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.
Some thoughts about what's on tonight, starting with the reality contests. Was CBS' Survivor just teasing us with that trailer that showed Edna the Meek possibly upsetting Ozzy the Cocky in the next Redemption Island challenge? We'll believe it when we see it, but it would be nice for something unexpected to happen. The final Upolu 5 have stayed boringly, rigidly loyal to their game plan the last few weeks, but now that it's down to the next-to-last episode (8/7c) — the finale airs as the usual multi-hour extravaganza on Sunday — all bets presumably are off. Could anything keep Coach from making the finals? And if Ozzy somehow is bounced as well, that would make the climactic tribal council more interesting — which isn't the same as memorable.
Some selective highlights and mini-reviews to get you through the long holiday weekend:
Last week, she was a hapless office assistant on Up All Night. Tonight, in the same time period on a different network, she's an insufferable sibling who makes Thanksgiving a chore, as Saturday Night Live vet Molly Shannon shows off her range, playing Frankie's demanding sister Janet on ABC's The Middle (8/7c). A holiday visit to Frankie's mom and dad (Marsha Mason and Jerry Van Dyke) becomes a recipe for disaster: "Stir in one broken toy, one passive-aggressive sister and let stew overnight ... Take unresolved issues and soak in alcohol." Frankie insists that "Everybody in one house is what makes holidays special," but anyone who's ever spent the festivities sleeping on an air mattress will relate to this first-rate episode.
Kim Delaney's Army Wife is getting a visit from Mom and neither lady will be welcomed with "Happy to See Me."For a pair of episodes of the hit Lifetime drama, four-time Oscar nominee Marsha Mason has been enlisted to fill the plum role of Charlotte Meade, Claudia Joy's upper-crust and always-distant mother who shows up in South Carolina expectedly and harboring a somewhat urgent, unsaid agenda. (Um, anyone else here take Reading Between the Lines 101? I audited the class myself.) Mason's episodes will air in mid-August. Matt Mitovich
Question: Can you please tell me the name of the Hallmark movie that is about a woman named Annie who enters a horseback-riding contest with a blind horse named Tolo? I'd like to buy or rent this movie. Thank you for your help.Answer: You're thinking of Hallmark Entertainment's The Long Shot, which debuted on the Hallmark Channel as a movie of the week in April 2004. For the benefit of the uninitiated, it stars Julie Benz (Taken, Angel) as a Colorado riding enthusiast and struggling single mom who enters a musical-freestyle riding contest with a horse that goes blind before the big day. Marsha Mason costars as the owner of the place where Benz trains and works.
You can check your local video store to see if it's available for rental or, if you're feeling a little patient, you can