Season 5 of “The Middle” Upholds Relatable Aspect

Poster for ABC comedy The Middle

Poster for ABC comedy “The Middle”

Karalyn Kickham


Poster for ABC comedy "The Middle"
Poster for ABC comedy “The Middle”

What better comfort is there than knowing you’re not alone? No matter what the scenario, emotions are better handled when they can be shared with and understood by others.  This statement holds true whether applied to real life interactions, or, in this case, a comedy television show.  ABC’s “The Middle” is the ultimate comfort show for most working-class families, as the show humorously exaggerates many everyday problems American working-class families encounter, leaving viewers laughing and feeling better about their own lives.  The first episode of season five of “The Middle” premiered on Wednesday, September 25.”The Middle” follows a Midwestern family of five, cleverly named the “Hecks”–Frankie and Mike, the parents; Axl, the irresponsible older son; Sue, the socially awkward and overly-energetic middle child; and Brick, the reclusive younger son with behavioral quirks–that struggles cooperatively with each other as well as financially.  Season five picks up at the end of summer on Axl’s  move-in day at college.  Wanting to experience the milestone of dropping her son off at college, Frankie insists that the whole family drives the 45 minutes from home to Axl’s new school.  The show then takes a scenario as ordinary as driving to college and embellishes the setbacks that change the 45 minute drive into a 5-hour one–what family cannot connect to impediments preventing prompt arrival at a destination?

The first setback is Axl’s own laziness.  Axl has packed only an inflatable palm tree and a few plastic bags of snacks to bring with him to college, so the family has to stop at Bed, Bath, and Between to properly equip Axl.  At the store, Frankie buys Brick a cell phone, despite Brick’s own disapproval of the idea due to his lack of responsibility.  No surprise, Brick loses the cell phone multiple times and eventually causes the family to turn around and go back for the phone.  Later on, Sue freaks out when she learns that her mom never faxed her essay on why she should be the Junior Peer Leadership Advisor.  Not wanting to crush Sue’s dreams, Frankie brings the family to the copy store in an attempt to have everything prepared within the next 15 minutes—Sue’s deadline for turning in her essay.

When Axl finally makes it to college, Frankie is disappointed because Axl is away from the family before she has a chance to say a proper goodbye.  To make up for the lack of a special moment with her son, Frankie tears up while addressing Axl’s videogame-absorbed roommate, whose eyes don’t veer from the screen once.  The Hecks return home only to find that Axl is already back and complaining about the lack of food in the house.

This season opener set the bar high for the rest of the season, as Sue’s frantic state about getting her essay faxed combined with Axl’s ignorance about the reality of college provide a light, humorous atmosphere to what could have been an emotional day for the family.  More than anything else, “The Middle” is set apart from other family TV shows by how relatable it is.  “The Middle” handles concepts from as simple as not making a sports team to as complex as financial instability and amplifies the conflicts, therefore providing comedic relief to the lives of viewers experiencing similar situations on a smaller scale.  With Axl off at college and Sue still struggling to be accepted in high school, this season of “The Middle” should be a funny one.  “The Middle” airs on Wednesday nights on ABC at 8 pm.