“The Middle” Episode Review: Last Whiff of Summer

Grade: A-

“We called you ‘oops’ ’till you were three”- Sue

After last year’s unimpressive hour-long season premiere, I was a bit uneasy about what to expect this season. I can truly say, however, that I was presented with a very humorous episode packed with all of the usual Heck family chaos.

The show took a unique approach, and rather than just starting with the beginning of the school year, the hour was used as a recap for their crazy summer.

I was rather annoyed at the Heck kids for beginning their summer on the couch with every electronic device imaginable. I guess this is typical with my generation but I felt the frustration about the kids’ lack of enthusiasm for traditional summer activities that Frankie and Mike had experienced.

I particularly loved when the two of them suggested that the entire family go see a drive-in movie and neither Axl, Sue, nor Brick knew what it was. Their ridiculous questions and confusion about the process (like Axl believing fries could be ordered through the speakers) were incredibly amusing.

The scene at the drive-in was not only a perfect segue for many of the episode’s storylines, but it was a hysterical spectical in itself. The “classic” movies that were being shown provoked a response from Axl who was convinced “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang” was going to be a snoozer. I couldn’t help but laugh at his saracastic remark, “How could it not be? It has ‘chitty’ right in the title.”

The main storyline of the episode was also developed at this particular location when Sue, Axl, and Brick discussed the possibility of their parent’s having a favorite kid and the boys insisted that Sue had not earned that title. When Mike bluntly announced Axl as being his, I was caught off guard more by his failure to keep it private than his actual choice.

This led to Sue obsessively trying to create “the summer of Sue and dad,” colorful scrapbook and all. She has always had some of the most quirky storylines and it’s always a pleasure to watch. The fact that she was doing activities with her father that she would do with a female 15-year-old best friend was priceless.

This particular storyline somehow managed to become even more entertaining when at the county fair, Sue decided to explore her “dark side” for attention and purposely got lost. I genuinely for her though when after what seemed like hours of her being separated from her family, they never even made reference to her disappearance after being reunited.

Meanwhile, Brick had spent his summer growing a tomato in his yard and Axl was forced to take summer school classes. Neither of these storylines were particularly entertaining, but I did love all of the stress and chaos that occured as a result of their various endeavors.

*Other notable moments

-Sue and the “sharing candle” she was trying to get her dad to use in order to share their feelings

-Frankie running through the sprinkler until she was soaked in attempt to make it look fun and appealing to the kids.

-Brick using underwear from the playground to support his growing tomato.

-When the fireworks at the fair shut everyone up and they forgot about all of the arguing.

Overall, a fantastic way to start this season of “The Middle” and I can’t wait for what’s to come!

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