The Hearing Impaired Girl’s Guide to Wednesday Night Television: The Middle

The College Tour

The Hecks. This show needs more credit, more love. More people need to be watching the Heck family. Which now looking at the name, I wonder if the creators chose that name on purpose? As in,” what the heck is going on?” Sure, it’s not the most realistic of comedies but realism is boring and if they did a show about a real life Heck family, I think it would be moderately depressing.

In this episode, Mike (Neil Flynn) takes Sue (Eden Sher) on her college tour. I love when Sue and Mike have scenes together. They have polar opposite personalities. Mike is honest and fairly realistic in his remarks. He’s not frilly or over the top, where Sue is exactly that. Her optimism in the face of things going wrong is refreshing and always sweet.  Mike is annoyed by the whole college tour and tell Frankie over the phone that at a certain age, you just need to stop being excited about life. This needs to go on a t-shirt.

Anyway, Sue is all excited about the tour until she realizes she lied on her form and put that she was a Native American because she’s a native of America. It could happen. She tries fix that by explaining she only likes things by white people, thus making it a lot worse.

Back at home, Frankie Heck  (Patricia Heaton) decides to spend the day with her youngest son, Brick (Atticus Shaffer).  I would like to say something about Patricia Heaton. I watched her in Home Improvement. She was fine, funny….she had comebacks and I laughed but I absolutely became a fan of her’s during The Middle. She is fantastic in this show as the wife of Mike and the mom to three children who don’t always give her the respect she so rightfully deserves. Her plans with Brick though are quickly ended when her oldest son, Axl, tells her that they are finally letting him play in a big college football game. Frankie decides she and Brick will stay at Axl’s place but then when Brick informs her that he has to do a big project that he has not started on, Frankie goes alone to Axl’s and gets someone else to stay with Brick.

In Axl’s apartment, one of Frankie’s first lines instantly transports me back to college when she asks if they ever clean their bathroom. No. When I was in college, the boys in my suite would not clean their bathroom and when it got dirty would use ours until we got annoyed and cleaned it for them. Wait a minute….whoa, we were played.  What is the college male aversion to cleaning bathrooms?

We don’t see Axl play in the game, but we see the aftermath which is Axl being upset after fumbling on the goal line. Frankie tries to help by showing Axl footage of his stumble but instead makes it worse. The core of this episode seems to be parents dealing with the kid they don’t normally deal with. How does Frankie talk with Axl who doesn’t want to talk about it and how does Mike deal with Sue who does? Axl is upset about a fumbled ball and Sue is freaking out about college. Parents and kids relating and relating in a way that the kid gets. Neither one is that good at it.  Mike tells Sue she will feel better and Frankie won’t stop talking. Axl lets Frankie know the reason he’s upset about the game is because he had invited a girl he liked. This works and Mike ends up succeeding with Sue as well, encouraging her to ask questions to calm her nerves. There is a moment though at the end, where Mike is standing next to a father who had been annoying them the entire the trip and through annoying father’s dialogue, it hits Mike that Sue is going to college and it’s that shot. Perfect. The emotion registers on his face, amazing job.

Brick’s babysitter is strange and seems like she is from another planet although she does bring toys from her childhood for Brick to play with: a block of wood and a rock. I  love this babysitter. She is strange enough to make Brick look normal.  The next babysitter in line for Brick is a wannabe rocker who believes school is a prison of the mind and only wants to work until his jet ski is paid off.  Brick’s final babysitter is Sue’s friend who doesn’t really help with the project, but makes it glittery.


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