24 Episodes 2009 - 2010
Family life in the Midwest town of Orson, Indiana, is portrayed with hilarious and heartwarming brilliance in a sitcom starring Patricia Heaton and Neil Flynn as Frances (Frankie) and Mike Heck. As narrator, Frankie opens each episode with "Out here in the middle...," before delving into the latest trials and tribulations of her three kids: Axl (Charlie McDermott), an academically-challenged, girl-obsessed high-school jock; Sue (Eden Sher), an awkward-yet-endlessly optimistic adolescent; and the brilliant Brick (Atticus Shaffer), an elementary-school bookworm with more than a few quirks. Brick's under-his-breath repeating of words quickly becomes a signature show moment, while Mike (calmly, practically) and Frankie (frantically, emotionally) deal with the swirling issues in and out of their modest household. Scenes always seem to come back to the living room sofa, which becomes a very different place when Frankie drops cable in a typical attempt to save money. Also introduced in the opening season are Sue's boyfriend Brad (Brock Ciarlelli), whom everyone but Sue thinks is gay; Nancy Donahue (Jen Ray), of the perfect family next door; and Mr. Elhert (Brian Doyle-Murray) and Bob (Chris Kattan), Frankie's boss and co-worker, respectively, at a local car dealership. Jimmy Kimmel, Kirstie Alley, Dick Van Dyke, and Norm McDonald highlight the list of guest stars.
Wed, Sep 30, 2009 30 mins
In the premiere of this slapstick sitcom about a working-class family in the U.S. heartland, frazzled mom Frankie (Patricia Heaton) tries to improve her sales---from zero---at the car dealership while making repeated trips to school for her youngest son, Brick, whose unusual behavior makes him an outcast among his peers.
Wed, Oct 7, 2009 30 mins
Frankie organizes a publicity stunt featuring a car full of jelly beans; Sue doesn't make the swim team and learns she needs glasses; and Brick develops an alternative reading program. Mr. Ehlert: Brian Doyle-Murray.
The Floating Anniversary
Wed, Oct 14, 2009 30 mins
Frankie and Mike's romantic anniversary plans are sidetracked by complications including Brick's illness, Sue's heartbreak, Axl and his learner's permit, and a diaper-clad dog.
Wed, Oct 21, 2009 30 mins
Sue sells sausage and cheese for a school fund-raiser to win a trip to the state capital, but she isn't recognized for her efforts. Meanwhile, Brick's first girlfriend turns out to be a bit bossy. Mr. Ehlert: Brian Doyle-Murray.
The Block Party
Wed, Oct 28, 2009 30 mins
Brick is tested at school and rated "socially challenged," and Mike hopes basketball will bring him out of his shell. But when a lawn-mower contest is held at the neighborhood block party, it's Brick's talent for souping up engines that helps him fit in. Meanwhile, Frankie helps raise money for Axl's football team.
The Front Door
Wed, Nov 4, 2009 30 mins
Axl accidentally breaks down the front door and Mike insists that he repair it, which may leave the house open for days. Meanwhile, it's time for Sue's school picture, and she's not exactly photogenic.
Wed, Nov 18, 2009 30 mins
A frantic cleanup at the Heck house leads to a minor injury to Brick and a run-in with a social worker, and Bob helps a reluctant Mr. Ehlert shoot a commercial for the car lot.
Wed, Nov 25, 2009 30 mins
Mr. Ehlert forces the staff to work on Thanksgiving, throwing a wrench in the Hecks' plans for a festive family feast. Meanwhile, Frankie and Mike approve of Sue's first boyfriend, who's a safer choicer than even Sue knows; and Axl loses Brick in a corn maze.
Wed, Dec 2, 2009 30 mins
Frankie is determined to promote harmony among her children after observing what she thinks is a perfect, loving family. Also, Aunt Edie (Jeanette Miller) makes a big mistake at the quarry. Will Mike fire her for it?
Wed, Dec 9, 2009 30 mins
Frankie rehearses for a choir solo for her church's Christmas midnight mass, and Mike's handling of the family yuletide preparations makes her jealous. Meanwhile, Brick has a problem, and Frankie and Mike try to help him overcome it and get into the holiday spirit.
Wed, Jan 6, 2010 30 mins
Sue wants a trendy pair of jeans to impress her classmates; Axl wants a car to impress a girl; and Brick wants to prove his responsibility by taking care of Aunt Ginny and Aunt Edie's dog, Doris.
Wed, Jan 6, 2010 30 mins
The Hecks have a confrontation with neighbor Rita Glossner (Brooke Shields) and her sons. Meanwhile, Brick and Axl learn a lesson about bribery.
Wed, Jan 13, 2010 30 mins
Mike's plant is closed for research after he finds a dinosaur bone in the quarry, and he begins to feel like a dinosaur himself when he sees how much technology has affected searching for a new job. Meanwhile, Brick decides to run for school historian, and Frankie feels like she must come to his rescue.
Wed, Feb 3, 2010 30 mins
Frankie agrees to stop yelling at her kids if they do their schoolwork and chores, and Mike gets a night job delivering snack cakes with Bob.
Wed, Feb 10, 2010 30 mins
With the kids out of the house for the night, Frankie and Mike make grand plans for a romantic evening at home alone for Valentine's Day.
Wed, Mar 3, 2010 30 mins
The Hecks hope Brick's spelling prowess will put him on the fast track to the orthographic hall of fame, but all the fuss over the upcoming regional bee in Chicago causes Frankie and Mike to overlook Sue's birthday.
Wed, Mar 10, 2010 30 mins
Axl has a new girlfriend (Alexa Vega) and a sunny new disposition, until she breaks up with him. Meanwhile, watching a movie about zombies turns out to be a bad idea for Brick and for Sue, his babysitter.
The Fun House
Wed, Mar 24, 2010 30 mins
A motivational consultant (Amy Sedaris) shakes things up at the car dealership where Frankie works. With Frankie working extra hours, Mike has more to handle at home, including helping Brick with a school project, advising Sue's ex-beau and getting a pool table.
The Final Four
Wed, Mar 31, 2010 30 mins
Mr. Ehlert gives Mike two tickets to the Final Four, but the college-basketball game is the same day as the funeral for Frankie's uncle.
TV or Not TV
Wed, Apr 14, 2010 30 mins
Frankie and Mike eliminate their cable TV to cut down on expenses, but they miss it more than they thought they would. Meanwhile, Brick and his friends go through another kind of withdrawal when the school library is closed during recess, and they're forced out onto the playground with the other kids.
Wed, Apr 28, 2010 30 mins
Axl's ex-girlfriend Morgan (Alexa Vega) drifts back into his life, and Frankie worries that he'll get hurt again. Meanwhile, Brick cares for a baby chick for a school science project, and it awakens parental feelings in him.
Wed, May 5, 2010 30 mins
Marsha Mason guest stars as Frankie's mother, Pat, in a Mother's Day episode that finds the matriarchs more put upon than pampered. Meanwhile, Sue steals a motivational magnet from a store and winds up feeling guilty about it.
Wed, May 12, 2010 30 mins
The Heck family throw a barbecue, and Mike worries that he's passing his social awkwardness on to Brick. Meanwhile, Axl decides to clean the family pool so that girls in bikinis will stop by to swim; and Sue befriends a church youth-group leader and hears that he may be leaving due to a budget pinch, so she tries to raise money to keep him on.
Wed, May 19, 2010 30 mins
In the Season 1 finale, Brick may be held back from third grade since the school librarian (Betty White) holds a grudge because of 31 unreturned books. Meanwhile, Axl's aptitude test shows he's academically gifted, and Frankie fears that Sue is all but invisible in her classes.