The Middle starring Patricia Heaton of Everybody Loves Raymond fame and “Janitor” from Scrubs premiered on ABC’s Comedy Wednesday, which is proving to be, well, actually somewhat comedic. The show has been described as both a “dead-ringer for Malcom in the Middle” (it’s title doesn’t really help) and a “live action Family Guy,” which I sort of agree with. Heaton plays Frankie, a mother of three- Axl, the teenage son who never wears pants, Sue, an awkward failure at life (Meg Griffin) and little Brick who may or may not be a serial killer (Dewey -wait, what was the MitM family’s last name?).
Promos for the show featured Heaton in a superhero costume, which made the show seem like it was going to be much quirkier than it actually is. (Although, quirky is now a misnomer because everything is quirky, making quirky, well, conventional. Oxymoron!) Throughout the episode, weirdo son Brick (who I think might be a Gary Coleman or a Webster, in that he appears to be a small child but is actually like 16) keeps telling his mother, “You’re my hero.” She brushes it off, upset that her son clearly has some issues, until he brings it to her attention that by “hero” he meant that as part of a project for school, she would need to dress up like a superhero and come into his classroom for a presentation. After discovering that her son had the date wrong for the presentation, she returns to the car dealership where she works (wiiiith Chris Kattan) and takes a customer on a test drive. Obviously the customer is a lying whacko that dumps her in “the middle” of nowhere, stranded in her superhero get-up. When her family comes to pick her up (as she’s shoveling a found snack cake in her craw) she realizes just how much she loves them, and how terrific her mundane life really is.
I think I might keep this show in my weekly line-up. Not only because I LOVE family sitcoms but because Brick has some sort of mental issue where it “soothes” him to whisper certain words after saying them to someone or something located to his lower left. “Let’s hope he’s weird enough that insurance will cover it.”