The Middle

2009 • ABC
2.33K reviews
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Season 1 episodes (24)

1 Pilot
In the premiere episode, Frankie is struggling in her career as a car salesperson because she has failed to actually sell a car. Sue has auditioned for show choir and, to everyone's shock, makes the team, but fails to mention that she's part of the stage crew. To top things off, Brick wants Frankie to come to his class presentation dressed as a superhero. Just when Frankie thinks she's got a car sold and her kids under control, she does show up to Brick's class dressed as a superhero -- but he's given her the wrong day -- and the car she thought she had sold is stolen right in front of her. Work and home have taken over Frankie's life... to the point that she barely recognizes herself and has even taken to coloring her hair with a magic marker. Her youth has faded and the day-to-day grind has worn her down, but it's family and the struggles they face together that keep Frankie and the rest of the Hecks one big happy mess.
2 The Cheerleader
Facing financial disaster, Frankie tries to save her job by organizing a publicity stunt involving a car filled with jelly beans; Sue fails swim team tryouts, and then learns she needs glasses; and when Brick can't check books out of the library because Frankie can't pay a $200 library fine, he starts reading his mother's steamy romance novels.
3 The Floating Anniversary
Frankie and Mike's romantic plans for their anniversary are thwarted by a sick Brick, a lovesick Sue, a learner's permit-toting Axl, two crazy aunts and their diaper-wearing dog.
4 The Trip
Meek daughter Sue finally succeeds in doing something right by selling thousands of dollars' worth of sausage and cheese samples for the school, which makes her eligible to travel to the state capitol. But when the school fails to recognize her achievement, Frankie urges her daughter to fight for her right to collect her well-deserved prize. Meanwhile, Brick discovers that love isn't all it's cracked up to be when his first girlfriend proves to be a bit on the bossy side.Meek daughter Sue finally succeeds in doing something right by selling thousands of dollars' worth of sausage and cheese samples for the school, which makes her eligible to travel to the state capitol. But when the school fails to recognize her achievement, Frankie urges her daughter to fight for her right to collect her well-deserved prize. Meanwhile, Brick discovers that love isn't all it's cracked up to be when his first girlfriend proves to be a bit on the bossy side.
5 The Block Party
Brick's teachers tell Frankie and Mike that Brick tested as "socially challenged" -- so Mike thinks basketball is the answer to help Brick interact with others. When that fails, Mike enters the neighborhood block-party lawnmower contest and discovers that Brick has a talent for souping up machines. Meanwhile Frankie joins the booster club to raise money for new football jerseys for Axl's team -- but Axl refuses to give his old one to her.
6 The Front Door
Frankie is caught in the middle when Axl accidentally breaks down the front door, and Mike insists that he fix it -- which could leave the Heck house wide open for days. Meanwhile, Frankie must sell a car within a week or be forced to wear a dog suit outside the lot. And it's school picture time for Sue, who has never had a flattering photo taken of her.
7 The Scratch
When the Heck family goes into a cleaning frenzy in order to get the trash out to a passing garbage truck, Frankie accidentally hits Brick with a beer bottle as she attempts to toss it into a bag - causing a small scratch. But when Brick innocently informs his school that his scratch was caused by his mother throwing a beer bottle at him, a social worker is called to look into the matter - sending Frankie into a panic to give off the image that the Hecks are a picture-perfect family. Meanwhile, Bob must help an uncooperative Mr. Ehlert shoot a new commercial advertising the car lot.
8 Thanksgiving
Frankie's dream of an idyllic family Thanksgiving is thwarted when Mr. Ehlert forces the staff to work on the holiday. Meanwhile, Frankie and Mike approve of a clueless Sue's first boyfriend -- who turns out to be a safe choice -- and a panicked Axl loses Brick in a corn maze.
9 Siblings
Frankie observes what she thinks are the perfect siblings, and it becomes her mission in life to make her kids stop fighting with one another and interact as a loving family. Meanwhile, Mike contemplates firing Aunt Edie after she makes a costly mistake at the quarry.
10 Christmas
While Frankie focuses on rehearsing for a solo in her church's midnight Christmas mass, Mike takes over handling the chores of setting up the Heck family Christmas. But Frankie becomes a bit jealous when it seems that Mike is doing a better job at organizing the holiday than she would have done. Meanwhile, Frankie and Mike try to help Brick overcome a problem in order to get into the holiday spirit.
11 The Jeans
Frankie and Mike must endure the unpredictability of teenagers when a hormonally charged Sue wants a cool pair of jeans in order to fit in with her peers -- and Axl wants a car to impress a girl. Meanwhile, in an attempt to teach Brick about responsibility, Frankie and Mike reluctantly allow him to take care of Aunt Edie and Aunt Ginny's dog Doris for a few days.
12 The Neighbor
Frankie fears that a confrontation with trashy neighbor Rita Glossner (guest star BROOKE SHIELDS) is at hand when Sue has a run-in with her sons. Meanwhile, Axl tries to bribe Brick when he's asked to teach his little brother how to kick a ball for a gym requirement. But it's Brick who turns the tables on Axl and ends up bribing him for another favor.
13 The Interview
Mike's discovery of a dinosaur bone in the quarry causes the plant to get shut down for scientific research -- leaving him out of a job. But Mike begins to feel like a dinosaur himself when he discovers how drastically things have changed technologically over the years in terms of searching for a job. Meanwhile, Frankie feels she must once again come to Brick's rescue when he decides to run for school historian.
14 The Yelling
Frankie vows to stop yelling at and nagging her kids if they agree to follow-through on their schoolwork and chores without her intervention. Meanwhile, Mike reluctantly takes a night job as a driver delivering snack cakes with Bob.
15 Valentine's Day
Valentine's Day unexpectedly finds Frankie and Mike home alone and ready for a romantic evening while Brick is away at his first sleepover, Sue goes to her first boy-girl party, and Axl has a big date night planned with some friends. But Cupid's arrow doesn't exactly hit the target, and the best-laid plans soon begin to unravel.
16 The Bee
When Mike discovers that Brick is a spelling wiz and won the school spelling bee, he puts all of his efforts into training him to win the regional bee, which could ultimately lead to competing in the Scripps Spelling Bee. But as the family gets set for their road trip to Chicago for the regional bee, Frankie and Mike are horrified when they realize they forgot one thing -- Sue's birthday.
17 The Break Up
Frankie and Mike are excited to discover that Axl has found the perfect girlfriend, Morgan (guest star ALEXA VEGA -- Spy Kids), and that he's in love. But just as they start to get used to his new, sunny outlook on life, Morgan does the unthinkable and breaks up with him -- leaving Axl completely heartbroken. Meanwhile, Sue learns that she's not the greatest of babysitters when she's put in charge of watching Brick and freaks him out (as well as herself) by letting him watch a scary movie.
18 The Fun House
Frankie fears her job at the car dealership may be on the line when hardcore motivational consultant Abby (guest star AMY SEDARIS) is hired to whip the sales staff into shape. Meanwhile, with Frankie putting in extra hours at work, Mike has to deal with issues at home, including getting a pool table in order to make the house more fun for Axl and his friends, giving advice to Sue's slightly confused ex-boyfriend, and helping Brick with a school project.
19 The Final Four
Mr. Ehlert takes a liking to Mike and presents him with two tickets to the Final Four -- Mike's dream come true! But when Frankie's uncle passes away and the funeral is set for the day of the game, a battle begins to brew as Frankie forces Mike to choose which life event is most important to him. Meanwhile, Sue attempts to help Brick get out of going to a birthday party by impersonating Frankie over the phone but panics when she realizes that Frankie is going to make a call for real in order to get him out because of the funeral.
20 TV or Not TV
After having their power turned off because they couldn't afford to pay their electric bill on time, Frankie and Mike decide to cut out unnecessary expenses -- starting with their cable TV. But while the kids adapt to the change by doing other activities, Frankie and Mike find themselves not knowing how to fill in the time they used to spend in front of the tube. Meanwhile, Brick and his fellow socially challenged friends are dealt a major blow when the school library is closed during recess, and they are forced into the outside world on the playground with their fellow students.
21 Worry Duty
Frankie is worried that Axl's going to get his heart crushed again when his on-again/off-again girlfriend, Morgan (guest star ALEXA VEGA), re-enters his life and tries to mold him into the man she wants him to be. Meanwhile, Brick learns what it means to be a mother hen when he has to watch over a baby chick for a school science project.
22 Mother's Day
Mother's Day for Frankie is anything but serene when she finds herself doing more for Mike and the kids and less for herself. But Frankie learns that the apple doesn't fall far from the tree when she escapes the family for a few hours to go to her mom's (guest star MARSHA MASON -- The Goodbye Girl, Chapter Two) house and ends up acting like a child by making her wait on her hand-and-foot. Meanwhile, Sue feels guilty when she steals a motivational magnet from a store whose message actually enticed her to shoplift it.
23 Signals
The Heck family BBQ is being planned as spring rolls around, and Mike decides it's time for he and Brick to attempt to be more social at the event when Frankie points out that Mike's own social ineptness was passed on to Brick. Meanwhile, Axl sets out to clean the family pool in order to entice the girls to stop by for a swim ¬-- in their bikinis; and Sue finally finds someone who totally understands her -- church youth group leader Reverend TimTom (guest star PAUL HIPP) -- but upon learning that he may be leaving the parish due to budget cuts, she attempts to raise money to help finance his stay.
24 Average Rules
After attending year-end school parent-teacher conferences, Frankie and Mike are shocked to discover that Brick may be held back from going to the third grade because the school librarian, Mrs. Nethercott (guest star BETTY WHITE), has it out for him due to 31 unreturned books; and Axl's aptitude test results reveal him to be academically gifted. But Frankie makes it her mission to get an overlooked Sue the recognition she deserves when none of her teachers even realize that she's in their classes.

About this show

Emmy® winner Patricia Heaton stars as Frankie Heck in this warm and witty comedy about raising a family and lowering your expectations. Middle-aged, middle class and living in the middle of the country, this harried wife and working mother of three uses her wry wit and sense of humor to try to get her family through each day intact.
2.33K reviews
Ginger Cat
July 24, 2021
I LOVEEE this show sooo much that it's become another obsession of mine. But now i only watch season 1-3. So first of all Frankie reminds me of my mom and Mike reminds me of my dad. So when my mom was watching this I was like, "Seems like an old show she used to watch in the 90s." My mom said I reminded her of Axl the oldest son and my brother reminded her of Brick the youngest. I'm kinda bias about my opinion because I have a huge crush on Sue the daughter.
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Tina C. Lee
March 7, 2016
It's not bad. It's not Friends or Modern Family. But it's not bad. I have to be in the right mood to watch it because Francis (Patricia Heaton) yells and cries and throws tantrums all the time, which sometimes makes me want to reach into the TV and slap her.
54 people found this review helpful
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Judy Chapman
December 19, 2015
My whole family loves this show. We all get together to watch it, and I buy it on my tablet so my kids can both watch it on long, boring car trips. With the purchase of a cheap splitter from Radio Shack, some headphones and this series, long car trips are a silent breeze with constant chuckles and the occasional request for a restroom break.
49 people found this review helpful
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