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August 31, 2015

'The Middle' - 'The Bee' Recap

by Jason Hughes, posted Mar 4th 2010 2:30AM
Eden Sher, 'The Middle'(S01E16) The Hecks went on their first road trip, as we found out something that Brick is really good at, and something that happens more often than families would like to admit. I've had my birthday forgotten more than once by my busy family, and it made me feel about as small as Sue did.

However, I was never given the level of power Frankie gave her over the family trip to Chicago. Guilt is certainly a powerful agent in making potentially poor decisions.

As for Brick, it shouldn't come as a real surprise that he's a great speller. With his nose constantly in books his parents probably couldn't even read, how could he not be?

Failing to tell his parents about winning the school spelling bee was something I can definitely relate to. My fifth grade son fails to tell us things all the time, including that he recently tried out for and got a part in the upcoming play. They have these whole lives at school that we know very little about. Usually they forget to tell us about projects that are due, or papers we need to sign and send back, but it does happen that they forget the good stuff, too.

I guess kids are just forgetful. Of course, so are parents. That said, forgetting your kid's birthday is nearly unforgivable. No matter how many you have, that's a day that should live in your head forever. Especially while they're younger, as birthdays mean so much more.

Of course, with Sue she bounces back almost immediately from any negative vibe she's feeling. It's so much fun watching Eden Sher play this role. At 18 years old, being 13-now-14 is probably fresh enough in her memory that she can recall all the awkwardness that comes with it. Certainly Sue is about the most awkward teenage girl I've seen on TV.

There weren't the usual moments of laughter throughout this episode, and that may be because of the road trip. Sometimes taking your characters out of their familiar elements can throw the comedic rhythm off. I still enjoyed the episode a lot, don't get me wrong. We just didn't get as many of those cracks back and forth as we're used to.

The absolute best line of the night came when the family was standing over Sue's largest tree stump. Deadpanned in his best sullen teenager, Axl said he had pretty low expectations, and was still disappointed. Brick's dismissive snapshot of the stump was the perfect cap on a great short scene.

There were plenty of highlights throughout the episode, though. Axl sleeping in an unopened cot was a hell of a thing, and probably a bit uncomfortable for actor Charlie McDermott. Then his only response to it finally snapping open the following morning was that he liked donut holes.

Poor Brick blowing the spelling bee because of his whispering repeats was tragically appropriate. It was also totally within character that he didn't care at all about the bee itself, but was more interested in the trip to Washington, DC. I wouldn't mind some more road trips with the Hecks either, as they're certainly dysfunctional enough to keep it funny. Assuming Axl doesn't just run away, leaving only the pictures behind for the family to find clues as to why he left.

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What was the song they were singing in the car on the way home from Chicago?

March 13 2010 at 2:23 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Love seeing the blue bag with the snacks left on the counter after Frankie tells them all the goodies she packed! I've done that so many times. My only quibble: Chicago to fictional town sw of Indianapolis would take 3 to 4 hours at the most not all day plus gain an hour of time going from eastern time to central time. Do a little research writers please! This is not the first time they've shown they know absolutely nothing about Indiana.

March 04 2010 at 1:43 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I loved the montage of Papa Heck's usually exasperated facial expressions when dealing with Brick. I'm still laughing thinking about it. And I kind of knew Brick wouldn't win the spelling bee but it was still hilarious to see the whole family jump to his defense towards the judging table once it happened.

March 04 2010 at 1:33 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

You mistakenly linked to Dylan McDermott in the article; the actor who play Axl is Charlie McDermott.


I liked this episode a lot. The one part whee Axl said "I had the lowest of expectations and I'm STILL disappointed" had me laughing for about a minute! I love how Sue is awful at picking activities for the family vaca and yet Brick still loves every minute of it!

March 04 2010 at 11:01 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

This was only the second episode of this show that I've seen and I really enjoyed it. However, I don't understand why Brick whispers things to himself. Is it just a weird habit?

March 04 2010 at 9:51 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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