Everybody Loves Raymond mom Patricia Heaton now stars in her own situation comedy. The Middle is about a middle aged mom and a lower middle class family living in the middle of the country. Though it is certainly not as loud and the kids are not as smart or smart-mouthed this sitcom about ordinary working folk will remind some of the good years of Roseanne. The Middle season 1 is a 3 DVD 24 episode set and a keeper.
In this situation comedy Patricia Heaton plays Frankie Heck, an overwhelmed wife and mother of three. She tries to sell used cars but is not very good at it. In fact by mid-season she is minus two when it comes to sales. She also does voice-over commentary during the show which can be a bit much.
Her husband Mike is a nice guy who works at a quarry until he gets laid off mid-season. The Heck kids are Axl, a teenage boy with the usual hormonal fluctuations, Sue, who tries out for everything and always fails but has a never give up spirit, and the very strange and probably very intelligent baby of the family, Brick.
The Hecks are hanging on for dear life in the middle of a recession. Most episodes are about Frankie Heck helping if not making her family survive another minor crisis.
The Middle Season One s strength is the show does not milk the scenes. Most are short and to the point. Some, like the school counselor scene or the spa scene are superb. The sitcom has so far also avoided the usual genre clichés like the cooky neighbor or annoying best friend.
Chris Kattan brings a fresh element as one of Frankie's co-workers. The husband is a bit underexploited character wise.
Most shows are better than average TV comedy fare with The Front Door (DVD 1), The Interview and Christmas (DVD 2), and Mother s Day (3) as favorites.
Special Features for The Middle The Complete First Season are the usual: deleted scenes, gag reel, and a featurette about the show.