Doris Roberts

Fans of Everybody Loves Raymond will be happy to hear that TV universes will once again collide on the Season 2 finale of The Middle. TV Guide Magazine has learned from the creators of the show, Eileen Heisler and DeAnn Heline, that Doris Roberts will return to the ABC sitcom as Brick's confrontational teacher, who last September went head to head with Patricia Heaton's Frankie, and intends to do the same again.

And here's some other good news: Now that Frankie and Mike's relationship has been firmly established, Heisler and Heline are not ruling out a guest appearance by Ray Romano in the future. At a Phoenix House fundraiser where the show was being honored, the producers told us the door would always be open for Mr. Romano to guest star, should he be interested. "As the series goes, and we find the right role for him, we would love to have him on," says Heline.

That, however, is in a distant future, whereas the season finale, which promises to be fun and hectic, is just around the corner. "In this last episode, Frankie buys a Tiki torch because she's three days away from summer, and she thinks they made it. The episode is about that push to the end of the school year and the tremendous things that pop up to stop that from happening," says Heisler.

"Brick is facing another challenge to get to the next year. Apparently there's an assignment he didn't do," says Heisler. Adds Heline, "He was supposed to write in his journal every single day for the whole year and he hasn't done it. So in three days he has to write a journal for the entire year."

On the brink of graduation, Sue will fight injustice. "She thinks she's getting the perfect attendance award because she has never missed a day in middle school, but it turns out they have her missing for one day," says Heline. "She was there, but of course no one ever remembers who Sue is, so she's trying to prove that she was there at school for that one day." 

Meanwhile, "in the litany of things that are stopping them from getting to summer, Axl had community service that he was supposed to do, as part of his school requirement, so he now also has two days to do many hours of community service and he and Mike end up on an adventure, trying to get it done," Heisler says. "It's a really fun episode."

As much fun as they're having with these characters, the cast and creators never thought they'd receive and award for the Hecks' daily struggles. On Monday, they received an award for their realistic portrayal of teens, with the same kind of real-life struggles faced by kids in treatment at Phoenix House. "Doing just the show is reward enough, but if someone else feels they draw some inspiration from it, then that's great," Neil Flynn told TV Guide Magazine. "It's an ancillary award to having a great job."

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