The Middle is a family-friendly situation comedy. That in itself is a rarity; even more so considering the show is almost consistently funny and interesting. I find it hard to understand why viewers had to wait an extra year for The Complete Second Season of this sitcom. This sitcom DVD set features 24 episodes on 3 discs.
The Middle stars Patricia Heaton (Everybody Loves Raymond) and Neil Flynn as Frankie and Mike Heck, the middle class parents of three kids. The kids are not the overly sweet and smart-mouthed brats usually featured in sitcoms. Not that they are 100% normal; Brick is a little off and likes to repeat-whisper to himself. The show takes place in Orson, Indiana and you can't get more normal than that.
In a nice departure from the first season (read our review), season two focuses less on Frankie's job as a used car saleswoman and more on the Heck family life. This allows for generally better story lines.
The Thanksgiving episode is really different, in a good way, and features Mike McDonald. The Christmas episode (also DVD 2 of this sitcom) is a good variation on ye olde “Let's keep things simple this year” plot. Also memorable is the show where Axl gets to take care of a fake baby.
This situation comedy's weakness is endings. In Taking Back the House the parents decide to put their foot down until the last three minutes of the show when the writers find a lame excuse for things to go back the way they were. Continuing that premise in other episodes would have made for a more original show. Another has the Hecks doing some serious house cleaning only to have the problem return a minute before the final credits. Much the same can be said about the trip to NYC
The show's biggest weakness is the kid actors. They are not that good and their limited range also limits character development.
Raymond fans will appreciate the scenes between Frankie (Heaton) and Brick's new teacher played by Doris Roberts.
Special features for The Middle The Complete Second Season are the occasional deleted scene and a lame gag reel.