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August 20, 2014

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Stouffer's Should Be Doing Product Placement in 'The Middle'

by Allison Waldman, posted Feb 8th 2010 9:00AM
the_middle_hecks_dinner
How's this for an odd occurrence of non-product placement? On Wednesday night, during the ABC sitcom block -- actually during 'Modern Family' -- there was a commercial for Stouffer's Family Size dinners. The commercial referred to 'The Middle,' making the case for how positive it is for families to sit down and share a meal together.

It was a great idea for a commercial, but did anybody at Stouffer's realize that with the exception of Thanksgiving, the Hecks don't actually cook dinner? They're usually bringing in bags of take out from a burger joint. You see hamburgers and fries and lots of paper products, but it was only for Turkey Day that anybody actually fixed dinner.

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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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ABC Renews 'Cougar Town,' 'The Middle' and 'Modern Family'

by Andrew Scott, posted Jan 12th 2010 1:50PM
Modern FamilyABC is sticking by its Wednesday night comedies (well, unless you count the ill-fated 'Hank').

During today's TCA press conference, network Entertainment president Steve McPherson announced that 'The Middle,' 'Cougar Town' and 'Modern Family' have each been renewed for a second season.

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The Middle, Cougar Town and Modern Family all get a second season - TCA Report

by Joel Keller, posted Jan 12th 2010 1:16PM
ABC logoSteve McPherson, ABC Entertainment president, just reported that all three of its remaining Wednesday comedies, Cougar Town, Modern Family, and The Middle, have all been picked up for a second season.

McPherson was very happy with the shows' performances and he decided to let everyone know about the renewal right at the top of his conference.

More later...

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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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Best and Worst TV of 2009: Jason's List

by Jason Hughes, posted Dec 21st 2009 5:06PM
Daniel Wright2009 was a good year for television. It offered the resurgence of the comedy on network television, and the continuing growth of original programming on cable. In all honesty, I don't think I could just do a list of what was great and what was horrible on television because I would need pages and pages.

Instead, I'm going to focus on the things that really stood out this year. Sorry, Mad Men fans, but even though this was a great third season and an amazing finale, I expect it at this point. It's the only way I could come up with to keep my list manageable.

Also, as a point of protest I did not include Jon, Kate or the balloon boy hoax. These events got more attention than they deserved already this year, and I feel bad I even mentioned them.

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Top TV Stories of 2009: The return of the sitcom

by Joel Keller, posted Dec 18th 2009 2:09PM
Community
I'm always amazed at how people haven't learned from TV history. Back in the early eighties, everyone and his mother was saying that comedy was dead, mainly because of then-cutting-edge dramas like Hill Street Blues were dominating the air, while the best in comedy that the networks could come up was crap like Pink Lady and Jeff. Then The Cosby Show, Cheers, Family Ties, and Night Court came around, and all of a sudden comedy was back.

So it's not a big surprise that comedy is making a big comeback a quarter-century later. Times are tough, and people want to laugh. It also helps that on a few networks (NBC, of course), low ratings and little inventory have given shows like The Office and 30 Rock a chance to find and grow an audience. The seeds sewn by those shows have grown in a major way, as three of the four networks now have successful comedy lineups.

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The Twelve Days of Festivus: Eight stars a shinin'

by Allison Waldman, posted Dec 16th 2009 10:02AM
jane_lynch_gleeOn the eighth day of Festivus, TV gave to me ... eight stars a shinin'!

There are a lot more than eight wonderful stars shining in the TV pantheon for 2009, but these eight are a remarkable bunch who have been exemplary this past year. They've left us with memories that'll last long after this Festivus has ended. So, in no special order, here are the eight stars a shining from the year gone by.

1. Jane Lynch. If the Emmy doesn't already have Jane Lynch's name engraved in a statuette for Glee, it will by the time the awards are handed out. Lynch has been the perfect villain, the villain you love to hate. But if she were just a one-note nasty, it wouldn't work. Lynch has shown the other side of Sue Sylvester. Her "swing" date showed Sue in love, and her visit to her sister Jean was a soft earthquake emotion. Jane delivers week in and week out. Her star is glowing.

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Christmas memories from the week gone by in sitcomland

by Allison Waldman, posted Dec 13th 2009 2:02PM
The Office: Secret SantaI know not much time has passed, but let's review the Christmas memories from some of TV's sitcom this past season because if you ask me, they were sort of all over the map. Someday maybe I'll hold one of these in my heart like the On a scale from one to ten, with ten being classic, there were none that will live on in the annals of TV history, but there were a couple worth writing about.

The Office
I found this entire episode a downer. The economy is in the toilet and we all know it. Heck, I don't know anyone who isn't worried about having a job in 2010. So we can feel for the fact that Dunder-Mifflin is hanging by a thread. But it's hardly hilarious fodder for a holiday half-hour.

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All Allison wants for Festivus

by Allison Waldman, posted Dec 9th 2009 10:02AM
heaton_the_middleThe Festivus season is upon us, and the spirits of joy and viewing visit TV Squad, giving us a chance to make our media wishes known. Oh, the wonder of a TV world of my own making. If only the Festivus wishes I make will come true. Yes, Allison, there is a Festivus! And so, my TV wishes:

-- Last year I wished for Gilmore Girls creator Amy Sherman Palladino to get another shot at TV after the horrible Jezebel James. Well, she's got a deal with HBO. Good for her. Now, for me, let's get her to write and film the finale for Rory and Lorelai and Luke and Star's Hollow that she intended for GG. It's time to do it now while all the principals are still active. The Mary Tyler Moore reunion with Rhoda came two decades too late.

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The TV Squad Podcast: Surprising shows, decade-end lists, and the Commenter of the Week!

by Joel Keller, posted Dec 4th 2009 1:25PM
TV Squad logoIt's our first four-way panel this week, as Jason Hughes, Kona Gallagher and Allison Waldman join me to talk about some of the goings on in TV this week:

  • We talk about the shows that have surprised us so far this season, including The Middle and White Collar,
  • It's the end of the '00s as we know it, and we feel fine: we talk about the inevitable end-of-decade lists that will drip out this month (including ours!) and what we expect to see on them,
  • A new feature: Our Commenter of the Week! Knowing our commenters, you can be pretty sure we didn't pick one that said how much they loved us.
  • Our picks for the week -- including the last episode of Monk -- and much more.

Run time is 1:01:38

You can listen to the podcast below, or download from here or by subscribing to our RSS podcast feed. It is also available via iTunes. Feel free to leave us feedback in the comments or drop us a line at tvsquadpodcast [at] gmail [dot] com.

As usual, the music at the beginning and end of the podcast is "Life" by Justin Trawick. Though I had so much fun adding the George Takei ID to the mix, I added another small surprise at the top of this 'cast, a call-back to an interview I did a few years ago. Hope you enjoy it.

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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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The Middle Thanksgiving was an instant classic

by Allison Waldman, posted Nov 26th 2009 4:00PM
the_middle_couchThere was something refreshingly pedestrian about last night's episode of The Middle. It wasn't about abundance and excess, because as a middle-class situation comedy, the current economic state doesn't reflect having plenty and living beyond your means. Frankie and Mike are doing their best to get by. But they're not bitching about it. That's part of the reason why I'm enjoying this show so much. Like me, Jason also liked this episode quite a bit.

Frankie had to work on Thanksgiving, that's true, and she did protest about that, but not the fact that the family has to plot out their Black Friday shopping at the mall to get every bargain imaginable. They don't complain about being strapped. They accept that they have to cut coupons and be thrifty.

Like the remnant carpet for the bedroom as an anniversary gift, The Hecks are accepting of their middle class.

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