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October 23, 2014

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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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What Joel is thankful for

by Joel Keller, posted Nov 25th 2009 4:04PM
Neil Patrick Harris in HIMYM: The PlaybookYou know, it's funny. When I started here I was a lowly IT guy with no girlfriend and lots of time on his hands to watch TV, even on Thanksgiving. Now I'm engaged, the editor of this site, and have to run around to so many family and friend-related events this weekend my head's already spinning just thinking about it. So I have a lot to be thankful for (and I just realized how friggin' long I've been here... wow).

But TV has always been a part of that equation, and it had no less of a role for me this year. So, in the TV world, here is what will make me thankful as I dive into the turkey tomorrow:

ABC's Wednesday comedy line-up: Against all trends, ABC rolled the dice and started a whole new night of comedy on Wednesdays. And while Hank flamed out, The Middle, Modern Family, and Cougar Town look like they have staying power, both from a quality and a ratings standpoint.

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What Allison is thankful for

by Allison Waldman, posted Nov 22nd 2009 4:03PM
mad_men_finale
Thanksgiving is coming and for many of us it's time to eat, drink and watch football. It's also a time to reflect on the things you're grateful for and since TV Squad is all about television, here's what I'm grateful for this holiday season, with regard to the tube.

Mad Men season finale
There was really nothing as satisfying in the entire year for me. Matt Weiner promised a game-changing episode and he delivered it with a whopper of a wrap up. Actually, nothing was really wrapped; it was more like the cards have been dealt and we're still waiting to see how the hands are played.

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That's why I recognize Brick from The Middle!

by Allison Waldman, posted Nov 21st 2009 2:09PM
atticus_shaffer_brickYou know how sometimes you see an actor or actress and they look so familiar, but you can't remember where you saw him or her, or what the TV show was? That's how I've been with the little boy who plays Brick on The Middle. His name is Atticus Shaffer, and since the ABC sitcom began this fall, I've been scratching my head over him. Where did I see him before?

Turns out that it was on a commercial for AIG. Yes, AIG, that huge insurance company that was a big part of the economic collapse. The company that was too big for America to let fail.

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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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Brooke Shields in 'The Middle'

by Jane Murphy, posted Nov 18th 2009 6:05PM
When the 'Desperate Housewives' casting call went out for a put-upon-mother-of- four-unhinged-boys, the spirited TV and theater actress Felicity Huffman won the role. But the folks over at 'The Middle' do things a little differently.

Orson, Indiana will get its own exhausted mother of four boys -- played by none other than Brooke Shields. The queen of 'Lipstick Jungle' and supermodel for the ages will de-glam to wage mommy war against Patricia Heaton's Frankie Heck.

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TV Shows Most Likely to Be Canceled: We Made the Odds, Now Place Your Bets

by Bryan Enk, posted Nov 9th 2009 3:11PM

It seems like just yesterday we were greeting the lineup of the 2009-2010 television season; every show was equal, and no show had a better chance at success than any other. What a difference a few weeks make, as now some series are already looking down the barrel of a shotgun, ready to be canceled with barely a few episodes out the gate. Television is a cutthroat world indeed -- here we look at the series that are currently on thin ice, and the odds that they'll come out the other side.

Don't agree with our odds? Let us know!

ABC:

'Ugly Betty'
It wasn't long ago that 'Ugly Betty' had its supporters in droves, proclaiming its brilliance to the heavens. Now, alas, the show seems to have been abandoned, allegedly returning this season only so it has enough episodes in the vault to qualify for syndication. Which it does, so there!
Odds of Cancellation: 2 to 1

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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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Patricia Heaton Talks About Life in 'The Middle'

by Gary Susman, posted Nov 4th 2009 1:30PM
Patricia Heaton'Everybody Loves Raymond' alumna Patricia Heaton relishes the legacy of having starred in one of TV's all-time most popular sitcoms, but after a long reign at the top, she's happy now to settle in 'The Middle.'

You may have thought Heaton's Debra Barone on 'Raymond' had it tough, with her childish husband and impossible-to-please mother-in-law, but Debra lived the life of a pampered princess compared to Heaton's 'Middle' mom. Every week, Heaton's supermom Frankie Heck courts comic catastrophe as she tries to juggle her many responsibilities -- marriage, a sputtering career, dismal finances and three hapless children.

Heaton spoke to AOL TV about how much fun she's having on the freshman ABC sitcom, how closely it mirrors her own life as a busy mother of four and following up one of the hardest acts to follow in TV history.

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My Big Bang theory: The Middle's Brick is another Sheldon

by Allison Waldman, posted Oct 31st 2009 10:00AM
ABC_the_middle_brick
Like a stray dog that works his way into your heart, I think I've fallen in love with The Middle. I didn't want to get so attached, because -- quite frankly -- ABC's track record for sticking with quality shows isn't so great. I'm still mourning Pushing Daisies. But The Middle is nothing like Pushing Daisies, nor does it fall into the quirky, clever mode of other shows that ABC has been promulgating for years. Ugly Betty is quirky. Better off Ted is quirky. Dirty Sexy Money was quirky. Quirky's the word.

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Eight TV character-inspired Halloween candies

by Allison Waldman, posted Oct 30th 2009 2:02PM
Halloween_candy_corn
The candy manufacturers had better watch out, because as Halloween is approaching, TV shows have been coming up with their own candies, inspired by some of the more colorful, interesting characters. Take a look at this list, and see which are treats and which are tricks. And, listen, tell us what kind of candy your favorite TV characters might inspire!

8. How I Met Your Mother - Robin Scherbatsky's Canadian corn
Oh, Canada. Slutty pumpkins aside, Robin had to convince her American friends that Canada not only celebrates Halloween, but Canadian corn is the best Halloween candy ever. That's right, Canadian corn. It's like candy corn, only it's orange on the top and white on the bottom. It also tastes like pancakes because it isn't made with corn syrup; it's made with maple syrup.

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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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What Patricia Heaton is doing right in The Middle

by Allison Waldman, posted Oct 17th 2009 9:03AM
Patricia_Heaton_The_Middle
I wasn't really prepared to like The Middle. I had no expectations, really, because aside from knowing that it was Patricia Heaton's latest sitcom, there had been very little scuttlebutt about it. So, when I tuned in, I expected the typical Patty Heaton I had seen for years on Everybody Loves Raymond or the upscale version I'd watched on Back to You.

Well, what a surprise when I saw her on The Middle. This is a Patty I had never seen before, and I not only liked her character, I admire her performance.

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