There are only a few jokes that The Middle has made that I laugh at: "I'm lying" and the PA announcer at Frankie's work. Everything else is unoriginal.
The characters are almost taken completely from Malcolm In The Middle, as well as the jokes and the episodes.
Frankie is the cranky (rhyme not intended) mom who always finds herself screaming at her family (played for laughs), and works at a really unpopular blue collar job, and in terms of hairstyle, almost looks exactly like Lois. Only Lois was better played, because the parents in the audience would root for her, whereas the kids in the audience would root for the kids.
Mike is the all-too-laid-back dad who barely contributes anything useful to his kids' lives. Just like Hal, only, once again, Hal is funnier. Why? Bryan Cranston. He is the man. Neil Flynn can be funny, he's known for that from Scrubs. But here, he looks bored as heck. (Yep, pun intended. If you think that's bad, look at some of their advertisements for Season Two.
Axl is like Francis, only whinier, more annoying, less tolerable, and far less likeable. Yeah, Francis was whiny, but not that whiny, and I never found him so annoying. Why? Because he was kicked out and thrown into military school, traveled to Alaska only to be abused by a horrible woman, got judged by his family after he married Piama, and couldn't find a great job. I don't give a crap about Axl. Also, PUT SOME FREAKING PANTS ON! IS THAT THE ONLY JOKE THAT YOU HAVE WITH THIS CHARACTER?!
Sue is some sort of Malcolm, minus the academic brilliance. She's just socially awkward. She's practically the butt monkey of the show. I guess that Sue is the only original character in the show.
And Brick... tiny eyed, grating voice, short hair, youngest in the family, and academically brilliant. WHO DOES THIS REMIND YOU OF?! If you're smart, you said, "Dewey". And boy, are you correct. Thanks for winning the one cent question. The fact that this little twerp gets so much praise for ripping off of Dewey disgusts me. Yeah, he's an okay actor, but he's also a rip off of Dewey.
Bob is Craig. Only I actually prefer Craig, BECAUSE I ABSOLUTELY ABHOR CHRIS KATTAN!
Don Ehlert is any regional manager at the Lucky Aide.
Ehlert Motors is the Lucky Aide. I defy you to even argue this.
Brick's special class is Dewey's special class, the Buseys.