My Big Bang theory: The Middle's Brick is another Sheldon
by Allison Waldman, posted Oct 31st 2009 10:00AM
Like a stray dog that works his way into your heart, I think I've fallen in love with The Middle. I didn't want to get so attached, because -- quite frankly -- ABC's track record for sticking with quality shows isn't so great. I'm still mourning Pushing Daisies. But The Middle is nothing like Pushing Daisies, nor does it fall into the quirky, clever mode of other shows that ABC has been promulgating for years. Ugly Betty is quirky. Better off Ted is quirky. Dirty Sexy Money was quirky. Quirky's the word.
The Middle is far from quirky. It's down to earth. It's blue collar. It's rug remnants and swim team tryouts. It's not about overachieving. It's about getting by. I'm not the first to say that The Middle is reminiscent of Roseanne, albeit without Roseanne's sharp tongue and social conscience (good and bad).
But in this era of few family comedies, The Middle is a throwback to the traditional nuclear family -- two parents, still married, plus 2.5 kids. Yes, I count Brick as a .5, because he is a half-pint. He's also the breakout kid star of 2009.
I love Brick. He's unusual and odd and endearing. You can't take your eyes off him, but unlike other mini-kid sensations -- Webster, Arnold -- Brick is not a joke machine. He doesn't have one-liners or "what you talkin' about" gags.
Brick does have an affectation; he whispers to himself. It's not done over and over again, and it worries his parents. They don't understand it. Neither do the viewers. But it's kind of funny the way actor Attitcus Shaffer does it.
Here's how much regard I have for the Brick Heck character. I think he's like a young Sheldon Cooper. Like that Big Bang Theory character, imagine that Brick is a genius in training. We just found out that Brick can remember every word he's ever read.
Like Sheldon, who is quick to point out that that is not a photographic memory but an eidetic memory, Brick's got a gift. Will in blossom in Orson, Indiana? Who knows. Sheldon's back story is that nobody understood him when he was growing up in Galveston, but they recognized that he was a child prodigy.
Now that the school has given Brick the $500 standardized test that determined he had trouble making friends, maybe they'll identify he has hidden talents.