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The Middle: Season 2
DVD | Box Set
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Work. Kids. Bills. Comedy. It’s how the middle half lives. The Heck family returns for Season Two, bringing with them 24 episodes of offbeat fun with one foot in reality and the other on a greasy wrapper from Burgerworld. Patricia Heaton and Neil Flynn star as Frankie and Mike Heck, frazzled parents trying to stretch their patience and paychecks around three brilliantly true-to-life kids: Axl, whose latest dream girl has tattoos, body piercings and pink hair; Sue, who’s thrilled to come in eighth (out of eight) in Square Dancing with the Stars; and Brick, the only kid who has his birthday party at the public library.
The most realistic depiction of family life since Roseanne returns! The Middle captures the weirdness underneath the façade of what people think lower-middle-class life should be--at least what Frankie Heck (Patricia Heaton) thinks her family life should be. Frankie desperately wants her gawky teenage daughter Sue (Eden Sher, delightfully awkward) to fit in, her eccentric youngest son Brick (Atticus Shaffer) to make a friend, and her truculent oldest son Axl (Charlie McDermott) to do anything remotely helpful or responsible. Her husband Mike (Neil Flynn) is a solid guy who's pretty much given up trying to make their life anything other than the chaotic mess that it is, but he gamely does what he can to support Frankie's schemes and struggles. (On the periphery floats Chris Kattan as a coworker of Frankie's; the writers still haven't figured out what to do with him.) The Middle's second season follows the progress of a year, with episodes built around holidays and major school events, like prom or sports meets. It's a bit formulaic, but the scripts and cast rise above expectations, even though everything's a little less subtle than before--Heaton, who was wonderfully sly in the first season, plays everything more broadly this time around. Even so, Frankie is an engaging character, full of comic contradictions and suppressed emotions just aching to be released. Flynn is the standout this season; Mike's stolid, unruffled presence has become an even stronger foil for Frankie's floundering. And some satirical bits hit home: Mike's construction-site workers would almost rather have free pretzels than health insurance and Sue's attempts to join a higher-ranking table in the school cafeteria makes a clean but not overstated comment about yearning for status. The Middle: The Complete Second Season is a solid follow-up to the first season. Extras are meager, just a few deleted scenes and a gag reel. --Bret Fetzer
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The Middle doesn't go out of its way to flaunt just how edgy and risque it can be. It doesn't, like so many other critically lauded shows, feature wholly unlikable people doing wholly unlikable things while half-winking at the camera over just how zany they are. It doesn't go for over-the-top wackiness or the kind of constant lowbrow sexual innuendo and fart jokes that you might unplesantly associate with high school locker rooms.
Instead, The Middle simply tells the story of a family that's likable and even admirable despite also being realistically, comically flawed. The humor stems from the strong characterizations, sharp dialogue and the clever insight peppered throughout. (You'll be thinking "that is SO true...it's scary how well I can relate to that!" at least a few times per episode). We get flashes of heartwarming poignancy here too, but rest assured that it's never too sappy or forced.
This is one of those rare shows that successfully blends humor with heart, and I was pleasantly surprised to realize how much I've come to love spending time with this family. I used to have a weird visceral dislike for Patricia Heaton and, for reasons alluded to above, rarely like sitcoms...but this show immediately reversed my opinion of Patricia Heaton's acting abilities, and even gave me a renewed hope for the sitcom genre!
One major reason it's worth owning on DVD: The vast majority of the episodes not only hold up with multiple viewings, but actually improve, as you notice subtle moments of awesomeness that you were too busy laughing to pick up on the first time around. So many shows *claim* to have struck that balance between wit and poignancy; to have created lovable yet hilariously flawed characters; to have written dialogue that's sharp and memorable. This is one of the few shows that, in my clearly Middle-loving opinion, has actually succeeded in all those areas and more. It's a show that provides mood-boosting humor with moments of sharp insight into what it means to be part of a family and a steady supply of heartwarming charm. I can't wait to FINALLY get my fangirl hands on the Season 3 DVDs, and look forward to rooting for and laughing with the Hecks for many years to come!
I now own both the first and second seasons and I have to say, there isn't a dull episode. I'm a comedy writer and I really wish I had invented this series!
Patricia Heaton is just unbelievable. She is one of the rare actresses who can allow you to immediately BELIEVE her character, despite the number of years you truly BELIEVED she was Debra Baron, you within seconds, BELIEVE she is whatever character she currently is portraying. She IS Mrs. Heck! LOL
The other actors and actresses are all great as well......I especially enjoy the "daughter" and the youngest son. I hope they never write Brick's character w/o his "whisperings"!
No matter what you're in "THE MIDDLE" of, take time out for this show!!!!
My favorite character is the son - he reminds me of how my brother dressed and acted when he was a teenager. Perfect portrayal of the American teenager. And Sue! The daughter is hilarious. Both of the older kids are expressive and a delight to watch.
The youngest son, in my opinion, isn't aging as well on the show - his "cute" level decreases. But in spite of that, this is still one of my favorite shows.
Who will enjoy it? Primarily moms.
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