The Middle – Last Whiff of Summer

S04xE01- Frankie and Mike are upset that their kids don’t enjoy being outside during the summer like they used to when they were kids (honestly when I was a kid too). So they decide to take all of the kids to a drive-in movie. Something they don’t anything about, and have to be strongly coerced into doing. While waiting in the car for the first of three movies to start the kids begin to fight over seating, so Frankie and Mike kick them out and tell them to go play on the swing set there at the theater. A discussion comes to light by way of Axel as to which kid is their parent’s favorite. Axel obviously thinks he is the favorite, and so does Brick. Sue doesn’t want to participate, but she becomes increasingly worried that they really do have a favorite. So when they’ve made it back to the car, Sue asks the question. Frankie is smart and says that she loves all of her children infinitely. Mike on the other hand says his favorite is Axel. This of course upsets Sue, so she decides that she is going to make her summer the “Summer of Sue and Dad”. Poor Mike, but then again he asked for it. Sue proceeds to take pictures, and spend every waking moment with Mike documenting it all for her scrapbook. Meanwhile Frankie is adament about making the summer great with fun outdoor activities, but Axel manages to blow it by failing English and having to go to summer school. Frankie does manage to get the family to go to a park to watch fireworks for Independence Day, but unfortunately doesn’t choose the right park, so no fireworks are to be seen. And to top it off the kids chose their favorite parent, and none of them chose Frankie.

During the summer Brick has been growing a tomato plant, nurturing it and now wants to put his giant tomato in a contest two hours away. Frankie reluctantly agrees after she finds out she will gain 20 points towards her score to be the favorite. Did I mention they give points to the parents when they do things for them? So they all make the trek to the fair to put Brick’s tomato in the contest and while Axel is supposed to be parking the car, he mistakenly enters a demolition derby and destroys Brick’s tomato. All the while Sue has been trying to get Mike’s attention and decided she has to now do so by doing bad things for negative attention because that’s how Axel gets attention. So she’s been skipping her multi-vitamins, not wearing her head gear at night, shaving with Mike’s razor and not rolling the hose up when she’s finished with it. She’s a real rebel that one. So when Axel gets in trouble for ruining Brick’s tomato, almost getting killed, and losing his English paper for summer school in his now broken car, Mike lets into him and Sue gets more upset. Mike finally gives Sue the attention she’s been looking for by telling her he loves her, and they actually get to see fireworks. The summer ends up being better than Frankie thought, and Sue’s scrapbook is proof of that.

Best of the episode: The family going to the drive-in. I used to love a good drive-in, especially when you took a truck, loaded it with sleeping bags and pillows and watched a couple movies in a row.

Worst of the episode: Seeing the kids not understand how fun it actually is to play in a sprinkler. They move back and forth! Kids these days just don’t know what fun is.

Where did this episode leave us?: Longing for the summers of our childhood, when there weren’t so many video games, no cell phones, and you could easily stay entertained with a bike and a dirt mound.

Best one-liner: Axel about his parents – “Every year they have some kind of mid-life crisis, thank God their lives are more than halfway over.”

What the episode ruined for us: Hope for this generation that they will know what actual fun is.


– a la Chryshele


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