“The Middle” episode review: Thanksgiving IV

Grade: B

“You really want to bring outside observers into this place?”-Mike

Thanksgiving always seems to result in family chaos on tv shows and therefore is rather amusing to watch. “The Middle” captured that concept quite well this week, though I wish that there had been more focus on it with all of the storylines.

In the hopes to add something new to the holiday this year (and brag to the Donahues), Frankie signed up to have 2 marines celebrate Thanksgiving at the Heck household. I knew right away that the experience was going to be disastrous, and Mike’s initial reaction appeared to reflect that too. It didn’t help the situation when Frankie’s bickering parents arrived and couldn’t manage to be civil for a mere 5 minutes. I found their constant arguing to be more annoying than funny, but I guess that was the point.

When the marines actually arrived, they were lucky enough to see the Heck family in all its glory: Brick with his nose in a book, Axl in his underwear, Sue wearing a homemade mascot head, and Mike showing no emotion whatsoever. The fact that things got even more awkward at dinner was quite hysterical, especially when it prompted the two visitors to leave in a hurry.

There were other storylines simultaneously taking place in the episode and while they did have a some appearance during Thanksgiving, they unfortunately had almost nothing to do with the occasion. Axl had begun to realize that he was developing strong feelings for his tutor, who happened to have a boyfriend at Northwestern.  When Axl’s foot finally healed, he was ready to play in the big game, but his tutor’s lack of enthusiasm towards the return of his football obsession had him in a bit of a depression. By the end of the episode, I found it a little unrealistic that his tutor would dump her boyfriend for Axl, but it is nice to see him with a different kind of girl for once.

Meanwhile, Sue found that the mascot head to her chicken costume had been stolen by some of the opposing team’s football players before the game. She decided to confront them by taking her ex-boyfriend Brad along, who ended up with a black eye after trying to engage in a “dance fight” (think West Side Story) with them. Even though Sue was forced to use a bear head during the game, she was able to keep school spirit alive by giving Axl a pep talk, which resulted in Orson High School winning the game. While this storyline was not the most exciting, I did enjoy Sue’s obsession in retrieving her mascot head, particularly when she was looking to enlist the help of the marines to retrieve it.

Finally, Brick had little to do during this episode other than, as usual, spend his time reading a book. What was entertaining, however, was the fact that he was reading one that focused on the making of the movie “Love Story” which he had never seen and had no plans to do so in the future.

Other notable moments:

Frankie’s over enthusiastic (and rather flirty) greeting to the marines, especially when she suggested they sit on either side of her, putting her in “a marine sandwich.”

-Brick responding “Why would we do that?” when his grandmother suggested they rent “Love Story” after he finished the book.

-Aunt Edie happily shouting “Merry Christmas!” while everyone was sharing what they were thankful for this year.

Overall, while not as focused on the holiday as I had hoped, this was certainly still an enjoyable episode of “The Middle” overall.


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