The Middle – Twenty Years

the middle 3S04xE09 – It’s Mike and Frankie’s 20th wedding anniversary, and Sue is planning a big event to celebrate. Frankie on the other hand thinks Mike is bored with her when she sees him ignore a phone call from her, and then finds him midnight eating without her. And it’s not his first time doing it either! For shame. Sue is having horrible luck getting anyone to attend the party she’s planning. Even Big Mike (Mike’s dad) can’t be bothered to attend. No surprise there. Axl angry with Brick for using his guitar as a post-it board, decides that the best revenge is to ruin the ending to a book that Brick has been waiting six years to read. By having the ending ruined, this puts Brick in a catatonic state which worries Axl. When Brick breaks out of it, he explains to Axl just how important books are to him. This makes Axl for a brief moment not think only of himself, but of Brick. Axl writes an alternative ending to the book for Brick. It’s horrible, but Brick appreciates the sentiment. Brick then tells Axl the best way he can make it up to him is by letting Brick read the book to him, so he can better understand Brick’s enjoyment for books. Sue was not the best at keeping the party plans under wraps from the parents, so Mike and Frankie casually sit down on the couch in their best dress and act as if they know nothing. Sue “surprises” them with the party, but because she was so unsuccessful in getting others to attend, the party is for two. Sue attempts to make them dinner and fails. Frankie tries to console a very upset Sue, and then Mike surprises Frankie with a ring. Turns out he was ignoring her call because he was picking up the ring he’d been saving for all year. She had a card for him somewhere. Here’s to another 20 years Mike and Frankie Heck!

Best of the episode: Sue’s attempt at making dinner. She actually charred spaghetti. That takes talent.

Worst of the episode: Axl ruining Brick’s book for him. I totally get the whole living in the world of your book. So I felt Brick’s pain.

Where did this episode leave us?: Mike and Frankie had a nice 20th anniversary even if it wasn’t what they had planned.

Best one-liner: Axl – “Until I see some proof, I will not even address these malicious and spurious charges. Law & Order. Watch it.”

What the episode ruined for us: Spaghetti


– a la Chryshele


The Middle – Christmas Help

themiddle3S04xE08 – Brick is asked by Reverend Timtom to participate in the holiday play. Sue is baking cookies for the play. Frankie gets a job at JJ Mackay’s so they can get gifts for the kids with her employee discount. Unfortunately the discount doesn’t kick in for 20 days, which takes her right up until Christmas Eve. To make matters worse all of the gifts she’s planned for the kids are being purchased leaving her with nothing. It seems that they don’t restock shelves there at the JJ Mackay’s. So Frankie takes to hiding the things she plans to buy, but they keep getting found. Mike’s brother has asked Mike to help him move some furniture, but when the plan is to store it in Mike’s garage, he realizes that the furniture is stolen. His brother disappears and leaves Mike to clean up the mess. Axl takes this opportunity to use the furniture in the garage as his new bachelor pad. But gets a bit upset when Mike finally has it hauled away. Everyone ends the night watching Brick in the play where he’s his typical self not paying attention. Sue’s cookies aren’t a hit except with Reverend Timtom and Frankie is able to take the kids shopping the day after Christmas and hit the sales and use her employee discount. Everyone wins.

Best of the episode: Brick in the play.

Worst of the episode: Sue’s hard work nearly going to waste.

Where did this episode leave us?: Frankie seems to still have a job, not sure if it was just seasonal. Axl will have to deal with just having his bedroom now that the furniture is gone.

Best one-liner: Sue – “Mom, where do we keep the cookies?” Frankie – “At the store.”

What the episode ruined for us: Christmas plays


– a la Chryshele

The Middle – Thanksgiving IV

S04xE07 – Frankie has invited a couple of Marines over for Thanksgiving this year to one-up Nancy Donahue. She feels it’s her patriotic duty to sign up quickly as it does say in their motto…”the few, the proud”. Frankie’s parents are also coming for dinner this year. This always makes for a good time had by all. Mike’s especially excited, if excited means annoyed. And as the Marines make their way into the house being polite and commenting on how nice their home is, Mike’s immediate response of “you’ve seen too many war zones” basically says it all.

Frankie’s parents have been bickering non-stop since they arrived. Frankie’s concerned about it, but Mike tells her to be glad they aren’t on Dateline: Unsolved Mystery. He has a point. So at dinner after Frankie recites the Pledge of Allegiance (can we say awkward?), and has everyone say what they’re thankful for (which goes over as well as a bullet in the head), she has to stop her parents from once again bickering incessantly. She does this by retelling/yelling the story of how her parents met, which was a very unsubtle way of reminding them that they still love each other. It seemed to do the trick, but the Marines were out the door before pie was served. Don’t think Frankie will be trying that one again.

Brick has taken to a new book about the making of the film adaptation of Love Story. He’s become overly obsessed with every detail in the book, yet has no desire to see the movie. Why would he? This is a good lead in to Axl’s feelings about Cassidy the tutor, but Cassidy has a college boyfriend and is off limits, which frustrates Axl as she’s his only reason to “study”.

So when Axl gets the news from the doctor that it’s a miracle his foot has healed, and he can play in the game, the first person he goes to see is Cassidy. Cassidy is tutoring another person when Axl bursts in to interrupt. He tells Cassidy that because his foot healed two weeks faster than expected he can now play in the game and is going to have to cut their study sessions short. She’s less than thrilled with this news, and tells him they should just stop altogether. This bums Axl out and he starts to mope around, reconsidering playing in the game, and playing football at all. Mike gives him a pep talk (“Don’t ever let fear stop you from going after what you want”) that Axl misinterprets and heads straight to Cassidy where he unloads his feelings for her, but she doesn’t reciprocate. Poor Axl.

Sue is showing Brad the super top secret mascot costume Sue has been honored to wear, but as she opens the locker, she finds that the chicken head has been stolen. It’s a travesty as the big game is coming up, and she’s “literally a chicken with it’s head cut off”. Later she finds a ransom note, and concludes it’s the football players that have stolen the head. So Sue and Brad confront them, and when they take to teasing Sue, Brad steps in to her defense by proclaiming it’s time for a dance fight. This doesn’t end well for poor Brad. Punched out before he can even really get started.

Sue tries to come up with alternatives for the chicken head, and even goes as far as to craft one herself out of what looked like a pillow case. But at the game she has resorted to a bear head, so now she is a bear chicken mascot. It works I guess. What’s not working is Axl’s performance on the field. He’s fumbling the ball left and right, and just plain sucking it up. He’s love sick and it’s kind of sad. So when a time-out is called, Sue steps in and tells him to shape up in so many words. This seems to work because Axl goes back out on the field and kills it. The team wins, the scholarship is no longer at risk, and as he’s heading off the field there stands Cassidy. She tells him she dumped her boyfriend and that she likes Axl in return. They end it with a kiss. Awwww.

Best of the episode: Two things: Sue’s Bear Chicken costume at the football game, and Axl getting the girl.

Worst of the episode: Brick’s obsession with the making of Love Story book. Maybe it’s just me, but I didn’t get it.

Where did this episode leave us?: Frankie isn’t going to be having the Marines over again anytime soon, and her parents have realized they do still love each other.

Best one-liner: Brad – “Who punches a guy while he’s on his tippy-toes?  That’s not how a dance fight works!”

What the episode ruined for us: Bear Chicken Mascots


– a la Chryshele

The Middle – The Safe

S04xE06 – Due to Axl’s foot being broken by Sue and him being out for the entire football season, his scholarship hangs in the balance. So now Axl is required to try and get into college based on his smarts, which is going to be tough, so he gets a tutor. His tutor turns out to be cute, but strongly opinionated about jocks. So Axl thinking he can put on the charms and win her over, kisses her. She appears upset and leaves, but you see she’s secretly ok with the kiss. So it’s now up to Axl to learn his stuff on his own.

Frankie starts dental assistant school, and makes a great first impression. Well not really, she shows up late and very nervous which doesn’t impress the teacher. And the confidence booster is non-existent when it’s time to take notes, and she has a paper notebook, and the rest of the class have their laptops. Poor Frankie.

Sue and Brick are on their way to buy a healthy treat for Brick’s school class. Frankie has given them $40 with the sole intention that any change be returned to her once the treat has been purchased. As Sue and Brick are walking along, they come across a yard sale where they find a door knocker that they believe they can get a lot more money for, so they purchase it and take it to a pawn shop. There Rick from Pawn Stars is behind the register and offers them $40 for the door knocker, they’ve just doubled their money, and they are ready to head out when Brick finds a safe. He’s convinced because he saw it on tv that the safe could contain money, so they let it ride and purchase the safe.

Frankie goes to her second day of school and is again late for class. But to make up for it, she brings the teacher a plate of snickerdoodles. This doesn’t go over so well, because it’s gingivitis on a plate. This leads the teacher to believe that Frankie doesn’t respect the tooth, and then forces Frankie into the dental chair for a session of show and tell, where all classmates get to poke and prod at her teeth.

That night both Axl and Frankie are discouraged over their homework, and it takes Mike to jump in and assist them. Frankie who has a headache after her mouth being attacked takes some tylenol, and Axl asks for some too. So as MIke is trying to help them prepare for their tests the next day, both Frankie and Axl start to act tired, and Mike realizes that the tylenol was the PM kind. So now it’s pretty much useless to get them to retain any information.

Next day Frankie is in class taking the written part of her test, and feeling ok about it, they move onto the next part. The teacher picks on her to be the test subject for blood pressure taking, and as Frankie lifts up her sleeve, her arm is covered in writing. It looks as if she attempted to cheat. Really it was Axl in his drugged stupor deciding to help Frankie out by writing the answers on her arm. Not sure if they were the right answers, but it was a nice thought.

Sue and Brick have been attempting to open the safe for a while now, and their last attempt is to vault it in hopes that a crash landing will open the safe. Well it does, but it also leaves a giant hole in the wall. They find in the safe a receipt that looks to be signed by Gerald Ford, so they rush over to Rick at the pawn shop and he is skeptical about the signature, but offers them $20 because he likes them. Brick and Sue talk amongst themselves and decide they can do better and decline the offer. As they are walking out they realize Rick’s right, the signature isn’t looking like Gerald Ford, but more like Gerard Furg. They go back in and try to accept the offer Rick made, but he rebuts offering them less, and when Sue starts to argue the offer keeps decreasing. Finally Sue and Brick accept it at $9 and leave the store.

Axl who actually did alright on his test, a “B”, runs into his tutor Cassidy and tells her how well he did. They start talking and it seems like they may end up friends.

Frankie is at home with Mike who is trying to repair the multiple things going wrong with the house when he decides the house is groaning because it’s tired like they all are. Frankie relates it to a dental term, and that makes her happy because she remembered something. She may do alright after all.

Best of the episode: Brick and Sue trying to negotiate with Rick of Pawn Stars.

Worst of the episode: Cassidy the tutor’s hair color. I’m not sure what color it was supposed to be, but it didn’t look good.

Where did this episode leave us?: Both Frankie and Axel struggling through school, and Mike hoping on a prayer that Frankie’s schooling will be worth it.

Best one-liner: Axl – “Before we dive in, I’d like to be clear about my goals here. I don’t want to get too smart. Just smart enough to get into college.” Cassidy – “I think we’re safe there.  Are you ready to start? Or do you need me to blow a whistle?”

What the episode ruined for us: Tylenol PM


– a la Chryshele

The Middle – Halloween III: The Driving

S04xE05 – Axel has been reading up on the local government election and has become quite knowledgeable about it. More so than Frankie or Mike. He’s found his main candidate and decides to put his sign in their yard. He’s voting for Harry Butts. Should have figured.

Sue thinks she’s ready to make the next step towards driving; picking a key chain! Mike and Frankie tell her the real next step would be to actually drive. After a little encouragement Sue agrees, and heads out to the car. Mike and Frankie play rock paper scissors to determine who will take her driving and Mike loses. So Mike is now in the car with Sue, and before Sue will leave the driveway she has to run through her checklist; lights, seat belt, signals, mirrors, you know the usual. Mike is impatient and tells her to start the car, ignore the checklist and back out of the driveway. Sue starts to do as she’s told, but becomes flustered because she hasn’t been able to complete her checklist and now she’s all thrown off. She bursts into tears, telling Mike he’s a horrible teacher and exits the car. That went well.

Next up it’s Frankie’s turn at the teaching. She decides she’s going to take the gentler approach with Sue. So when Sue says she needs to go through her checklist, Frankie is very approving. It’s when Sue finishes and Frankie suggests that they back out of the drive way that Sue bursts into tears telling Frankie she’s worse than Mike and exits the car again.

Brick is going trick or treating for Halloween and Frankie has worked it out with a neighbor to take him along with her own kids. So Frankie has the house to herself, and enjoys a glass of wine. Brick comes home and tells Frankie he hit the motherload, and then empties his pillowcase, and wow he really has hit the motherload. Brick is excited because he says the way he’s figured, he should be able to eat one piece of candy a day for an entire year. Frankie bursts his bubble and tells him that he can eat what he can that night and then the rest will go to the soldiers. Really Frankie wants the rest. So the next day Brick comes up to her and tells her that he’s ate all of his candy. Mike is furious that Frankie would tell him to do such a thing. Brick simply misunderstood and now Frankie’s bummed because there isn’t any candy left. Brick is off to school and leaves Frankie to face Mike. Before he leaves, they tell Brick not to mention anything about the candy at school. Hopefully they will be in the clear and the avoid worst parent of the year award.

Sue is ready to try again on the driving thing, but neither Mike nor Frankie are willing to put up with her attitude about it. Frankie is in the car trying to encourage her the best she can, then Mike walks up and starts demanding that she back out of the driveway. Axel joins in on the demands and Sue gives in and puts the car in reverse. She only makes it a few inches when Axel starts to scream. Sue has run over his foot and has stopped the car with Axel’s food still pinned underneath. Everyone is yelling at her and she freezes in fear. Mike throws her out of the car and proceeds to move the car forward freeing Axel’s foot. Later that night Axel comes home from the doctor on crutches. He’s sprained his foot and football is out of the question for him for a bit until he heals. He’s furious at Sue, and this doesn’t get better when they go to a game and because Axel can’t play, their winning streak ends. Sue overhears the players and cheerleaders talking about her, and she looks utterly beaten. Poor Sue.

After that debacle, Frankie gets a call from Brick’s school. His teacher would like to see them. Maybe they aren’t in the clear about the candy. So Frankie goes to meet with the teacher (Ted from Scrubs!) she finds out that Brick has done a 180 in class and is more attentive, his ticks have disappeared, and is a pleasure to have around. Frankie is floored. So when she gets home and tells Mike about it, Brick walks in and proves what the teacher told  Frankie to be true. He’s a completely different person! Frankie and Mike are hopeful that this is a new thing and attribute it to the candy deciding they will feed him candy all the time now.

Sue has been trying to make it up to Axel for injuring him, but Axel is having nothing to do with her. That is until she mentions the election. Axel didn’t realize it’s only a one day thing, and because he can’t drive he won’t be able to go vote for Harry Butts. So he tells Sue she has to drive, and she’s terrified. Axel talks her into it, but only on one condition; Sue insists that an adult be in the car. So they recruit Aunt Edie. How they got her, I have no idea and won’t dwell on that. So Sue drives Axel to the voting station and he gets to perform his civic duty for the first time. Awesome for Axel! Sue feels accomplished and Aunt Edie wants to know where her dressing attendant is. The woman should be in a home.

So Brick has been on a sugar high for a couple days now, and Mike and Frankie are missing the old Brick oddly enough. Brick comes home and asks how their day has been, he’s informing them of a permission slip for something, but crashes before he can finish. There goes the high. When he comes to, Brick is back to his normal self. Frankie and Mike decide they will feed him candy on special occasions only. That’s only slightly bad parenting then.

Frankie gets a call from the doctor, and they took another look at Axel’s x-rays. His foot isn’t sprained it’s broken. There goes football for the season, and possibly Sue’s life.

Best of the episode: Brick’s ability to eat all of his candy so fast. I especially loved the candy cereal, and chocolate bar smoothie. At least he got creative about his way to eat the candy.

Worst of the episode: Mike and Frankie’s sad attempt at rock paper scissors. No effort was put in. Such a shame.

Where did this episode leave us?: Axel is now a voter, Sue is driving and Brick can become attentive when he’s high on sugar.

Best one-liner: Sue about her key chains – “This one says “going commando”, I don’t really get it, but I do support the military.”

What the episode ruined for us: Voting Booths


– a la Chryshele

The Middle – The Hose

S04xE04 – Brick has maturation class at school and isn’t sure that he wants to go because it’s embarrassing. Frankie reassures Brick that everything will go fine, he already knows the basics anyway. Or does he? Mike and Frankie can’t really remember if they had “the talk” with Brick, or Sue and Axel for that matter. Eh that’s what school’s for so says Frankie. Sue has a class trip and has to sell cheese and sausage to help fund it. She makes the suggestion that she go with Mike to his work and sell it there. He’s reluctant, but  agrees.

Sue is tallying up her sales in Mike’s office, when payroll gets passed out. Sue takes a peek at the amount when Mike’s not around, and she’s horrified. It’s obviously not a high amount.

Frankie has started walking and discovers that their horrible-scary-no-good-at-all neighbor Rita Glosner is back. She’s a nightmare and her kids aren’t any better.

Brick comes home after having made it through maturation class and discusses the key points. You know where it’s ok if the boys have urges, and the girls get to go home with a little pink bag of “goodies”. Rita shows up to the Heck home, and Frankie has the luck of opening the door, and there is nasty Rita looking for her hose. She’s accusing the Hecks of stealing the hose, and threatens Frankie in the process if it’s not returned.

Sue lets the parents know that she’s not going on the trip anymore stating they have stopped letting the mascots go, but really it’s because she knows they’re poor. Sue is having serious heartache about it, because she tries to tell her brothers, but they aren’t as receptive. Mainly because it’s not new news.

The Heck’s yard ends up getting destroyed by nasty Rita’s kids, so Axel and Brick set up a fort in the front yard to guard the area. They begin to start talking about girls, and the whole sex thing. Axel gives Brick the down low about everything. Well Axel knows what’s going on apparently.

Frankie tries to put a new hose in Rita’s yard without her noticing in hopes she gets Rita off her back, but doesn’t succeed so well. Frankie decides to change tactics and stand up to Rita, calling her a bad mother, accusing her kids of being thieves which doesn’t go well either, and they end up fighting over the new hose resulting in a chipped tooth for Frankie.

Sue’s friends show up to take Sue to the mall, and they come bearing gifts of hand-me-down clothes for Brick, a yoga workout vhs for Frankie and a hug for Mike. It’s looking like Sue told her friends she’s poor, she just forgot to tell them to keep their mouths shut because they blew her cover on the trip. So Sue has to confess that she saw Mike’s paycheck, and so she cancelled the trip herself to save money. Mike admits, they don’t have a lot of money, but she shouldn’t worry about it, so she going to go.

As Frankie is leaving for the dentist to fix that chipped tooth she done got, she sees the hose that Rita was claiming they stole. Brick is using it and when Frankie asks where he got it, he admits it’s from the Glosner’s. Whoops! Frankie’s a liar. So as they try to cover up the lie by wrapping the hose up, shoving it into the car, and taking it away, they nearly run over Rita. The jigs up. But it turns out it’s not. Rita has come by to apologize because her hose turned up, and to make up for the accusations, the Heck’s are invited for a pool party at Rita’s. Oh how fun! So Frankie and Brick bury the evidence never to speak of again. But Brick didn’t get the memo of no talking when it came to sex ed. He managed to share everything Axl told him with his class. Yes!

We end with the pool party at Rita’s. And by pool party we’re talking kiddie pool in the grassless yard drinking canned beer. At least Frankie decided on what she wants to go to school for. To become a dental assistant.

Best of the episode: Brick learning about sex from Axel. If Brick’s as smart as he’s portrayed, he’ll know better than to take it to heart.

Worst of the episode: That even though Axel and Brick built a fort prepared for war, they didn’t see any action.

Where did this episode leave us?: With Frankie having made a career decision. At least we hope. I think it could make for some entertaining situations.

Best one-liner: Brick to Frankie after maturation class – “Ok well I guess I’ll go look at your bras now. I’m not sure why but apparently it’s totally normal. You guys are always after me to be normal so…”

What the episode ruined for us: Brooke Shields


– a la Chryshele

The Middle – Bunny Therapy

S04xE03 – Mike and Frankie are called into Brick’s school, and they think that maybe he’s made it to the yellow group. Nope Brick’s got a new tick. He does? They haven’t noticed. We then get a montage of moments with Brick’s new tick, and the family not realizing. I don’t know how they couldn’t because now he “whoops”. So the teacher tells them that Brick should see a psychologist, and in rolls Dave Foley. Literally. On a chair. They’re told that Brick should get a pet and learn how to socialize with the pet, and then he will be able to move onto people from there. This should solve his issues with ticks. So Frankie gets Brick a bunny, but he’s not too excited about it.

Meanwhile Sue is trying out for the school mascot, now that there’s an opening. So to practice she’s been wearing a box on her head with two eye holes carved out. Axl is overly excited about this box on Sue’s head. Sue sees that Brick got a bunny and is jealous, to which Brick says Sue can have it, and she names it Bugs. I would name a bunny that too, it’s pretty much awesome.

Axl has homecoming around the corner, and has been dating a girl. But as his friends point out, he isn’t dating just one, it seems he’s dating two, and that they’ve actually heard through the rumor mill that he’s really dating the friend of the girl he thinks he’s dating. Confused yet? Axl is. So he devises a plan to figure out which girl he’s really dating. He tries several different ways; he asks the girls if they should double date and it backfires, he calls over the intercom for his girlfriend to come to the office, but crazy Ashley shows up, and then when it’s actually the night of the dance, he holds out a corsage, and neither go for it. He’s pretty much screwed. So Axl decides it’s not worth it and kisses one of the girls. They both slap him, and he’s still not sure why. Neither of them say anything clear to make him know the truth. Looks like Axl is dateless for the dance. Maybe crazy Ashley will go with him.

During Axl’s debacle, we discover that Brick/Sue’s bunny is evil. It bites and growls, and it’s eyes are red. It’s possessed. Sue has gone to her try out for the mascot and she was the only one to show up, so her chances are pretty good. While she’s waiting for her phone call, the bunny gets loose, and everyone is up off the ground leaving Mike to try and catch it. The phone rings and Sue makes her way to it and finds out she got the job. She’s the new mascot! Mike catches evil Bugs and throws him in the bathroom. Good thing they have more than one.

Frankie sits down with Brick after realizing they never talk to him, and tries to find out why he’s now “whooping”. Turns out he’s not really sure himself, and though they all thought the “whoop” had replaced the whisper tick, we learn that Brick actually has three ticks. On top of the two we know of, Brick also has to say the Pledge of Allegiance 20 times before going to sleep. This kid has issues and Frankie is at a loss on how to handle it.

The big homecoming game is here, and the Hecks are in full spirits to cheer on not only Axl, but Sue as well. And to be honest, Sue actually kills it as the mascot. She’s finally found something she’s good at. Too bad no one knows it’s her. We’re down to the final play and the whole field is silent, and then Brick “whoops”. Embarrassing! Some jerk asks them to shut Brick up because he’s been doing it the entire game, and Frankie responds by “whooping” herself. Mike joins in and they tell the jerk that’s how they cheer. Frankie and Mike win this round. The final play is done, and Axl and his team have won the game. Everything is right in the world. For now.

Best of the episode: Sue being good at something. As weird as she is, she deserves to have something to brag about. Even if it is playing a chicken.

Worst of the episode: Evil Bugs Bunny. They’re supposed to be cute and cuddly! Right?

Where did this episode leave us?: Wanting to know what they do with the bunny in the end. I’m hoping they were humane.

Best one-liner: Axl – “Yes thank you! Finally made Sue wear a box on her head. I’ve been pushing this for years.”

What the episode ruined for us: Bunnies


– a la Chryshele