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July 26, 2014

CharlieMcdermott

'The Middle' - 'The Final Four' Recap

by Jason Hughes, posted Apr 1st 2010 5:50AM
'The Middle'(S01E19) So I asked my wife the equivalent question to what Mike and Frankie spent most of the episode fighting over, and by her answer she sided with Mike ... which makes me incredibly suspicious. I think she's just being nice to me because nothing like that is really happening.

When given an amazing opportunity, Mike was forced to choose between something he really wanted to do and something he probably really should do. It's a much harder decision when the something wanted is an incredibly rare opportunity. It's not like he's being offered an opportunity to be Tiger Woods' next mistress (ba-dump ching!).

Actually, the fighting in the episode left me a little uncomfortable. It was a lot more real than it was funny. While I applaud 'The Middle' for being so authentic in married life with Frankie and Mike, it can make you a little squirmy from time to time.

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'The Middle' - 'The Fun House' Recap

by Jason Hughes, posted Mar 25th 2010 4:53AM
Amy Sedaris(S01E18) I had no idea Amy Sedaris was going to show up on 'The Middle' this week. They did a pretty good job of keeping her true purpose a secret, too. We got to see two sides of Sedaris in the episode, both of which were a little disconcerting, but awesome at the same time.

While Frankie was dealing with new stresses at work, Mike was finding out that it's not all it's cracked up to be when you're the cool house on the block. It's expensive, a lot of work, and most distressingly, it fills your house with kids you don't know. I have nice stuff in my house. I sure as hell don't want strangers walking in and out of it.

That said, I wouldn't mind stopping by the Heck house for a quick game before we go any further in this.

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'The Middle' - 'The Break Up' Recap

by Jason Hughes, posted Mar 11th 2010 4:50AM
Charlie McDermott, 'The Middle'(S01E16) Sometimes it's important to realize that there are things going on in your kids lives that you know nothing about. It's important, but horrible at the same time. It certainly makes me afraid for when my son becomes a teenager. If they can keep a relationship with a Hollywood superstar a secret, imagine what else you don't know?

Okay, Alexa Vega, of 'Spy Kids' fame, wasn't playing herself but she was playing Axl's secret girlfriend. A girlfriend that on the surface seemed way too good to be true. I certainly didn't trust her.

The remainder of the episode spotlighted an all too common phenomenon. What happens when kids watch scary movies at too young of an age. When I was Brick's age, I made the mistake of walking into the living room to ask my mom a question during the wrong part of 'The Exorcist.' Later, an encounter with 'Psycho' had me showering with my eyes open for more than a decade.

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'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.

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Review: 'The Middle' - 'The Yelling'

by Jason Hughes, posted Feb 4th 2010 2:45AM
Patricia Heaton, Chris Kattan - 'The Middle'(S01E14) I kind of like the relationship developing between Bob and Mike. When Mike threw him out of the house a few weeks back, I was actually a bit taken aback. Sure, Bob's a bit -- okay, a lot awkward, but he has a good heart and he's a decent guy. And he's good friends with Frankie.

It's made the writing seem a little uneven, as there are times Mike hasn't seemed nearly as bothered by Bob as he was that day. This week, we found out for certain why Mike gets annoyed by Bob. In fact, I'll take it one step further and say that we were right there with him. Good lord, how does Frankie even handle him? Oh, that's right. She's so fixated on her own messed up life, she hardly pays any attention to him. Mike should try that.

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Review: The Middle - The Interview

by Jason Hughes, posted Jan 14th 2010 1:46PM
The Middle
(S01E13)
It looks like the dinosaurs are going to play havoc with the Heck way of life for the next four months. It gave us a brilliant opportunity to look at the current state of the job market. When Mike was laid off after his discovery of a dinosaur bone at the quarry led to a shut down while the rest of it was dug up, he found himself unemployed and looking for work alongside Axl.

The job search process has changed a lot since Mike was out there, and probably for a lot of Americans who are finding themselves looking now. The interview process has changed as well. I can say from first-hand experience that some of those goofy questions Mike was facing are really out there, and it really is a dancing game to figure out what the recruiter wants to hear, because it's almost never the truth.

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Review: The Middle - The Neighbor

by Jason Hughes, posted Jan 7th 2010 12:38PM
Brooke Shields, The Middle: The Neighbor(S01E12) It's a good thing The Middle had another episode air tonight, as something went wrong in the writing room when they tried to figure out how to work guest star Brooke Shields into the Hecks' life. Not only was it an abrupt intrusion of what we'd come to understand about the family and their neighborhood, it was a departure from the sense of realism the show had won me over with.

Slightly over the top for comedic effect is one thing, but things were taken to the point of absurdism by the time we were done learning about neighbor Rita Glossner (Shields) and her four hellacious children. It's as if the writers came up with an intriguing concept of what to do with Shields, and then weren't really sure how to write for it.

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Review: The Middle - The Jeans

by Jason Hughes, posted Jan 7th 2010 11:20AM
The Middle: The Jeans
(S01E11)
Oh good lord, the kids and their need to fit in. As a parent to someone who's not a teenager, this show is starting to make me think I might need to sell him off to foreign interests sooner rather than later. Maybe that's because mine already acts more like Brick than I'd care to imagine, and I can only imagine how much of a handful he'll turn out to be.

Mike and Frankie already seem overwhelmed by Axl and Sue. It was a refreshing, if nefarious, change to see Axl dressed, smiling and helpful. But like his parents, I was a little too slow on the draw to see what he was truly up to. As for Sue, well her scenario was far more classic teenager.

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Review: The Middle - Siblings

by Jason Hughes, posted Dec 3rd 2009 10:44AM
The Middle: Siblings
(S01E09)
Every parent wants their kids to get along. It makes things more peaceful in the house, and you can feel like you must be doing something right. Unfortunately, it doesn't always work out that way. The Heck children are so vastly different in personalities that the three of them bonding naturally is virtually impossible.

Sue is a bit of a dork, Axl is the cool kid and, as mentioned, Brick is ... Brick.

But that's not going to stop Frankie from trying, and dragging Mike along to support her. I'm glad to see Mike's honesty trait remaining strong as he supports his wife while admitting to his kids he has no idea what she's doing or why. And while her efforts didn't necessarily work at first, Mike found a way to bring the kids together. Too bad it was exhausting for the parents.

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Review: The Middle - Thanksgiving

by Jason Hughes, posted Nov 26th 2009 1:00PM
The Middle: Thanksgiving(S01E09) While I'm not ready to declare that The Middle is a superior sitcom to Modern Family, if this episode is any indication, I'm ready to say that it's every bit as good. And funny! Man, was this a brilliant holiday episode. I don't know how Thanksgivings go at your house, but ours have gone very much like this one at times. With everyone busy, and family members having to work because they have terrible bosses.

I swear, it's like these writers haven't set this in Indiana, but rather in my own Midwestern backyard. And while things were traditionally set up, as we'd expect, for the traditional "sweet comedy" outcomes, The Middle turned some of those conventions on their head.

They also showed us a new way to cook a turkey, though I'm not really sure if it would work all that well. And there's nothing wrong with Axl loving the can-shaped cranberry sauce. That's my favorite, too! Just slice it up and you're good to go.

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Review: The Middle - The Scratch

by Jason Hughes, posted Nov 19th 2009 11:15AM
Eden Sher, The Middle(S01E07) Right from the beginning, The Middle had me in familiar territory. I remember rushing around the house gathering trash and trying to get it out to the curb before the trash truck finished at the neighbor's house. And I remember just missing it; what a horrible feeling that was.

From there, while I was still able to enjoy the episode for the laughs it offered, I was just as equally terrified. As a parent, I've often wondered just how close we are to having the state take our children away. How innocent a comment or statement would it take before these agencies swoop down on our lives with all their self-righteous glory and scare the living crap out of us that they're going to tear our families apart?

From the moment when the police officer told Mike he wasn't even allowed to touch Brick in the principal's office, to the social worker refusing to tell Frankie and Mike how the evaluation went until she filed her report, it just seems like way too much power for some outside entities to have over our families.

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Review: The Middle - The Front Door

by Jason Hughes, posted Nov 5th 2009 1:22AM
The Middle: The Front Door
(S01E06)
Something big is going to happen with Axl, and I can't wait for it. Yes, he's doing the same bored, sleeping, lazy teenager act that we've seen a million times before, but I like the way he works off of both Neil Flynn and Patricia Heaton. And I think there's real potential for him to break out into something unique; like when he put his clothes on for the bus in two seconds.

The writers have already crafted both Brick and Sue into wholly unique, and bizarre, children. By comparison the only thing odd about Axl so far is his name. He's just so ... ordinary! Ordinary was enough, though, for him to be part of a pretty funny storyline that pitted him at odds with his father.

It also makes me terrified of the upcoming teen years. Maybe I'll just ship mine out to some other family to deal with. Maybe he can move to Orson, Indiana and I'll just let Mike and Frankie take care of him. Better send him with an extra coat. You never know when a door might go missing.

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Review: The Middle - The Block Party

by Jason Hughes, posted Oct 29th 2009 1:10AM
Atticus Shaffer(S01E05) Things are starting to settle into a familiar and comfortable pattern. There was nothing particularly groundbreaking in the presentation or even the subject matter of this episode, but it was still enjoyable. It's the love within the Heck family, even within Axl, that makes this a heartwarming comedy.

It doesn't have the sharp wit and cleverness of its follow-up Modern Family, but it's still leaps and bounds better than its lead-in -- Oh, that's right. ABC went with a re-airing of It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown instead of Hank. Didn't they air that last night, too. That's okay, Kelsey. It'll be just fine. You'll get that back nine order any day now.

This week, we focused on Brick. The more I see of the little whispering weirdo, the more I like him, and while I hate to keep bringing this up, the more I need the show to address his physical ailment. Commenter 'Jeremy' said he has found evidence pointing to it being osteogenesis imperfecta. This is the same thing Carnivale's Michael J. Anderson has.

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Review: The Middle - The Trip

by Jason Hughes, posted Oct 22nd 2009 1:08AM
The Middle: The Trip(S01E04) Okay, there's clearly something going on with Atticus Shaffer's legs, or leg. It's not a big deal, but at the same time I can't help but notice it when he's limping around. I wish the show would just address whatever it is, so I can stop thinking they're trying to pull a fast one over on us and pretend there's nothing there. It's like when How I Met Your Mother was horribly trying to cover up two pregnant bellies all last season.

Brick can have a medical condition, and we'll still love him as much as ever. In fact, it would make the family even more "just like the rest of us." Regardless, Brick was hilarious this week with his new girlfriend. I remember when my son was getting his first little girlfriends, and it seemed to go down about the same way. Not the point where his new girlfriend gives me a verbal beat-down on my own front porch, but maybe we're just not to that point yet.

The other main plotline had us finally finding something that Sue is good at! I'm as shocked as you are.

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The Middle: The Floating Anniversary

by Jason Hughes, posted Oct 15th 2009 5:03AM
The Middle, Patricia Heaton & Chris Kattan(S01E03) We already know that Sue Heck has no discernible talent, but a ton of enthusiasm. This week we learned that her cluelessness goes even beyond physical activities. She's as earnest in her social endeavors as ever. Unfortunately, she's also as oblivious to the reality of her actions and their consequences. I love everything about it.

The moral of this episode, I guess, is that a mother is never allowed even fifteen minutes of time alone. Granted, it appears that Frankie's fifteen minutes happened to coincide with the worst chain of events possible, but the moral remains the same. A mother's job is never done, and she's never off the clock. At least she has the love of her husband to help her when the time comes, and he came through in a big way for her.

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