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  • Often times an actor or actress gets associated with an iconic role, a role they basically continue to play over and over, no matter what show or movie they're in. Happily, this is not the case for Patricia Heaton in her new show "The Middle". Her new character, while still a wife and mother of three, is much different than Debra Barone, the character she played for 9 years in "Everybody Loves Raymond."

    In Debra, Heaton developed a character identified by her sharp, sarcastic wit, razor-sharp tongue, explosive temper, sexy appearance and a love-hate relationship with her husband and his family. Debra's problems were dealing with her passive-aggressive mother-in-law and her over-the-top intrusiveness, or the little "moral superiority" battles with Raymond. Because of this limited source for trouble and tension, the problems they had, while funny,were not down-to-earth, day-to-day problems most average families worry about.

    In Frankie, Heaton has created a character who is more of a mother than a wife, and is on the same level as her husband instead of above him. That makes a huge difference in the tone of the show, and it's quite refreshing. The problems this family faces are problems most families can identify with, from struggling with bills and worrying about work to having a kid who just can't seem to get it together and find his or her place in the world. Frankie doesn't have time to worry about who didn't put up a suitcase or to fake a boob job to prove some minor point; she has to work together with her whole family just to get by. They face each crisis together, and sometimes have to settle for a less than optimal solution. But at the end of the day, they love and support each other in sweet, often surprisingly tender ways.

    While not laugh out loud funny, the show has a sweetness and reality to it I find enjoyable. It has the same feel as old classic sitcoms from the 70's and early 80's, an era many consider to be the Golden Age of sitcom television. I think the biggest draw for me, though, is that I LIKE this family; I'd like to live next door to them, and get to know them. And really, can you say anything better about a show than that, that it makes a family so real and so genuine that you'd be happy to have them as neighbors? I hope the show continues and only gets better.
  • I had no particular hopes for this show. Of all the sitcoms on ABC's new "Wednesday Comedy Night" this is the one I expected to like the least, so it came as quite a surprise how funny and entertaining the pilot episode was. It moves along nicely and the cast is excellent. I always thought Heaton was talented but could never really enjoy her on EVERYBODY LOVES RAYMOND because her character was, quite frankly, an unendurable bitch. Here she has a chance to project a little more warmth and likability and really shines. The real charmer in the cast is Eden Sher as the teenage daughter, a marvel of gawky authenticity. I fear THE MIDDLE may be just a shade too subtle for audiences who tastes run to fart joke and similar crudity, but more discriminating viewers should definitely check it out.
  • I really wish ABC would promote this show more, and give the actors credit for their work. They have been robbed of Emmy nominations twice. I honestly enjoy Modern Family but I don't get why that show gets a million Emmy nods every year. Anyway, I've been watching since day 1 and have loved it since. Frankie Heck is the harried car-saleslady mother of 3 kids, living in the fictional town of Orson, Indiana. She is always trying to get the kids to bond, while trying to get by herself, as she and her husband Mike don't make a lot of money and their house is always a mess. Axl, the oldest, is a typical lazy, sarcastic teenager who is almost always making fun of his sister Sue, the middle teen daughter. She is very optimistic and bubbly, but nobody really knows she exists, and can never make anything out of herself, especially at school. Finally we have little Brick, who's nose is always stuck in a book and doesn't really have any friends, but if he does make a friend, they're even quirkier than he is. And they are always trying to compete with their practically perfect neighbors, the Donahues. I think we can all relate to this show in some way--the house is always a mess, the mom doesn't always feel like cooking so she brings home fast food, there's those neighbors who are like the perfect family that you've always wanted to be, and the kids don't always get along. It's not laugh out loud funny but I still tune in every Wednesday. And it is NOT a ripoff of Malcolm. That show was about 4 brothers, one of them being a genius. And they lived in California whereas the Hecks live in the MID-west. And they're middle-income, and this show is focused on the mom, trying to do her best to support her family. This show also has more positive vibes. If it didn't have the word "Middle" in the title, people probably wouldn't say a word, right? 8/10.
  • I'm guessing the family portrayed in 'The Middle' is not the norm but they certainly are closer to 'real' people than most sitcom characters or, for that matter, most 'reality' show contestants. The children are not perfect nor are they drug addicted or sex-crazed or alcoholic or parent-hating brats. The oldest son hanging out in boxer shorts? My son did that. The middle child, the daughter, trying to find her place in the school social order but often coming up short? Who hasn't failed at something in life? And the youngest child, the little boy who often repeats things in a whisper, is sweet and loves his parents. These kids make you laugh both from their unintentional humor and from recognition. And I especially like the fact that each episode ends on an upbeat note. The family members, no matter what crazy circumstances they may find themselves in, love each other and accept their lot in life without bitterness and anger. Far removed from the pop culture norms we've been fed lately, people living in 'The Middle' may actually exist after all.
  • Supernaturally talented Patricia Heaton may be doomed to playing the long suffering wife now, as far as television goes -- but she is SO good at it. After who knows how many seasons of Everybody Loves Raymond she appears to have completely mastered the role. And who's complaining? I would never have thought there was so much fertile ground left for family comedy but the writers seem to have tapped a whole new vein. Patricia Heaton being one of the most talented humans ever, your expectations are high on anything new from this lady. No disappointments here! Great story - great imagery - sizzling dialog - wonderful character work from a top-notch cast. Where are all these brilliant new kid actors coming from? Atticus Shaffer is simply miraculous in his role as the ... "unusual child". There was so much entertaining content in this half-hour (or about 22 minutes, I guess, minus the commercials) that I felt like I'd watched a class A feature film comedy. It's not going to be easy to maintain this level of excellence but if they even get close, I'll be a huge fan. Can't wait to see the next episode!
  • mareller-15 November 2009
    You'd want to see this show because of the household names, Patricia Heaton, Neil Flynn, Chris Kattan, Brian Doyle Murray, and you'd be pleasantly surprised by the writing. We all "know" the harried mom, laid back dad, "under achiever" kids, but within a twenty minute episode I realize how really well the writers capture the frustration and absurdity that goes with life in "the middle". This program doesn't fit the "oh poor hapless daddy" sitcoms, the kind Bob Newhart would NEVER do, and that's why I've been watching it. Because they have a real mess of a home and wear clothes you do see in the newspaper insert ads, these are some real people dealing with some way out there kinds of characters in situations which are hilarious and sometimes heartwarming, without being mushy. This is one show I look forward to each week!!
  • It will be sad to see the end of tv's most under appreciated show in years, The Middle. Kudos to the superb cast, talented writers, directors, etc. Patricia Heaton and Neil Flynn beautifully and often hilariously play the parents of the Heck family of Orson Indiana. The three children are also played very well ( Charlie McDermott, Eden Sher and Atticus Shaffer)and their very individual characters nicely developed and consistent. The supporting cast is also excellent. The show even offers a gay friend who is sensitively portrayed by Brock Ciarlelli, and whose character is handled beautifully. The Heck's neighbors, the Donahues, The Glossners (Brooke Shields is amazing), The Heck's parents (Marsha Mason, Jerry Van Dyke, and John Collum), and all the other regulars and semi-regulars contribute substantially to the high quality of the show. I often had belly laughs from many of the uproarious lines and even tears at certain points. like when Brock's character 'came out' to his best friend played by Eden. What an incredibly poignant moment. I watch very little television in general, but do not ever miss watching The Middle. The only saving grace for those of us hooked on this terrific series can be summed up in one word..syndication. LJM
  • jpozenel15 December 2009
    There's a number of shows that I record every week and this is one of them. Whenever I go to catch up on watching shows that were recorded, there are some that are starting to feel like a chore to watch, but I always looks forward to watching this one.

    I was never a fan of "Everyone Loves Raymond" so I never saw too much of Patricia Heaton, but she's really very good in this show. I think most of the characters in this show are really well cast. I think Eden Sher as the daughter "Sue" is terrific. She's such a lovable nerd. Neil Flynn who plays the husband "Mike" is funny and believable. Atticus Shaffer as the youngest son "Brick" is pretty bizarre, but somehow I find myself laughing at him, especially when he repeats to himself in a whisper, the last word of his sentences. I can't explain why, but it's funny to me every time he does it.

    I hope the show doesn't get old for me. I've watched the first 9 episodes so far and haven't been disappointed yet.
  • This has been one of the best comedy shows I would ever watch. It has the best mixture of comedy and family fun throughout every season that it is hard to see its finale after nine years.

    Honestly, do make this part of your memory, it's one of the last pure comedies out there.
  • barbadosdagny9 April 2010
    Thank you, ABC, for putting a great group of comedy writers together to support this all star cast. Barbara Heaton as the used car saleslady mom and the janitor from Scrubs as the dad are the best parents I've seen on t.v. in a long time. The 3 children are given meaty characterizations to play and I hope they will win many awards. The kids and the other supporting cast (including Chris Kattan and the car lot boss) couldn't have been cast better. Every show gives me old fashioned belly laughs and inspiration that, like this family struggling to survive in the middle class (the reason for its name, not named for the middle of the country in which it takes place) we can all learn a lesson in what makes families strong.
  • I have seen a lot of the popular shows out there. i mean A LOT. and i have come to the conclusion that ABC sucks at advertising. THIS IS ONE OF THE BEST SHOWS. one of the most underrated TV shows. it grows on you. 11 on 10. the characters are amazing. everybody is amazing. cant find a flaw in a single character's portrayal. special mention to 'Atticus', the kid who plays 'brick'. he is a genius in the making. the writing is clever. and i guarantee in the 20 minutes you will be spending you will fall off your chair at least once. i just want this show to get its due success. and for the people who are complaining the interval between shows is long - start showing your support, you won;t have to complain. and lastly i'm disappointed with the 7.8 rating. guys is it at least a 9.4.
  • It's the misadventures of the Heck family in the small town of Orson in the flyover state of Indiana. Frankie (Patricia Heaton) does everything to make ends meet. Strong silent type Mike (Neil Flynn) is the supervisor at the quarry. The oldest child Axl (Charlie McDermott) is self-possessed to a fault. Middle child Sue (Eden Sher) is unflinchingly positive despite constant bumblings. Brick (Atticus Shaffer) exists on the spectrum.

    I like this family. I really like this family. I've seen only a few episodes of Everybody Loves Raymond. It's obvious that Heaton personifies the mother character. The cast is all great. The calling card of this show is a middle class nobility to middle America as it struggles with the world. It's not political other than the flyover premise. Its longevity is self-evident of quality work. This is a nice network sitcom. Its only misstep is probably Chris Kattan and they dropped him after 3 and a bit seasons. He was never more than a side character. This is a good solid sitcom with a long network run.
  • Even though I'm 13, I love The Middle, even though I don't think I'm apart of the target audience. It makes me laugh very much and it's the same story with my younger sisters. We have many episodes recorded at home! The plot lines are very real and very funny and amusing. The characters are also very realistic. I also love how it isn't always comedy and that there's a little bit of other genres too, but still it's mostly comedy. I love watching The Middle as its, entertaining, hilarious, fun and gets me in a happy mood. Sometimes I can also relate to the story plots such as the house looking a complete mess and wanting all the new trends! I also like how Patricia Heaton, who plays Frankie Heck, narrates during parts of the show. It's something different and I like it! They are the many reasons why I love to watch The Middle! Overall I cannot put anything else in the review except for I love it!
  • Emmy winner Patricia Heaton plays a mom, Frances, better known as Frankie in the Middle of the country in Indiana. She has three children with her husband. They both work jobs. She's a car salesman and he works in an office. They have a daughter who tries to achieve or win but always loses. An awkward youngest son who she uses an actual sale to pick him up from school because she or her husband forgot to pick him up. Her oldest son, Axel, doesn't wear his shirt around the house and only comes down to eat. I could relate to this story. I think her role of Frankie is far more interesting than her other roles. Her home is not in order physically and the family lives in the middle of the country. The show starts off with Frankie wearing a superwoman costume because her youngest son, Brick, has said that his mom is his hero. It's not a bad show but you should all watch it if you have families or live outside Hollywood as most of us do. I like seeing her back on the air. She is the star and expect to see her name next year for an Emmy. She's got another shot at it. This show is funny, witty, and off-beat enough for Emmy voters.
  • just got done watching ''the middle'and in all seriousness. i thought it was great a funny show from a mothers point of view. think ''Malcolm in the Middle'' but instead of his point of view the moms. i thought the kids were funny the daughter especially. me personally i thought this show works on many levels and would be surprised if it doesn't get picked up for a second season.i mean there is always crappy shows that get picked up. this one this one has potential with patricia heaton as the lead role is great. personally i thought raymond was a terrible show but she was good and is more realistic in this role. whats that we have more the janitor of one of my all time favorite shows scrubs. yes the funny witty hilarious janitor from scrubs plays the role of the father in this show. he's likable as the dad who doesn't really care about much but means well. so all and all i liked in 9/10.
  • Omg i have to let go of the best tv show ever .have grown to love this crazy family the writing of this show is amazing it is seriously intelligent humour, its hillarious thank you to to all the writers and actors etc who really have enriched my life no end ,thank you so much ,so gonna miss you all
  • Warning: Spoilers
    I am so pleased that there is finally a good family show on the air that doesn't promote social/political stances and shove their viewpoint in everyone's face! Patricia Heaton is back and with a vengeance! I have been a fan of Ms. Heaton's every since her days on Thirty Something and Everybody Loves Raymond. Her comedic timing is dead on and her facial expressions suit the moment perfectly; not to mention that her acting skills are per near flawless. When you watch this show, you can really feel what the family is going through and that is, at least in part, due to Patricia Heaton's performance.

    Eden Shur as Sue Heck is brilliant! I was the Sue Heck of my school and remember vividly trying out for everything and always failing yet I always stayed optimistic that eventually, something would turn out :) My parents were always supportive of me as well although I'm sure my school years debacles were a source of humor for them as Sue's are for her parents. Charlie McDermott is hilarious as Axel..oh my gosh! He reminds me of my high school boyfriend. Neil Flynn and Atticus Shaffer are wonderful as well.

    I enjoy this show completely and hope it stays on the air for a long time!!
  • Maniac-931 January 2012
    This show is so awesome and totally rocks. This isn't you're over-hyped new sitcom, this blows all of those type of shows out of the water. Their is no lame actors like David Spade or Seth Green on this show, those guys just bounce around from one bad sitcom to the next without any actual skill while doing so.

    The story is about a lower middle class family from Indiana. Patricia Heaton is the lead of the show as the mom, Neil Flynn from Scrubs fame as the dad. The kids on he show are Axl who's the oldest who's a lazy jock, Sue is the overambitious daughter with no real skills but that doesn't stop her and Brick is the bookworm youngest who says the same thing to himself twice.
  • susiq062321 November 2010
    The only reason I tuned into this show was for Neil Flynn. I was a huge fan of his character as Janitor on Scrubs. I had little hopes because I was not a huge Patricia Heaton fan. I have found now that was not her fault, but the fault of the writers of Everybody Loves Raymond. They made her such a hard to like character that you could not help but dislike her. I mean who would have stayed married to her? Anyway, I digress, The Middle is rather charming. I find myself constantly rolling my eyes (in a good way) at Axl, cheering for Sue and trying to guess what Brick will do next. The Middle is a great example of the average American family trying to stay afloat in today's economy. They portray the way most of us in my age demographic grew up in the Midwest. I am astounded as someone who spent Jr. High and High School in Iowa at just how accurate they are. I will be around watching for as long as they keep the show on the air.
  • The best thing about this new series is that it doesn't take itself at all seriously. There are no hidden agendas and there's very little sentimentality; which is quite refreshing to see in an American sit-com as all too often the viewer is comforted with the nicer side of life! Patricia Heaton (Frankie Heck) may be reprising the role of an unappreciated wife, but this time she's different, she's let off the leash and has real bite. She also narrates the show which is a kinda cool. Frankie's husband is Mike Heck (Neil Flynn) a Quarry Manager that's a little too laid-back for Frankie liking, but the pair gel very well and they do seem to still love each other after having three kids. The eldest is Axl, a typical teenager who wants to be a rock star or playboy to the stars. Of course he's completely deluded and isn't exactly a grade-A student, but what he does have going for him is his sporting prowess. He appears to be in all the sports teams. He's also very loyal to his family, but it's very subtle; you have to watch to see what I mean. Sue Heck is the nearest thing to Meg Griffin in real TV. Continually in a state neurotic insecurity and anonymity; Sue repeatedly fails to make any impact regarding after school activities – she literally tries-out for everything! Yet, she struggles on with incredible tenacity, a quality that's quite inspiring to see. Unlike Meg, Sue is pretty, slim and glasses free; but at 14, she still wears braces. Everyone (including her tutors) can never seem to remember her name or face, this only exacerbates her self-consciousness and anxiety. Look out for how delighted she is to make the school cross-country team (albeit contrived). The final component of the Heck family is Brick, a 9 year old loner with a reading fixation. Brick doesn't suffer fools lightly, he's very selective about to whom he speaks and he comes across as an evil genius in the making. Brick is very forgetful and shows little interest in anything other than his books. Nevertheless he's an interesting character and not cutesy which is always good! For me though Sue (Eden Sher) is the real gem in this new sit-com; she's very amusing, stupid and naive, yet her never say die attitude is heart-warming and a delight to see. I hope The Middle goes for a few more seasons, just to see how Sue gets on!
  • I'm sorry I have to disagree with previous reviewers who do not like this show. I was an absolute devotee of Everybody Loves Raymond and Patricia Heaton deserved her awards in those days, but this to me is a far better show because the message in the end is usually positive and family-affirming. Yes I was at first put off by the crazy kids too but watch for a while and you'll see they have incredible talent, as does the whole family. Every cast member is a real character, but Frankie Heck steals the show every time. It really is a matter of taste and I hope the producers realise this appeals a LOT to middle class families. All the situations the Hecks get into are SO real, and Patricia Heaton is absolutely at her best, completely believable and hilarious.Brilliant, brilliant brilliant.Love it to bits. Laugh out loud stuff. Renew this programme!
  • It was one worthy show. It's been long years with you guys. I am kind of sad.

    Best wishes from Germany.
  • wackykathy21 February 2018
    This show represents middle class American families - our homes aren't perfectly decorated or maintained, our parenting isn't always what it should be, our family members are unique, and we're just trying to get through the day. And life is pretty sweet just the way it is! It's a funny, charming and heart warming show. Our family always relates to it and we appreciate that it's a clean show that we can all watch together - teens and parents. But do be warned, middle class America enjoys beer; characters in the show will imbibe, in case you find that inappropriate. The acting is spot on and the ensemble is perfect.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    With "The Middle," ABC hits a homerun! Everything about this show is just great! I don't think there is a single television show more relatable than this. The writers keep it real and I love that.

    The family is incredibly quirky, some would argue alienated or outlandish, but I say they remind me of my own family. They are pretty much just like us. In fact, some of the one-liners are eerily similar to the thoughts the run through my head, and same for the others in the room watching.

    This show is so much fun. It was undeniably better in its earlier seasons but never managed to lose its spark. Something about was always there that made it special and fun. I am truly sad that season nine is their final season, but the series had a strong run. I grew up watching "The Middle," so I really will miss it and so will my family. :o)

    I must say that I find "The Middle" to be rather underrated. It really is a gem and is so much fun to watch. It's a perfectly clever, although funny or amusing in a slightly odd or peculiar way gem of a comedy to watch with the family. I think so many are missing out. In the end, I will always love something about this show but I can't exactly pin what that exact thing is. Watch this show if you need a good laugh or just some pick-me-up time. It does the trick. I give "The Middle" an 8.2/10.
  • alphallama10 September 2010
    This TV show seems to be dead set on taking the previous crown that Malcolm in the middle had rightly earnt. The problem with this show is the characters are very weak and in no way have any of the charisma the characters from Malcome in the middle commanded.If anything this show makes you miss the original Malcolm in the Middle show more. Yes you will smile yes very occasionally you will laugh but the show just doesn't seem to hit the spot and my wife pretty much hit the nail on the head when she walked in the room and said "is it trying to be Malcolm in the middle ? because if it is it isn't doing a good job" Its not often i will sit down and comment/review a TV show but i feel so let down by this show i just had to voice my opinion on it. I really have tried to like this TV program but i have now just ran out of patience with it.
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