Jessica Morris ’19/ Emertainment Monthly TV Staff Writer
“Maybe when God burns off your hair, he opens a window.”
The season seven premiere of ABC’s The Middle airs on Wednesday, September 23rd. For now, fans of the show that chronicles the Heck family’s misadventures in middle-America can count on a hilarious and surprisingly emotional season kick-off.
After season six’s finale, “The Graduate”, Sue Heck (Eden Sher) is just about ready to embark on what should be her young life’s greatest adventure thus far: college. Even though most things in Sue’s life tend to go tragically wrong, she couldn’t be more thrilled for move-in day. As usual, Sue serves the audience and her family a dose of sunny optimism, even in the face of chronic misfortune. Unfortunately, the rest of Sue’s family doesn’t seem to share that same enthusiasm about her future college endeavors.
Axl Heck (Charlie McDermott), Sue’s older brother, is uninterested in having his sister at the same school as him and even less interested in joining the family on the journey to take her there. Meanwhile, Sue’s mother, Frankie Heck (Patricia Heaton), cries crocodile tears in convincing Sue that she’s just as distraught about having her second born child leave for college as she was for her first. The father of the house, Mike Heck (Neil Flynn), is chiefly concerned with teaching Sue all sorts of survival tips and real-world lessons that he fears she’ll have to use at college. The youngest child, Brick Heck (Atticus Shaffer), has his own problems to attend to when his middle-school girlfriend suggests they take their relationship to the next level, without specifying what that “next level” entails.
On the road to move-in day, things don’t go exactly as planned for the Heck family. Frankie eventually caves and realizes she is going to miss Sue once she’s at college. But more than that, she’s simply excited to see all of the goodness that Sue brings to the world now that she’s finally on her own. This makes for an emotional climax to the episode. Separate from the jokes and the Heck family’s dysfunctionality exists a realistic family dynamic. It’s sweet, and a much needed break from the negativity usually seen on television. The audience is left feeling the same as Frankie: excited about what college could mean for Sue and what is to come in the future.
Eden Sher’s performance as the lovable, albeit painfully awkward, Sue Heck has always been a bright spot of The Middle. With the season seven premiere ending with a desperate Sue stuck waiting for her roommate to arrive, the rest of the season promises plenty of more hilarious Sue moments to come as she tries to navigate college life.
Hopefully, things will eventually turn out alright for Sue, a college student that still, much to her chagrin, has braces.
Episode Grade: A