Fox’s awkward ‘The Mick’ introduces us to Auntie Lame

No one on “The Mick” is likable, especially not the title character (Kaitlin Olson, left).

Two stars

The Mick Tuesdays, 8:30 p.m., Fox. Premieres January 1, 8 p.m.

Kaitlin Olson has spent 11 seasons (and counting) playing a horrible person on It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, and she doesn’t really expand her range with her new Fox sitcom The Mick, created by longtime Sunny writer-producers Dave and John Chernin. Since it’s on broadcast TV as opposed to cable, The Mick isn’t quite as vulgar and explicit as Sunny, and its family-sitcom setup allows for more conventionally heartwarming moments. But it’s still focused on Olson doing essentially the same shtick she’s been doing for years, only without her Sunny co-stars to back her up.

Olson plays a degenerate named Mackenzie “Mick” Murphy, who spends her time drinking, gambling and taking drugs, and only speaks to her trophy-wife sister when she needs money. But when that sister and her rich husband end up targeted by the FBI for some sort of financial crimes, they flee the country and leave Mick to take care of their three spoiled kids. It’s a stock sitcom concept that goes back decades, as the immature, selfish adult needs to learn parental responsibility, and the bratty kids come to appreciate their new caregiver. The Chernins shy away from overt lesson-learning and family bonding in the four episodes provided for review, but they don’t go for the all-out nastiness of Sunny, landing The Mick in an awkward middle ground between obnoxious and cuddly.

Mick is reprehensible except when the story calls for her to be responsible, and the same goes for the three kids. None of them are charming in their awfulness, and the show relies on unpleasant gross-out gags that lost their shock value when Sunny was still in its early seasons. It’s hard to root for the characters to form a makeshift family when all of them are such terrible people, but their terribleness is compromised by the need to make them semi-likable. It’s the worst of both worlds.

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