Heartwarming / The Middle

  • The ending of the first episode when Mike and the kids come to get Frankie after she was left stranded in the middle of nowhere by the woman she was trying to sell a car to who had three kids in jail.
    • Also, this line that Frankie says at the end:
    Frankie: [voiceover] That's the thing about family. Sure, they eat your food and wreck your face and you've got to save them a thousand times a day from who knows what. And every now and then they save you.
  • The ending of "Thanksgiving" where it turns out that Frankie's family made thanksgiving dinner for her so it didn't have to be cancelled when she had to go to work for Mr. Ehlert that day so she didn't have to do all the cooking like she usually does.
  • In "Bad Choices", the Hecks aren't sure whether or not they should move into a Hickory Arms apartment. For example, Frankie seems to like Hickory Arms because it has more luxuries than their old home and their roof was broken, but Sue doesn't want to leave her friends and the other neighbors they knew. At the end of the episode, the neighbors come to help the Hecks fix the roof of their house, making Frankie realize that they truly belonged in this neighborhood that they were lucky to have to count on for help.
    Frankie: [voiceover] You see, the thing we've forgotten is that we're part of the neighborhood. And the more our neighbors showed up to help us, the more Hickory Arms became a distant memory.
  • Axl's usually a total Jerkass, constantly complaining and barely ever showing affection. But in "The Break-up" he falls in love with a girl named Morgan. For days, he's bubbly because he's so in love. It's sweet to seem him so happy when he's usually so whiny and rude. Given the title of the episode, you'd know where this is going. Axl is heartbroken. Regardless of him being emotionally distant all the time, he breaks down and lets his mother hug him.
    Frankie: Oh god. I forgot how soft his skin was.
  • "The Clover": Axl comforts Ashley after her date dumps her at the prom.
    • "Hallelujah Hoedown" has Ashley returning the favor the next year as she steps in to dance with Axl right after Cassidy dumps him and he's named "Prom King".
  • For six seasons, a Running Gag has been Sue completely oblivious to how obviously gay her one-time boyfriend Brad is despite how everyone else can see it. Then in "Risky Business", the two are having a friendship moment alone in a car, and Brad suddenly becomes nervous and tells Sue that he wants to tell her something...but Sue just puts her hand on Brad's, smiles, and simply says "Brad. I know." They then share a warm hug.
  • "Crushed":
    • When Axl first encounters Lexie, he immediately puts on the charm to introduce himself to her.
    • It's shown that while Lexie only briefly humors Axl on him saying that he could easily date her if he wanted to, she's shown to be legitimately flattered by the attention and keeps her eyes on him through most of the scene. It's clear the two are intently interested in the other right from the start.
    • In the first line of dialogue Axl and Lexie each says to the other, the first word is "Oh".
    • Before Sue shoos Lexie out of the room, Axl flirtaciously waves to Lexie who sort of has a smile on her face when he does so.
  • "A Tough Pill to Swallow":
    • Sue forgets to renew her financial aid for college, and the only way to get into college is to pay the full amount. So Mike sells his half of the sports team diaper business to get the funds to put her through.
    • It's brief, but Axl running by Sue and Lexie when he's taking off to visit April. Yeah, his mind is on April, but he's still drawn to Lexie in spite of that.
    • Lexie's offer to have her dad sort out Sue's financial issues before Mike resolves them in secret. She means that much to her as a roommate and a friend.
    • Axl's head is turned specifically towards Lexie as he's running past her.
    • Axl is also running by on Lexie's side as well and not Sue's.
  • "True Grit":
    • Axl claims that Lexie is an Abhorrent Admirer to him in their two scenes in the episode when he's really trying to displace his own feelings for her because he's with April. He clearly cares about her, but is afraid to show it.
    • Further proof that Axl's feelings for Lexie are far different than any other girl he's been interested in before is that he hides his feelings rather than being outward with them.
    • Though speaking directly to Sue, Axl finds one way or another to bring the conversation back to Lexie's "interest" in him.
    • Lexie has no reason to come down from the top bunk when Axl comes into the room. She subconsciously wanted to be close to him and stands behind him throughout a good portion of the scene.
    • When Axl inquires Sue about her issues with Jeremy, Lexie is the one who answers him.
    • When Axl talk about how he gets girls he wants to break up with to break up with him by acting like a jerk, Lexie's reaction is split: Her jaw drops because as a girl, she's clearly offended, but when Axl explains that they're the ones who get to do the breaking up and it doesn't hurt their feelings that way, she shrugs and makes a face that suggests: "Heh, that actually makes sense."
  • In "A Very Marry Christmas," Bill Norwood unexpectedly gives Mike a Christmas gift, a pair of sunglasses. Mike, not used to people doing things for him, feels uncomfortable with the gesture. He tries to find a gift to give in return, but can't come up with anything good, and the whole thing gets worse when he finally tries the sunglasses on and is forced to admit they look really cool (and Frankie agrees). Finally he can't take it anymore, goes over to Bill's house, and insists on giving him the money he spent. Bill doesn't want to take it, but Mike is adamant, so he does. Mike walks back out to his motorcycle, and Bill calls after him, asking if he at least likes the sunglasses. Mike looks back, the sunglasses now on, and says, "I love 'em." He gets on the motorcycle and rides off, and Bill just watches him, smiling.
  • "Hoosier Maid":
    • When Axl begins claiming that Lexie is flirting with him again, she decides to play along and doing so actually leaves Axl speechless and confused for a brief moment.
    • They both clearly enjoy it, even though they know they're only playing with each other.
    • Though he's very weary about sharing his Fluff with Sue, Axl offers Lexie half his sandwich when she also gets up for a snack.
    • After letting Sue slip and fall in the RV earlier and only showing concern that the same could happen to April, Lexie slips and Axl catches her before she falls. Considering how Lexie was telling him off beforehand, Axl instinctually saved her anyway and that moment of genuine care and concern is what made Lexie realize that she does have feelings for him after all.
  • "Ovary and Out":
    • Axl, aside from taking advantage of Sue living in such a nice new place to use the shower, probably was hoping to see Lexie too since she comes back shortly after.
    • Axl talking about how good he'll be at business when graduating and trying to be funny with the breadstick mustache. He's trying to get Lexie to pay attention to him instead of Sean.
    • Lexie deciding not to pursue a relationship with Sean because she wants "a bad boy" and "a guy who doesn't have his life figured out right now." Cut to Axl.
    • Axl emphasizing how smart Lexie is to Sean. He doesn't just care about her for how beautiful she is.
  • "Swing and a Miss":
    • Lexie gave up her trip to the Bahamas to get the chance to be near Axl. Goes to show how much she has really grown to like him.
    • Also CMOF: Sue is outright horrified when she find out Lexie has developed feelings for Axl, but gives her permission to pursue him in spite of that and an analogy about whether or not turkey and chocolate would work as a couple.
    • Lexie confiding in Sue first invokes how it's not any old crush she has on Axl, but one of real, actual romantic interest. Shows how even more important it is.
    Lexie: I'm sorry. It's just that he's kinda cute and funny and I-I can't help it!
    • It's not emphasized how long Lexie's had romantic interest in Axl, which could go towards either it being when he caught her in "Hoosier Maid" or before that during their first encounter in "Crushed".
    Lexie: I've known for a while. I thought I would get over it, you know like-like the flu!
    • Lexie's continuous attempts to be close to Axl throughout the break, despite the increasing amount of ailments she suffers.
    • Axl isn't really put off by Lexie's puffed up hair, skin rash or allergies and isn't judgmental towards her for any of it. It's just that after all the stealth flirting he did with her earlier in the season, he doesn't realize she's flirting with him now.
    • As she and Sue are leaving, Lexie asks if Axl is still around so she can say goodbye.
    • Axl's genuine surprise that Lexie has feelings for him. As well as his increasing delight when he learns more and more about how deep it goes.
    Axl: Well, I know I always joked around about her liking me, but I never thought she really...
    • After finding out Lexie has feelings for him, Axl goes to the St. Patrick's Day party that he said he definitely would not go to just to find her.
  • "Exes and Ohhhs":
    • A bit of a retcon, but before he runs into Devin, Axl calls out to Lexie when he sees her across the room.
    • Axl forgets Devin and Cassidy are there for a moment when Lexie shows up and he impulsively tells her she looks good. Flattered, Lexie thanks him.
    • Cassidy and Devin both look impressed by Axl and Lexie's interest in each other. Even they can sense it, it's that powerful.
    • Axl's conversation with Devin about why they didn't work. Despite not staying together, the two show how amiable they still can be.
    • Same for his conversation with Cassidy and yes, even with Ashley.
    • Feeling bad for having led her on all these years when he should have just said he wasn't interested, Axl leaves Ashley all his money when paying for his drinks.
    • Axl and April mostly part on good terms, until they end up stuck on the RV when Sue hijacks it and April's feelings quickly grow into resentment.
    • The purpose of the episode seems to be of Axl cleaning out the baggage he had left with his past girlfriends so that he could free himself up before even considering being with Lexie.
    • Heartwarming in Hindsight: Axl breaking up with April is also this because trying to get with Lexie while still being with her would have been wrong and he clearly didn't want that.
  • "The Par-tay":
    • Axl leaves the restaurant after Brick's speech about getting his bookmark before its too late, goes to Sue and Lexie's apartment and when Lexie answers the door, Axl kisses her!
    • Had Axl gone to Danna instead, it would have also probably been a sure thing, but he chose Lexie. He made the effort to go to her above any other because SHE was the one he wanted.
    • Lexie's face after their First Kiss says it all. The guy she has romantic feelings for and was trying to develop a relationship with not that long ago came to her apartment and kissed her out of the blue! Of course she's gonna be happy about it, as well as probably relieved too (same can be said for Axl)!
    • On top of that, after he comments on her not brushing her teeth, Lexie proceeds to turn and run, but then Axl dramatically pulls Lexie back in a sliding motion, says that he doesn't care and then kisses her again regardless.
  • "The Confirmation":
    • Crossed with funny, but all the scenes of Axl and Lexie sneaking around and passionately making out each time are this. The two are so into each other that they can't keep their hands off each other. The rawness of the kisses may also be in part because Charlie McDermott directed the episode, so the intensity probably wasn't reigned in that much as it was and shined through every bit.
    • They're holding hands all through the diner scene in the beginning.
    Axl: This is awesome! You're awesome!
    • Becoming increasingly uncomfortable with the secrecy (that was his idea in the first place), Axl finally declares to Sue and Brad (and one of Lexie's classmates) that he and Lexie are together.
    Axl: Lexie and I are dating, okay? She's mine! All mine! Tell the others!
    • Along with the grand gesture of Axl caring enough to fight for her and not wanting to lose her, Lexie's reaction alone in which she cups her hands over her mouth with both excitement and surprise qualifies as she can now freely tell others about being with him as she wanted to to begin with.
    • Doubling as CMOF: Sue's bipolar reaction to finding out Axl and Lexie are together. While clearly uncomfortable with the idea, she's also glad that the two have found happiness together.
    Sue: I knew that Lexie liked Axl, but I didn't know...
  • "Adult Swim":
    • While Lexie is absent from the episode, it's shown that Axl spends all his time at the apartment now to be with her every waking moment. As the episode opens, he's waiting there to see her when she gets back from class.
    • Axl tells Frankie that he's with Lexie and she approves of the relationship, being how she's always liked Lexie and she's the first of Axl's girlfriends that Frankie really got to know.
    • Axl hesitates to tell Frankie at first because he's afraid she'll react the same way she did with April. He values his relationship with Lexie that much that he doesn't want to lose her.
    • Axl comments on how he's gonna take things slow with Lexie and it becomes abundantly clear that he's never felt this way about any other girl he's been with before and doesn't want to mess it up.
  • "The Final Final":
    • Lexie jumps into Axl's arms when she arrives to announce that she's finished her last final and it becomes apparent that she immediately wanted to celebrate with him more than anyone else.
    • After reluctantly telling her he has to study, Axl promises that when he's done with his last final ever, they'll do something together before her Caribbean trip on her family's catamaran.
    • The two share a quick kiss goodbye and then at different points, each watch the other walk away.
    • Again like in their first scene in "The Confirmation", they're holding hands throughout the entire scene pretty much.
  • "Vive La Hecks":
    • Though Lexie is again not present, the first person Axl immediately goes to see after he gets home from Europe is her.
    • The next time the rest of the Hecks see Axl after he sees Lexie is late the next night. He spent pretty much nearly two days with her! And that was after they'd been apart about three months!
    • Fridge Brilliance/Fridge Heartwarming: Axl saying "Going to see Lexie" and immediately leaving to do so is a Call-Back and Ironic Echo to him telling Sue and Lexie "Going to see April" back in "A Tough Pill to Swallow".
    • Axl encouraging Sue to find love to feel complete on two counts: One, in his own way, he's trying to help ease his sister's stress. The other, he hasn't said it yet, but he's clearly hinting that he himself is in love with Lexie and now his world has meaning.
  • "Please Don't Feed the Hecks":
    • Lexie boasts about being with Axl when she talks with Sue about how great things are going for both of them.
    • While Axl and Lexie don't share scenes in the episode, fans online were immediately filled with joy when Lexie came back into the picture. They've really grown attached to Daniela Bobadilla and her portrayal of the character.
    • In one scene at the fountain, Lexie is wearing the same pajamas she was wearing in "The Par-tay" when Axl first kissed her.
    • Crossed with funny: The longer she and Sue go without the apartment, the more embittered and snarky Lexie becomes to the point that she shows how similar she can be to Axl and it shows how much of a perfect match they are.
  • "Meet the Parents":
    • Axl and Lexie kissing in the apartment (though only a promo shot) counts all on its own.
    • The promo shot of them sitting together later on is also a real heartwarmer too.
    • The two wanting Frankie and Mike to meet Lexie's parents to begin with shows how crucial their relationship is getting at this point and how they're now willing to take that big step.
    • Axl mentions how in the case of April, Frankie and Mike met her parents after they got married and now they're meeting Lexie's before he gets married again. He really imagines himself having a future with her someday!
    • Axl helping out with the dishes in the apartment. He cares about Lexie that much that he's willing to do chores.
    • Axl bragging about how beautiful he thinks Lexie is. He feels very lucky to have her.
    • The two snag tickets to a Chance the Rapper concert and are very excited to go. If not to the concert itself, than just to go together. That's all they need.
    • Bennett and Tammy speak very highly of Axl to Frankie and Mike. They join her as official Lexl Shippers On Deck.
    • Axl and Lexie being inseparable most of the apartment scenes and it's in very close proximity showing how casual they are now and how any boundaries between the two are virtually nonexistent now.
    • Frankie is impressed with how accepting Bennett and Tammy are to her and Mike and how accepting they are of Axl and Lexie's relationship too. There's also a joke in there about swapping kids.

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