'The Middle' Season 1 Episodes
The Middle - Season 1
The first season of the television comedy series The Middle aired between September 30, 2009 and May 19, 2010, on ABC in the United States. It was produced by Blackie and Blondie Productions and Warner Bros. Television with series creators DeAnn Heline and Eileen Heisler as executive producers.
The show features Frances "Frankie" Heck, a working-class, Midwestern woman married to Mike Heck who resides in the small fictional town of Orson, Indiana. They are the parents of three children, Axl, Sue, and Brick.
After airing only 2 episodes, ABC gave the show a full season pickup. It was then renewed for a second season on January 12, 2010.
The first episode premiered to 8.707 million viewers, a 5.4/9 household rating and a 2.6/8 adults 18-49 rating. It beat out the CBS sitcom, Gary Unmarried, and the NBC drama, Mercy, both of which aired in the same timeslot.
If you ever find yourself flying over the middle of the country, be sure to look out the window as you pass over Orson, Indiana, home to the world’s largest polyurethane cow. It’s also home to Frankie Heck (Patricia Heaton) and her, let’s just call them eclectic, family.
As we’ve come to learn, Mike Heck is brutally honest. He doesn’t sugarcoat things. Ever! So it’s usually up to Frankie to pick up the pieces whenever reality hits hard. She’s like the family cheerleader.
“The Floating Anniversary”
Mike surprises Frankie with an early anniversary present, a trip to the carpet remnant store in French Lick, which includes an overnight stay at the Route 33 Motor Lodge. The big guy’s such a romantic.
Frankie takes her daughter to work to help Sue sell some cheese and sausage for a school fundraiser. If Sue tops $3,000 in sales, she’ll win a four-day trip to Indianapolis. Like most fifth graders, Sue can’t wait to see the state government in action. Mr. Ehlert approaches and wants Frankie to make coffee, as he would never ask one of his male salespeople to do such a thing. Sue is appalled by his sexist attitude but her mom says, “Eh, it’s not worth the fight.”
“The Block Party”
In The Middle, fall is a time for corn mazes, football booster clubs and, of course, the Birchwood Avenue block party. The biggest event of the block party is always the Birchwood 500, a three-lap race around the block on a riding mower. You’ve probably seen highlights on ESPN. But the block party is still a week away. And a lot can happen in a week when it comes to Frankie Heck and family.
“The Front Door”
Axl accidentally breaks down the front door and Mike insists he fix it; Frankie may be forced to wear a dog suit.
Due to cutbacks, trash pickup in Orson, Indiana only takes place every two weeks. So when Frankie hears the BEEP, BEEP, BEEP of an early morning trash truck rumbling down the street, the race is on to get all garbage to the curb. As Frankie hurls rubbish remnants across the room into a trash bag, an empty beer bottle accidently hits Brick in the arm. Don’t worry, the little guy is fine. But, alas, the sanitation truck has passed on by.
For Frankie Heck, the best part of Thanksgiving is the day after. Black Friday. She devises a battle plan for the family so they can take full advantage of the sales when the stores open at midnight. Sue is to cover housewares and Axl is on sporting goods. Brick is small and can weave through the crowd, so he’s on electronics. You gotta love a woman with a plan.
When Frankie is late for a booster club meeting, she discovers she’s been elected chairwoman of the winter wreath sale. The job is a holly jolly hassle. At the meeting, Frankie observes two sisters jump into their big brother’s arms. There’s nothing like the sight of three siblings lovingly frolicking around the room. And there’s never anything like that sight at the Heck house.
While cranking out the annual Heck family Christmas newsletter, Frankie brings everyone up to speed on Mike’s promotion at the quarry, her new job selling cars, Axl’s new job bussing tables and Sue’s pseudo-boyfriend, Brad. As for Brick, he’s bummed about the fleeting notion of Christmas. The boy’s deep.
Sue is the only person at school who isn’t wearing Citizens of Humanity jeans. They must be the Member’s Only jackets of the 21st Century (except they’re pants). Frankie knows how much having the same jeans as all the cool kids would mean to Sue, so she shells out more than a few bucks to purchase a pair. Mike goes ballistic when he sees the receipt for $112. All of his pants put together didn’t cost that much!
Ever have a neighbor with whom you did not want to tangle? Frankie Heck does. The Glossner family lives down the street in Orson, Indiana’s most dilapidated house. Everyone in the neighborhood is terrified of Rita Glossner (guest star Brooke Shields) and her four out-of-control sons. It’s best to take whatever hell the Glossner boys impose upon you because retaliating would only make things worse.
Mike finds a dinosaur bone at the quarry. Pretty cool, right? You bet Jurassic it is! Unfortunately, the amazing discovery leads to a four-month shutdown of his workspace so paleontologists can dig for more prehistoric keepsakes. This means Mike has to find a new gig. So, he and Axl head out to the Orson Job Fair.
As every good parent knows, the only way to ever truly get through to your kids is with compassion, respect and love. If that doesn’t work, try yelling. Now, Frankie Heck isn’t a yeller. Wait a minute. Yes, she is. But all that is about to change.
Valentine’s Day is the most romantic day of the year...unless you have kids. Just ask Frankie and Mike Heck. They haven’t celebrated Cupid’s big day in over a decade. Maybe this year will be different. Then again...maybe not.
Frankie gets promoted to Customer Relations Supervisor down at Ehlert Motors. That means she gets to write birthday cards to all the cars they’ve sold over the past 10 years. You heard us right. She’s sending cards to hatchbacks. All this busy work means that Mike will have to pinch hit for her as a volunteer in Brick’s class.
“The Break Up”
Frankie Heck has a “Sucker List.” It’s filled with the names and numbers of people who only call when they want something. You’d be a sucker to answer the phone when these folks pop up on your Caller ID. But Mike isn’t Sucker List-savvy, so he takes a call that ropes Frankie into running the snack bar at Axl’s basketball game. Sucker!
“The Fun House”
Axl has been spending a lot of time across the street at a neighbor’s house. It makes sense, as the Donahue home has always been the “fun house” in Orson. Frankie doesn’t understand why Axl doesn’t want to hang at their place. After all, they have most of a Jenga set.
“The Final Four”
When Mike drops off Frankie at the car dealership, he has the pleasure of meeting the blustery Mr. Ehlert. We’re not being sarcastic. Mike and Ehlert bond immediately over their love of college basketball. Frankie’s boss likes Mike so much that he gives him tickets to both Final Four basketball games. Sweet!
“TV or Not TV”
While Sue was standing outside of Hot Dogs USA at the mall, a woman approached her to say she has what it takes to be a model. (Insert Sue’s patented excited scream here.) She just needs $500 to launch her runway career. Unfortunately, her family doesn’t even have enough money to pay the electric bill. It’s lights out at the Heck house. TV’s gone, too. Frankie says, “This is an outrage. If you’re gonna shut off the power, do it at the top of the hour before I’m already hooked on Conveyor Belt of Love.”
Frankie Heck believes there are two types of people in the world, non-worriers and worriers. She fits into the latter category. She’s not alone. Sue worries that she’s part of a secret experiment that’s trying to determine how long a person can last with braces on her teeth. It’s possible. And Brick is worried about a chick. That’s not slang. We’re talking a real chick! More on that later.
It’s Mother’s Day! You probably figured that out by the episode title. Frankie’s opening voiceover should clue you in as to how her big day played out. She says, “Some days from start to finish just blow.” What has this mom in The Middle so down in the dumps? Let’s find out.
Mike Heck doesn’t talk much at parties. But when he does finally speak up, it’s usually to say something inappropriate. Hey, we find his bluntness charming. Frankie...not so much. Mike says, “You knew what you were getting when you bought me.” That’s true.
The school year is coming to an end. It’s time to sign yearbooks, study for finals and return any past due library books. The Heck kids are up for all but three of those activities.