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July 22, 2014

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'The Middle': Welcome to America! (VIDEO)

by Oliver Miller, posted Oct 21st 2010 1:14AM
'The Middle': Welcome to America!If what you really want is a pet, then you shouldn't get a human being. Animals are fluffier, after all. Plus, you don't really have to talk to animals so much. It's a win-win all around.

On 'The Middle' (Wed., 8PM ET on ABC), youngest son Brick Heck (Atticus Shaffer) really wants a dog. But his mother Frankie (Patricia Heaton) decides to go in a different direction. She adopts a Japanese exchange student instead.

[Warning: Spoiler alert.]

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'The Middle' -- Dealing With the Terror of Adult Diapers (VIDEO)

by Oliver Miller, posted Oct 7th 2010 12:40AM
'The Middle' -- Dealing With the Terror of Adult DiapersOne sure sign of impending old age is that you have to get fitted for adult diapers. Though actually, the preferred term for "adult diapers" is "briefs" -- since the word diapers is considered a little, well, babyish. Still, whatever you call them, they can't be that much fun. And on 'The Middle' (Wed., 8PM ET on ABC), Frankie Heck must confront the fact that she is old enough to be a candidate for an "adult incontinence product." Yikes.

[Warning: Spoiler alert.]

Frankie (Patricia Heaton) is lounging around at home, when her daughter Sue (Eden Sher) calls on the phone. Sue is off at a babysitting assignment. However, the parents haven't left her any diapers -- and the baby in question is "double-loaded, " which sounds kind of ominous. Sue needs diapers right away, and so Frankie is pressed into service.

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'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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Whoopi Goldberg and Eden Sher Act Out a Scene from 'The Middle' (VIDEO)

by Donald Deane, posted Mar 24th 2010 1:30PM
On 'The View' (weekdays, syndicated), Whoopi Goldberg and Eden Sher act out one of Goldberg's favorite scenes from the ABC comedy 'The Middle.'

In the scene, Sher's character fights a group of four rowdy boys using silly choreography, including running in place and a series of karate chop moves. With the actress' help, Goldberg capably pulls off a close approximation of the fight dance.

Watch the video after the jump.

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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' - '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?

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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 - Christmas

by Jason Hughes, posted Dec 10th 2009 2:17AM
The Middle: Christmas
(S01E10)
I really hope ABC comes up with a good solid lead for Wednesday nights. I use CBS's The New Adventures of Old Christine to lead into ABC's excellent block of three comedies, but they really should have a show of their own. So far we've had a few specials and even repeats of Modern Family, since the demise of Hank. Maybe a better idea is to let The Middle lead off the night and slip a new comedy into its old slot. It's certainly strong enough creatively.

Just like The Big Bang Theory was a breakout hit waiting to happen, I think The Middle is being overshadowed by Modern Family. Maybe a shake-up is just what it needs. Don't get me wrong, MF is fully deserving of all the praise, just not at the expense of this wonderful little gem tucked right before it.

It was odd that, for the second major holiday in a row, the episode was about Mike stepping up to make the season happen.

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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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