The Middle (TV series)

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The Middle
The Middle logo
Genre Sitcom
Working-class comedy
Created by Eileen Heisler
DeAnn Heline
Starring Patricia Heaton
Neil Flynn
Charlie McDermott
Eden Sher
Atticus Shaffer
Chris Kattan
Narrated by Patricia Heaton
Composer(s) Joey Newman
Country of origin United States
Original language(s) English
No. of seasons 7
No. of episodes 152 (list of episodes)
Executive producer(s) DeAnn Heline
Eileen Heisler
Producer(s) Werner Walian
Vijal Patel
Roy Brown
Robin Shorr
Camera setup Single-camera
Running time 30 minutes
Production company(s) Blackie and Blondie Productions
Warner Bros. Television
Distributor Warner Bros. Television Distribution
Original network ABC
Picture format 720p 16:9 (HDTV)
Original release September 30, 2009 (2009-09-30) – present
External links

The Middle is an American sitcom about a working-class family living in Indiana and facing the day-to-day struggles of home life, work, and raising children. The show premiered September 30, 2009 on the ABC network and features Everybody Loves Raymond star Patricia Heaton and Scrubs star Neil Flynn.[1] The Middle was created by former Roseanne and Murphy Brown writers Eileen Heisler and DeAnn Heline of Blackie and Blondie Productions. The show is distributed by Warner Bros. Television Distribution and Blackie and Blondie Productions. The Middle has been well received by television critics and earned numerous award nominations.


Further information: List of The Middle episodes

The series features Frances "Frankie" Heck (Patricia Heaton), a working class, middle-aged, Midwestern[2] woman and her husband Mike (Neil Flynn), who reside in the small fictional town of Orson in Southwest Indiana. They are the parents of three children, Axl (Charlie McDermott), Sue (Eden Sher), and Brick (Atticus Shaffer).[3]

The series is narrated by Frankie, initially an under-performing salesperson at a used-car dealership and later a dental assistant. Her stoic husband Mike manages a local quarry and serves as a stabilizing influence in the family, as Frankie has often complained about his lack of affection at times. The children are quite different from one another: oldest son Axl, a popular but under-motivated and cynical teenager, does well in sports but not in academics; daughter Sue is an enthusiastic young teen but chronically unsuccessful and socially awkward; and youngest son Brick is an intelligent but introverted compulsive reader with odd behavioral traits.

Cast and characters[edit]


  • Patricia Heaton as Frances "Frankie" Heck (née Spence), wife of Mike and mother of Axl, Sue, and Brick. Frankie is the central character in the show, as her voice is heard narrating at various points in every episode. She is a devoted wife and mother and sees family as the most important thing in her life. Her motto, "You do for family", guides her daily routine, despite the frustrations she encounters with her husband and three kids, as well as her older ailing relatives who often depend on her. Frankie attended college but did not finish. She worked as a salesperson at Ehlert Motors, a job she took after losing her position as a dentist's receptionist when the office closed, only to lose her job at Ehlert Motors early in Season 4. She completes dental assisting school, and gets a new job near the end of Season 4. Heaton wore a wig for Seasons 1–4; from Season 5 on, her real hair has been featured.
  • Neil Flynn as Michael "Mike" Heck Jr., Frankie's husband, known for his straightforward manner and emotional stability. Mike works at the local limestone quarry as the manager, and despite his no-nonsense approach to work and family, he is a devoted and understanding husband and father who always seems to come through for Frankie and the kids. It has been said on several occasions that Mike's favorite film is Reservoir Dogs and he only asked Frankie out on a second date because she lied and said she also liked the film. Mike's reclusive, unaffectionate father, "Big Mike" (John Cullum), and Mike's well-meaning, but unreliable and unsuccessful brother Rusty (Norm Macdonald) both live in Orson. In the middle of season 2, the two move in together, as "Big Mike" recovers from a broken hip and Rusty needs a home as he has been living in a tent since his house burned down. When it comes to football, all Mike cares about is seeing the Indianapolis Colts play in the Super Bowl.
  • Charlie McDermott as Axl Redford Heck, who is the oldest son of Frankie and Mike, and cannot be bothered to wear more than boxer shorts most of the time at home. As the elder brother, he is sarcastic, lazy, narcissistic, and selfish to his siblings. However, he has shown flashes of kindness to his family occasionally and is good at heart, which he shows when he deliberately loses a basketball game in an attempt to win back his ex-girlfriend, Morgan. He is frustrating to Frankie, who wishes he would be more open with her, as he was apparently a very loving "momma's boy" when he was a child, something Frankie seems to want to re-capture. It is revealed in Season 3 that Axl is two years older than Sue as he starts his junior year at high school while Sue starts her freshman year. Mike has said that Axl is his favorite child. He has gone to prom twice with Weird Ashley (Katlin Mastandrea), an outcast at his school, both times accidentally inviting her. Axl gets another girlfriend in Season 4 named Cassidy, who tutors him after Sue runs over his foot and breaks it while learning to drive. Axl and Cassidy later break up in "Hallelujah Hoedown". As a running back on his high school football team, he was recruited by a Division II state college in Indiana. After being a star player in high school, Axl has thus far been a bench warmer in college. He plays the electric guitar, and it's presumed that he was named after Guns N' Roses frontman Axl Rose.
  • Eden Sher as Sue Sue Heck, socially awkward teen middle daughter of Frankie and Mike whose genuine nature, bubbly personality, and persistent sunny optimism tend to make her an object of ridicule, especially by her elder brother. Despite her best efforts, she is usually unrecognized by teachers and other students, and snubbed by her peers. Many of her plot lines involve her being overlooked, or trying to organize parties or events and receiving no help. In season 1, she is not pictured in the yearbook despite having her picture taken three times, and she finds her favorite teacher has no memory of her at all. (She is eventually placed in the yearbook, but in the section reserved for students who died, with the caption reading: "In Loving Memory of Sue Heck, Gone Too Soon.") She wears braces on her teeth, which were briefly removed in season 3, but it was determined that they over-corrected her condition. She had them removed at the beginning of Season 6, needing only a retainer. She is also left-handed, apparently the only southpaw in her immediate family. She is two years behind Axl in school, graduating high school in the season 6 finale. She is known for trying out for almost everything but never actually getting picked, because she is always terrible. In season 2, she joins the no-cut cross country team by heroically going around the track five times on crutches because she was hit by a deer the day before. She becomes a "wrestlerette" in season 3 (which turns out to be a group of fellow misfits) and dates a wrestler named Matt for a short time. In season 4, she dates Axl's friend Darrin. She is engaged to Darrin for three days in season 6, before deciding she doesn't want to get married yet and ending their relationship. The season 3 episode "Leap Year" reveals she was a leap day baby, but then she had her 16th birthday the following season (season 4, episode 17, "Wheels of Pain").
  • Atticus Shaffer as Brick Heck, youngest of Mike and Frankie's children. He loves to read and has a case of palilalia, which is demonstrated by his repeating words from previous sentences to himself in a whisper. In season 1 episode 5, it is revealed that he possesses an eidetic memory. He is smarter than most teenagers, having read Of Mice and Men, a book his elder brother is struggling with at the same time. He also loves the "Planet Nowhere" series, which is native to the show, and the real-life Percy Jackson & the Olympians. He has referred to Diary of a Wimpy Kid as "the book that changed my life". He is exceptionally intelligent but easily distracted, leading him to procrastinate on doing his homework assignments and projects (it is loosely implied that he may perhaps have Asperger's syndrome). Brick is a known gephyrophobiac and is fascinated with fonts. Due to his awkwardness, he struggles to make friends. In season 2, he befriends an equally awkward boy named Arlo, whom even Brick struggles to deal with. He is five years behind Sue in school, starting the eighth grade in the seventh season. In season 2 Episode 7, it is revealed that he was accidentally switched at birth with another baby due to Mike watching a football game and taking home a child that the nurse brought up next to Brick, and he spent a month with that child's family while the other baby was with the Hecks.

Recurring characters[edit]

  • Bob (Chris Kattan) is Frankie's co-worker and friend at her Ehlert Motors job. He is an insecure man who lives with his mother and doesn't seem to have any friends. He was a part of the main cast in the first two seasons. Since then, he only was recurring in season 3 and made one appearance in Seasons 4 and 5 (the latter when Frankie rushes out to work but accidentally goes to Ehlert Motors). The role of Bob was significantly reduced after Frankie was fired from Ehlert Motors.
  • Don Ehlert (Brian Doyle-Murray) is the racist and misogynistic owner of the car dealership where Frankie used to work, and where Bob presumably still works. Frankie and Bob constantly worry that he is going to fire them. Ehlert's wife left him when he chose work over her, and Frankie was first sympathetic but later turned angry. He often drinks at work. Elhert, like Mike, likes sports. As with Bob, appearances by the Mr. Ehlert character were significantly reduced after Frankie was fired from Ehlert Motors.
  • Edie and Ginny Freehold (Jeanette Miller and Frances Bay) are Frankie's elderly aunts who are heavy smokers and drinkers. Aunt Edie used to work in Mike's quarry as the bookkeeper, often showing signs of memory loss. One such occasion is when they went to a funeral for Edie and Ginny's brother, and Aunt Edie thought it was her birthday. Aunt Ginny uses a wheelchair and rarely talks. They have a sickly Basset Hound named Doris. On many occasions, Frankie is forced to care for Doris unexpectedly; on one such occasion, Doris gave birth to puppies. In the season 3 episode "The Map", which premiered in early 2012, Aunt Ginny dies. (The actress who portrayed her, Frances Bay, had died in real life.) Brick's elderly friend, Grandma Dot, then moves in with Edie to take care of her. In the early 2015 episode, "Hecks on a Train", Aunt Edie has just died and the Hecks are left to care for Doris.
  • Brad Bottig (Brock Ciarlelli) is Sue's flamboyant, theater-loving, tap dancing and slightly camp ex-boyfriend, who is on the high school wrestling team. They "date" during Thanksgiving (Season 1), but shortly broke up when Sue found out Brad has a smoking habit. Brad and Sue have remained good friends despite their breakup, and she remains seemingly unaware of his obvious, if stereotypical, homosexual behavior. From Season 5 onwards, Brad seems to be Sue's closest friend. In Season 7, Brad prepares to tell Sue about his secret, but, for reasons unexplained, she states that she knows and shows him love and support about it. In some episodes, he feigns interest in other girls such as Sue's friend, Carly.
  • Carly (Blaine Saunders) is Sue's best friend. She began in season 1 as a geeky character, wearing glasses and braces. Her braces were removed mid-season 1, and she became more popular as a result. Sue seems to be jealous, if only subconsciously, and wears makeup which her family finds garish. From season 2 onwards, Carly has reverted to a more geeky look. Carly only made one appearance in Season 5, in episode 14 ("The Award"). She also only made one appearance in Season 6, in the episode "A Quarry Story".
  • Nancy Donahue (Jen Ray) is the Hecks' neighbor and president of the booster club. The Donahues are portrayed as the idyllic family Frankie yearns to be like. From Season 5, Episode 4 ("The 100th"), Nancy and Frankie's friendship has waned a little, mainly because Nancy overheard Mike and Frankie talking about her.
  • Sean Donahue (Beau Wirick) is one of Axl's best friends, teammate on the football team, and Nancy Donahue's only son. He is helpful, polite, and friendly, which makes him outwardly the opposite of Axl; that said, he always supports everything Axl does. In season 2, Sue develops a crush on Sean, but eventually ends the one-way relationship. In season 5, Sean came back from college to take Sue to prom upon learning that she had no date, but by the time he arrived, Sue had made plans to go with Darrin. Similarly, he often makes the half-day drive home from college (at the request of his mother) to help the Hecks when there is a crisis, only to find out that the crisis is resolved by the time he gets there. He made three appearances in Season 6 in the episodes, "The College Tour," "The Christmas Wall" and "Food Courting."
  • Darrin McGrew (John Gammon) is Axl's other best friend and teammate. Darrin is the most passive and simple of Axl's friends, often landing himself, Sean, and Axl in problematic situations. In season 3, he takes Sue to the prom because of her "sunny disposition" and explained to Axl that he (Darrin) just wanted to go with someone and dance. In season 4, Darrin takes Sue to a Valentine's Day dance after her date cancels; and when tidying up in the hall after the dance they share a kiss. Later Darrin confides that he wants to continue dating Sue, which angers Axl. However, near the end of season 4, Sue breaks up with him after he accidentally punched her in the face while she was trying to break up a fight between him and Axl. After high school, Darrin enrolls in a heating and air conditioning repair school. In season 5, Sue feels like the breakup was a mistake and realizes that they only broke up because Axl was being so weird about it, and seeing as Axl had gone off to college Sue felt like she didn't have to live her life for Axl any more. So she gains a renewed interest in Darrin until she sees that he has a new girlfriend (Angel). Darrin later decides that his current girlfriend is too high-maintenance and he brings flowers to Sue, only to see her being kissed by Derrick Glossner. Despite a series of misunderstandings, the two ultimately reconnect at Sue's prom in season 5, and become a couple again. He proposes to Sue in the 6th season, and under pressure, she accepts. (In this episode, Darrin's last name is revealed to be McGrew, after Axl jokes that Sue's married name would be Sue Sue McGrew.) After realizing she doesn't want to be married yet, Sue breaks off the engagement with him three days later.
  • Paula Norwood (Julie Brown) is another of the Hecks' neighbors. She serves as somewhat of a counterpoint to the idyllic Nancy Donahue in that her life and family is depicted as being similar to Frankie's, having a lot of the same issues.
  • Michael "Big Mike" Heck Sr. (John Cullum) is Mike's reclusive, man-of-few-words father. He appears to be an unloving, uncaring parent, but this is primarily because he simply does not want to be a "bother" for either of his sons. He is also a bit of a hoarder. In Season 6 "Big Mike" and Axl fixed the Heck's kitchen sink, which they both bonded more afterwards.
  • Orville "Rusty" Heck (Norm Macdonald) is Mike's unreliable, silly brother. He often makes up excuses why he can't be anywhere or do anything Mike asks him to do. He once took Brick out of school to bowl and to teach him how to drive, even though he was not old enough or ready. It is revealed in the season 3 finale that his real first name is Orville. In the season 3 finale the Heck's get an invitation to his wedding but it says the wedding is happening at their house. Rusty marries a woman called Marlene, but in season 5 when Marlene invites herself to Thanksgiving at the Heck's house, Rusty tells them that they got a divorce because she slept with his best friend. Rusty appears later in season 5 and is homeless (again). He ends up moving in with the Hecks, and accompanies Mike and Brick to Brick's spelling bee in Chicago, where Rusty makes a deal with Brick to lose so that he (Rusty) can win some money on a bet he made. In Season 7, Rusty comes up with a business idea that Mike shockingly thinks might work, and the two start a side business together.
  • Pat Spence (Marsha Mason) is Frankie's mother. Pat has appeared in every season so far. Her first appearance was in season 1 episode 22 Mother's Day. Her latest appearance was in season 6, episode 23 ("Mother's Day Reservations").
  • Tag Spence (Jerry Van Dyke) is Frankie's father. Tag has appeared in every season except for season 1. Tag is a schmoozer and always talks to Mike endlessly, which Mike finds very uncomfortable and annoying. In season 4 Tag calls Mike to meet up at a Stuckey's restaurant, to have man to man-chats every Sunday. After a couple of meetings, Mike decides he just can't possibly stand to do it any longer, so he suggests that Tag should try chatting with people on Facebook. Tag's latest appearance was in season 6, episode 21 ("Two of a Kind"). The episode reveals a longstanding feud between Tag and his brother Dutch (played by Jerry Van Dyke's real-life brother Dick Van Dyke), which is mostly fueled by Tag's jealousy, and Mike and Frankie end up trying to resolve it.
  • Alan Hung (Kenny Ridwan) is the Computer hacking, genius friend of Axl Heck who did a favor for Axl after telling him his sister's password.
  • Reverend Timothy "Tim-Tom" Thomas (Paul Hipp), is a youth minister whom Sue deeply admires. He surprised Sue by remembering her name after only having met her once, and always seems to appear just as Sue needs help the most. He is known for frequently playing his acoustic guitar and making almost anything into a song. He plays guitar with Axl on one occasion when encouraging him to do the right thing. In season 5, Reverend Tim-Tom gets a girlfriend (Reverend Tammy, played by Casey Wilson). Sue takes a disliking to Tammy and isn't sure how to tell Reverend Tim-Tom, but Sue changes her mind about Tammy after the two talk.
  • Rita Glossner (Brooke Shields) is the Hecks' uncouth and troubled neighbor. She is the single parent of three boys, as she had kicked the boys' father out of the house some years ago. The Glossners appear to be the only family on the block that is worse off financially than the Hecks. Rita often shows her disdain for the Hecks' higher status, even calling Frankie a "one-percenter" in the Season 7 episode, "Halloween VI: Tick Tock Death".
  • Derrick Glossner (David Chandler), Wade Glossner (Parker Bolek), and Little Glossner (Gibson Bobby Sjobeck) make up the dreaded Glossner boys, Rita's children. They are neighborhood bullies who used to terrorize Sue and Brick. In the first season, Sue and Carly attempt to fight the two older Glossner boys via a dance routine set to "Kung Fu Fighting". In the fifth season, Derrick reveals he has a crush on Sue and unexpectedly kisses her multiple times. Despite describing her as a "rich girl" with "one dad and two different kinds of chips" (and thus out of his league), he vows to better himself and come back for her someday.
  • Zack (Andrew J. Fishman) is Brick's friend from the socially challenged class. He has a tendency to behave like a cat. Zack has not appeared in the show since season 3.
  • Pete Miller (Peter Breitmayer) is Ehlert Motors' best salesman and star employee, and he is not afraid to tell everyone about it. Pete often brags about his success at Frankie and Bob's expense, putting them down about how little they contribute to the business while attempting to impress Mr. Ehlert.
  • Morgan (Alexa Vega) is Axl's ex-girlfriend in Season 1, whom Frankie takes an instant liking to due to her straight As and talent in multiple areas. However, after she breaks Axl's heart time and time again, Frankie eventually explodes with anger and throws a beanbag at Morgan during a birthday party.
  • Matt (Moisés Arias), a boy on the wrestling team at Sue and Axl's school who likes Sue; he becomes Sue's first real boyfriend but eventually ends the relationship after moving away and falling for another girl. In season 4, Matt asks Sue to the school Valentine's Day dance because he broke up with his girlfriend Sherrie. He later calls Sue at the last minute to say that he and Sherrie got back together, and he is no longer taking her to the dance. This paves the way for Darrin to swoop in and save the day for Sue.
  • Ashley "Weird Ashley" Wyman (Katlin Mastandrea) is Axl's weird classmate who has twice been his accidental date to prom. She is also on Sue's wrestlerette team. She has a keen interest in wizards, although she has never heard of Harry Potter. At their third prom together, Ashley is not Axl's date but dances with him when he's announced as prom king, as Axl and his date Cassidy had broken up only a few moments before the announcement. Axl is known to have a hatred towards her as he still regrets sending a text message about going to a prom with her. In season 5, Ashley invites Sue to hang with her at prom, as they are both there without dates, while Frankie's voice-over chides: "It wouldn't be prom if a Heck wasn't accompanied by Weird Ashley." In season 6, Ashley appears in Axl's dorm building out of nowhere, announcing she has transferred to East Indiana State because of their hotel management program. She tells Devin Levin that Axl was her boyfriend, which Axl of course vehemently denies.
  • Ruth (Grace Bannon) is a member of Sue's wrestlerette team, depicted as an extreme religious conservative, often referencing "the rapture". Unlike the other wrestlerettes, Ruth wears an ankle-length skirt.
  • Courtney and Debbie (Brittany Ross and Natalie Lander) are cheerleaders in Axl and Sue's high school who date Axl as one. Because the two are inseparable, Axl struggles to figure out which one is his real girlfriend and which one is just hanging out with the other. He makes a calculated guess that Courtney is his girlfriend and kisses her, which causes both girls to slap him and break up with him. They perpetually overlook Sue, often thinking she is a new exchange student, and later calling her a freshman during her senior year.
  • Mrs. Tompkins (Krista Braun) is Brick's social skills mentor and guidance counselor.
  • Dr. Fulton (Dave Foley) is the school therapist that works with Mrs. Tompkins. He is an odd character who helps Brick bond with his peers and try to fit in more at school, While he is obsessed with his ex-wife Shelly, who he mentions nearly every time Brick talks to him for "help".
  • Principal Barker (Rachel Dratch) is Brick's Middle School Principal. She has only appeared in the fifth season, for two episodes.
  • Arlo (Nick Shafer) is a friend Brick meets during the second season. He has an obsession with keeping everything on a schedule and takes frequent and lengthy bathroom breaks in the episode "Mother's Day II" when he is accompanying the Hecks to Brown County. He does not show up in the third or fourth season, although in "Year of the Hecks", he is mentioned.
  • Coach Tink Babbitt (Brooke Dillman) is a physical education teacher and detention monitor at Orson High.
  • Dr. Ted Goodwin (Jack McBrayer) is the dentist who hires Frankie as a hygienist in season 4. He has few friends, and Frankie is forced to spend time with him after work in "The Jump" (season 5).[4]
  • Cassidy Finch (Galadriel Stineman) is Axl's girlfriend in season 4. She met Axl when he was trying to boost his grades and needed a tutor. They didn't get along very well in their first session, but then Axl kissed her and soon found out she had a boyfriend. She later broke up with her old boyfriend to be with Axl. Late in season 4, Cassidy's ex-boyfriend returns, putting tension between Axl and Cassidy for a while before they come back together. They break up in the episode "Hallelujah Hoedown", after Cassidy reveals she is going away in three weeks for an internship program and that they will be in different colleges anyway come September. They begin speaking again in "The Award" (season 5), after Cassidy leaves an embarrassing message on Axl's voicemail. After a brief reconnection during spring break, Cassidy breaks up with Axl again, saying it isn't fair to either of them to pursue a relationship while being 800 miles apart.
  • Kenny (Tommy Bechtold) is Axl's college roommate who does nothing but play World of Warcraft. He is mostly shown from behind as he sits at his computer. His face was shown briefly at the end of the season 5 episode "The Kiss". In an episode of season 6 ("The Table") Axl and Hutch move out of the dorm and into a rental house, but realize they can't afford it on their own. They look up Kenny and invite him to be their roommate, too, as he apparently is reliable in paying bills and rent. Kenny speaks on-screen for the first time (and his face is shown again) in the Season 7 episode "Halloween VI: Tick Tock Death".
  • Hutch (Alphonso McAuley) is Axl's football teammate, best friend and eventual roommate at college.
  • Devin Levin (Gia Mantegna) is a relative of Frankie's hairdresser who was only an acquaintance of Axl's in the past. In season 6, he notices how she has blossomed and that they share many interests, and they begin dating. The two briefly break up when Devin notices that Axl still has her listed as "Uggo from Idaho" in his cell phone contacts, But they got back together later on.
  • Cindy (Casey Burke) is a classmate of Brick's who becomes his sort-of girlfriend in season 6. Though she's about a head taller than Brick, she's very odd like him. She always wears a safari hat.

Development and production[edit]

The series was originally developed in the 2006–07 development cycle and was to star Ricki Lake as Frankie.[3] Atticus Shaffer was the only actor to retain his role when the show was re-developed.[5] The series was created by Eileen Heisler and DeAnn Heline (who is from Muncie, Indiana)[6] and the pilot was directed by Julie Anne Robinson.

Though based on Jasper, Indiana, Orson is actually a studio lot in Los Angeles. Set director Julie Fanton shops at Target and Kohl's so the show appears to have a realistic middle-class look.[6]

The series was picked up for a full season of 24 episodes after airing just two episodes.[7] On January 12, 2010, ABC Entertainment President Steve McPherson announced that he was renewing The Middle for a second season.[8][9] The third season premiered with a one-hour episode on September 21, 2011. On May 10, 2012, ABC renewed the show for a fourth season,[10] which premiered with a one-hour special on September 26, 2012. The show was renewed for a fifth season on May 10, 2013. ABC confirmed on May 9, 2014 that the series was picked up for a sixth season of 22 episodes,[11] and officially ordered an additional two episodes in October of that year, bringing the season six total to 24.

On May 8, 2015, ABC officially picked up the series for a seventh season, renewing the contracts of the main cast at the same time.


Critical reception[edit]

Season Critical response
Rotten Tomatoes Rotten Tomatoes – Audience Score Metacritic
1 74% (19 reviews)[12] 82% (42 reviews)[12] 70 (25 reviews)[13]
2 N/A 84% (27 reviews)[14] N/A
3 N/A 87% (24 reviews)[15] N/A
4 100% (5 reviews)[16] 76% (27 reviews)[16] N/A
5 N/A 81% (71 reviews)[17] N/A
6 N/A 80% (50 reviews)[18] N/A
7 N/A 80% (8 reviews)[19] N/A

The show has received positive reviews from critics. It holds a score of 71 on the review aggregator website Metacritic as of April 1, 2011.[20] Critics praise the show's realistic look at the middle class, its good timing, writing, and acting, with Robert Bianco of USA Today saying, "...This series seems to more assuredly offer a first-class version of what so many viewers say they want: a humorous, heartfelt, realistic look at middle-class, middle-America family life."[21] The praise has been, so far, consistent, with Entertainment Weekly‍ '​s Ken Tucker saying that, in season two, The Middle continues to be "...a rock-solid show, the saga of a family struggling to keep their heads above the choppy economic waters..."[22] In the 2009–2010 season, The Middle ranked number six on Metacritic's "Best Reviewed New Network Show" list.[23] Airing behind the quickly cancelled Hank during its first season, ratings were not impressive at first. At the beginning of the 2010/2011 season, ABC moved the show to 8:00pm and ratings increased substantially, with the show usually ranking second in its time slot to CBS's Survivor.


Season Timeslot (ET) Episodes Premiered Ended TV season Rank Viewers
(in millions)
Date Premiere viewers
(in millions)
18–49 rating Date Finale viewers
(in millions)
18–49 rating
1 Wednesday 8:30 pm
September 30, 2009
8.71[24] 2.6[24]
May 19, 2010
7.55[25] 2.5[25] 2009–2010 No. 65[26] 6.90[26]
2 Wednesday 8:00 pm
September 22, 2010
8.81[27] 2.7[27]
May 25, 2011
7.33[28] 2.2[28] 2010–2011 No. 56[29] 8.11[29]
September 21, 2011
9.74[30] 3.1[30]
May 23, 2012
6.52[31] 2.0[31] 2011–2012 No. 64[32] 8.08[32]
September 26, 2012
9.16[33] 2.9[33]
May 22, 2013
7.70[34] 2.0[34] 2012–2013 No. 48[35] 8.40[35]
September 25, 2013
8.94[36] 2.5[36]
May 21, 2014
7.85[37] 2.1[37] 2013–2014 No. 44[38] 8.24[38]
September 24, 2014
7.59[39] 2.2[39]
May 13, 2015
7.03[40] 1.8[40] 2014–2015 No. 53[41] 8.68[41]
7 24[42]
September 23, 2015
8.21[43] 2.1[43] 2015–2016

The season 3 episode "Halloween II" was the most watched episode so far, viewed by 10.16 million viewers.[44]

Awards and nominations[edit]

In 2011, The Middle received a Gracie Award for Outstanding Comedy Series.[45] The 1st Critics' Choice Television Awards nominated the series for Best Comedy Series, Patricia Heaton for Best Actress in a Comedy Series, and Eden Sher for Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series.

Year Award Category Recipients and nominees Outcome
2010 Young Artist Award[46] Best Recurring Young Actor 14 and Over Brock Ciarlelli Nominated
Best Recurring Young Actress Eden Sher Nominated
Humanitas Prize 30 Minute Category Episode: "The Block Party" Nominated
2011 Gracie Award[47] Outstanding Comedy Series Won
1st Critics' Choice Television Awards[48] Best Comedy Series Nominated
Best Actress in a Comedy Series Patricia Heaton Nominated
Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series Eden Sher Nominated
Young Artist Award[49] Best Guest Starring Young Actor Ten and Under Parker Contreras Won
Mason Cook Nominated
Best Recurring Young Actor Brock Ciarlelli Won
Best Guest Starring Young Actress 11–15 Kelly Heyer Nominated
Best Recurring Young Actress 17–21 Blaine Saunders Nominated
Outstanding Young Ensemble in a TV Series Eden Sher, Atticus Shaffer, and Charlie McDermott Nominated
2012 2nd Critics' Choice Television Awards[50] Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series Eden Sher Nominated
1st PAAFTJ Television Awards[51] Best Comedy Series Nominated
Best Actress in a Comedy Series Patricia Heaton (Episode: "Thanksgiving III") Won
Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series Eden Sher (Episode: "The Test") Nominated
Best Production Design in a Comedy Series Episode: "The Map" Nominated
Young Artist Award[52] Best Recurring Young Actor 17–21 Brock Ciarlelli Won
Best Guest Starring Young Actress 17–21 Katlin Mastandrea Nominated
Best Guest Starring Young Actress Ten and Under Marlowe Peyton Nominated
Primetime Emmy Award[53] Outstanding Makeup for a Single-Camera Series (Non-Prosthetic) Episode: "The Play" Nominated
Humanitas Prize 30 Minute Category Episode: "The Map" Nominated
2013 Young Artist Award[54] Best Recurring Young Actor 17–21 Brock Ciarlelli Won
Best Recurring Young Actress 17–21 Katlin Mastandrea Nominated
3rd Critics' Choice Television Awards[55] Best Comedy Series Nominated
Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy Eden Sher Won
2013 Teen Choice Awards[56] Choice TV Female Scene Stealer Eden Sher Nominated
TV Guide Award Favorite Comedy Series Nominated
2nd PAAFTJ Television Awards[57] Best Comedy Series Nominated
Best Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series Charlie McDermott Nominated
Best Artistic/Visual Achievement in a Comedy Series Episode: "Hallelujah Hoedown" Nominated
EWwy Awards[58] Best Actor in a Comedy Series Neil Flynn Nominated
2014 Young Artist Award[59] Best Recurring Young Actor 17–21 Brock Ciarelli Nominated
Best Recurring Young Actress 17–21 Katlin Mastandrea Nominated
EWwy Awards[60] Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series Eden Sher Won
2015 5th Critics' Choice Television Awards Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series Eden Sher Nominated


On March 6, 2012, it was announced that ABC Family obtained the rights to The Middle, which began airing the series in September 9, 2013.[61]

Hallmark Channel also acquired The Middle for syndication, which began airing in March 2014.[62] In addition, the series debuted in local syndication on September 16, 2013.[63]

DVD distribution[edit]

In region 1, Seasons 1-4 have had an official release, with seasons 5 & 6 having only been released as a DVD-R through Distribution for Region 4 has now ended, and only Seasons 1-4 are available.

The Complete First Season[64]
Set details Special features
  • Raising a Sitcom Family
  • Sue's Best Shots
  • Unaired scenes
  • Gag reel
Release Dates
Region 1 Region 2 Region 4
August 31, 2010 September 12, 2011 January 13, 2011
The Complete Second Season[65]
Set details Special features
  • 24 episodes
  • 3-disc set
  • 1.78:1 aspect ratio
  • Languages:
    • English (Dolby Digital 5.1, with subtitles)
    • Português subtitles
    • Français subtitles
    • Español subtitles
    • Chinese subtitles
  • Unaired scenes
  • Gag reel
Release Dates
Region 1 Region 2 Region 4
September 20, 2011 November 5, 2012 October 6, 2011
The Complete Third Season[66]
Set details Special features
  • 24 episodes
  • 3-disc set
  • 1.78:1 aspect ratio
  • Languages:
    • English (Dolby Digital 5.1, with subtitles)
    • Português subtitles
    • Français subtitles
    • Español subtitles
    • Chinese subtitles
  • Unaired scenes
  • Gag reel
Release Dates
Region 1 Region 2 Region 4
October 8, 2013 December 21, 2013 May 28, 2014
The Complete Fourth Season[67]
Set details Special features
  • 24 episodes
  • 3-disc set
  • 1.78:1 aspect ratio
  • Languages:
    • English (Dolby Digital 5.1, with subtitles)
    • Português subtitles
    • Français subtitles
    • Español subtitles
    • Chinese subtitles
  • Unaired scenes
  • Gag reel
Release Dates
Region 1 Region 2 Region 4
February 25, 2014 September 1, 2014 May 28, 2014
The Complete Fifth Season[68]
Set details Special features
  • None
Release Dates
Region 1 Region 2 Region 4
October 7, 2014


The Middle premiered in the US on September 30, 2009 on ABC and in Canada on City. In Australia, the show premiered on December 7, 2009 on Nine Network. The New Zealand premiere was on May 8, 2010 on TV2. In India, the show premiered on January 5, 2015 on Romedy Now. In the UK it premiered on August 29, 2010 on Sky1. Season 5 premiered on Comedy Central, UK on January 21, 2014 and in Ireland on April 16, 2014 on TV3. It has also been adapted in Hindi on Reliance Broadcast Network comedy channel BIG MAGIC as Tedi Medi Family.


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  2. ^ hulu summary is "Middle-aged, middle class and living in the middle of the country"
  3. ^ a b "ABC Puts Patricia Heaton in 'The Middle'". Zap2it. November 19, 2008. Archived from the original on January 17, 2010. Retrieved 2010-01-17. 
  4. ^ Roots, Kimberly (February 15, 2013). "Exclusive: ABC’s The Middle Recruits 30 Rock‘s Jack McBrayer for Toothsome Arc". TV Line. Retrieved February 16, 2013. 
  5. ^ "Shows A-Z – middle, the (2007 version) on abc –". 
  6. ^ a b Thomlison, Adam. "Q&A". TV Media. Retrieved August 25, 2015. 
  7. ^ Abrams, Natalie (October 8, 2009). "ABC Picks Up Cougar Town, Modern Family and The Middle". Archived from the original on January 17, 2010. Retrieved 2010-01-17. 
  8. ^ Porter, Rick (January 12, 2010). ""Modern Family", "Cougar Town", "The Middle" Picked Up". Archived from the original on January 15, 2010. Retrieved 2010-01-17. 
  9. ^ Nellie Andreeva and James Hibberd (January 12, 2010). "ABC bringing back 'Modern Family', 'Cougar Town'". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 2010-02-06. [dead link]
  10. ^ Mitovich, Matt (May 10, 2012). "ABC Renews Once Upon a Time, Revenge, Grey's, Castle and Three Wednesday Comedies". TV Line. Retrieved May 11, 2012. 
  11. ^
  12. ^ a b "The Middle: Season 1". September 30, 2009. 
  13. ^ "The Middle". Metacritic. 
  14. ^ "The Middle: Season 2". September 22, 2010. 
  15. ^ "The Middle: Season 3". September 21, 2011. 
  16. ^ a b "The Middle: Season 4". September 26, 2012. 
  17. ^ "The Middle: Season 5". September 25, 2013. 
  18. ^ "The Middle: Season 6". September 24, 2014. 
  19. ^ "The Middle: Season 7". September 23, 2015. 
  20. ^ "The Middle – Season 1 Reviews, Ratings, Credits and More". Metacritic. Retrieved May 11, 2012. 
  21. ^ Bianco, Robert (October 6, 2010). "These TV series are back, but are they better than ever?". Usatoday.Com. Retrieved 2012-02-08. 
  22. ^ Ken Tucker (January 20, 2011). "The Middle Review | TV Reviews and News". Retrieved 2012-02-08. 
  23. ^ "Best and Worst TV Shows of the 2009–2010 Season". Metacritic. Retrieved 2012-02-08. 
  24. ^ a b Seidman, Robert (October 1, 2009). "Glee rises to a 3.3, Criminal Minds to a 3.8; Eastwick drops to a 2.3 in finals". TV by the Numbers. Retrieved June 23, 2011. 
  25. ^ a b Seidman, Robert (May 20, 2010). "TV Ratings Wednesday: Good Guys Off To Bad Start; Idol Down". TV by the Numbers. Retrieved June 23, 2010. 
  26. ^ a b Gorman, Bill (June 16, 2010). "Final 2009–10 Broadcast Primetime Show Average Viewership". TV by the Numbers. Retrieved July 29, 2010.
  27. ^ a b Seidman, Robert (September 23, 2010). "Wednesday Finals: ‘The Middle,’ ‘Modern Family,’ ‘Cougar Town,’ ‘Undercovers’ All See Small Gains". TV by the Numbers. Retrieved September 23, 2010. 
  28. ^ a b Gorman, Bill (May 26, 2011). "Wednesday Final Ratings: 'American Idol,' 'Modern Family' Adjusted Up; 'Law & Order: LA,' 'Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior' Adjusted Down". TV by the Numbers. Retrieved May 26, 2011. 
  29. ^ a b "2010–11 Season Broadcast Primetime Show Viewership Averages – Ratings | TVbytheNumbers". June 1, 2011. Retrieved 2012-02-08. 
  30. ^ a b Seidman, Robert (September 22, 2011). "Wednesday Final Ratings: 'The X Factor,' 'Modern Family,' 'The Middle,' And Others Adjusted Up; 'Revenge' Adjusted Down". TV by the Numbers. Retrieved September 23, 2011. 
  31. ^ a b "Wednesday Final Ratings: ‘Idol’, ‘Modern Family’, & ‘SVU’ Adjusted Up, ‘Apt 23′ Adjusted Down – Ratings –". TVbytheNumbers. 
  32. ^ a b Gorman, Bill (May 24, 2012). "Complete List Of 2011–12 Season TV Show Viewership: 'Sunday Night Football' Tops, Followed By 'American Idol,' 'NCIS' & 'Dancing With The Stars'". TV by the Numbers. Retrieved May 25, 2012. 
  33. ^ a b "Wednesday Final Ratings: ‘X Factor’, ‘Survivor’, ‘The Middle’ Adjusted Up, ‘The Neighbors’ Adjusted Down – Ratings –". TVbytheNumbers. 
  34. ^ a b "Wednesday Final Ratings: 'MasterChef', 'Modern Family', 'Criminal Minds' & 'Law & Order: SVU' Adjusted Up; 'How To Live With Your Parents' Adjusted Down". TVbytheNumbers. May 23, 2013. Retrieved May 23, 2013. 
  35. ^ a b Bibel, Sara (May 29, 2013). "Complete List Of 2012–13 Season TV Show Viewership: 'Sunday Night Football' Tops, Followed By 'NCIS,' 'The Big Bang Theory' & 'NCIS: Los Angeles'". Retrieved May 30, 2013. 
  36. ^ a b "Wednesday Final Ratings: 'The Middle', 'Modern Family' and 'Survivor' Adjusted Up; 'Nashville' & 'CSI' Adjusted Down". TV by the Numbers. September 26, 2013. Retrieved September 26, 2013. 
  37. ^ a b "Wednesday Final Ratings: 'Survivor', 'The Middle' & 'Modern Family' Adjusted Up; 'Survivor' Reunion Adjusted Down". TVbytheNumbers. May 22, 2014. Retrieved May 22, 2014. 
  38. ^ a b "Full 2013–2014 TV Season Series Rankings". Deadline. May 22, 2014. 
  39. ^ a b Kondolojy, Amanda (September 25, 2014). "Wednesday Final Ratings: 'The Middle', 'The Goldbergs', 'Modern Family', 'Law and Order: SVU', & 'Red Band Society' Adjusted Up". TV by the Numbers. Retrieved September 25, 2014. 
  40. ^ a b Bibel, Sara (May 14, 2015). "Wednesday Final Ratings: 'Law & Order: SVU', 'Survivor, 'The Middle' & 'American Idol' Adjusted Up; 'Supernatural', 'black-ish' & 'Nashville' Adjusted Down". TV by the Numbers. Retrieved May 14, 2015. 
  41. ^ a b de Moraes, Lisa (May 21, 2015). "Full 2014–15 Series Rankings". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved June 5, 2015. 
  42. ^ Andreeva, Nellie (November 17, 2015). "ABC Ups Orders For 'Middle', 'Goldbergs', 'Blackish', and 'FOTB', 'Modern Family' next". Deadline. Retrieved November 17, 2015. 
  43. ^ a b Kondolojy, Amanda (September 24, 2015). "Wednesday Final Ratings: 'Survivor', 'Modern Family' & 'Law and Order: SVU' Adjusted Up; 'Nashville' Adjusted Down". TV by the Numbers. Retrieved September 24, 2015. 
  44. ^ List of The Middle episodes[better source needed]
  45. ^ "2011 Gracie Awards Winners". The Gracies. Retrieved 2012-02-08. 
  46. ^ "31st Annual Young Artist Awards – Nominations / Special Awards". Young Artist Awards. Retrieved May 11, 2013. 
  47. ^ "2011 Gracie Awards Winners". The Gracies. Retrieved May 11, 2013. 
  48. ^ "Nominations for First Critics’ Choice Television Awards Include MODERN FAMILY, THE WALKING DEAD, GAME OF THRONES and More". Collider. Retrieved May 11, 2013. 
  49. ^ "33rd Annual Young Artist Awards – Nominations / Special Awards". Young Artist Awards. Retrieved May 11, 2013. 
  50. ^ "Critics’ Choice Television Awards Announces Nominations". Critics Choice. Retrieved May 11, 2013. 
  51. ^ "PAAFTJ Television Awards winners announced: "Community" and "Breaking Bad" earn top honors". tvbythenumbers. Retrieved May 11, 2013. 
  52. ^ "33rd Annual Young Artist Awards – Nominations / Special Awards". Young Artist Awards. Retrieved May 11, 2013. 
  53. ^ "The Middle". Retrieved May 11, 2013. 
  54. ^ "34th Annual Young Artist Awards – Nominations / Special Awards". Young Artist Awards. Retrieved May 11, 2013. 
  56. ^ "2013 Teen Choice Awards: The Winners List". 11 August 2013. Retrieved 12 August 2013. 
  57. ^ "2nd PAAFTJ Television Awards nominations announced; "Arrested Development" leads". 18 June 2013. Retrieved 15 July 2013. 
  58. ^ "2013 EWwy Awards 2013: Meet Your 10 Winners!". September 13, 2013. Retrieved September 18, 2013. 
  59. ^ "35th Annual Young Artist Awards". Young Artist Awards. Retrieved April 14, 2014. 
  60. ^ "EWwy Awards 2014: Meet Your Winners". August 18, 2014. Retrieved August 18, 2014. 
  61. ^ Andreeva, Nellie (March 6, 2012). "‘The Middle’s Off-Network Rights Sold To ABC Family & Broadcast Stations". Retrieved May 11, 2012. 
  62. ^ Kondolojy, Amanda (March 14, 2012). "Hallmark Channel Acquires Comedy Juggernaut, 'The Middle'". TV by the Numbers. Retrieved May 11, 2012. 
  63. ^ "SNTA – Program". Retrieved October 27, 2014. 
  64. ^ Lambert, David (June 16, 2010). "The Middle – Extras, Early Box Art and More for Warner's Season 1 Set". Retrieved May 11, 2012. 
  65. ^ Lambert (September 14, 2011). "The Middle – Official Warner Press Release for 'The Complete 2nd Season' DVD". Retrieved May 11, 2012. 
  66. ^ Lambert, David (June 13, 2013). "The Middle – ‍ '​The Complete 3rd Season‍ '​ is Formally Announced for DVD!". TV Shows on DVD. Retrieved June 14, 2013. 
  67. ^ Lambert, David (November 22, 2013). "The Middle – Warner Announced the 4th Season: Date, Cost, Extras, Cover Art!". Retrieved November 22, 2013. 
  68. ^ "The Middle: Season 5". Retrieved August 30, 2015. 

External links[edit]