The Middle: Season 1
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Patricia Heaton stars as Frankie Heck in this warm and witty single-camera comedy about raising a family and lowering your expectations. Frankie Heck is a superhero. Well, no, not an actual superhero - but sometimes it seems to Frankie as though getting her kids out the door for school every morning is a superheroic act. Middle aged, middle class and living in the middle of the country, this harried wife and working mother of three uses her wry wit and sense of humor to try to get her family through each day intact.
The Middle is the most honest--and, for that reason, the funniest--sitcom about middle class family life since Roseanne. Frankie Heck (Patricia Heaton, Everybody Loves Raymond) wearily runs a cluttered, chaotic household with her husband Mike (Neil Flynn, Scrubs) and three unruly kids: sullen teen jock Axl (Charlie McDermott), hopeless klutz Sue (Eden Sher), and smart but socially awkward Brick (Atticus Shaffer). The plots revolve around the kind of mild crises that make domestic life so difficult: Frankie and Mike can't find time to be alone together; debts force difficult choices; the kids spend more time watching television than talking to each other. Again and again, Frankie longs to teach her kids good values but realizes she isn't living up to those values herself--and her reluctant efforts to muster virtue within herself can be achingly funny. Frankie is superbly well realized, a perfect match of writing and performer. Heaton portrays her contradictory impulses (virtue vs. convenience, open-heartedness vs. a hunger for just a little time alone) with wonderful subtlety; the wary look in her eyes flickers between sincerity and cynicism.
The supporting cast is every bit as strong. These kids actually look and act like kids, in all their obnoxious, oblivious, naive glory, not like glossy supermodels in training. Flynn pulls his own deft balancing act, making husband Mike blunt and a little insensitive without seeming like a jerk or a caricature. The show is still working out some kinks--Chris Kattan (Saturday Night Live) plays a hapless coworker of Frankie's; the character has possibilities and Kattan seems game for anything, but the writers don't quite know what to do with him yet. A host of guest stars--including Brooke Shields as a white trash neighbor and Betty White as an imperious librarian--fit nicely into the show's world, rather than sticking out like stunt casting. The Middle treats middle America with compassion, intelligence, and genuine appreciation. --Bret Fetzer
Sue's Best Shots: Sue's school photos provide the springboard for cast and crew to recall their own school photo experiences
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Yet there's nothing mid-level about their story, which is guaranteed to pull in viewers from the first episode.
Mike (Neil Flynn) and Frankie (Patricia Heaton) struggle to balance work and the raising of their three kids, sarcastic athlete 14-year-old Axl (Charlie McDermott); bubbly ne'er-do-well 12-year-old Sue (Eden Sher) and brilliant social misfit 7-year-old Brick (Atticus Shaffer). Every day brings new challenges; yet all are met with the typical tenacity and tongue-in-cheek humor that make the Hecks so hilariously relatable.
This family is just so funny and so relatable to me. I am able to relate to their house disasters, their kids being a little weird or annoying. I can especially relate to their paycheck to paycheck life style. The show never leaves me disappointed. I laugh and laugh at all of Bricks quirks and Axel's laziness. Sue is just such a refreshing sweet natured girl, I love that her character really comes in to her own as the show progresses.
Season one is by far one of my favorite seasons. They overcome many obstacles, and the comedy along the way is just perfect. The first episode where Frankie gets stranded by the woman who claimed to be buying a car just cracks me up. One of my favorite episodes and yet I had NO IDEA that it was the first ever episode. So excited to progress through the first four season!
You absolutely can't go wrong buying this show either streaming or DVD because it is absolutely hilarious fun family show!
I love in this show how the kids are front and center, not tucked away to appear only when convenient to the storyline. There is no getting away from them. And how the parents are fallible human beings who make mistakes, lots of them. This show hits the mark again and again on stuff that we've done, said, or has happened in our household, and it's quite therapeutic to know we are not alone.
The characters and acting are exceptional, the writers are insightful and never seems to run out of material, and the delivery is hilarious. The chemistry between the five main characters (and several minor characters) is great. I love how each episode stands on its own but weaves in plots and happenings from previous shows. There are also cameos of very famous actors playing out of character, e.g., in seasons 1&2 Betty White plays the cruel librarian and Brooke Shields the unkempt white-trashy neighbor hahahaha.
As a major bonus I and my almost 16 year old now have "our show." We have worked our way through Season one (my favorite season) and are two discs into season two. If you like me got onto the Middle bandwagon late in the game you are in for a treat.
The writing on this show is extremely intelligent: this is not talk-down-to-the-audience writing, this is as good as Modern Family (which is, I think, the best TV show in 20 years or more). The first season is a blast.
Whoever is responsible for casting does a marvelous job of selecting actors to play the additional characters in the episodes. Watching each one a second time around made me laugh twice as much, because I picked up funny lines I can't believe I missed the first time. This show has good writers with excellent material, and if you want to laugh - and laugh some more, this is the series to watch. It is TOO funny for words!