Performer of the Week: Kaitlin Olson

THE PERFORMER | Kaitlin Olson

THE SHOW | The Mick

THE EPISODE | “Pilot” (Jan. 1, 2017)

THE PERFORMANCE | Mere hours into the new year, we already witnessed 2017’s first breakout performance.

As Mackenzie Murphy, the titular trainwreck who is suddenly put in charge of her rich sister’s snobby kids in Fox’s freshman comedy, Olson has the formidable task of acting crass, lazy and wholly irresponsible — while also getting us to like her.

Fortunately, we were hooked 30 seconds into Sunday’s series opener, when Mackenzie dumped baby powder down her pants in the middle of the grocery store.

Throughout The Mick‘s debut, Olson proved time and again that there’s no comedy bit she’ll shy away from. Hurling herself over a balcony and into some shrubs? Check. Tumbling down a staircase and waking up in a wine-stained wedding dress? Check. Having her face covered in owl claw marks? Check, check and… check.

Olson is no stranger to eccentric characters, given her years of work on It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia. But in this starring role, she has new and delightful opportunities to showcase her comedic chops, and she is seizing each and every one of ’em. And it’s not just the physical comedy that she excels at; Olson also turned Mackenzie’s witty retorts into one masterful line reading after another. (Our personal favorite, after a security guard threatened her with a taser: “Bitch, I hope you brought two, ’cause Mama’s got a real high tolerance.”)

We don’t expect The Mick to turn into World’s Greatest Aunt anytime soon. But with Olson in the title role, we’ll have plenty of fun watching her try.

The OAHONORABLE MENTION | Say what you will about The OA‘s polarizing ending, but to that very end, co-creator Brit Marling‘s performance gave the Netflix series much of its emotional heft. As the final installment opened, Marling made you feel every bit of Prairie’s anguish — both in the moment she was describing and as the storyteller — when she got ripped away from the man she fell in love with over seven imprisoned years, at the instant they finally touched. When mom Nancy interrupted the yarn’s climax, you saw the defeat in Prairie’s eyes, having been “caught” telling… something. Then, in the final sequence, Marling gave us an OA triumphant, proud to see her padawans save the day, as she herself made a great sacrifice.

Martin FreemanHONORABLE MENTION | As Sherlock‘s right-hand man John Watson, Martin Freeman often takes a soft-spoken backseat to Benedict Cumberbatch’s flashier lead performance. But in this week’s premiere, “The Six Thatchers,” Freeman had some heavy emotional lifting to do when John’s wife Mary took a bullet for Sherlock. At first, John put on a heartbreakingly brave face, comforting Mary as she lay dying in his arms. But after she passed, John let out an agonizing wail and then savagely turned on Sherlock (“You made a vow!”), and the raw ferocity of Freeman’s performance made the scene even more tragic. Even though we want John to forgive Sherlock, we wouldn’t mind seeing John stay mad a while… just because Freeman is so damn good at playing it.

RELATED Sherlock Season 4 Premiere Recap: Babies, Burnt Bodies, Big Twist

svHONORABLE MENTION
| Sweet/Vicious‘ Jules – a college student by day, sexual assault avenger by night – is clearly not to be messed with. But during Tuesday’s episode, portrayer Eliza Bennett showed us a different side of the vigilante’s strength. Shoving her rapist against a wall and covering his mouth with her hand, just as he did to her on that fateful night, an emotional Jules finally unleashed everything she’d been holding in. “What you took from me wasn’t yours to take,” she declared, her voice breaking. “I don’t think I’ll ever feel safe again because of you. All I feel is just this emptiness.” They were just words, but in that moment, Bennett was every bit as powerful and brave as when Jules is kicking butt.

Which performance knocked your socks off this week? Tell us in Comments!

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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26 Comments
  1. Mitsotakis says:

    The entire cast of Sherlock. End of discussion.

  2. Beckers05 says:

    I was shocked at how funny Mick was! Really enjoyed it!

  3. Chris says:

    She’s ok in it but that show is awful. How about clayne Crawford he is consistently great ever week on lethal weapon. I know it’s a cop show which usually doesn’t get r cognition but I think he is such a talent d actor, and most of it is without uttering a word you just see the heartbreak and sadness in Riggs face.

  4. kirads09 says:

    Seriously? Caught 5 minutes of Mick and had to turn it off. Felt if was awful and if that is what passes for comedy these days – nope.

    • Hannah says:

      Why is it such a hard concept for people to grasp that different people like different comedy? Some people can’t stand It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, but that show cracks me up. On the flip side, The Big Bang Theory has been on the air for like a decade and has never so much as made me smile at a single joke I’ve heard. Different people have different tastes – not that complicated, man.

      • LB says:

        Hannah, oh my goodness. I could not agree more! I personally liked Mick…but Big Bang makes me want to scream. The jokes are insanely obvious, and have never made me laugh. People I love so much love Big Bang, and they’ve tried to reason with me why. And I just can’t understand.

        • Amy says:

          I watch TBBT and I watched the Mick. I laughed at both. But there are some comedies that i find/round totally unfunny…New Girl and How I met your mother….boring…

  5. If I had more than two thumbs they’d all be pointed up for Martin Freeman’s performance in “The Six Thatchers” – the whole cast is stellar. The episode was worth the sooooo-long a wait.

  6. Nt98 says:

    Was I the only one who laughed at the dying whale noise Martin made in that scene? A decent ep otherwise but that totally took me out the sad moment they were going for.

    • Ron says:

      Nope, not the only one. Well, I didn’t necessarily laugh, but I mildly chuckled and was thoroughly baffled at that particular acting choice. I mean for goodness sake, we’re talking about the actual mother of his children. I get that they had broken up a couple weeks before filming that, but still. Together for 15+ years and the mother of his children, and he couldn’t conjure up believable emotions that wouldn’t make the audience laugh?? Personally, I don’t get the praise for Freeman’s performance in this episode. Usually, I think he’s great and love his character. But in this episode, I thought his acting seemed……odd. And I also felt he was (written) out of character.

    • Spence says:

      I completely agree! For me personally, the whole episode was lackluster and it doesn’t deserve any sort of praise whatsoever, but that moment in particular was laughable.

  7. liame says:

    Congrats! She deserves it. I’m just wondering how many takes to get through one scene? This show is hilarious!

  8. Jasie says:

    Surprised by the hate for The Mick on this board. Everyone likes different comedy I guess. I couldn’t stop laughing and laughed even harder in ep 2.

  9. Jeanna says:

    Martin Freeman, Yes! It was worth the wait. Kudos to Travis Fimmel on his past two episodes of Vikings, as well. Stunning.

  10. Ryan says:

    I think Brit Marling was great in The OA but the best is Phyllis Smith. She definitely deserves POTW or at least an honorable mention. She isn’t fantastic in The OA

  11. Polly says:

    Jennifer Esposito and Maura Tierney. That scene on last sunday’s The Affair was just WOW.

  12. Dennis says:

    Love the Mick. So funny!!

  13. J.Norman says:

    I was surprised by how good the Mick premiere was and I thought the 2nd episode was even better.
    For me, It has forced a switch over from the ABC block for the 8:30 hour and causing me to view American Housewife as part of the L-3 or L-7.

  14. Joey Padron says:

    Happy Kaitlin Olson got performer of the week. She’s great and funny on The Mick!

  15. The OA is amazing, it’s getting a lot of buzz here in Brazil, happy for the honorable mention.