The Middle: Season 3
DVD | Box Set
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Middle, The: The Complete Third Season
Work. Kids. Bills. Comedy. It’s how the middle half lives. The Heck family returns for Season Three, bringing with them further episodes of offbeat fun – with one foot in reality and the other on a greasy wrapper from Burgerworld. Two-time Emmy® winner 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: slacker teen Axl (Charlie McDermott), the over-but-somehow-always-under-achieving Sue (Eden Sher), and the bookish Brick (Atticus Shaffer), perhaps the only kid to ever have his birthday party at the public library. This year, Sue's entering high school and will attempt to not only navigate the raging waters of school life, but also co-exist with Axl, who is not too thrilled with his little sister being at the same school. With high-profile guest stars like Ray Romano, Glee’s Chord Oversteet and more, THE MIDDLE is exactly where you want to be.]]>
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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 cartoonishly over-the-top wackiness or the kind of constant lowbrow sexual innuendo and fart jokes that you might unpleasantly 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, hilariously 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. It's quietly uplifting, but in a way that feels earned rather than manipulatively sentimental.
This is one of those rare shows that successfully blends humor with heart, and I was pleasantly surprised to realize just 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, a steady supply of heartwarming charm, and razor sharp insight into what it means to be part of a family. 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!
Maybe the show is a little too blue collar or set in the middle of the country but it's still one of the best comedies on television and in recent decades. Patricia Heaton should get more Emmys for her performance as Frances "Frankie" Heck and the same accolades for her onscreen partner, Neil Flynn as her husband, Mike Heck.
The actors who play the children are perfect. Charlie McDermott is a hoot as the oldest son, Axel, who takes off his shirt and clips his toenails in the chip bag. Eden Sher is wonderful as the always optimistic Sue Heck even in the worst of times. And I can't forget Atticus Shaffer as Brick, the boy who prefers books to anything else.
This season was great and I look forward to the fourth. Marsha Mason and Jerry Van Dyke play Frankie's parents. John Cullum returns as Big Mike and Norm McDonald plays Mike's younger brother, Rusty. All in all it's a great show that shouldn't be overlooked and should be released entirely on DVD like the first two seasons.
The actors, writers, producers, and all involved have found the perfect recipe for comedy by sprinkling a touch of sweetness---that "aww" moment--into each episode. This particularly refers to Axl, the oldest son, who can be stubborn, irritating, clueless, self-centered, you name it, then turn around and do something that you never saw coming, and that will just melt your heart. Mike and Frankie raised him right!
The other selling point is the great cast of revolving supporting characters. The aunts, the Donahues, Rev. Tim Tom (and his guitar) and Brad! The only way this show could be better would be to see more of Brad.
As much as most episodes make me laugh, the ones involving Mike and the quarry cats, and the aunt's 100th birthday, which I believe are both in Season Three, made me cry. But that is okay...because it is what the Heck's life, and ours as well, is all about. Laughing, crying, caring, trying, failing, and then trying again, knowing that our friends and family are right there to support us through it all.
October 8th is circles on my calendar...the day the Season 3 DVD will be available. As Sue would say, "Yay!" The rest of the show speaks for itself.