The Mick is a new Fox comedy that just completed its first season and has been renewed for a second season. It’s a head-scratcher, an “oh no they didn’t,” and a “what in the hell just happened?” kind of show. While I’ve watched it from the start, most episodes leave me saying WTF by the end of an episode. There are definitely funny moments, and Kaitlin Olson plays Mick with perfection, even if the overall arc of the show leaves one feeling as if they went through the spin cycle.
“WE THOUGHT IT WOULD BE GREAT IF WE HAD A CHARACTER WHO IS A LITTLE BOY WHO LIKES WEARING GIRLS’ CLOTHES AND HE DOESN’T REALLY KNOW WHAT THAT MEANS..”
The eleventh episode, however, is the one I want to speak about as it brought the topic of gender out and despite being a show that can often feel like “they did what?” they handled the matter with care while also showing the world gender isn’t that big of a deal, and everyone needs to just calm down and accept people regardless. Kaitlin Olson told Entertainment Weekly “
We thought it would be great if we had a character who is a little boy who likes wearing girls’ clothes and he doesn’t really know what that means and we don’t really know what that means and ultimately it doesn’t matter. He should just be who he is.”
The Mick: Photo Courtesy of FOX
The show does explore the potential that Ben (played by Jack Stanton) may be transgender but determines that is not the case, at least at this juncture. It is, however, a situation of a young child who is trying to explore and figure things out and the family unit, as dysfunctional as it is usually, has no qualms about the youngster taking the time to find out what he does and doesn’t like. The question arises whether he is missing his mother and so he tries to connect with her through wearing her clothes or those similar to his mother or if he is a child just playing or if he genuinely (and simply) enjoys wearing clothes most often associated with women.
As this is a comedy and limited to only about 20 minutes they couldn’t get into the nitty-gritty of the gender issue, but they did bring up the dreaded bathroom matter. While the episode starts with Ben trying out an all girl’s school and is enrolled as a transgender child (mainly because Mickey is using it as a ploy initially), the ignorance of people strikes Mickey when she’s suddenly called to the school and a parent refuses to let a “boy in a dress” share the same bathroom despite showing that the girls and Ben don’t seem to see gender between them at this stage as they play together.
“ONE ISSUE I HAD, HOWEVER, WAS WHEN THE FAMILY WAS SITTING TOGETHER DISCUSSING THE MATTER AND TRIED TO TALK ABOUT THE LGBTQ ACRONYM.”
One issue I had, however, was when the family was sitting together discussing the matter and tried to talk about the LGBTQ acronym. The character Sabrina states that the “Q” means Questioning, which it does. As such, the acronym has now grown to be a cumbersome LGBTQQIA (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Questioning, Queer, Intersex, Asexual) and even then it will often times have a + to indicate all the other many sexualities and genders that are constantly emerging. In the episode, however, Sabrina (portrayed by Sofia Black-D’Elia) states that the “Q” now means Questioning because Queer is considered offensive. It was offensive and still can easily be used as a slur, but the community has reclaimed this word with a vengeance and Queer is used across the board to reference both gender and sexuality. Overall, though, I do have to applaud the show for bringing the issue to mainstream media with a mostly positive spin.
Is it perfect? Nope. There’s no way a show that’s 20 minutes long and addressing another whole plot point will ever get gender issues entirely. Could it annoy or bother some folks in the community? I have no doubt it will. However, we need to take the times we are represented in a positive light and support it so that others will follow suit. Constantly degrading attempts by mainstream media will only cost us visibility and allies at a time when we need both.