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Heck Family

     Frances 'Frankie' Heck Née Spence 
Played by: Patricia Heaton

  • Big Eater: A Running Gag is her eating a lot. She kept her maternity pants to use on Thanksgiving.
  • Butt-Monkey: Very often, though not as much as her daughter Sue. You could argue that it's an entire family of Butt Monkeys, but those two stand out the most.
  • Determinator: Given her various quests to help out her family (during which she is inevitably faced with several obstacles). Her speech in the dental-assistant class at the end of "The Safe" pretty much confirms it.
  • Happily Married: To Mike.
  • Huge Guy, Tiny Girl: Tiny Girl to Mike's Huge Guy, though given actor Neil Flynn's height, almost any actress would be this to him.
  • Mama Bear: Frankie serves as this to her kids, no matter how embarrassing or difficult it is for her.
  • My Beloved Smother: Brick's teacher accuses Frankie of this.
  • Savvy Guy, Energetic Girl: Energetic Girl to Mike's Savvy Guy.
  • Tomboyish Name: Frances "Frankie" Heck.
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     Michael 'Mike' Heck 
Played by: Neil Flynn

  • Agent Scully: Absolutely won't entertain the notion that Sue saw a vision of The Santa Maria in "Halloween IV"
  • Big Brother Bully: He was this to his brother in their youth.
  • Brutal Honesty: He is known for his straightforward manner.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Especially towards Frankie and Axl.
  • Happily Married: With Frankie.
  • Hidden Depths: He had a cat at work that he loved called Limestone. The family also caught him singing "More than a Feeling" by Boston on his way home from work.
  • Huge Guy, Tiny Girl: Huge Guy to Frankie's Tiny Girl.
  • Like Father, Like Son: He's incredibly uncomfortable talking about his feelings, like his own father, he's a great sportsman, like Axl and he is very stoic, blunt and anti-social like Brick.
  • Missing Mom: His mom died when he was younger.
  • Not So Stoic: Frankie has a recording of him crying during a period when they were broken up.
  • Only Sane Man: Mike is usually the first to acknowledge the craziness going on in the house.
  • Papa Wolf: Mike has this towards his children; especially towards his daughter, Sue. An example of this would be in season one's Valentine's Day.
  • Parental Favoritism: Played with. In one episode he admits that Axl is his favorite child because they both like sports. Ironically, he's usually more critical towards Axl than he is towards Sue or Brick.
  • Real Men Hate Affection: Although Mike does have a a softer side, he doesn't like to show it.
  • Savvy Guy, Energetic Girl: Savvy Guy to Frankie's Energetic Girl.
  • The Stoic: Not a very emotional person.
  • Straight Man: To the antics of the rest of the family.

     Axl Redford Heck 
Played by: Charlie McDermott

  • The Ace: He's handsome, funny, and charming when he wants to be.
  • Best Her to Bed Her: Tries this on his love interest in Season 6, with a variety of sports: she lets him win at pool.
  • Big Brother Bully: He's horrible to Sue most of the time.
  • Big Brother Instinct: While Axl shows more affection towards his little brother, Brick, he's more emotionally closed off when it comes to his little sister, Sue. He treats her with disdain, taunts and teases her to no end, and belittles her very existence (he never tells anyone in his school that he has a sister)... but when it comes down to it, Axl shows a softer, comforting side of him when it really counts.
  • Big Brother Mentor: To Brick sometimes.
  • Big Eater: Axl has a reputation for having a big appetite.
  • Big Man on Campus: In high school. Not so much in college.
  • Book Dumb: Mostly because he doesn't really care about school and anything academic. The season one finale suggests he may be Brilliant, but Lazy but it's subverted at the end of the episode.
  • Break the Haughty: After going to college he finds out he isn't The Ace he thought he was in Orson.
  • Brilliant, but Lazy: Axl is actually very clever and fast talking, but when it comes to school and being responsible he prefers the easy way out.
  • Character Development: Axl develops into a slightly kinder, mature, and less selfish person as he enters college and experiences the real world.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Especially towards Sue and his parents. In fact, Axl is known for having a snarky remark ready for anyone at anytime.
  • Dumbass Teenage Son: He's both the oldest and the most immature of the Heck kids.
  • Dumb Jock: He's more unfocused and impulsive than he is dumb.
  • Generation Xerox:
    • There are hints that Mike was a lot like Axl when he was his age.
    • In one episode, Mike points out that Axl and Frankie both constantly complain about things being too hard.
  • Hidden Depths: Axl is actually very smart and quick-thinking when it comes to scheming and has also proven himself capable of making good grades when he applies himself. He has also shown that he overcompensates due to his insecurities and fear that he will never be good enough.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: While he usually treats Sue with disdain, he will nevertheless protect her and help her—but only when she'll never know he did.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: The series finale has Frankie lampshading how "Mike and I got the best revenge" in that Axl ends up the father of three sons who are just as lazy and stupid as he used to be.
  • Manchild: Although he's clearly improved, he's currently in his early 20s and still quite bratty.
  • Mr. Fanservice: Is infamous for his Shirtless Scenes. He's played by a 19-year-old actor.
  • Never My Fault: Practically Axl's catch phrase. He's convinced that his parents only punish him to ruin his life and is oblivious to the fact that his actions are completely selfish. When he gets caught, he blames everyone else for his own stupidity.
  • Official Couple: He and Lexie (Lexl) as of Season 8.
  • Used to Be a Sweet Kid: Apparently when he was in school he was asked about his heroes he wrote "mommy, daddy and SpongeBob" he was also said to be very caring of Sue when she was a baby.
  • Walking Shirtless Scene: It's easier to count the number of times Axl has worn a shirt. He's even in his boxers on the cover of the first season DVD set. Downplayed after season 3.

     Sue Sue Heck 
Played by: Eden Sher

  • Adorkable: Very dorky and adorable.
  • Annoying Younger Sibling: At least, Axl feels like this about her. It may also be a case of an Inverted Trope with the two.
  • Born Unlucky: She's the most unpopular person in school, she failed her driving test six times, a deer ran into her and broke her leg and overall, the entire world conspires against her. None of this, though deters her sage-like Pollyanna attitude, and she usually gets a good hand out of it all.
  • Bratty Teenage Daughter: She acts like this after puberty set in for the character, sometimes being as demanding and self-centered as big brother Axl. In fact all the Heck children tend to have bratty phases as the series progressed, though they do each settle a bit in later seasons.
  • Butt-Monkey: Socially awkward, often picked on by her older brother, and she fails at just about everything she tries.
  • Cute Clumsy Girl: She can be one, due to her awkwardness.
  • Dating What Daddy Hates: When she was dating Darrin.
  • Determinator: No matter how many times she fails to make any team or club, she never gives up. This extends far enough that, in that Season Finale, she "runs" five laps around a cross-country track with a twisted (and possibly broken) ankle, only for it to start raining while she's on her final lap. Then, after being splashed with mud and grass and losing a crutch, she drags herself across the finish line with only her arms.
  • Extracurricular Enthusiast: She tries out for things constantly, but only very rarely succeeds. When she does, she is wildly enthusiastic.
  • Embarrassing Damp Sheets: Sue pretends to be a bedwetter to make a kid she's babysitting feel about his bedwetting. It backfires as the kid calls her a loser instead.
  • Fag Hag: Her friendship with Brad, although he's also her ex-boyfriend.
  • Flanderization: She seems to be becoming even more hopelessly naive and clueless than ever in recent episodes, to the point of ridiculousness. This seems to be on its way to being reversed in her college years.
  • Genki Girl: She's very perky.
  • Important Haircut: Sue cuts her hair shorter before heading to college for the first time, making her look more mature for a new chapter in her life.
  • Messy Hair: To further cement her loser status, her hair always looks like she just got out of bed and forgot to brush it.
  • Middle Child Syndrome: Not just because she has a rather generic name while her siblings are named "Axl" and "Brick", but because, as she puts it in an episode, she's not a succesful athlete like Axl nor "supersmart" like Brick. Sue seems to be unable to succeed but on the bright side, she at least appears to be cheerfully unaware of it or undaunted.
  • Naïve Everygirl: A textbook example of the eternally naive, cheery, and optimistic teenage girl who always tries her best despite being the world's Butt-Monkey.
  • Nice Girl: As well as the most naive, she's also the nicest in the family.
  • Odd Name Out: Axl, Brick, and... Sue.
  • The Pollyanna: Relentlessly optimistic.
  • Potty Emergency: Sue has to go pee when Frankie comes to try and tickle information about a new boyfriend out of Sue. Sue begs Frankie not to tickle her as she has to go pee and really likes her comforter.
  • Pungeon Master: Sue will do this with any word that she can use as a pun on her own name, e.g. "Sue's Babysuetting Service" or "Sue-eet Sixteen".
  • Repetitive Name: Due to a mistake on her birth certificate, her middle name is also Sue.

     Brick Ismael Heck 
Played by: Atticus Shafer

  • Adorkable: He's even more awkward than his sister.
  • Adorably Precocious Child: In early seasons. Despite his young age he is very smart and well-read.
  • Ambiguous Disorder: Brick's disorder is never specified though he does seem to have several symptomsnote  that relate to Asperger's.
  • Bad Liar: He has a pretty obvious tell:
    Brick: (whispering) I'm lying!
  • Bookworm: One of his defining traits. He enjoys reading and quoting his books.
  • Child Prodigy: He is prone to philosophical thoughts about the meaning of life.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: His behavior is downright odd, and is considered the "weird one" in the family.
  • Ditzy Genius: He's by far the smartest of the Heck kids, he loves books and has a eidetic memory. He also has tics, social issues, is easily distracted, and tends to forget where he puts his books or even what he's doing (like reading while riding a bike). At some point he wasn't even able to tie his shoelaces or blow his nose.
  • Idiot Ball: Axl and Sue's stupidity have always been consistent but Brick's intelligence will disappear depending on the episode or situation.
  • Intelligence Equals Isolation: His speech to Axl in "Twenty Years" about how he reads so much because he doesn't have many friends otherwise rather poignantly lampshades the trope.
  • Tiny Guy, Huge Girl: With Cindy, who is almost twice his height.
  • The Un-Favourite: By virtue of being the third child, his own parents often seem to forget he even exists. This goes all the way back to his birth when they managed to take the wrong baby home and not realize it for a month. More recently, with both Axl and Sue in college, Mike and Frankie have more or less phoned in the job of parenting the poor guy, including forgetting his birthday almost every year.
    Mike (referring to Axl refusing to talk to him because the family disapproves of his girlfriend): Now I don't have a son!
    Brick: What about me?
  • Verbal Tic: Repeating the last words he said. He also starts randomly whooping in "Bunny Therapy"
  • Who Names Their Kid "Dude"?: Frankie regrets naming him Brick, thinking that an unusual name would make him cool (which Brick is anything but).

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Others

    Mike's Relatives 

Michael 'Big Mike' Heck

Played by: John Cullum

Orville 'Rusty' Heck

Played by: Norm MacDonald

    Frankie's Relatives 

Tag Spence

Played by: Jerry Van Dyke

  • Abhorrent Admirer: Non-romantic example. Whenever the Spences visit the Hecks, he follows Mike around like a puppy. It probably has something to do with the fact that he never had a son of his own.
  • Dad the Veteran: He was a file clerk in the Korean war.
  • Granola Guy: Goes through a phase of this. He calls crackers poison and claims that refined sugar has killed more people than Al Qaeda.
  • Too Much Information: He has a huge habit of over-sharing, like when he casually told Axl that he got an sti during his freshman year in college... while on speakerphone with the whole family.

Pat Spence

Played by: Marsha Mason

Ginny

Played by: Frances Bay

Edie

Played by: Jeanette Miller

Paul 'Dutch' Spence

Played by: Dick Van Dyke

    Other Recurring Characters 

Bob Weaver

Played by: Chris Kattan

  • Abhorrent Admirer: Seems to have a crush on Frankie
  • Demoted to Extra: Bob was a regular for the first season or so, but after the show began to focus more on the Hecks' lives and less on Frankie's job, he had little use on the show and was relegated to the end credits.
  • Out of Focus
  • The Team Wannabe: Tends to treat the Hecks as his surrogate family.
  • "Well Done, Son!" Guy: As Mike found out after letting him take over the BBQ.

Don Ehlert

Played by: Brian Doyle-Murray

  • Bad Boss: Treats his employees with no respect and makes them work on holidays
  • Corrupt Corporate Executive
  • It's All About Me: Frankie describes him as "the most selfish man in the world"
  • Jerkass
  • Jerk with a Heart of Jerk:
    • Frankie once theorized that he made his employees work late on Thanksgiving because he didn't want to spend the holidays alone, then she found out his wife left him because he was always working late on Thanksgiving.
    • He provides the convertible for the Homecoming Queen in the parade....then makes her drive it while he sits on the back seat.
  • Politically Incorrect Villain: He is openly sexist to Frankie, his commercial from the '70s is basically just him shooting various minorities and he has some unexplained animosity towards Rosa Parks...
  • Screw Politeness, I'm a Senior!

Brad Bottig

Played by: Brock Ciarlelli

Carly

Played by: Blaine Saunders

  • Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: Hasn't been seen since Sue graduated high school.
    • Actually she appeared briefly in "New Year's Revealations," in season 9.
  • She Cleans Up Nicely: In seasons 1 and 3. Her braces were removed mid-Season 1, and she became more popular as a result.

Nancy Donahue

Played by: Jen Ray

Sean Donahue

Played by: Beau Wirick

  • Academic Athlete: Sean is the smartest of him, Axl and Darrin. He gets good grades and was even accepted to Notre Dame.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Has shades of this.
  • Dogged Nice Guy: Sort of. Sean has no romantic interest in Sue but he has twice, out of the kindness of his own heart, driven all the way down from Notre Dame (blowing off his own studies in the process) to be Sue's date only to be rejected because Sue found someone else at the last minute.
  • Foil: To Axl
  • Granola Guy: Became this in season 7, his mother was not impressed.
  • The Lancer: Nice Guy who can easily be convinced to do the wrong thing to Axl's Jerk with a Heart of Gold.
  • Lovable Jock: He is helpful, polite, and friendly, which makes him outwardly the opposite of Axl.
  • Stepford Smiler: Claims it's the family motto.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: With Axl.

Darrin McGrew

Played by: John Gammon

Reverend Timothy "Tim-Tom" Thomas

Played by: Paul Hipp

The Glossners

Played by: Brooke Shields, David Chandler, Parker Bolek

Zack

Played by: Andrew J. Fishman (Seasons one - four), Carlin James (Season nine)

  • Ambiguous Disorder: Is in the same social group as Brick.
  • Cloud Cuckoolander: Thinks he's a cat and frequently meows, nearly always wears mittens on his hands.
  • Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: Hasn't been seen since Brick moved on to high school.
    • Actually, he reappeared in "Great Heckspectations," and told Frankie he doesn't do that "crazy cat stuff" anymore.
  • He Is All Grown Up: Reappeared in the final season as a handsome 16 year old now over his old quirks.

Morgan Edwards

Played by: Alexa Vega

Matt

Played by: Moisés Arias

  • The Bus Came Back: Averted in "Valentine's Day IV" when Matt leaves a message for Sue to tell her he's back together with his old girlfriend, so he won't be coming back to Orson to take her out to the dance.
  • Grand Romantic Gesture: How he got Sue to like him.
  • Official Couple: With Sue in seasons 2 and 3
  • Put on a Bus: He transferred to another school and left Sue for a girl named Kerry.

Ashley "Weird Ashley" Wyman

Played by: Katlin Mastandrea

Courtney and Debbie

Played by: Brittany Ross and Natalie Lander

  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Can never remember Sue exists no matter how often they meet. Made fun of Sue's idea of watching a movie in the pumpkin patch then stole it.
  • Depending on the Writer: Whether their malicious actions, especially towards Sue, are the result of ill will or sheer stupidity varies depending on the episode.
  • Cloudcuckoolanders: Sue greets them while they're waiting on Axl at the Hecks'. Not only do they not remember having ever spoken to her but — because they don't believe Axl has a sister — they tell him that "there's this poor girl who's lost in your house."
  • The Dividual: Axl has a problem when he realizes that he doesn't know which one he's actually dating.
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: Can't even sit on separate tables at lunch without yelling about how much they missed each other.

Dr. Fulton

Played by: Dave Foley

Principal Barker

Played by: Rachel Dratch

Arlo

Played by: Nick Shafer

Dr. Ted Goodwin

Played by: Jack McBrayer

Cassidy Finch

Played by: Galadriel Stineman

Kenny

Played by: Tommy Bechtold

  • Fat Bastard
  • The Faceless: For many of his appearances, he was always seen from the back.
  • The Ghost: Sort of. He can always be seen but he never says or does anything except sitting there with his back to the camera playing video games.
  • Hidden Depths: He revealed to Frankie the his family situation isn't typical.
  • Jerkass: When he was living with Axl he never talked to him or acknowledged his existence kept him up all night with his bright and loud video games and took his pillow to sit on.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Axl and Hutch later talked about his good qualities and admitted he was always a good roommate. After spending time at the Hecks' house he sincerely thanked Frankie for her hospitality, she said she enjoyed having him. He's also responsible for bailing out Axl and Hutch multiple times with the various problems they have finding a place to live.
  • Manchild: Became one of these when staying at the Hecks house.
  • Parental Substitute: Seems to see Frankie as this.
  • Not So Different: When Axl was describing to his family how he's a terrible roommate all they can say in response is a load of sarcastic really's.
  • The Quiet One: Hutch says he only talks when its important
  • The Thing That Would Not Leave: He's lived with Axl for about three years now uninvited.
  • Shout-Out: Constantly playing World of Warcraft.
  • The Silent Bob
  • Suddenly Voiced: Spoke for the first time on Halloween.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: Seems to have become this with Axl and Hutch.

Charles "Hutch" Hutchinson

Played by: Alphonso Mc Auley

Devin Levin

Played by: Gia Mantegna

Cynthia "Cindy" Violet Hornberger

Played by: Casey Burke

  • Ambiguous Disorder: She speaks in a monotone voice all the time, keeps her hat on all the time, is incapable of saying something she doesn't mean, and she lacks social skills as evident from her speaking with Brick in the men's room while he's in a stall.
  • Ax-Crazy: Somewhat, as evidenced by her kicking Mike's car and Brick's nervous, "No, she won't," when Mike says she'll get over him not saving her seat on the bus.
  • Bizarre Taste in Food: When Frankie asked if she wanted something to eat she requested shrimp; for her Thanksgiving meal she had a hunk of cheese. In both cases, she took a single bite then stopped.
  • Cleans Up Nicely: When she gets dressed up for the prom in "Great Heckspectations," she's so stunningly gorgeous that Frankie worries another guy will steal her from Brick. She needn't have worried; Brick and Cindy skip the prom and sneak into the library, having mutually agreed it was a much better use of their time.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: Gives Brick a run for his money.
  • Creepy Monotone: At all times.
  • Grim Reaper: Goes as this for Halloween and manages to scare the crap out of Axl, Hutch and Kenny.
  • Happily Married: It's inferred in a Season 7 Halloween episode "Halloween VI: Tick Tick Death", that she and Brick will likely end up married and grow old together.
  • Like an Old Married Couple: Brick has been heard talking to her about things like going on couples retreats and where to spend the holidays. They're both still in middle school.
  • Literal-Minded: If she arrives somewhere a few minutes before the set time, she will wait by the front door reading your mail.
  • Never Bareheaded: A Foreign French Legion that she refuses to ever take off.
  • No Social Skills: Sees nothing wrong with walking into the men's room and talking to Brick while he's on the toilet.
  • Official Couple: With Brick.
  • Power Trio: With Brick and Troy.
  • The Stoic
  • Tiny Guy, Huge Girl: She is the huge girl to Brick's tiny guy.
  • Violently Protective Girlfriend
  • Your Cheating Heart: Once kissed another boy Brick paid her not to do it again

Troy

Played by: Jovan Armand

  • Adorkable: Is quite shy and admits he doesn't make friends very easily.
  • Gentle Giant: He comes from a big family where apparently he's the smallest one so he protects Brick from being picked on.
  • Power Trio: With Brick and Cindy.

Lexie Brooks

Played by: Daniela Bobadilla

Logan

Played by: David Hull

Holly Haypek

Played by: Lyndon Smith

Jeremy

Played by: Will Green

  • 0% Approval Rating: Frankie and Mike instantly can't stand him, others react to him with mild bemusement, even Sue has trouble being around him.
  • Derailing Love Interests: It really doesn't take long for Sue to get tired of him.
  • Establishing Character Moment: Chained to a tree yelling at Sue through a megaphone.
  • Jerkass: First appeared yelling at people through a megaphone for no real reason; when Sue called him out on this, he admitted he was only doing this to cope with boredom.
  • Soap Box Sadie
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