Patricia Heaton and Neil Flynn
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.
Watch your back, Frankie Heck! When Brooke Shields' trash-talking, beer-guzzling, chain-smoking neighbor from hell Rita Glossner returns to The Middle on October 17, it's with a vengeance.
"Everyone thought Rita was in....
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."
Mary McCormack, Frederick Weller
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Question: Just wondering about Terra Nova and the rumors that they'll be shopping it around to another network. It took them pretty much forever to get the first season prepared, I'm assuming because of the special effects. If they wind up on another network, that probably means a smaller budget, faster production, fewer dinosaurs, more focus on the people, character-driven stories, etc. Right? Sounds entertaining to me. (I do confess, though Terra Nova struck me as a bit of a mess in some ways, I was looking forward to seeing how the story played out.)
Charlie McDermott and Atticus Shaffer
There may be sitcoms that are flashier, edgier or more ironic than The Middle, but you'd be hard-pressed to find any that are funnier. Since premiering in 2009, ABC's hit comedy about the Hecks, a working-class Midwestern family of misfits, has proven that it doesn't take a right- or left-coast sensibility to produce laughter — thanks in no small part to the performances of Charlie McDermott (Axl), 21, Eden Sher (Sue), 20, and Atticus Shaffer (Brick), 13. TV Guide Magazine played hooky with the trio for an afternoon of mini-golf at Castle Park in Sherman Oaks to find out if they're equally entertaining off duty.
Ozzy Lusth, Edna Ma
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.
Leave it to oddball Brick Heck (Atticus Shaffer) to stumble across the reason for the season: "Mom, you never told me church was based on a book." The Middle (ABC, 8/7c) leads off a night of holiday-themed sitcom episodes with an instant classic in which Brick's incessant questions about the Good Book lead sister Sue to enlist pied-piper roving Reverend ...
Patricia Heaton, Julie Brown
The Middle's Frankie is in for a big surprise on Wednesday's Christmas episode.
In our exclusive clip, Frankie (Patricia Heaton) jokes — and eventually sings — to her friends that her husband (Neil Flynn) never gets her anything for the holiday. But this year is different. Mike, who has enough of her mockery, reveals his secret gift in the middle of Frankie's trash-talking, much to her shock.
Check it out:
Ray Romano, Patricia Heaton
Cheers to The Middle for proving it belongs at the top of the sitcom pack.
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The ABC comedy's Wednesday stablemate Modern Family won Emmys in every eligible category over the weekend, while Patricia Heaton's Indiana clan didn't earn a single nomination. What the Heck? Maybe because...