Send questions and comments to email@example.com and follow me on Twitter!
Question: I appreciate how you are one of the few critics who recognizes how good a family sitcom The Middle is. I'm not American, but I can so relate to the Heck family, and they really hit it right out of the park with the family dynamics. Frankie and Mike's 20th anniversary was another terrific episode, and I want to give kudos to Atticus Shaffer's performance when Brick told Axl why books are so important. Strong words that captured a lot from the joys of reading to getting to know the struggles of a kid who's socially inept. I'm happy this show lasted this long and will reach 100 episodes by next season. Now that the show has enough episodes for syndication, do you think The Middle has a chance to grow even more in the ratings? The current ratings are fine and actually lives to up its title, as it's right smack in the middle of the ratings race, not a blockbuster but a self-starter that does solid numbers. But the show is just so good, so I really hope more people will discover it eventually. — Jecoup
While ABC's The Middle may not be the most popular, acclaimed or honored family comedy on TV, it is almost certainly the most relevant (and often the funniest). Especially in an election year when so much attention was focused on the financially strapped middle class, the travails of the down-but-not-out Hecks of Indiana resonate like no TV family since the Conners of Roseanne.
Frankie Heck is not going to let the pinch steal Christmas.
The Middle's stretched-thin, harried mother (played by Patricia Heaton) has a scant $20 to spend on gifts for her three kids this year. Ever the problem solver, she cracks to her unflappable quarry-manager husband Mike (Neil Flynn): "I'll fake my own death!" This way, she says, when she appears very much alive on Christmas morning, her children will be so happy they won't care that there aren't any presents.
Hitting the 300-episode benchmark is an impressive achievement for any series, but by the standards of the Law & Order franchise, SVU still has a ways to go before it approaches, let alone overtakes, the longevity of the still-missed mothership, which clocked more than 450 hours before NBC's abrupt pulling of the plug two years ago.
What the heck? Has a TV family ever been more appropriately named than the Hecks of ABC's spectacularly funny, oh-so-relatable and woefully underappreciated The Middle? They can never catch a break or catch up with the frantic pace of chaotic family life. Always strapped for cash, too overwhelmed to keep their ramshackle house in order — "I'm too ashamed to even open the door for the UPS guy," whines the hilariously harried mom Frankie (Patricia Heaton) — they are a mess.
They are also a riot, mostly because they feel so real. Wrapping their third and best-yet season tonight (8/7c), with the Hecks scrambling to make the house fit for an impromptu family wedding, unflappable dad Mike (lovably gruff Neil Flynn) tries to calm his wife's hysteria: "We'll just do the bare minimum like always."