[[quoteright:350:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/middleman_3415.jpg]]

->''"...an over-the-top, sixteen-car-pileup-sugar-popped-cereal-bowl of a series that's not afraid to be everything your mother warned you about television: a cartoonishly extreme, randomly fantastic, special-effects laden, three-fisted walking-and-talking toy-line advertisement of an action-adventure-sci-fi comic book in which the fabric of reality barely survives in the end, and the journey invariably reveals a completely surreal strangeness behind everything we hold to be true."''
-->-- '''Javier Grillo-Marxuach''''s original pitch for ''The Middleman''.

Wendy "Dub-Dub" Watson is an art school graduate who, like most artists, has to get a Real Job to get by in life. Because she's an artist, this means temp work. Her mother worries about her and calls to ask embarrassing questions about her sex life that Wendy answers in dutiful deadpan ... until the day she's temping for a genetics research firm and a multi-limbed, multi-eyed monster shows up in the reception area. Enter...The Middleman. He seems to be a refugee from the SilverAge of Comics, from his looks to his manner of speech. And having dispatched his duty, he warns Wendy that as far as the rest of the world is concerned this was a "gas explosion" and if she tells the truth of what she's seen he'll have to root her out like a hog ([[UnusualEuphemism not in the Australian sense]]) and kill her.

Wendy is immediately fired; it turns out her boss believes that she was the one who caused the "gas explosion" by fiddling with her missing father's lucky lighter. She spends a day pounding the pavement looking for more temp work but she finds no prospects now that word's spread that she's a possible pyromaniac. So she returns to the illegal sublet she shares with another young, photogenic artist only to have her artist-activist roommate Lacey inform her that she has a message from one more temp agency...a rather oddly named temp agency...and they want to see her ''immediately.''

So Wendy reports to the Jolly Fats Weehawken Temp Agency to check on the job offer. After a battery of increasingly bizarre aptitude tests at the hands of the cranky receptionist Ida, Wendy is introduced to The Middleman, who explains what his organization is about. You know the way things work in comic books where mad Scientists and supervillains are always trying to take over the world? Well, that's also the way things work in real life. It seems he's looking for an apprentice and Wendy's cynical, snarky attitude and matter-of-fact reactions to things like the eyeball monster make her an ideal candidate for the job. Angry that he'd framed her Wendy refuses at first, but thanks to her current lack of any other prospects she relents and joins up. After that she embraces this new lifestyle and proves to excel at it, despite the problems a twenty-four hour a day "temp job" causes in her personal life.

Originally a comic book (that itself started as a television pitch), Javier Grillo-Marxuach aptly adapted it for a surprisingly faithful series that had one season on the increasingly inaccurately named ABC Family Channel. The season was originally intended to be thirteen episodes long, but was cut to twelve for budgetary reasons (and still managed to end on a satisfying note). The script for the never-filmed thirteenth episode, titled "The Doomsday Armageddon Apocalypse," debuted in a table read at Comic-Con '09 with almost all of the original cast, and was released as a graphic novel shortly thereafter. It is definitive proof that TropesAreNotBad.

----
!!This series provides examples of:
* AbsurdlyHighStakesGame: Shabumi in "The Obsolescent Cryogenic Meltdown"
* ActionGirl: Wendy Watson, bien sur!
* AddedAlliterativeAppeal: true of not only the people in the show (as is proper in any ComicBooks {{Homage}}), but the dialogue is also rife with alliteration.
** The Fabulous Face, former Middle organization super villain.
** Guy Goddard [[spoiler: former Middleman]].
** The Middle Man
** Wendy's ex boyfriend, Tommy Tam.
** Wendy Watson
** And as of the Comic-Con panel for the 13th episode: [[spoiler: previous Middleman Raveena Rao, and Clarence Colton, the current Middleman's real name.]]
* AIIsACrapshoot
--> '''The Middleman:''' She's had the crankies something awful since she got stuck on "Domineering Schoolmarm version 2.0".
* AirVentPassageway: Lampshaded ("Was this building designed by television writers?") and then justified with "The [[ShoutOut Nakatomi]] Protocol," which makes the normally capillary-sized airvents big enough for people to crawl through
* AliensSpeakingEnglish: Justified, they live on Earth after all.
* TheAllegedCar: Wendy's Hruck Bugbear AKA "the poor man's Yugo."
-->'''The Middleman''': Sweet mother of Preston Tucker! Did you pick him up in that?\\
'''Wendy''': Yes! \\
'''The Middleman''': You said you had a car!
* AllergicToLove: The Middleman himself has a mild to moderate case.
* AlphaBitch: The sorority girl Allie from "The Ectoplasmic Panhellenic Investigation" initially appears to be one, but is soon revealed to merely be suspicious of Wendy thanks to [[spoiler: the Executive Board having been body swapped with physics nerds trying to take down the Greek system]], and she turns out to be fairly nice and helpful with Wendy's current romantic drama
* AlternateHistory: The Titanic figures in. And they did the research.
* AlternateUniverse
* AppliedPhlebotinum: The Middleman admits he has no idea whence come the weapons and gadgets and things -- they just show up sometimes in boxes.
* ArsonMurderAndJaywalking: In the 13th episode: [[spoiler:"You murdered my boyfriend, destroyed my workplace, trapped Noser in a giant diamond, gave my best friend Lacey leukemia, and did God knows what to the only father figure I've ever known, and the worst you could think to do to me was ''put me in '''[[StarWars a slave girl costume]]'''?''"]]
* ArtifactOfDoom: The Cursed Tuba.
* TheBechdelTest: Lacy and Dub-Dub pass, and it's mentioned by name on one of commentaries.
* BackFromTheDead: [[spoiler:Cecil]]
* {{Badass}}: The altMiddleman - or the [[FanNickname Plisskenman]] - as well as the altNoser.
* BeardOfEvil: ''Every'' male in the alternate universe has a goatee. [[spoiler: Except for the guy who wants to leave it]]
* BigNo: In the very first episode, when [[spoiler:the villain of the day, a mad scientist planning to build an army of super-gorilla soldiers controlled by a supercomputer to take over the world, accidentally destroys her own supercomputer.]] It's hilariously long.
* {{Blackmail}}: Pip against Wendy.
* BrandX:
** Tahiti Water is a CaptainErsatz of Fiji water.
** '''!!!!''' is a dodge for those energy drinks in narrow cans like Red Bull, Monster, and Rockstar.
** [[ScoutOut Wilderness Girls = Girl Scouts]]. Skinny Mints = Thin Mints. Bora Boras = Samoas
** Myfaceinatube.com = MySpace, Facebook, Website/YouTube
** The uMaster = The iPod
* BirdsOfAFeather: Wendy and Tyler
* CallBack: All of The Middleman's "Code 47s" to Wendy in the case of his death are references to previous episodes
* {{Calvinball}}: Shibumi. It apparently has rules, but they're apparently impossibly complex
* CaptainObvious: Don Calfari in the pilot.
-->'''Don Calfari''': But I did not give the order to wipe out the Spaldoni family. That is an order that I did not give.\\
'''Henchman''': Okay, Don Calfari. If you did not give the order, then what does that mean? \\
'''Don Calfari''': That would mean someone had to give the order... Someone that was not me.
* CassandraTruth: Pip tries to tell everyone that Noser is a ventriloquist, but it doesn't really help that he puts in the part about Lacey kissing him.
* CatFight: Subverted, bigtime.
* CatchPhrase: Several:
** "Oh phooey."
** Also, "I'm just the middleman."
** "You have to admit, my plan is sheer elegance in its simplicity."
*** "No!"
* CelebrityStar: BoyBand Varsity Fanclub
** Also, Kevin Sorbo as Middleman '69
* CelestialBureaucracy: The Underworld is a giant office building with files in the back room.
* ChekhovMIA: Wendy's father disappeared under mysterious circumstances.
* ChekhovsGun:
** The concussive stun field generator.
** The rarely accurate Tarot card reader girl.
* TheChewToy: The Training Robot, who always ends up having its head knocked off.
* {{Cloudcuckoolander}}: Noser, who greets Dub-Dub each time she gets off the elevator with lyrics. She identifies them.
* ComeWithMeIfYouWantToLive: Mirror Pip rescues Wendy this way.
* CoolCar: The Middlemobile, and Dub-Dub's Smart Car, the second Middlemobile
* CorruptCorporateExecutive:[[spoiler:Alternate Dubbie]]
* CoveredInSlime: Due to the MIB-esqueness.
** CoveredInMud: The consequences of fighting the earth elemental in "The Accidental Occidental Conception".
* CursedWithAwesome: The tuba player is cursed with immortality. Well, not since he started dating again.
** "And did I mention the dating's going great?"
* DangerousForbiddenTechnique: The Wu-Han [[TouchOfDeath Thumb of Death]].
* DeadManWriting: Code 47.
* DeadpanSnarker: Ida and Dubbie.
* DecontaminationChamber: That's what you get for being made of meat.
* DemonicDummy: Little Vladdie, who is Vlad the Impaler's favorite ventriloquist dummy
* DepartmentOfRedundancyDepartment: "An Upscale Shopping Center in an Upscale Part of Town."
** "The Doomsday Armageddon Apocalypse"
* DieHardOnAnX: Repeatedly and forcefully lampshaded. Or, as the Middleman puts it, the HQ gets invaded three times a year.
** Wendy even refers to their situation as "Die hard -- ''In A Building!''"
** "[[FunWithSubtitles Think Die Hard]]. [[FantasticVoyagePlot But inside a robot]]."
* DisguisedInDrag: In "The Ectoplasmic Panhellenic Investigation," a fraternity pledge sneaked into a sorority house this way, only to see and hear some ghosts as a result of PinealWeirdness. Wendy eventually takes him back to the house in drag so the ghosts can explain how they got that way.
* DramaticDrop: Wendy drops a spoon upon unexpectedly getting a well-timed, very important tidbit of information.
* TheDreaded: Noser's talent and reputation as a ventriloquist are so great that the mere mention of his name causes one contestant in a competition to drop out, leave and quite possibly quit competing all together.
* DuelToTheDeath: In "The Sino-Mexican Revelation", MM must duel on behalf of Sensei Ping.
* {{Eagleland}}: The Middleman is an excellent Type 1 example.
* EarlyInstallmentWeirdness: The Middleman swearing in the first episode, a one-off joke that's completely inconsistent with his characterization from then on.
* EveryEpisodeEnding: Wendy and Lacey in their illegal sublet, bonding.
* EverythingsBetterWithMonkeys: Well, lowland gorillas.
* EvilIsPetty: A common theme. Many villains are engaging in nefarious acts for disproportionately small gains.
-->'''The Middleman''': All this, just to bring down a sorority? Why?
-->'''Eleanor Draper''': The Omegas are elitist, hedonistic...
-->'''The Middleman''': They wouldn't take you, would they?
-->'''Eleanor Draper''': [[BerserkButton I hate those exclusive sluts!]]
* EvilTwin: Played completely straight with [[spoiler:altWendy]].
* ExtendedDisarming: In the first episode, making liberal use of {{Hammerspace}}, the Middleman does this, and then goes on to prove his BadAss is in full working order.
* EyepatchOfPower: The altMiddleman has one...because Sensei Ping ''[[Film/KillBill plucked out his eye]]''.
* FailsafeFailure: Wendy has to push Ida's reset switch to stop the detonation. [[spoiler:Unfortunately, the nanobots beat her to it and disabled it.]]
* FanService: Quite a bit for a "family" show, including Wendy and Lacey's short-shorts and Dubbie's "slutty but sweet" pirate outfit in "The Sino-Mexican Revelation"
** And don't forget the catsuit and the "[[Film/DrNo Honey Ryder]] nightmare."
** Prefer your eye candy male? The Middleman's spent some time in a bicep-baring toga (and later a tank top), altMiddleman goes shirtless in leather pants. And then there was the time he wore a tux. And got handcuffed to a pipe.
** And then there was the time they both had to strip to their undies (and then more so for MM) in the DecontaminationChamber. Yowza. And then there's altLacey and altIda - same snark, completely different package
* FantasticVoyagePlot: Or, as they put it, [[DieHardOnAnX Die Hard]]. In a robot.
* FinalSpeech: [[spoiler: Cindy]]'s.
* FlashBack
* {{Foreshadowing}}
* ForHalloweenIAmGoingAsMyself: Supernatural creatures picking jobs that no one would bat an eye at discovering them doing.
* FreakyFriday: In "The Ectoplasmic Panhellenic Investigation," [[spoiler:a mad scientist in training switches minds with the Middleman]].
* FunnyBackgroundEvent: the very first scene of the very first episode and at least OnceAnEpisode thereafter. Dubbie's battle with the giant levitating fish is probably the best example.
* GeekyTurnOn: Wendy and her boyfriend have sex for the first time after locating and playing an ultra-rare, super violent video game.
* GettingCrapPastTheRadar: Considering the show ran on ABC Family, it managed to get quite a few things past the censors:
** The bad guy said "Son of a bitch" without being bleeped.
** Dub-Dub said "[[PlanetOfTheApes Get your paws off me, you damn dirty ape]]" without being bleeped.
** Wendy also used a tube of brown paint to make an excrement metaphor.
** "Now let's try to get there before that little girl sucks the band through a hole... InSpace. "
** In "The Cursed Tuba", the Middleman is telling Lacey why they can't date, citing a "rule at my job". He wishes he could get around the rule, but his choice of quote and metaphor has an unfortunate alternate interpretation...
---> '''The Middleman''': It's like Sam Boone says in ''Ride Lonesome''; there are some things a man can't ride around.
** The Middleman insists that Wendy must infiltrate the Omegas because a sorority house is the one place someone like him would never be "allowed to penetrate".
---> '''Wendy''': "That's not what I heard."
** The last televised episode has Wendy's boyfriend spending the night.
** Wendy referring to the genetics lab monster as a "hentai tentacle monster".
** In "The Boy-Band Superfan Interrogation", the episode starts with Wendy and roommates trying to adjust an old satellite dish to pick up a martial arts tournament...
---> '''Lacey''': How about now?\\
'''Wendy''': Fuzz.... fuzz... fuzz... ooh, fuzzy porn!\\
'''Lacey''': Sounds good to me.
* GenreSavvy: Both the Middleman and Wendy to various degrees. In fact, their knowledge of comic book tropes is part and parcel of the job they do.
* GhostInTheMachine: The literal machine, as Ida's brain looks exactly like Ida.
* AGodAmI: In the panel for the 13th episode, [[spoiler: collecting thousands of [[PinealWeirdness pineal glands]] and creating a hivemind from all the uMasters of the world allows Manservant Neville to become a RealityWarper. He quickly dubs himself a god.]]
* GoodNewsBadNews: Taken to extremes.
-->'''Ida''': I've got good news, bad news, [[RuleOfThree more bad news]], and [[OverlyLongGag worse news]].
* GoshdangItToHeck: All of the Middleman's dialogue is like this, except for once (where it's appropriately bleeped).
** In the Comic-Con 13th episode table read, you can tell the excrement's hit the cooling-device when MM swears twice without being bleeped (which also counts as a PrecisionFStrike). Not that there's no bleeping - Wendy gets bleeped at least twice.
** Most swearing is bleeped, and to emphasize the fact it's a "family" show, the lips of the person swearing are covered by a black box for the duration of the offending words...but there's a fractional delay to let astute viewers know which naughty word was likely the one spoken.
* GranolaGirl: Lacey, at least before CharacterDevelopment
* GreasySpoon: Batter of the Bulge Pancake House (home of the Luftwaffle!)
* GroinAttack
* {{Hammerspace}}: The Middleman decides to walk into a situation unarmed, and spends several moments pulling increasingly improbable weapons and devices off his person, including an opened crossbow.
* HandsomeLech: Middleman '69
* HeelRealization : [[spoiler:Middleman '69, just before his HeroicSacrifice]]
* HeroesRUs: [=O2STK=], the "Organization Too Secret To Know", which apparently bankrolls and operates the Middleman Organization.
* HeWhoMustNotBeSeen: Sensei Ping, after his introductory episode.
* HeroicSacrifice:
** In "The Obsolescent Cryogenic Meltdown", [[spoiler: Middleman '69 [[RedemptionEqualsDeath sacrifices himself]] to save the current-day Middleman, who he had [[FaceHeelTurn betrayed]] in jealousy earlier on.]]
** In "The Doomsday Armageddon Apocalypse", [[spoiler: the Middleman makes "the ultimate sacrifice:" The love Lacey and he shared.]]
* HeterosexualLifePartners: There is no closer pair of female friends on television than Wendy and Lacey.
* HookHand
* HumanPopsicle: There's a Middleman who was in cryogenic storage until he was needed.
* HuntingTheMostDangerousGame: "The Manicoid Teleportation Conundrum"
* IdiosyncraticEpisodeNaming:
** The first episode is called "The Pilot Episode Sanction," from the first trade paperback titled "The Trade Paperback Imperative."
** The second is called "The Accidental Occidental Conception".
** The third? "The Sino-Mexican Revelation," which was an adaptation of the graphic novel "The Second Volume Inevitability."
** "The Manicoid Teleportation Conundrum"
** "The Flying Fish Zombification"
** "The Boy Band Superfan Interrogation"
** "[[http://themiddleblog.livejournal.com/36113.html The Cursed Tuba Contingency]]"
** "[[http://themiddleblog.livejournal.com/35995.html The Ectoplasmic Panhellenic Investigation]]"
** "[[http://themiddleblog.livejournal.com/35802.html The Obsolescent Cryogenic Meltdown]]"
** "[[http://themiddleblog.livejournal.com/37364.html The Vampiric Puppet Lamentation]]"
** "[[http://themiddleblog.livejournal.com/37477.html The Clotharian Contamination Protocol]]"
** "[[http://themiddleblog.livejournal.com/37751.html The Palindrome Reversal Palindrome]]"
** And #13 - "The Doomsday Armageddon Apocalypse".
* IKnowYouAreInThereSomewhereFight
* ImagineSpot: Wendy goes off into daydream land a couple times an episode when prompted by a situation that warrants her thinking something over.
* InformedAbility: Noser's abilities with music and ventriloquism are supposed to be virtuoso level; we know this from the reactions of people around him rather than ever seeing him ply his craft.
-->'''Tyler:'''"That's the longest game of stump the band I've ever seen without hearing any music."
* IronicEcho: approximately half of the snark, lending credence to Wendy's PhotographicMemory.
* IsraelisWithInfraredMissiles: One episode has MM and Wendy pretending to be Mossad agents. Unfortunately, the guy they're bluffing is a former member of the IDF. Fortunately, the Middleman speaks Hebrew
* ItsNotYouItsMyEnemies
* ItsPersonal: Certain things make even MM break the rules.
-->'''MM:''' If there's one thing I hate more than scientists trying to take over the world, it's scientists who twist innocent primates with computer enhanced mind control to live out their sick and perverted fantasies of criminal power!
-->'''Wendy:''' Is that true? \\
'''MM:''' Why would I lie about that?\\
'''Wendy:''' It's just a very specific thing to hate.
* ItsPronouncedTropay: a plotpoint in one episode, when Tyler is being reviewed by the board of Fatboy Industries and he notices that they pronounce Manservant Neville's first name like it would normally be pronounced, rather than they way it actually is ("MANservant" rather than "Minservant") [[spoiler: It reveals that this is just another test]]
* IWantMyBelovedToBeHappy: Why Lacey decides to dump Tyler so he can date Wendy. Please note that the [[RomanticTwoGirlFriendship "beloved" in this example is Wendy, not Tyler]]
* JerkAss:
** Pip is usually described as a "malignant nematode", but the idea is the same.
** Sensei Ping
** Ida, who spends every episode making cranky, cutting remarks and casting aspersions on Dubbie's character. Still technically one of the good guys, though.
* JustBetweenYouAndMe: Subverted in that the Palindrome ''doesn't'' want to talk about his plan. His alternate counterpart, however...
* KissOfDistraction: Lacey gets a videotape of Noser's ventriloquism performance away from Pip by distracting him with a kiss. Later on, Pip tries to explain to Joe that he had a tape of the performance but Lacey stole it, but Joe doesn't believe she would do such a thing. When Pip explains that she distracted him with a kiss, Joe laughs and says, "Yeah, this story's getting easier to believe."
* LampshadedTheObscureReference: Spoofed by someone who thinks he is doing this. Middleman '69, who has been [[HumanPopsicle in cryogenic stasis for the past for decades]], makes a ''Franchise/StarTrek'' reference and notes the [[ItWillNeverCatchOn unlikeliness]] of Wendy getting it, [[HilariousInHindsight since the show was cancelled after three seasons]] back in '69.
* LampshadeHanging: Metaphorically speaking, there are lampshades hanging off every available surface on this show's sets. The Middleman and Dub-Dub seem to have a supply of them handy for hanging them whenever a situation calls for it.
** There's a ''literal'' wall of unexplained lamps at the organization's headquarters. This may or may not be where they keep their extra shades in between cases.
* LargeHam: You will use respect when addressing Sensei Ping!
* LaserGuidedAmnesia:
** Of the two-day variety in Tyler's case.
** And then [[ChekhovsGun it's used in "The Clotharian Contamination Protocol]].
* LiteralMetaphor: More a case of confused slang terms.
-->'''Wendy:''' Guy, what are you doing here?\\
'''Guy:''' At present, I'm looking for some hooch.\\
'''Wendy:''' You stay away from my roommate!\\
'''Guy:''' I meant a drink.
* LaymansTerms: MM explaining the H.E.Y.D.A.R. to Wendy.
* LivingForeverIsAwesome: Cecil Rogers.
** "Did I mention how great the dating has been?"
* MadLibThrillerTitle
* MadScientist: The raison d'etre for the Middleman organization.
* ManBehindTheMan: [[spoiler:Wendy's AlternateUniverse counterpart is the real leader of the tyrannical [[=FatBoy=] Industries; Manservant Neville is just a prop.]]
* MartialPacifist: Dub-Dub and to a lesser degree, Lacey, playfully parody the trope.
* McGuffin: In "The Palindrome Reversal Palindrome," all of them are named after famous {{McGuffin}}s.
* MegaCorp: [=FatBoy=] Industries, [[spoiler:especially in the AlternateUniverse]]
* MentorShip: Between the Middleman and Wendy according to some parts of the fandom, [[spoiler: and between the Middleman and ''his'' Middleman, Raveena Rao, in {{canon}}]].
* MickeyMousing: Sensei Ping's every sudden move is accompanied by a "whoosh!" sound effect. Possibly an ActorAllusion to Mark Dacascos's [[IronChefAmerica most famous role]].
* MirrorUniverse: An entire episode centered around one, "The Palindrome Reversal Palindrome."
* MissedTheCall: Tyler was supposed to be the next apprentice Middleman... but his roommate misplaced the envelope.
* MonstersAnonymous: Roxy Wasserman's succubus halfway house.
* MoodMotif:
** The guitars of Spy Mysteriousness.
** The horns of SpyDrama.
* MotiveRant
* NighInvulnerable
* NoNameGiven: The Middleman doesn't appear to go by any other name. Lacey, not knowing his name, refers to him as Sexy Bossman, to Dub-Dub's consternation.
** In the comics, his first name is revealed as [[spoiler:Clarence, during his funeral.]]
** In the 13th episode, his name is revealed as [[spoiler:Clarence Colton.]]
* NoPeripheralVision: Subverted.
-->'''The Middleman:''' Dubbie, cover your eyes! [fires device, which subdues someone who had been hiding on the ceiling]\\
'''Wendy:''' [who paused to ask why rather than simply obeying and got hit by the device's discharge] ...concussive stun field generator. Yeah. '''[thud]'''
* NoodleIncident: Lacey refers to something involving "blueberry pudding pops and the elliptical machine."
** A slightly different version of the trope is used when the Middleman and Dubbie manage to bluff NASA away from a downed space probe...by pretending to be NASA. After the real agents leave...
--->'''Wendy:''' We should be NASA every mission.\\
'''The Middleman:''' It's thinking like ''that'' that led to drug-resistant malaria.
::: Note however that doing the same thing every time ''really is'' what leads to drug-resistant malaria...
** In the same episode, a minute earlier...
--->'''The Middleman:''' I'll be godfather to an aardvark before I let a debacle like the Viking Mission happen on my watch.\\
'''Wendy:''' The Viking... but those were unmanned...?\\
'''The Middleman:''' I'll explain in the car.\\
* cuts directly to next scene with no explanation*
* OlderThanTheyLook: If everything said about Sensei Ping is taken at face value, he must be at least seventy years old, but he only appears to be around forty.
* OnceAnEpisode: ''Every'' MotiveRant includes the villain claiming that his or her plan is "sheer elegance in its simplicity, isn't it?" followed up by either Wendy or the Middleman saying "No."
** There's also the Wilhelm Scream in every episodes and "reaping the whirlwind" pops up a lot. Plus, they usually have some prop from the previous episode in the background.
** The FunnyBackgroundEvent
** In the comic book every volume has the phrase "Giant Balls" in a different language (Italian in volume 1, Spanish in volume 2, French in volume 3).
* OnlyOneName: Noser, one of the other young, photogenic artists who lives in the illegal sublet. He has never been addressed as anything else but that one name.
** Although the Middleman always addresses him as ''Mister'' Noser.
* OurMonstersAreDifferent
** OurVampiresAreDifferent
** ZombieApocalypse: ...uh, sort of.
* PaintingTheMedium: every single time the time is mentioned in on-screen titles, it's different. In episode three, it changed between time zones ("Alaska Time," "Zulu Time"), in episode five it was phrases about time ("Hammer Time," "Jail Time") In episode eleven it was "Four Hours Six Minutes Before the Inevitable Detonation." Also, Wendy's and Lacey's apartment is usually referred to as "The illegal sublet Wendy shares with another young, photogenic artist." (Occasionally it's "her equally adorable roommate Lacey" instead.)
** At least once it was "her sexpot roommate."
** There's also the time that Wendy wonders if the Middleman secret headquarters was built by TV writers
* ParentalAbandonment:
** MissingMom: Lacey's mother, Dr. Barbara Thornfield, M.D. [=PhD=] is so busy she calls once a year to rationalize why she forgot Lacey's birthday, every year. She's so distant that her assistant doesn't know which daughter Lacey is, and Lacey is an only child. She's so distant that Lacey does not call her "mother" or "mom" but "Dr. Thornfield" and when not speaking to her directly refers to her as "Dr. Barbara Thornfield, M.D. [=PhD=]".
** DisappearedDad: Wendy's father has been missing since she was 14. All she has to remember him by is a Zippo lighter [[spoiler: which the Middleman used to frame her for the event at which they met so he could recruit her]].
* ThePeteBest: InUniverse, Tyler
* PhotographicMemory: One of Dub-Dub's talents... maybe
-->'''Middleman:''' Photographic Memory?\\
'''Wendy:''' Abstract Impressionist.
* PinealWeirdness: Apparently losing your pineal gland either lets you see ghosts or puts you in psychic contact with your MirrorUniverse counterpart.
** Or if you're a flying pike, your pineal gland gives the antidote for fish zombification.
* PostKissCatatonia: Pip, after Lacey kisses him.
* ThePowerOfLove: [[spoiler: MM and Lacey]]
** What might be a subversion, as they are taken hostage/over by demonic puppets, which turn into real people if married while on the arms of two people who are in true love.
* PretentiousLatinMotto:
** The Middleman organization's motto: [[foldercontrol]]

[[folder: ''Pugnantes Malos, ne hos Pugnetis'' ]]
: We Fight Evil So You Don't Have To
** Pip used pretentious Latin in the gallery show he'd tried to pull off: [[/folder]]

[[folder: Deus ex Pip ]]
.
--->'''Pip:''' It's Latin for "The Machines of Pip."\\
'''Lacey:''' That's not what it means.
* ProphecyTwist: "Young Noser will be rent limb from limb to save you!"
* PuppyDogEyes: Lacey excels at them when she's not being smug.
* RaceLift: Wendy was originally white in the comics but played by Natalie Morales who is Cuban-American.
* ReferenceOverdosed
* ReplacementGoldfish: [[spoiler: for Ida's downtime]]
* {{Retirony}}: [[spoiler:Cindy]], who was two weeks away from retirement.
* TheResolutionWillNotBeTelevised : The show was canceled after 12 of 13 episodes. The finale, ''The Doomsday Armageddon Apocalypse'' has been adapted into a graphic novel (not to be confused with the earlier graphic novels, which were adapted into the TV show, take place in a different continuity to the show/new comic, and also ended on a mysterious-and-as-yet-unexplained cliffhanger). At Comic-Con 2009, the whole cast got together to do a read-through of the unfilmed script for Episode 13. A semi-approved 'bootleg' video of the event is available online (and at one point was linked to from the [=O2STK=] website, [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=RE4a1kjvd78 and it eventually appeared on youtube]].
* RidiculouslyHumanRobot: Ida
* RuleOfCool: Sensei Ping.
* RunningGag: The Interrodroid getting its head ripped off, Ida always calling Wendy a stoner, and the removal of the pineal gland causing psychic powers. Also, the fake [=IDs=] used by Middleman and Wendy:
-->'''Doctor''': We don't get many visitors from the Department of Education.\\
'''Wendy''': Well, if you can teach the criminally insane, you can teach anyone.
** Either Tyler or Wendy referring to a "____-nado", followed up with the other one responding "A tornado made of ____?"
** Also, the "My plan is sheer elegance in its simplicity, isn't it?" line that every. single. villain uses. Which is then nicely subverted in its final appearance. "You have to admit, my plan is sheer elegance in its draconian complexity."
* SchmuckBait: The Middleman gives Wendy a list of three things she must never bring up in conversation with Sensei Ping. Naturally, she ends up bringing up all three.
** Although she did do it on purpose because he was getting on her nerves.
* ScienceCannotComprehendPhlebotinum: One of the Middleman's standard pieces of equipment is a B.T.R.S. scanner, which looks for things Beyond the Realm of Science.
* ScoutOut: The Wilderness Girls
* SecretIdentity: Lacey and Noser both think that Wendy works for a consultant who solves exotic problems. Which, strictly speaking, is true. But Lacey also knows about Wendy's Middlewatch and thinks it's pretty odd for a temp job to have a pager that works like that.
** Heck, Lacey seems oblivious even when she encounters Wendy wearing her uniform ''complete with sidearm.''
* SerialEscalation: Every episode seems able to top the last in making everything ''more'' awesome.
* ShoePhone: There's a lot of unusual spy gear, ranging from watches to funky glasses.
* ShoutOut: [[ShoutOut/TheMiddleman Has its own (in progress) page]], where shoutouts are sorted ''by episode'' due simply to the sheer density of them. Those that are still unsorted:
** ''AnimalHouse''
** {{Anime}}: Wendy explicitly refers to the first weird thing she meets as "a hentai tentacle monster".
** ''ComicBook/AstroCity''
** ''TheFlash''
-->'''Middleman''': Barry Allen or Wally West?
-->'''Wendy''': Do you want me to leave?
** The ''Austin Powers'' movies.
** ''TheAdventuresOfBuckarooBanzaiAcrossTheEighthDimension''
** ''Series/TheAvengers'' - Like Wendy's father, Emma Peel's husband disappeared in a mysterious and unexplained DC-10 crash. Also, Wendy's ImagineSpot upon being asked to join the Middleman is a pastiche of the Avengers opening credit sequence.
** Franchise/{{Batman}}
** ''Series/BuffyTheVampireSlayer''
** ''Film/{{Chinatown}}''
---> '''Malfunctioning Ida:''' She's my sister. She's my daughter. My sister. My daughter.
** ''Film/DieHard'': Multiple times in multiple episodes.
--->'''Wendy:'''"Yippie Kai Yay -Beeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeep-"
** ''Comicbook/DoctorStrange'': And the anti-vampire Montesi Formula.
** ''Series/DoctorWho'': The NASA experts are named after Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart, Sgt. Benton, and Zoe Herriot, as well as a reference to "Zygons," "[=McCrimmon=] College" (for Jamie [=McCrimmon=]), and "The Treaty of Periperpegilliam" (for Peri, because that was actually her first name).
** In the unmade thirteenth episode, the Middleman's instructions to Wendy before his [[spoiler: HeroicSacrifice]] are a direct quote from the speech the First Doctor gives his granddaughter before they part.
** ''{{Dracula}}''
** ''Dr. Strangelove'' [[spoiler: Balthorium]]
** DudleyDoRight
** Literature/{{Dune}}: Frank Herbert High School, House Corrino, 1965 Caladan Lane (1965 is the original publication date for Dune, while Caladan is the world Paul Muad'Dib was born on). Fake identities: Dr. Kynes and Rabban.
** ''Film/EscapeFromNewYork''
** ''TheFlintstones'': MM invokes the name of The Great Gazoo.
** ''Literature/FlowersForAlgernon''
** ''Film/GalaxyQuest'': Possibly, one episode features a stolen beryllium sphere.
** ''Film/{{Gaslight}}'': Mentioned by name as Wendy calls Pip out on trying to [[{{Gaslighting}} mess with her head]].
** ''Film/{{Ghostbusters}}'': On par with the ShoutOut list for ''Film/BackToTheFuture'' Annotated [[http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=75LcXj3glXE here]].
** ''GunsOfNavarone''
** "{{Hentai}} Tentacle Monster"
** ''HowardTheDuck'': MM tells Cindy she's trapped in a world she never made.
** Franchise/IndianaJones
** ''Jake2.0'': A show Javier Grillo-Marxuach worked on before ''TheMiddleMan''
** ''Film/JamesBond''
** ''Joe 90''
** ''Film/KillBill''
** ''LostInSpace''
** ''Film/TheMatrix'': The Ida-inside-of-Ida is a polite, well-dressed, middle-aged lady.
** ''Film/MenInBlack''
** ''Film/MinorityReport''
---> '''Ida:''' We got a red ball!
** ''Series/MontyPythonsFlyingCircus'': The Brotherhood of the Pointed Stick, Everything about High/Maximum Aldwin.
** ''WesternAnimation/MonstersInc'': [[spoiler:Varsity Fanclub is using a scream harvester]]
** ''MyLittlePony''
** ''NickFury'': The Steranko run.
** ''PlanetOfTheApes''
** ''{{Spider-Man}}'': Dub-Dub actually quoted ''the'' CatchPhrase: "With great power comes great responsibility."
** ''SeaQuestDSV''
** ''Franchise/StarTrek'': Namechecked multiple times.
---> '''Middleman '69:''' "Maybe [[BeamMeUpScotty Scotty can beam us]] down. Sorry. Obscure reference to a canceled TV show. [[ItWillNeverCatchOn I'm sure you've never heard of it.]]"
** And another time...
---> '''altPip:''' You mean the sci-fi series [...] starring the great George Takei?\\
'''Wendy:''' This ''is'' an evil universe.
** ''StarWars''
** ''The Story of O''
** ''{{Superman}}''
** {{Terminator}}
** ''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Church_of_the_SubGenius The Church of the SubGenius]]''
--->'''J.R. "Bob" Dobbs International Airport'''
** ''Film/ThePrincessBride'':
--->'''Wendy:''' "I don't think female problems means what you think it means."
** ''Series/TwentyFour'': Wendy refers to beating a confession out of a robot as [[JackBauerInterrogationTechnique "Jack Bauering"]].
** ''UsagiYojimbo''
** ''Series/TheWildWildWest''
** ''Film/WillyWonkaAndTheChocolateFactory''
** The Comicbook/{{X-Men}} ("Old school, not [[UltimateXMen Ultimate]].")
** The titles of each episode/graphic novel are homages to Creator/RobertLudlum.
** Film/CatPeople: "Irena Dubrovna"
* SirSwearsALot: Cindy Marshall is constantly dropping [[ClusterFBomb Cluster F-Bombs]], especially when the Middleman tries to interrogate her. This is especially funny as, while she's actually a hardened alien rebel commando, Cindy Marshall looks like a ''fourteen year old girl''
* SpicyLatina: Invoked by Middleman '69, who refers to Wendy as "a hot and spicy Spanish girl."
* SplitScreen: very uniquely done.
* SomethingOnlyTheyWouldSay: "Dubby, I'm afraid I can't divulge sensitive Middle secrets through a civilian interpreter."
* SpyCatsuit: "This is how a real woman dresses?"
* SpyDrama: Spoofed, bigtime.
* StarCrossedLovers: Lacey and MM.
* StockScream: The "Wilhelm" can be heard OnceAnEpisode. Including the comic version of Episode 13, where it's rendered as "aaaah-aaaaargh!", with a note in the annotation explaining that's the best they could do.
* StrangeMindsThinkAlike: This show practically runs on it.
* TechnicalPacifist: Wendy hates guns, but has a bit of a geeky affection for the sci-fi weapons the Middle organization uses. She also loves training with Sensei Ping, and she frequently protests the Middleman's tendencies toward violence. But she had no problem whatsoever beating a venomous Peruvian Pike to death.
** Not to mention her childhood dream of killing a vampire.
* ThemeSong: "Middleman!"
* TheyCallMeMisterTibbs: Wendy has a problem of people going overly familiar with her. Her roommate Lacey calls her Dub-Dub, and The Middleman calls her Dubbie. Only {{Cloudcuckoolander}} Noser seems to address her only as 'Wendy Watson' and Wendy's then-boyfriend Ben seemed to call her by her normal full name or just "Wendy".
** The Middleman will call her "Wendy" when he's in great danger, or he's concerned for her safety.
* TheyFightCrime:So you don't have to.
* TitleIn: Spoofed, playfully, and with increasing wackiness and tongue-in-cheekness.
* TrainingFromHell: Averted. MM warns Wendy that Sensei Ping's tutelage will be painful and cruel. Wendy ''loves'' every minute.
* TruthSerums: One of the Middleman's gadgets works like a room-wide dispersal of such.
* {{Tykebomb}}: Cindy
* UnderstandingBoyfriend: [[spoiler: For the brief time in the thirteenth episode when Tyler is aware of Wendy's job, the only thing about it that bothers him is the realization that his own job was just a means for Manservant Neville to get to her.]]
* UnitConfusion: 4000 angstroms of Balthorium-G.
* UnfazedEveryman: Her reaction to the lab explosion is how she got the job.
* TheUnpronounceable: The name of the energy drink "!!!!" is "pronounced" by doing jazz hands, stomping a foot, and making a rather enthusiastic face.
* UnusualEuphemism: Frequently used by the Middleman, usually a form of ShoutOut. "[[Literature/TheGunsOfNavarone Guns of Navaronne]]!" "Literature/FlowersForAlgernon!"
** And as a "my god" substitute in one episode, "My Little Pony!"... yeah, this show is capital-W ''Weird''.
* {{UST}}: MM and Lacey. And sort of freakily, Middleman '69 and ''Ida''. Pip and Lacey.
* WellIntentionedExtremist: [[spoiler: Manservant Neville]], whose attempt to become a Living God is environmentally inspired.
* WhatWouldXDo: "WWWWD...What would Wendy Watson do?"
* WhyDidItHaveToBeSnakes: Cecil Rogers, who's immortal, refuses to go on boats of any kind. Admittedly, he has good cause--he's both [[spoiler: a survivor of the Titanic]] and he points out that if he drowns he'll be stuck in a constant cycle of drowning and being revived for eternity. [[spoiler: It turns out this was a lie later on when he shows up on the ship in question, revealing himself to be the episode's BigBad]]
* WillNotTellALie: The Middleman, at least when he's not undercover. Hilariously used in the pilot:
-->'''Middleman:''' The only thing I hate more than mad scientists trying to take over the world is mad scientists trying to take over the world and using the brains of innocent primates in order to do it.\\
''(minutes later)''\\
'''Wendy:''' Is it true what you said up there?\\
'''Middleman:''' What?\\
'''Wendy:''' [[PhotographicMemory That the only thing you hate more than mad scientists trying to take over the world is mad scientists trying to take over the world and using the brains of innocent primates in order to do it?]]\\
''({{Beat}})''\\
'''Middleman:''' ...why would I lie about that?\\
'''Wendy:''' I don't know, it just seems like an oddly specific thing to hate.\\
'''Middleman:''' Self-knowledge is the gateway to true happiness, Dubby.
----