The Middle 6×20 ‘Food Courting; : Parents just don’t understand

Lots going on with the Hecks this week. Frankie battles it out with Brick, who’s suddenly become a typical bratty teenager. Sue agonizes over her career decisions when the owner of a Chinese restaurant in the mall tries to entice her away from her longtime job at Spudsy’s. And Mike struggles to get Axl to come home for the weekend. Ironic, because he seems to be home every other day of the year, but suddenly wants nothing to do with the place.

Let’s start with Brick, since his storyline was the most jarring. Overnight, or in between episodes, he turned into a mouthy, disrespectful jerk. Granted he was a funny, mouthy, disrespectful jerk, but still. Frankie is shocked, and so are we. Odd, sweet little Brick is growing up. I was caught between laughing and cringing every time he said something snarky to Frankie. Which meant that I spent most of the episode like that. But I found this development interesting. Frankie referred to him as a Mini Axcl. Despite all their differences, is Brick subconsciously mimicking Axl’s jerk behavior? Again, I find that fascinating. My concern is that, like most plot threads, the meanie face Brick storyline seemed to resolve itself by show’s end, and we’ll likely never hear of it again. I would’ve liked to see this new, slightly unpleasant side of Brick get fleshed out more over the last few episodes of the season.

Sue is apparently a fast food goddess, because she’s being headhunted for a “chopped suey dream team.” Yes, such things do exist in family sitcoms. Sue, of course, freaks out about this, because oh God, how does one choose between the potato place in the mall food court versus the Chinese place at the mall food court? I was amused by all the ways that the owner of the Chinese place tried to bribe Sue over to her side. She gives her a Claire’s gift card. And come on, we know that Sue has to be all about Claire’s. Her paralyzing indecision is that much funnier when you realize she’ll be off to college in a few months, and probably won’t be working at the mall anymore anyway, barring Christmas and summer breaks.

Source: ABC

Source: ABC

It’s Axl’s twenty-first birthday, which I somehow thought had already happened, but silly me. Mike wants to take him out for a beer, but pretends that he really wants Axl to come home and do manual labor. So, Axl tries to get out of it, Mike gets progressively angrier, and everything sort of spirals from there. Could Mike have just told Axl that he wanted to buy him a beer? Yes, but that would mean showing some emotion. Could Axl have dragged himself out of bed and agreed to come home when Mike first asked for help? Yes, but that would require him to stop being so lazy. Basically, father and son are both loveable idiots who love each other. And we love them, even though they’re sometimes idiots.

A typically enjoyable episode, true to this show’s usual form. My only real complaints are that we probably won’t see any more of this new side of Brick, and that Sue made the wrong job choice. Seriously, Sue? Swayed by an extra five cents an hour and a meaningless title? Learn to haggle more, kid, play hardball, maybe get some holiday pay.

Nicolette Schneider

is a lit geek, a comic geek, and a certified TV fanatic. She often prefers fictional people over real ones. When she does make friends with regular humans, she likes the ones who give her access to their Netflix accounts. She loves words and hopes to one day make money stringing them together. Until then, read those words for free on

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