This year, the kids will find themselves breaking out of their comfort zones and navigating new situations than what they’re used to – which may or may not be very comforting to Frankie and Mike.
Between juggling shifts and picking up fast-food dinners eaten in front of the TV, Frankie and Mike raise their kids with love, humor and solid Midwestern practicality. Axl, the oldest, is a jock slacker who is beginning his senior year of college via a sports scholarship. He lives near campus in a Winnebago with his friend and teammate, Hutch, and silent gamer Kenny. Over the summer, Axl found the love of his life in April, a local Orson girl, and he’s so smitten with her that he’s planning on bringing her over to meet the parents.
Then there’s the ever-optimistic Sue, their extraordinarily ordinary daughter, who fails at just about everything she tries with great gusto. She is still living in a dilapidated dorm room with roommate Lexie and starting her second year of college at the same campus that Axl attends. And she’s still dating Jeremy, the campus activist. But over the summer, Sue got bit by the acting bug while working at Dollywood, so she’s determined to be the next big star and is changing her major to theater.
And finally there’s Brick, their quirky son, now entering high school. He continues to date the equally quirky Cindy, read constantly, whisper and “whoop” to himself, as well as unapologetically march to the beat of his own drummer. But with a new school comes the chance for a fresh start and not be considered one of the weird kids. So Brick is going to make it his mission to try and fit in with his peers – a not so simple feat.
With Axl and Sue out of the house, Frankie and Mike continue to find themselves with an emptier nest, which lets them continue to cut back on the parental duties – a hope that is still easier said than done – as parenting is never over no matter where your kids are. Balancing kids and work never really gets easier – it just gets different.
Their hilarious struggles continue, but through all the madness shines a loving family, and together the Hecks continue putting THE MIDDLE on the map. (official synopsis via Spoiler TV)
I have been, I am and I likely forever will be a sitcom junkie.
Starting with British sitcoms in the ’70s like The Good Life and To The Manor Born and moving on to US ones as varied as Mork and Mindy, ALF, Friends, Frasier and Brooklyn 99, I have long loved the ability of the genre to tell meaningful stories while helping us to laugh our collective whatevers off.
One of the standouts of the current crop of sitcoms, that doesn’t so much re-invent the artform as polish the heck (use of the word fully intended as you shall see) out of a timeless model is The Middle which is shaping up for its eight season on ABC.
The story of the much-beleaguered, working class family the Hecks of Orson, Indiana, who can’t take a trick but somehow always end up (mostly) smiling – the real joy of the show is that it doesn’t skimp on the hard realities of life while someone offering heartfelt hope and love into the mix – The Middle is one of those consistently funny, thoughtful, sweet, often quirky sitcoms that doesn’t get anywhere near the amount of loving it should.
Although as the trailer shows, plenty of people do love it, a good thing since it will be a very sad day when we have to say goodbye to Frankie (Patricia Heaton) & Mike (Neil Flynn), Axl (Charlie McDermott), Sue (Eden Sher) and Brick (Atticus Shaffer) and the heartfelt, sometimes nonsensical but all too real world they inhabit.
The Middle season premieres Tuesday 11 October at 8/7c on ABC.