After spending over a decade playing the lone woman of the gang on It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia, Kaitlin Olson scored the lead of The Mick in 2017. Olson's TV characters, Deandra "Sweet Dee" Reynolds and Mackenzie "Mickey" Molng, are equally uproarious and inappropriate, but Mickey is distinctive because of her self-confidence. As Mickey takes care of her wealthy niece and two nephews in Season 2 of The Mick, premiering on Sept. 26, she'll keep being as comfortable in her own skin as ever. Sure, she may have no clue what she's doing when it comes to raising Sabrina (Sofia Black-D'Elia), Chip (Thomas Barbusca), and Ben (Jack Stanton), but Mickey's indifference to how she is perceived is what makes her such a rare female character.
"I love that Mickey does not apologize for things," star and executive producer Olson says, speaking over the phone to Bustle from the set of The Mick Season 2. "I don't see men apologizing constantly and I do see my female coworkers apologizing constantly. There is for some reason more of an inherent self-consciousness it seems in women than I have seen in men. And I think that's something that we should just be really aware of."
Olson says that apologizing unnecessarily is something her husband, It's Always Sunny creator and star Rob McElhenney, helped her realize she was doing. She notes that women often use "I'm sorry" when they should be saying something else.
"You don't have to apologize for standing there and taking up space! I think what you mean is, 'Excuse me, let me get out of your way,'" Olson says. Now that she's aware of this habit, she is trying to help other women stop apologizing. "I see it in my women friends and I love pointing it out," Olson says. "I think it makes you a stronger person to stop apologizing for taking up space."
In that sense, Mickey is certainly strong. "I think that's a real Mickey quality," Olson says. "She commands any space she is in and she's perfectly comfortable in it. No matter what the situation is, no matter what she looks like, no matter what's going on around her, and I think that's pretty great."
Of course, because the show is a comedy, Mickey might not be the greatest role model all the time. But her characteristics make her an empowering female figure, who's also outrageously funny. "I really believe [Mickey] just does not care. Just doesn't care what people think about her," Olson says. "There's something about that that's so freeing and when you take it to the extreme, to me, it's very funny."
Speaking of funny, all of the characters — young and old, male and female — get to join in on the raucousness of The Mick. That's the way it should be, but Olson remembers when she first realized that's not always the case. It wasn't until It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia first started receiving recognition a few seasons in that she discovered that women are often considered to not be as funny as men.
"Somebody had the audacity to ask me in every single interview how I kept up with the guys and it was so insulting. First it kind of just washed over me like, 'That's a weird thing to say.' And once it happened over and over and over, I was like, 'Oh. These people just don't think that women are as funny as men,'" Olson says. "It became very apparent that people expected for the guys to be funny and they were surprised that I was funny. And it's infuriating and it's so stupid."
Citing It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia as an example, Olson says that shows and movies don't have to mask a woman character's feminine qualities for her to be as funny as the male characters.
"[Dee] is the woman of the group. We're not trying to shy away from that and be like, 'Oh no, she'll just be one of the dudes.' No, that's something that's so funny is that they sh*t all over her because she's the female," Olson says. "So we embrace the fact that it's four men and a woman. And we don't try and make Dee masculine because we're trying to level the playing field. It is level because women are on the same playing field."
She notes how the other characters on It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia are viciously mocked for their traits too. "You pick out things to pick on about people and then you escalate it and that's funny on our show. And some of those qualities might be feminine and some might be masculine," she says. (As for the future of It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia, Olson says the plan is for them to film Season 13 in spring 2018, right after she is finished with The Mick Season 2.)
While The Mick also escalates situations for laughs, it's a family show — something that It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia has never been. And Olson's femininity informs how The Mick provides comedy that's suitable for parents and kids without ever getting too hokey.
"I think it's pretty easy to subtly add heart and soul into something without beating you over the head," Olson says. "I mean, I am a mom, so I [inherently] have maternal instincts towards these kids ... I can throw some sensitivity in there without it being part of the dialogue or part of the story so it makes it a little more palatable as a family show."
But, first and foremost, Olson and creators Dave Chernin and John Chernin (brothers who previously worked on It's Always Sunny) want The Mick to funny. So as Mickey's wild adventures in parenting continue on The Mick Season 2, take note that females don't need to say they're sorry to get the job done — especially when that job is being hilarious.