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September 1, 2014

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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: Scrubs - Our First Day of School (season premiere)

by Joel Keller, posted Dec 1st 2009 10:02PM
Kerry Bishe in Scrubs: Our First Day of School(S09E01) As much as I want to treat Scrubs: Med School as a new series, let's face it: The show is listed everywhere as being Scrubs' ninth season. So that's the way I'm going to treat it until told otherwise. Sound good to you folks?

Anyway, my preview of this new iteration of Scrubs pretty much gave the entire setup, so we can mercifully skip past that and just talk about what was funny, and what wasn't.

Oh, and for those of you who are still hanging on to the story thread that is the Elliot / J.D. relationship, you'll be happy to know that everything's fine there. More after the jump.

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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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Brooke Shields is getting in The Middle

by Allison Waldman, posted Nov 18th 2009 9:00PM
brooke_shield_standingWhen you think of Brooke Shields, you think glamor and fashion and high style... Well, I do anyway. She's Suddenly Susan and one of the hot ladies on Lipstick Jungle. I do not think of her as a suburban mother of four in Orson, Indiana. However, that's exactly what she's going to be on an upcoming episode of ABC's sitcom The Middle.

As oxymoronic as it seems, I love the idea of Brooke on The Middle. She'll be going deep into the heart of the heartland to play a character who's supposed to be like Fran Heck, Patricia Heaton's character on The Middle. There's nothing as liberating for an actor as the chance to let loose and break the mold.

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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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