Friday, May 25, 2018

The End Of The Middle

Before I forget, let's say goodbye to The Middle, which ended its nine-season run on ABC earlier this week.

I didn't watch it for most of its first season, and it took me a bit of time to warm to it when I did, but once I got into it, the show proved to be one of the most consistently entertaining sitcoms of the past decade.  I don't think it was just me--The Middle took a while to figure out what worked and what didn't.  The main cast--i.e., the family--were all good, though, with Eden Sher particularly standing out as the bubbly Sue Heck.

While The Middle was a steady performer, it never got the respect it deserved.  It was the kind of show people take for granted, which may be why in all those years it only got a single Emmy nomination for makeup.

ABC gave them an hour for the finale.  Entitled "A Heck Of A Ride," it was about the family driving Axl to Denver for his new job.  It was sentimental, but not overly so--the characters had their "moments" (something very important to Sue), but the show made sure to keep it funny.

The first half was preparing for the trip, the second half was the drive.  The main plot was Frankie trying to be cool so as not to turn off her son, guaranteeing he'd stay in touch.  Of course, she breaks at the finale's climax.

Then there was the other shoe waiting to drop--Sue and Sean finally got together.  While I was glad to see it, they really dragged it out with one near miss after another over the whole season.

The producers did make one big mistake.  After Frankie's big scene, they decided to show us the kids' futures.  We didn't need to see this--in fact, even if the jokes had been better, we didn't want to see it.  It left rather a sour taste.  We'd rather remember them as they were, not as they will be. Just give the Hecks a nice send-off and move on.

So I'm going to pretend those future flashes were just a bad dream, and have the show end with the family driving down that long road, still in love, but still fighting.


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