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October 23, 2014

'The Middle' - 'Valentine's Day' Recap

by Jason Hughes, posted Feb 11th 2010 2:42AM
Patricia Heaton & Neil Flynn, 'The Middle'(S01E15) Parents can certainly relate to Mike and Frankie simply wanting to have a night to themselves on Valentine's Day for the first time in 16 years. And too many of them can also relate to that simply never working out the way you expect it to.

This episode did throw a little surprise for us, showing all three children hanging out with friends, and at least two of them doing so in a way that proves they're growing up, which wasn't such great news for Mike when it came to Sue. Brick, on the other hand, actually found a kid who may be even weirder than he is.

Sue was out again with Carly, whom we first met in 'The Neighbor' when she tried to have a choreographed fight alongside Sue, but we met Brick's strange new friend, and two of Axl's buddies. All three are characters I wouldn't mind seeing again.

Axl's buddies in particular were the stereotypical idiot football players. They were all three dumb enough to believe that the girls they were supposed to go out for burgers with were going to call them back after instead going to dinner with college boys. What's worse, they all thought taking off their shirts and flexing together in a picture would show the girls what they were missing. Unfortunately, one of them was stupid enough to not see what that really looked like, and sent them anyway. Dumb teenage friends are always fun, and it's not a bad idea to expand the world around the Hecks.

The kid who acts like a cat is strange in a whole new way, but I was impressed with what a good sleepover buddy Brick turned out to be. He actually put down his book, interacted with the kid and even got him to take off his gloves. Unfortunately he didn't know the unfortunate side effects of chocolate.

Sue was a lot of fun to watch at the boy-girl party, as was the transformation of her friend Carly from a dorky girl into a cute little thing. Is this a foreshadowing of a similar transformation for Sue? She can't stay an incredibly awkward teenager forever. Eventually, she'll have to become an incredibly awkward adult. If the eyeshadow was any indication, there's time yet.

It was sweet that she did in fact learn the good lessons she'd been taught, avoiding all the vices at the party, and calling her parents to come get her when things got too uncomfortable. It was good that Carly took advantage of Mike's arrival to bail, as well, even though she was at least indulging in the heavy petting that was going on everywhere.

It was a very cool move on Mike's part, as a parent, to help Sue save face by pretending that she'd snuck out of the house to come to the party and that's why he was there to take her home. Most sitcoms have the parents horribly embarrassing their kids at every turn, but Mike and Frankie actually do try to help their kids out as much as possible.

No one expected Mike and Frankie to actually get their date, and it wouldn't have been realistic if they had gotten it. They did get a reminder, though, that even these chaotic years are precious. There was time yet in their lives for romantic getaways and special evenings alone, but time with all three kids together and wanting to be with them is time that is fast fading.

As usual, 'The Middle' manages to put so much heart into the simplest of things, and this installment was no different. No matter what, Mike and Frankie love their kids unconditionally and they'll sacrifice almost anything for them. And deep down, the Heck kids know this and the writers give us just enough so that we know it, too.

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jean frank

We love this show at our house too. Why doesn't it get more applause? We adore Modern Family too, and it seems to get all the buzz. Wednesday is a fave tv night at our house bc of these two shows.

February 13 2010 at 11:27 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Chuck

I love this show because finally there's a "normal" family on TV--one that reminds me of mine, or at least what mine will probably be like once my own kids grow up a bit more!

February 11 2010 at 11:18 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Lyn2

My favorite line was when Frankie was saying what the future held for them and their kids and she said..."Brick, well he'll probably be living in our basement.." That made my family laugh out loud. The way life usually goes, Brick will turn out to be the most successful or their children. Love this show even though I couldn't stand Patricia Heaton's Debra on Everybody Loves Raymond. I guess she really can act without being a shrew.

February 11 2010 at 12:03 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Richard

It's a good show! Heart. Funny. Realistic in many ways. Just plain good TV.

February 11 2010 at 9:16 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Richard's comment
Brian

Did you give him chocolate?

It made him purr!

February 11 2010 at 10:37 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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