice. It offers the episode a series of sweet moments as Paul Ben-Victor's Jerry Berlin provides Chip with a father figure and some emotional reassurance that he clearly desperately needs. "The Country Club" trades character development for weak laughs, though, as Chip turns on Berlin as soon as his social standing is restored, finishing out the episode having clearly learned nothing nor grown in the least (in fact, this is explicitly stated about every character at the end of the episode).

Sabrina's storyline is no less inspired, as she conspires to exact revenge on a social-havoc-wreaking gossip columnist. This objective yields a few of the episode's best laughs — the clear implausibility of Sabrina's grand scheme followed by absolutely one of it working out as planned is pretty good — but stretches its premise as thinly as possible and again does nothing to deepen its characters or say anything about the way they relate to one another.

And so The Mick closes out another episode seeming unsure as to what it actually wants to be. Not every show needs to have some sort of deeper conversation baked into its premise, but one with as much thematic potential as The Mick's can at least be expected to do something interesting. And hey, in the absence of substantive storytelling, a high concentration of laughs will do just fine! The problem is that The Mick needs to have at least one of those things going for it, and this particular episode happens to be a little light on both.

 

Oh, and also...

• Drunk Alba positively steals every scene in which she appears. Carla Jimenez has very quickly established herself as the show's shadow MVP.

• Given their extremely limited English capabilities, how did the two Japanese dudes on Chip's golf team even make their accusation in the first place?

• "Could you please stop making eye contact with me?" Ben just destroys whenever he shows up.

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