THE MIDDLE premiered in fall 2009 but was overshadowed by another new show also on ABC that year MODERN FAMILY. Now entering its seventh season, THE MIDDLE has been a quiet yet solid performer for ABC.
I’ve been watching repeats of the show on The Hallmark Channel and with each episode I’m reminded why THE MIDDLE continues to be one of my favorite shows. Narrated by star Patricia Heaton, the show centers on the Heck family who are constantly struggling to maintain a place in the middle class. The show reminds me of ROSEANNE but with smoother edges. It’s about a family that while they don’t always like each other, will always be there for each other. Even though things rarely go their way, the Hecks much like the Connors on ROSEANNE remain hopeful.
Frankie (Heaton) and her husband Mike have three kids. Axel is the oldest son, a jock who although not book smart always finds a way to make things work out in his favor; Sue, the middle daughter rarely has anything work out in her favor but remains the ultimate optimist; and Brick, the youngest son has poor social skills and would rather spend his time in the library reading books rather than at the playground with kids his own age.
The actors playing the kids on THE MIDDLE are great. They are hands down the best sitcom kids on tv. Yes, better than the kids on MODERN FAMILY. The standout among the three is Eden Sher who plays Sue. Her performances over the past six seasons have been Emmy worthy. Even when Sue is crushed with disappointment, Sher is able to convey layers of emotions that eventually lead back to Sue’s signature optimism.
The Hecks aren’t a perfect family, no family is and that’s the beauty of the show. Without being self-aware or ironic, the show is able give voice to so many real life families that argue, struggle and sometimes don’t like each other but still come together, because as Frankie often says “you do for family.”
I’m so glad The Hallmark Channel is the home for reruns of the THE MIDDLE, it’s a perfect fit.
The seventh season premiere of THE MIDDLE is on Wednesday, September 23rd at 8pm EST.
If you haven’t seen THE MIDDLE, watch the clip below and get caught up!