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The Middle


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#1

Jr82

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Posted May 20, 2009 @ 9:10 AM

"THE MIDDLE"

The Hecks are a middle class family living in the middle of Indiana, just trying to keep their heads above water. Emmy-winner Patricia Heaton stars as a wife and mother of three in a comedy about raising a family and lowering your expectations.

"The Middle" stars Patricia Heaton as Frankie, Neil Flynn as Mike, Eden Sher as Sue, Atticus Shaffer as Brick and Charlie McDermott as Axel.

The series is produced by Warner Bros. Television. Eileen Heisler and DeAnn Heline are executive producers/writers and Werner Walian is producer. The pilot was directed by Julie Anne Robinson.


I watched the trailer for this show on futoncritic this morning and I was blown away by how funny I thoughts it was. I didn't think it would be anything worth my time based on the episode description but I was pleasantly suprised. It had a "Malcolm in the Middle" feel to it. The youngest child in it reminded me alot of of youngest on "Malcolm" as well. But it seemed like a lot of fun and it was nice seeing The Janitor in another role and this role seems to fit his style of comedy perfectly. I'm also one of few that finds Patricia Heaton funny in comedic roles.
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#2

Dynamite Teddy

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Posted May 22, 2009 @ 8:05 PM

I got a Malcolm and the Middle vibe too but this just seemed nothing special. Maybe it's because i'm not a fan of Patricia Heaton i dunno.

Edited by Dynamite Teddy, May 22, 2009 @ 8:07 PM.

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#3

cristal77

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Posted Sep 30, 2009 @ 10:26 PM

Very, very cringe worthy. Every scene was fully predictable and extremely overdone. I felt very embarrassed for these well-known actors. Will NOT watch again.
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#4

Dahling

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Posted Sep 30, 2009 @ 10:31 PM

VERY Malcolm in the Middle. That whispering/repeating words that the youngest son did? My youngest son does it too. I almost fell out of my chair. If anybody knows what the technical term for it is, please PM me.
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#5

kib

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Posted Sep 30, 2009 @ 11:06 PM

Very, very cringe worthy. Every scene was fully predictable and extremely overdone. I felt very embarrassed for these well-known actors. Will NOT watch again.


Wow, just wow... I mean the camera movement, edit pacing, music drops, the whole shebang was lifted from "Malcolm" to the point there's a case to be made for copyright infringement.

As for the actors, yeah, Kattan, Brian Doyle-Murry, the lady DA on "Bones" and a few other familiar faces appearing... makes me sad. I'm quite sure they know this is a POS, but hey when the network trends favor reality programming and "Leno" five nights a week over scripted programming, these guys are just looking for a way to keep up with the house payments in a shrinking job market.

Just couldn't have been worse.
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#6

shriekingeel

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Posted Sep 30, 2009 @ 11:14 PM

Granted, I have a low tolerance for sitcoms, but there were really no laughs at all in this. And I *like* Patricia Heaton and the Scrubs guy.

Really, this made Heaton's last show Back To You look like a classic.
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#7

Renard

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Posted Sep 30, 2009 @ 11:36 PM

Not impressed at all, although in the end I did find it cute and a little heart warming. But otherwise I very quickly added it (and Hank) to the sweepstakes race along with Accidentally on Purpose and the forgotten for 2nd canceled show of the season.

That said, I must add that even though I saw it coming a mile away, I could not help but laugh until I cried at the Show Choir debacle when the daughter got distracted and forgot to put down the riser. I can't remember the last time I've laughed that hard at a sitcom. I'm glad I came back after switching over to Countdown with Keith Olbermann for a few minutes.
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#8

cherrylife

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Posted Sep 30, 2009 @ 11:47 PM

VERY Malcolm in the Middle. That whispering/repeating words that the youngest son did? My youngest son does it too. I almost fell out of my chair. If anybody knows what the technical term for it is, please PM me.


the term for what the youngest son was doing is echolalia
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#9

PreviouslyOnTV

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Posted Oct 1, 2009 @ 1:55 AM

This is a sitcom and I laughed. Out loud, very hard several times. One time uncontrollably for a good while. Not sure what else it needed to do. Much better than Hank before it. I do wish they had just kept making "Back to You" though.
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#10

AnnaRose

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Posted Oct 1, 2009 @ 2:06 AM

I love Patricia Heaton and thought she was hilarious in this. I'll keep watching. I never really watched Malcolm much so any comparisons don't bother me at all. Although I did see it a few times and the youngest kid here reminded me of Dewey. I thought the youngest actor (Aticus?) was adorable, and found it refreshing that the daughter was so awkward. I'm kind of sick of the precocious, unrealistically attractive teenage girls in most sitcoms and dramas. I love that Patricia is so down to earth in real life, and I think that makes her portrayal of the stressed-out, harried mother so believable. It probably helps that I recently had a drivers license photo that made me kind of horrified at the difference between now and my last one 6 years ago... so I could totally relate to the whole "what the hell happened to me?!!" thing.
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#11

JustinCase

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Posted Oct 1, 2009 @ 9:59 AM

This was easily the funniest new comedy of the season! I loved it...
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#12

bluwater

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Posted Oct 1, 2009 @ 1:34 PM

I enjoyed it and laughed quite a bit. I saw half of Hank before it and unfortunately, didn't laugh once even though I am a HUGE Frasier fan.

The dad cracked me up the most. The youngest son is adorable and like others, reminded me of Dewey. Are those kids related?

Like AnnaRose said, it's refreshing to see a geeky teen girl instead of the unrealistic ones we normally see on most shows.

I'll be watching it again next week.
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#13

beadgirl

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Posted Oct 1, 2009 @ 2:39 PM

Maybe my expectations were really low, but this was a lot better than I thought it would be. I mean I was genuinely shocked that I enjoyed it so much.

Like AnnaRose said, it's refreshing to see a geeky teen girl instead of the unrealistic ones we normally see on most shows.

Absolutely. So very sick of the dumb boy-crazy "hot" teenage girls that litter TV.
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#14

DuckyinKy

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Posted Oct 1, 2009 @ 3:58 PM

I looked it up and found out this was a pilot actually shot in 2007 with Rikki Lake as the star, and it wouldn't sell. They recast Patricia Heaton and ABC bought it.

I agree with most here - it's too much a rip off of Malcolm in the Middle with a scant touch of Married with Children. If I had to guess, probably a swing and a miss. Patricia Heaton is just off my radar.
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#15

boewyr

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Posted Oct 1, 2009 @ 5:41 PM

The voiceover bugged. The jokes had potential but were all through the promos. I'll give it another episode.
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#16

AnnaRose

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Posted Oct 1, 2009 @ 5:41 PM

Compared to Hank, The Middle was a brilliant masterpiece. And I was so happy to notice this show's absence of a laugh track. Thank you sitcom gods!

Matt Roush has given The Middle positive reviews, and the Futon Critic wrote that it's genuinely funny, feels like it comes from an astonishingly real place, and had no complaints about anything that didn't work: Review.

I can't imagine Hank not getting a big drop-off in audience after that brutally painful pilot, but I'm hoping The Middle is able to maintain its high numbers, and keep bringing the funny. (I read that it was number one in its time period last night.)
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#17

Malibu65

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Posted Oct 1, 2009 @ 11:00 PM

This show is just a rip-off of MALCOLM IN THE MIDDLE. I got that vibe from the various promos. How right I was when watching this piece of crap.

Edited by Malibu65, Oct 1, 2009 @ 11:01 PM.

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#18

celestial904

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Posted Oct 2, 2009 @ 12:15 AM

I thought this show was well done and found myself laughing at multiple points. I'll be watching next week.
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#19

arrowhead

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Posted Oct 2, 2009 @ 10:40 PM

I will not watch this again, this was very painfully unfunny. And never thought I'd ever make a comment like this (as I am not a feminists, in fact I'm the opposite of that) but this was just stupidly sexist. Oh, my catch-phrase is I'm a car matchmaker, because I'm such a salesWOMAN. And then it persists with - wow this is a great car with a... a.... an integrated steering-wheel - yeah, that's all I have in my technical vocabulary - I'm such a ditsy salesWOMAN. Just disgusting.
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#20

smirnoff05

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Posted Oct 3, 2009 @ 11:08 AM

I'm such a ditsy salesWOMAN

Ha... and she was right. She could not even come close to all the other salesmen who were all men, there was no other woman there. And how many saleswomen do you see at car dealerships anyway, I've never seen one. Their stereotyping is realistic. The show however is very bad. Lots of over the top acting which was neither cute, witty or funny. Will not watch again.
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#21

Lynn44

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Posted Oct 4, 2009 @ 12:43 PM

So true of small towns. We do have car lots and churches on every corner, corn fields out the wazoo and "Show Choir" IS everything. :)

Now they have to do an episode on county fairs (complete with tractor pulls), poker runs and Christmas parades.

Loving it.

Edited by Lynn44, Dec 5, 2009 @ 3:33 PM.

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#22

chris93

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Posted Oct 4, 2009 @ 4:00 PM

Wow. I loved this show. Perhaps I just watched it at a moment that I really needed to laugh, and it delivered. While I hope it lasts, I am doubtful. Hopefully it will outlive Hank, Cougar Town and Accidentally on Purpose, which I think are all just awful.
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#23

rain21

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Posted Oct 5, 2009 @ 7:15 PM

I liked this show-I was surprised I did. I agree it is a little Malcolm in the Middle . Speaking as someone who does not have childern I found the show funny because the kids are far from perfect and the parents didn't think that they are. I've worked with people who always talk about their kids as if they walked on water and act as if they are perfect parents--YEAH Right.

Not so sure it will last because I think for a lot of people it might be close to real life.
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#24

Lillywhite

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Posted Oct 8, 2009 @ 2:36 AM

This show is funny, but I'm not feeling Patricia Heaton as the lead. I wish they had picked a different actress. Heaton just seems too uptight for Frances.
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#25

Lynn44

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Posted Oct 8, 2009 @ 11:31 AM

Heaton just seems too uptight for Frances.


Seriously, she was wound tighter than a drum in that episode. It was exhausting just to watch her.

Loved that she went to such lengths to get Brick his book tho.

On that note, who in the world names a child "Brick"... lol
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#26

dogfish

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Posted Oct 8, 2009 @ 3:35 PM

On that note, who in the world names a child "Brick"...

They mentioned something in the pilot about giving their boys "tough" names so they wouldn't get picked on or something to that effect...hence Brick and Axel.

I love that Axel's punishment was that he had to stay within 5 feet of a parent at all times...I'll have to remember that one!
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#27

AnnaRose

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Posted Oct 8, 2009 @ 3:34 PM

I thought the second episode was equally hilarious as the first, and I laughed out loud a lot. I was glad the older son Axle had more to do in this episode and thought the actor was spot-on and very funny, as was the whole five foot thing as punishment. Also, I just adore that young actor who plays Brick. So cute! I just want to pinch his cheeks.

I think Patricia Heaton's delivery is perfect, and I could see if she played the character at the manic level of the melt-down at the end all the time it would be annoying... but I thought her freakout was petty funny, especially the looks of her family at the end of it. The husband (Janitor? What's his name again? Mike?) also has a terrific presence and delivery. He and Heaton play off each other well.

And by a strange coincidence, after receiving some dented cans from Amazon the night before the episode aired, I googled to find out about the safety of it, and came across a video from a news piece about a store just like the expired foods emporium on the show... people really do shop at those stores apparently taking a chance on expired and damaged food products. Yikes!

"We're listening for peas people!" LOL!

I don't normally like blue-collar sitcoms, but this one amuses me and makes me laugh. That's all I'm really looking for in a comedy. (And it's surprising how many sitcoms don't even elicit a laugh, let alone a grin.) So yeah, this show may not be ground-breaking... but the laughs are enough for me.
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#28

Lynn44

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Posted Oct 8, 2009 @ 3:47 PM

I love that Axel's punishment was that he had to stay within 5 feet of a parent at all times...I'll have to remember that one!


I thought that was rather cool, never would have thought of it. I too, will have to remember it. :)

I was so proud of the Father for keeping it enforced, of course, until he allowed the girl to be in "The 5 foot" area, was funny, tho.
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#29

JustinCase

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Posted Oct 8, 2009 @ 7:11 PM

Good news: The show was just picked up for the rest of the season (22 episodes)!
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#30

AnnaRose

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Posted Oct 8, 2009 @ 9:53 PM

That's great news, JustinCase! I was a little concerned about the ratings even though The Middle improves a bit on its dreadful lead-in Hank. Too bad ABC didn't keep Samantha Who or one of my faves, Miss Guided. Either of those would have been a much better complement to the new comedy night than Hank.

Here is an interview with Patricia Heaton and Neil Flynn, where they discuss preparing for a single camera show, among other things.

And here is a TVGuide interview with Neil Flynn.
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