- Actor Allusion:
- In the season one finale, Neil Flynn's character mentions a brain trust.
- Also in the season 2 premiere, Frankie goes to meet Brick's new teacher. Playing the teacher? Doris Roberts! Or Marie of Everybody Loves Raymond! She ironically accuses Frankie of smothering her children.
- In the season three premiere the hiker played by Ray Romano tells Frankie "In an alternate universe you and I could have been very happy together."
- In the episode "The Paper Route", Edward Asner plays the publisher of the Orson Herald.
- In the episode "Life Skills", Brick's therapist played by Dave Foley suggests Brick study his school's kids in the hall.
- In the episode "The Carpool", Axl's knowledge of black holes is due to constantly watching Hot Tub Time Machine.
- Several times in a season 9 episode, Frankie tries unsuccessfully to get a good cry to feel better. At her last attempt she even tries to listen to the music from Ice Castles. This is an exact reference to a plot at an episode where Ray tried to figure out why would Debra be crying home alone, right to the Ice Castles soundtrack, although it was played for a slightly more dramatic effect in Everybody Loves Raymond.
- California Doubling: Normally averted, except for the roadside scenes in "The Concert."
- The Character Died With Her: Aunt Ginny. At the end of the third-season episode "The Map", which had begun with the Hecks coming back from her funeral, there was an In Memoriam to Frances Bay, the actress who had played her until her death several months earlier.
- The Danza: Rick Harrison as Rick.
- Dawson Casting:
- When the show started, Axl is a high school freshman and he's played by a 19 year old. Sue, a seventh grader, has an 18 year old actress. Brick is supposed to be in second grade, but the actor playing him is 11 years old. To be fair, the actor playing Brick (Atticus Shaffer) has Type IV Ostogenesis Imperfecta (also known as brittle bone disease), which causes him to be a lot smaller than average.
- For the same reason, he is almost never filmed walking all by himself within a certain distance of the camera, as he has a noticeable limp.
- A rare forgivable example in the cases of Axl since he actually looks much younger than his actual age. Even at the age of 23, the actor who plays Axl still looks like a teenager. Though the same can't be said for the actors who play Darren and Sean who both look like they're in their late 20s. It was even lampshaded in the episode where Sue wanted to date Darren with Mike objecting because "he's 18 and he looks 30!"
- Eden Sher herself remarked at how big the gap was for Sue early on, playing a 13 year-old at 17, and Sue does strain credulity a bit early in the third season when she tells Frankie she just had her first period, given that Eden Sher is, uh, quite a developed young lady. However, this became downplayed after Sue went to college and the gap became less significant.
- Edited for Syndication: The Middle is already a pretty family-friendly show, but Hallmark Channel for whatever reason feels the need to make it extra squeaky-clean, removing words like "damn", "piss", and "nipple" on an inconsistent basis.
- Name's the Same: Brick is not a Rowdyruff Boy.
- Older Than They Look: Brick's actor has Osteogenesis Imperfecta, and was born in 1998.
- Real-Life Relative: Dick and Jerry Van Dyke really are brothers.
- Reality Subtext:
- Plots in two episodes are based on events from the actors' real lives. Atticus Shaffer once went out for Halloween as the same obscure Scottish World War I hero Brick did in the first Halloween episode, and Patricia Heaton's family once hosted a Japanese exchange student who didn't say a word to them for two weeksjust like what happens in "Foreign Exchange".
- Recycled Script: Season 7's "Survey Says..." has Brick taking an office store's online shopping survey too seriously... exactly like in Season 5's "The Wind Chimes" when he thinks his suggestion to a pretzel company's 1-800 number will make or break them. In both episodes he incorrectly assumed that participation automatically made him an official employee.
- Write What You Know: Frankie's later retraining as a dental hygienist mirrors one of the show's creators, who formerly worked in that capacity herself.
Trivia / The Middle