Photo courtesy of ABC
Halloween is a scary time on The Middle, but not because there’s a spooky haunted house being mounted or the neighbors are donning terrifying masks. What’s going on at the Heck house on tonight’s very special Holiday episode is much more frightening than that — Sue is learning how to drive.
And of course, Brick is still whooping, Axl’s preparing to vote for the first time and Sue’s still enjoying her newfound, albeit anonymous, fame inside the confines of the Thundering Hen and Frankie just can’t seem to get into the holiday spirit. While many moms are buying big bags of candy and carving pumpkins with the kids, she’s just doing the usual — trying to keep her head above water and be the best parent she can be to her three kids.
Needless to say, this all unfolds with the classic humor that has come to be expected from The Middle. After all the foundation of the show is built on taking a fun-filled look at the trials and tribulations of an average, albeit slightly odd, American family.
And “Halloween III: The Driving” represents everything that makes the often underrated show one of the best sitcoms on TV. There are laugh out loud moments. There’s sibling tension. There’s a touch of the unexpected. And it never seems farfetched or unrealistic. After all, who among us can’t relate to living with a quirky sib or learning how to drive a car.
At the core of it all is the show’s anchor Patricia Heaton. Even though she’s a big TV star, the actress behind Frankie admitted in a recent interview that she too can relate to many aspects of the series and her character. After all, even a celeb like Patricia can understand the complexities of being a modern mom.
She revealed, “My normal workday I might be in around 6 a.m. and get home about 8 p.m. And like Frankie, I often stop at a fast food restaurant and pick up food home for the kids. Sounds terrible but, just in my defense, we have some very good, healthy fast food places here. So it’s not like I’m they’re drinking Tang and eating Pop Tarts like I had when I was growing up.”
That doesn’t mean that Patricia relates to Frankie on every level. She recounted, “Growing up I pretty much knew I was always acting in a sense that I was just doing community theaters and school plays and singing and things like that. But by the middle of my junior year in college I made the commitment to pursue acting. And so I had to get my mind around someone like Frankie who didn’t quite have a passion and then got married, started having children and became a full time mom until she started working at the dealership.”
Now that Frankie’s been laid off from her job, Patricia is excited to go down a new path with her character. She confessed, “This is actually fun for me to go on that journey with Frankie because it’s the journey I was asking about that character from the beginning of the show. And now we get to see, now that she was forced into this opportunity, what is she going to do with it? So I find it pretty exciting.”
That brings us back to Sue getting behind the wheel. Tonight’s important milestone in the Heck family is also going to mark an important moment on the show. As Patricia explained, “The Halloween episode is the beginning of a long arc for this season — a story arc that all starts with Sue trying to learn how to drive, and it doesn’t end up well — so just to tease your audience. They really need to tune in.” Trust, us. You’ll want to see this one.
Tune in to The Middle for “Halloween III: The Driving” tonight at 8 p.m. EST/9 p.m. Central on ABC. And join One2One Network's live Twitter Viewing Party tonight beginning at 7:45 p.m. EST/6:45 p.m. Central using #TheMiddle. Click here to RSVP to the Viewing Party.
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