Not going to lie to you all, I love my television programmes. Sometimes nothing is better than to have some easy watch 30 minutes programme on in the background, and ‘The Middle’ qualifies under this category. It’s a great show, easy to watch and real life. It tells the day-to-day life of a family living in the middle, in Orson, Indiana. The family struggles of mother and father of three, Frankie and Mike of Axl, Sue and Brick, introducing the Heck family! All of the characters couldn’t be more different, they all bring something new to the house and they’re all equally as great.
Starting with the mother, Frankie Heck (Patricia Heaton). Frankie actually narrates the programme as well, she brings the audience in at the beginning and doesn’t leave as she fills out the programme what is needed to know, she talks as from the present and we’re watching her past life. Frankie might be seen as a nagging mother by her children, but she becomes a character who just wants to improve her life by trying out wacky new ideas each day to her children’s despair. She loves the Bachelor and Oprah is gospel to her. She’s a great mother, who constantly ends programmes admitting that her and Mike are “lazy parents”, but in truth she tries as much as she can to make it better for her family, even if that means getting a second job. Frankie is constantly searching for affection from her eldest, and she’s accepted her blunt husband as he is, but they have a loving relationship. In work, Frankie usually falls at the bottom as she works as a car saleswoman and cannot sell a car. She’s hectic and shouts a lot of the time, but when it comes down to it, all she wants is her children back young again. You can always expect her to get out a tub of frosting to make everything better.
Next, father of the household, Mike Heck (Neil Flynn). A recognisable actor, mostly for me as the revengeful Janitor in ‘Scrubs’. The man of the household, the man who cannot show true emotions, he’s blunt and practical in everything he does. He sees showing emotions and being soft as a weakness. When things break in the house, he comes up with creative ways to keep them going, as they don’t have enough money to replace them, practical down to a T. He’s the manager at the quarry in Orson. Watch him as he’s always in a plaid, flannel shirts, and all that’s on his mind is sports, hence his strong connection with Axl being a football player, however not so much with Brick as they don’t have much in common, other than not being sociable. But deep down, family is everything to him. To say the least, Mike’s not much of a talker.
The oldest of the three is Axl (Charlie McDermott). The charismatic older brother, the big-headed oldest son. Axl is a great character, truly loved. The American football player of the family, who makes his father most proud. But to everyone else, he’s full of insults, particularly to Sue. This is a common theme of the show, where Axl can’t show gratitude to his family, however this becomes a comical element. Although, I do have to admit there are moments where he does show love to his sister, and those rare moments just build to his character that much more. Axl is the son who doesn’t think before he does things, his stupid ideas are hilarious. He also lives the boxer life, which if you don’t know, means when he comes home he strips down to his boxers and lies on the sofa, something you see a lot in this programme. He’s not academic, although sporty and sociable.
Next, the only daughter, Sue (Eden Sher). Sue is the optimistic, loveable, never giving up daughter of the family. A common theme for Sue is her trying out in every club she possibly can at school, however never making anything. She’s the traditional good girl, can’t keep secrets and cannot lie, she would never do anything to hurt her parents or disobey them. She tends to be forgotten and constantly not noticed in school. She’s the awkward teen struggling to fit in, but a brilliant optimistic ball of light in the show. She becomes the punchline to most of Axl’s jokes as they are constantly arguing, but all she wants is affection and love from her family. Sue Sue Heck, yes that’s her name, is the happiness of the show, the one who would do anything to please people or to achieve something in life. Her life is controlled by teenstyle.com as she believes it speaks the truth. Additionally, Sue’s character brings in the singing Reverend Tim Tom as she holds onto every word he sings to the teen group.
Finally, the youngest, Brick (Atticus Shaffer). Brick’s the reader, I say this because books are his life. He is constantly seen in this show with a book reading, ignoring what’s around because nothing is more important to him than books. If he’s not reading a book, he’s either going to the library or talking about the library and his extensive library fees. Brick is a great youngest son, just like his quirky name he has many quirks. His quirks entail whispering to himself after talking and then he adapts to whooping to the sky. He also has a fascination with fonts, yes fonts. All this adds to Brick not being the most sociable of the family, this is a constant theme of the programme as Frankie is desperate for him to get a friend, when in reality all his friends are books, the most important friend of all is ‘Planet Nowhere’. Saddest of all, Brick is usually the child that’s forgotten, left behind in many places, but regardless he’s not forgotten in the show, he’s a great addition.
‘The Middle’ definitely deals with real life aspects. The constant struggle of a low income family is a dominant theme of the programme. All characters are flawed, but all characters are loved. It is a programme with reality throughout it all, the struggles of a mother realising her children are growing up too fast, the messy house that never gets clean with three children, siblings who are constantly squabbling and arguing, and so much more. The whole aesthetic of the programme is fun and enjoyable. It’s comical and there are moments of truth, every episode has some meaning behind it. I would definitely recommend this programme as an easy watch and not regrettable one at that. It does become addictive to just watch episode after episode. Furthermore, you don’t need to watch them in order, ‘The Middle’ is episodic where each episode has a different plot line, however there is a story arc throughout the series, but that’s easy to catch on without watching episodes before. Sadly, I’ve read it is coming to an end with series nine, but it’s so worth a watch anyway! Watch the Heck family live a life of junk food and watching TV on the sofa as Frankie desperately tries to change the habits, but never succeeds. Just go ahead and watch the Heck family with day-to-day struggles because they are fab.