REVIEW: ‘The Middle’ premieres on ABC this fall

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(l-r) Eden Sher as Sue, Neil Fynn as Mike, Atticus Shaffer as Brick, Patricia Heaton as Frankie, Charlie McDermott as Axl (Photo: Warner Bros. Television Entertainment/Richard Foreman)

Warner Bros. Television’s new fall series “The Middle” premieres on ABC Wednesday, September 30th at 8:30 p.m.

However I got a sneak preview of the pilot episode and I wanted to share my thoughts with you here. First a little bit about the series:

“Forget about athletes, movie stars and politicians. Parents are the real heroes—but we think Frankie Heck (Patricia Heaton), must be some kind of superhero. A loving wife and mother of three, she’s middle class in the middle of the country and is rapidly approaching middle age.

Frankie and her husband, Mike (Neil Flynn), have lived in Orson, Indiana, their whole lives. A man of few words (every one a zinger), Mike is a manager at the town quarry and Frankie is the third-best used car salesman (out of the three) at the local dealership. She may not be a high-powered career woman, but when it comes to her family, she’ll go to just about any length. And with kids like these, she had better. There’s Axl (Charlie McDermott), her semi-nudist teenage son conceived while under the influence of Guns N’ Roses; Sue (Eden Sher), the awkward teenage daughter who fails at everything… but with the utmost of gusto; and their seven-year-old son Brick (Atticus Shaffer), whose best friend is his backpack.

Sometimes it seems like everyone is trying to get to the top, or struggling not to hit bottom, but we think Frankie and her family will find a lot of love, and a lot of laughs, somewhere in The Middle.”

With Patricia Heaton (wife from Everybody Loves Raymond) and Neil Fynn (janitor from Scrubs) as the parents, you know the shows going to be funny. The parent dynamic is different from other sitcoms but I didn’t realize what it was till I read this Interview with Patricia Heaton on StarPulse. I read the interview AFTER seeing the show and it spelled out for me what is different about it. Most family sitcoms have a lazy father who tries to get out of doing everything while the wife does everything around the house. It was funny originally but has since gotten old, not to mention degrading to the good fathers. The Middle is different, both parents do what they can to keep the family moving, and Oh what a family it is.

The kids were all funny in their own way but the youngest boy Brick played by Atticus Shaffer is hilarious! This show actually was made into a pilot before with Ricki Lake as the mom and some other actors as the rest of the family but Atticus was playing Brick then too. They made a wise choice in keeping him as Brick for this second pilot. He’s so quirky it’s hilarious!

There were times I was laughing out loud (Mike (father) seems to be able to come up with the laughs just as easily as when he was on Scrubs.) but I don’t know that I identified as much as I could have. However, that’s probably because while I am middle class, I don’t live in middle class USA, nor am I near Middle age and I’m not in the middle of nowwhere. My children are only two and three so I haven’t gone through most of what the Hecks have gone through.

I think the show’s pretty funny but if the kids are always this dysfunctional, it might get a little old.

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