THE MIDDLE “Bad Choices” Review

The Middle “Bad Choices” Season 3 Episode 6 – At my mom’s insistence last year, I decided to give The Middle a chance. I wasn’t the biggest Patricia Heaton fan and I never really got into “Everybody Loves Raymond” so it never really caught my attention. Because my mom and I like many of the same shows, I decided to stop being so stubborn and give it a try. While not over the top funny, the show is very consistent and there are elements of The Middle that I look forward to seeing each week, which brings me to this week’s episode, “Bad Choices.”

Tonight did not disappoint and we got to see a few familiar faces from Seasons 1 and 2. We got to see Sue’s ex-boyfriend Brad, the flamboyant, tap dancing, lip gloss wearing, Broadway musical lover. Welcome back Brad! Brad returned to The Middle without missing a beat – within his first 30 seconds on air we got to hear him drop a “chillax.” I was thrilled that he and Sue partnered up to once again become overachieving, tirelessly enthusiastic partners in crime set to song and dance without an ounce of self awareness.

Completely Random Note: You’ll have to forgive me but I’ve been genuinely amused by the word “chillax” since I first heard it on the UPN reality show The Player. In trying to remember the name of that show, I searched the word “chillax” only to discover that it is an entry in the “Wiktionary,” which traces the words origins back to 2001. As much as I want to question why anyone would ever want to know the history of chillax, I simply cannot do it because I’m totally that person! I love random and useless knowledge so bear with me. I also love finding a way to use outdated words from the 90s in my everyday vernacular. Words cannot express the joy I feel when I get to call someone a buster in any year beginning with 20–. Joy!

Back to The Middle! Speaking of cultural vestiges from the 90s, as I looked at Sue clad in her floral, flannel (say that 10 times at rapid speed) sweatshirt, non-matching floral jeans, slouched socks and Reeboks it occurred to me that the setting and the character styling of this show looks like it was purchased at a thrift store that exclusively sells items from the late 80s and early 90s. I am also pretty sure that as Bob was sitting on a toilet in the bathroom chatting up Frankie, he had on a money green Members’ Only jacket or a really good recreation of one. Either way it was AMAZING. This show has become an unintentional time machine back to middle school fashion of the early 90s that I find adds to its charm.

I knew Axl’s sick, not sick, sick again shenanigans would culminate in his comeuppance. Although the faking sick to skip a test storyline is certainly not novel, kudos to Axl for throwing in the fake event he would have wanted to attend but missed as a decoy to the real event he wanted to attend and therefore had to miraculously recover from his faux-illness. Well played Axl. Well played. I’m also going to resist the urge to go on a tangent about why Axl’s name has no “e” in it and how a search revealed that just about the only other “Axl” I could find was Axl Rose. Could this be Axl’s namesake? I digress.

No review of The Middle is complete without a mention of Brick. When we first learned of his new fascination with Shakespeare or as Mike aptly put it, his new “party trick” I couldn’t believe that Brick was quoting verse after verse of Shakespeare with no whisper at the end! (whispering to myself, *no whisper at the end*) Finally about halfway through the episode Brick delivers – I got a Shakespeare verse that ended in a whisper! Much to my dismay Mike put an immediate end to it, demanding that Brick choose between Shakespeare and the whisper. How dare he?!?

Overall, The Middle was consistent and entertaining as usual. We knew the Heck family would not abandon their home and neighborhood for the sunny pastures of Hickory Arms.

Random Thoughts (yep, there are more):
- I loved that the episode started off with a riding lawn mower race – very “King of the Hill.”
- I also loved Frankie’s observation of the effect that hard economic times had on the food at the “Birchwood 500″ block party. It was Frankie’s Midwestern take on Smokey from the movie “Friday“: “hot dogs but no buns, drinks but no cups, macaroni and cheese with no forks.”
- I also love how protective the Heck family is of their tv. I’m pretty sure that if my roof started sinking and caving, my television would be the first item in my apartment I’d rush to protect.
- What’s with Axl and the boxer shorts? Admittedly, I’m a girl so I don’t know much about wearing them but they seem so flimsy and so revealing. I think it’s time that Axl put on some pants!

What did you think about “The Middle“? Let me know in the comments below and feel free to add as many tangents or bits of useless, random information you like – be assured that in me, you will always have a captive audience. :)

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