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YMMV / The Middle

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  • Alternative Character Interpretation:
    • Despite his many quirks, Brick just comes off as an apathetic Jerkass sometimes.
    • Sue’s perpetual quirkiness ranges from sympathetic, to funny to plain annoying - sometimes within a single episode.
  • Arc Fatigue:
    • Season 9's SueSean arc has been dragged out to the point that fans are clearly irritated with the annoyingly slow pace the story is moving at. It's understandable that the Lexl story arc took as long as it did because Lexie was still a fairly new character who needed to be developed and her dynamic with Axl also needed the proper build-up before they got together. But Sean has been on since Season 1 and his dynamic with Sue (as well as character development) had already been given a fair amount of time since then and been well established. The writers clearly want to keep the conflict going as long as possible because they need for Sue not to be happy and relieved so soon and this would resolve all her problems, but even after the two had their First Kiss that should have sealed the deal, the uncertainty the two still have on their feelings just teeters on the thinnest of plot details and comes off as sloppy and lazy. While Romantic False Lead April played her part in the Lexl story well, Aiden didn't even have a purpose because his character comes on a few episodes, has no real stock in the story because no else has anything to really say about their relationship and once he and Sue do end things, nothing is resolved! He felt more like a plot device than anything else! The storyline seems to have come to a stand still (with only occasional progression) that has proven to be a fairly botched effort on the writers' part. Given Lexie went out with Sean before she and Axl got together, there was a great possible story of Axl and Lexie double dating with Sue and Sean that was never explored.
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    • Season 9 itself practically is this. Toted "The Farewell Season", the writers have been treating it way too much like a regular season with too much of the same usual hijinks and occasionally bringing on old recurring characters for quick and somewhat unnecessary send-offs. They could have had big stories like whatever would have happened had SueSean been resolved in only a few episodes or the progression of Lexl's relationship, seeing more of Lexie's parents and seeing Lexie become an Ascended Extra and how she becomes more integrated into Axl's family, spending more time with them. Things are expected to really heat up in the final three episodes with big changes occuring, but you wouldn't know it by how safe the rest of the season has been playing it.
  • Ass Pull:
    • The whole SueSean arc in Season 9 has been one big one most of the time. "The Christmas Miracle" ended with Sue and Sean having their First Kiss and made fans believe the arc building up their relationship was closed and while not really necessary for almost ten episodes, didn't overstay its welcome. However, "New Year's Revelations" ends with Sue and Sean not talking about how they really felt about the kiss, Sue staying with her current boyfriend Aiden and only a small Hope Spot in which Sean reveals his feelings for Sue to Axl (which implies that it will set up a resolution to the ending between them in "The Confirmation", but it hasn't). On a related note, "The Other Man" ends with Sue deciding not to end things with Aiden because there's the chance he might be the right one for her (he's not, they split three episodes later in "Toasted"). Even then, small teases continue in episodes that follow making it abundantly clear that the writers intend for SueSean's union to be a Last Minute Hookup. Fans were needless to say unhappy and grown extremely tired with the continued storyline throughout the season.
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    • Having Lexie on so little in Season 9 could be deemed one of many others Season 9 has too (especially because she featured so prominently in Season 8). Rather than exploring ideas as to what else could have happened with Lexie and the Hecks or Sue and Sean's relationship after they got together, the season chose to simply set up ideas for the future and then do nothing with them, half the time choosing quick little one-offs in favor of what could have progressed the show forward more thematically. Another big offender of that was "Guess Who's Coming to Frozen Dinner" being about Rusty visiting for dinner and not Lexie's parents Tammy and Bennett (who only got the one episode and didn't get to see the Heck house).
  • Catharsis Factor:
    • Lexl shippers found immense satisfaction at the end of Season 8's "The Par-tay" when Axl finally kissed Lexie.
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    • As unnecessarily long and frustrating as the SueSean arc was throughout Season 9, the scene when they finally talk to and admit their feelings for each other in the Grand Finale does serve as an incredible payoff, especially with Sean tracking Sue and her family down on the highway after finally finding the snow globe. Axl and Brick addressing their parts in inadvertently covering it up counts too.
  • Crosses the Line Twice:
    • Sue's Transparent Closet friend Brad got sent to a religious camp where he got cured... of his smoking.
    • When Sue and Lexie bully a girl with chronic fatigue syndrome because they thought she was faking it.
  • "Funny Aneurysm" Moment:
    • In the Japanese exchange student episode, Frankie describes sending a wave to Japan (which Mike reminds her is called a tsunami, which the Japanese do not like).
    • In the fifth season, a Running Joke in "The Award" has Sue being mistaken for an exchange student from Ukraine. The episode, obviously written and filmed months earlier, aired the week after serious political unrest in Ukraine, including the deaths of dozens of protesters in the streets of Kiev, forced the country's president to flee.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight: In "The Neighbor", Sue and Carly try to beat the Glossners in a fight after the latter challenges by a dance off, not knowing what a fight really entails. In Star vs. the Forces of Evil the titular Star Butterfly (voiced by Eden Sher, who plays Sue) has no such problems in knowing how to fight and can be excessive at times. In fact, the episode "School Spirit", Star had... the exact opposite problem when it came to football, donning battle armor, thinking a trophy case is a memorial, and mining and laying traps in a football field.
  • Just Eat Gilligan:
    • It's hardly suggested that Frankie would be a little less stressed out if Mike would offer to take up some of her duties or if she would call him out for just staying out of the way.
      • Both Sides Have a Point have a point in this issue as Mike has called Frankie out on both taking everything so seriously as well as expect everything to be fixed in an instant. The Wind Chimes reveals that a lot of problems that she just thought went away was actually solved by him confronting the people who she gets into fights with.
      • In "Not So Silent Night" when all the family pictures were accidentally deleted from the computer, he called her out over the fact that she makes such a big deal over every little thing when they couldn’t find the originals. He ended up finding them the very next day.
    • It's also never suggested that the problems with the Glossners would be solved if someone would just call the police or social services and report them. The closest is Rita herself threatening to do so to Frankie after the latter notices a bunch of stolen stuff in the family's garage.
      • In'Heck vs. Glossners: The Final Battle' after Frankie's car is stolen this is how the Glossner problem is solved. Once a few of the older kids are arrested, Rita actually gets a chance to rest and properly parent the younger kids. She takes up gardening.
    • If someone had just forced Sue and Sean to talk to each other about their feelings by now, they both would have learned about the secret behind the snow globe by now and be together.
    • "Please Don't Feed the Hecks": If Sue had just swallowed her pride and let Lexie call her dad, the Professor refusing to leave the apartment would have been resolved instantly without so much strife and hardship involved.
  • Padding: Quite a bit of it, especially in the later seasons. The whole Disney World fiasco could easily have been narrowed down to one episode rather than two, given that not much happens in the first.
  • Spiritual Successor: Often considered this to Malcolm in the Middle due to its similar name, focus on a dysfunctional suburban family, and similar family dynamics to the former series.
  • Strawman Has a Point:
    • Even if Brick started a fire because he used the oven, as he points out it was still incredibly stupid of Frankie to use it to store quilts. As of the ninth season, the oven is still being used to store quilts.
    • The episode where Sue goes to college presents Mike as an incredibly Overprotective Dad by having her master a ridiculous amount of skill before letting her go. However, nothing about Sue up to this point would lead the viewer to believe that she is ready to live on her own. Even her actions in the episode itself would give anyone doubts.


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