Television sitcoms were a staple in my childhood. Reruns of shows like The Brady Bunch, Three’s Company and Happy Days were always on after school, before my mom watched Tom Brokaw report the world’s happenings and Alex Trebek asked intelligent people for questions. In the evening we watched the ones that were on in “real time”, like Family Ties, Who’s The Boss, Cheers or The Wonder Years. I used to dream about the laugh track that many of these shows contained.
Sitcoms aren’t nearly as popular these days. Today is more about reality t.v. (which as far as I can tell is not really reality) and whatever series is new on Netflix or Amazon.
However, several months ago the kids and I started watching a show in reruns on the Hallmark channel – The Middle. My sister-in-law had mentioned that it was funny and so I thought I would watch just a few episodes and see if we liked it. Not only did we like it, we also thought it was one of the funniest shows we have ever watched and so we kept watching and kept belly laughing.
After all, laugher is some of the best medicine.
And, since all of us are a bit “under the weather” emotionally, it is good to hear my kids and even myself, laugh as hard and as much as we can.
I think what is so great about this show is how “real” it is without being real. It still has an element of “okay, these people are a bit outlandish” but it also has a charming aspect to it. So many shows depict perfect houses and characters and that is certainly not the case at all with the Heck family. Their house is a mess and half the time their teenage son is walking around shirtless. Their daughter is legally named Sue Sue and the other kids are Axl and Brick. Where do these names even come from? Watch and you’ll find out. In a recent episode Frankie, the mom (played by the brilliant Patricia Heaton) accidentally ate her teenage son’s toenails out of a discarded chip bag (ewwwww). This was after a series of unfortunate events for her as a mother so after that, she left. Just left and went to her own mother’s house and really had no idea when she was going to return home. I could totally see this happening.
Sue, the middle child and only daughter, is like a character right out of Napoleon Dynamite, complete with 80’s-style high tops. I don’t think anyone could buy these shoes anywhere nowadays other than Ebay. Her unabashed and somewhat naive enthusiasm for life is refreshing and sort of makes me wish I was that way.
And the youngest, Brick, is a book worm, has some social issues and whispers to himself, which we have now found ourselves doing for fun around here too… 🙂
The other night we binge-watched a few episodes we had on the DVR, and I really thought my stomach was going to be sore from all the cackling. Better than sit ups, y’all.
Really, Axl gets all the best lines. And he is a sweet mess.
While on a family camping trip and playing games he says,
“I just sunk your Yahtzee.”
Or this one:
“Get lost like all the other dice in this house.”
These may make no sense to you but if you are a fan of The Middle then you know exactly what I am talking about.
And the actor that played the janitor on Scrubs plays the Dad and is about the most sane person in the family, but still has his moments. And he always wears a long-sleeved plaid shirt.
I think the thing that is most endearing to me about this show is that no matter how crazy or quirky or downright nutty they get, in the end they are always a family. And that alone gives me a smile and hope. And those are things my kids and I really need right now – smiles, hope and to know that we are still a family, no matter what.
P.S. No one paid me to say any of this or gave me anything for free. We just really like the show.