The Middle is a series that follows the life of a lower-middle class family in the middle of nowhere. Patricia Heaton, of Everyone Loves Raymond fame, is the lead of the series playing a working mother of three. She works at a car dealership where she’s not exactly the greatest car salesperson on the lot. She gets threaten with being fired almost every episode because she can’t sell a car.
Work isn’t the only challenge she has to deal with in the show. She’s the mother of three kids. Her oldest, Axl, is at the stage where he doesn’t really do anything and that causes problems. He’s got the standard I don’t care about anything attitude that a lot of 16-year-old teenage boys have. The second child is Sue. She is an awkward child. She has braces, doesn’t have the stylish clothes, never makes any club or group she tries out for, and is still is one of the most upbeat, happy kids ever. And those are the normal kids. The youngest kid is Brick, he has some problems. He has no friends, he whispers to himself, and he seems to have the memory span of a goldfish, unless he reads it at which point he has a photographic memory.
Luckily, Heaton doesn’t have to raise the kids herself, her husband, the janitor from Scrubs, works at a rock quarry and helps out around the house when he can. The two have slightly different child rearing techniques, Heaton tries to be nice and thoughtful with the kids unless she is tired at which point she’ll just start yelling. Her husband believes in the old mantra, honesty is the best policy. He is brutally honest. With a little prodding he can be a sweet caring father, but he’s much happier to just tell it like it is.
The humor comes from a couple different places in the show. Neil Flynn’s brutal honesty, the kids with a quick one liner, and Heaton self-narrating events to herself and all of it works pretty well. Obviously in a series not all the jokes hit the mark, but more often than not, the jokes at least part way hit and make for a couple laughs in every episode.
Along with the laughs, The Middle also has a nice, positive, family vibe to it. It’s not an over-the-top emotional, for people who grew up in the Midwest or live there now; it hits pretty close to home and usually leaves you feeling pretty good.
The Middle is presenting in Widescreen format with Dolby Digital sound.
Every looks fine and sounds just fine. Nothing is done spectacularly, but it all works fine.
The extras are few with this TV on DVD set but it does include the featurette Raising A Sitcom Family, where the creators talk about setting up a family atmosphere in small town Midwest. The cast and crew also talk about ugly school photos in the featurette Sue’s Best Shots. Then there are the typical Unaired Scenes and Gag Reel, neither of which are not terrible nor completely unwatchable.
The Middle is a down to earth, family friendly comedy that’s not light on the laughs or the heart string tugging. It’s a good depiction of Midwest life with a few exaggerations. It’s a very good show and you should probably check it out.
Warner Home Video presents The Middle: Season 1. Directed by: Lee Shallat Chemel, Wendey Stanzel, and Ken Whittingham . Starring: Patricia Heaton, Neil Flynn, Chris Kattan. Written by: Eileen Heisler & DeAnn Heline. Running time: 518 Minutes. Rating: Not Rated. Released on DVD: August 31, 2010.